On Being a Jesus People — Together

coffee36.jpgAre you a part of a Christian group?  Are you married?  Do you have children?  Do you work with a team of ministers?  Are you a part of a group of elders?  Are you in a leadership role in which you work with others who are also in leadership roles?  Are you a part of a small group ministry?

 
One of the most important questions we can ask is: "How are we functioning as a group?"  We may be great individuals, but how do we function as a team?  How do we function as a group?  A husband and wife may be great individuals but they might ask themselves how they function as a couple?  I have known many church leaders who were great people individually but did not function well as a part of a group.

 
Now I am not thinking about effectiveness.  Yes, there is a time to reflect upon how effective the group is in doing its task, carrying out its function, etc.   Rather, I want to reflect on how we are doing as Jesus-followers.  As a group, are we becoming more Jesus-like as we function together?

 
As a married person, not only am I called to be a Jesus-like man or woman but I am called to function together with my spouse in a Jesus-like manner also.  Together we are to grow in Jesus-likeness.

 
As a Christian leader, not only am I to be a person who is committed to serving in this capacity but I ought to be committed to function, along with the others, in a manner that is Jesus-like also.  Do we function in a manner so that Jesus is obviously the center of our group and not just our individual lives?

 
As a member of a small group in our church  (I am thinking small group ministry) not only am I to desire that we function well as a small group, but I also need to desire that this be a group that is growing in Jesus-likeness together.

 
The following are three challenges for those of us who work with other believers in these groups (again, this includes marriage and family):
 

  • Let us move from “I” to “we.”  Self-preoccupation has a way of pushing aside any sort of real growth toward the one who called us to deny self.
  • Let us consider that not only have we been called to
    be Jesus-like (individually) but we are called to have a
    Jesus-like
    manner about us as we function as a
    group
    (or couple if thinking about marriage).
  • Let us realize that our presence and authenticity as Jesus-followers with one another, as a part of the church, must be prior
    to anything we might do or say to the church as a whole.
     
    Far too often, ministers/church leaders are all too ready to want to do or say something to the church when in fact they are failing in the way they treat one another in their leadership group.  (Again, if you are thinking about marriage/family, this means that husbands/wives must  address their own Jesus-likeness as a priority and live out of that authenticity.)

What can a group do that might help keep this in focus as they function together?  What can a married couple do?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “On Being a Jesus People — Together

  1. These are important observations and good questions.  I’ve known some churches that were made up of many great people and families; but that didn’t come through in the church that they were together.  I wonder why that was.
    What can groups do?  I think that the more a group learns and considers how leadership works, the more that group realizes that leadership is everybody’s business.  "Leadership" is a great study; thinking about it together can lead to (pun intended) better functioning of a group.

  2. Jim: Excellent questions and things to consider. Years ago, the church where I preached had been through years of conflict and turmoil (just under the surface, but occasionally boiling over). I spent two and a half years preaching through Luke, asking the church to hear the stories as if they’d never heard them before and to be surprised by Jesus. The result (not of my preaching but of our focus on Jesus) was nothing short of transformational. As simple as it sounds, keeping our focus on Jesus and not on "us" seems to be paramount in functioning in a Christ-honoring manner. It’s not about me, it’s not about our historical movement, it’s not about our traditions and orthodoxy. It’s about Christ and Christ in us. As usual, you cause me to think a little deeper about some things this morning. I don’t always like it when you do that, but I always appreciate and love you!!

  3. I LOVE your response Greg!  I think the only thing I would add to that is people not being afraid of dealing with conflict & seeing that working through conflict in a healthy manner can reflect the love of Christ more efficiently than we think.  

  4. Who will walk the extra mile with me?  Who will fellowship and be of “One Accord,” to cooperate with Jesus and with “His Bride,” (you and I, “The Church”)?  Who loves souls as GOD loves Souls so much that He wants all of us to Evangelize Cities to win the lost to Christ?

     
    Every time that I travel to Oakland with my wife Kathy and we visit her son James Cregg,
    an Offensive Coordinator for the Oakland Raiders and best friends with the Raider’s Head Coach, Lane Kiffin, and I see their families and children activities and Kathy’s
    son James Cregg is always going the “Extra Mile,” to take his Head Coach to work, to meet Lane anywhere and give him a ride and to enjoy just esteeming others higher than himself and not even being saved by Jesus yet,
    I must ask GOD over and over: “Where is
    that person in Garden Grove who will walk
    the extra mile with me and who will allow me to walk the extra mile with them?  Who will fellowship and be of “One Accord,” to cooperate with Jesus and with “His Bride,” (you and I, “The Church”)?

     
    We are called to a “Higher Calling,” to press onward, forward, forgetting that which is past, and to live in the “Present,” to hope in GOD’S favor, walking by Faith, really is the real "Substance” (TRUST) of things hoped for;
    our “Faith” is the evidence of things unseen.  We walk by “Faith and not by sight, calling those things that are not as though they are
    by “Faith,” to please our GOD!

