For many years, Jesus was a mainstay on the covers of the three big newsweeklies: Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report. Every Easter and/or Christmas they’d throw Him on the cover, usually with some cobbled-together news rationale. His face guaranteed a boost in newsstand sales, and it also reflects our enduring curiosity about the man who changed the world.
On one hand, there seems to be a growing number of Christians who are disenchanted with church fads and programs, but who are increasingly interested in knowing and following Jesus. On the other hand, there is a growing segment of people outside the church who are uninterested in the church, but are very interested in understanding more about Jesus. It seems that God is stirring people inside and outside the church to discover Jesus.
As we enter this New Year, I believe that God is calling me, and the church I serve, to rediscover Jesus. To help, I’m planning a message series that will focus on the unpredictable, surprising, even shocking Jesus we find in the Gospel of Mark. I anticipate that a fresh look at Jesus will help us renew our faith and reclaim our first love. But several other things are vital if we are to grow as followers of Christ.
Here’s what we can do to rediscover Jesus in 2013.
▪ Let’s agree to get to know Jesus. This year, I encourage you to wear out the Gospels; those first four books in the New Testament. Bathe yourself in Jesus, his words, his stories, his miracles, and his example. Do it on a regular basis for an extended length of time. (Matthew 11:29)
▪ Let’s agree to follow Jesus. Rather than debate what Jesus said, or water it down, let’s obey the clear things he says for us to do. If we do, he will bless us with the gift of knowing the truth and setting us free to be who he has called us to be. (John 8:31-32)
▪ Let’s agree to invite Jesus into every area of our lives. While many point to Jesus’ statement in Revelation 3:20 (“behold I stand at the door and knock…”) as an example for non-Christian’s to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But a closer look indicates that this passage addresses a Christian Church. Jesus stands at the door of the church and knocks. Will we invite him in to take control of every area of our life?
▪ One of the most effective ways to grow as a follower of Jesus is to share him with others in word and deed. As we share Jesus with others, his power becomes clearer in us. (Matthew 28:18-20).
As we enter a New Year, I can’t think of anything more important than for us to have Jesus as the focus of our worship, our lives, our prayers, our friendships, and our church. Let’s make 2013 the year we rediscover Jesus, renew our faith, and return to our first love.
Let’s rediscover Jesus again for the first time!