     
    Sincerely,

     
    Senior Pastor David L. Adrean
    President and Owner of the Eirene House, non-profit Corporation

  5. Thanks Frank.  One thing that would help, I think, is for all groups in the body of Christ to desire to related to one another in a Jesus-like fashion.  I am convinced that we would handle our conflicts much different with one another if as a group or a ministry, we were committed to reflecting the heart of Jesus–regardless. 

  6. Greg,Like Jennifer, I really appreciate your response.  I am convinced that the kind of transformation that you refer to ought to not only transform individuals but groups.  Jesus transforms not only who we are individually but the way we speak to one another, relate to one another, forbear one another, etc.

  7. Jennifer,Very good!  I like what you say regarding conflict.  I sense that some of us think that conflict is either the moment in which we come unglued and act in horrendous ways or it must be something avoided at all costs.In fact, as you say, it is an opportunity for the group to display Christlikeness. 

  8. Jennifer, you make a good point. I went through the conflict resolution training at Pepperdine Law School a few years ago and have learned that within the context of conflict lies tremendous opportunities that exist no where else in relationships. 

  9. Who will walk the extra mile with me?  Who will fellowship and be of “One Accord,” to cooperate with Jesus and with “His Bride,” (you and I, “The Church”)?  Do we love souls as GOD loves Souls, so much that He wants all of us to Evangelize Cities to win the lost to Christ?
    We need to go back in time and as we read the 4 Gospels.  We must start with how Jesus treated those He selected as His Apostles if we want to love eternal souls as much as GOD loves Souls. We must be of the mind of Christ Jesus.  Jesus treated His Apostles better than you and I have ever treated our best friends and our favorite relatives.  Jesus was of “One Accord,” (cooperating with them day in and day out (in fact we might recognize that Jesus “camped out” with them most of His 3 year ministry.  Have we tried to cooperate with other Pastors and our “flock” who Jesus allows us to be His Under-shepherds too?

     
    I want to tell you a true story that you and I can do together which will affect cities like Jesus did as He traveled with His Apostles and His Disciples.  If you and I would start a City by City Evangelism Pastors Association (i.e. Garden Grove Evangelism Pastors Association, La Mirada Evangelism Pastors Association, Aliso Viejo Evangelism Pastors Association, etc) and trained our friends and acquaintances’ this one true story we would be fruitful and multiply Christians as we fruitfully multiply our family with children;

     
    TRUE STORY
     

     
    The true story that I share now happened without being planned.  A Landscaper was working and singing praises to God when all of a sudden the owner appeared and asked him if he was a Christian and the Landscaper answered: “Yes.”  The owner said: “I am too, but my wife is starting Divorce proceedings, my business is losing money and I’m sick about it.  The owner went on to say: “Just seeing you work and praise God makes me feel better.  The Landscaper saw this man as a potential friend and he said: “You know I start of my day with a “Quiet Time,” reading Scriptures and talking with God about them in my prayer time.”  If you would like, I can call you on your phone and I can share with you what I’m doing.  The owner replied: “Yes, I would like that,” and he gave the Landscaper his phone number.  A wonderful friendship developed and he and his wife made up because of an attitude change that even affected the owner’s business occurred.

     
    The owner felt led to help others as this Landscaper helped him and asked him if they could work as a team.  The owner contacted a Pastor in an economically depressed area of the town.  He boldly corrected the Pastor who was in wrong relationship and told him about his own marriage.  The three men started fellowshipping and the congregation members started one by one to join together.

     
    This is just one story, I have a DVD where Cities in Columbia, Africa and in Hemet California were so significantly impacted by Christians that the Police Chief in the African City closed his jail because he said: When someone stole something, got into fights, vandalized places they stopped and made restitution to those who they committed offenses against because of a “Godly sorrow of conviction, not feeling condemned or judged by Christians.  The Churches in those cities were so full that the Pastors who use to try to steal the other Church Pastor’s flocks were sending those same Pastors new Christian converts.

     
    We are called to a “Higher Calling,” to press onward, forward, forgetting that which is past, and toHave the ability to live in the “Present.”  We hope in GOD’S favor, by walking in “Faith,” since “Faith” really is the “Substance,” (TRUST) of things hoped for; our “Faith” truly is the evidence of things unseen.  Let’s walk by “Faith and not by sight, calling those things that are not as though they are in “Faith,” to please our GOD!


  10.  

    ARTICLE FOR THE GOD HUNGRY-A TRUE STORY
     

     
    The true story that I share now happened without being planned.  A Landscaper was working and singing praises to God when all of a sudden the owner appeared and asked him if he was a Christian and the Landscaper answered: “Yes.”  The owner said: “I am too, but my wife is starting Divorce proceedings, my business is losing money and I’m sick about it.  The owner went on to say: “Just seeing you work and praise God makes me feel better.  The Landscaper saw this man as a potential friend and he said: “You know I start of my day with a “Quiet Time,” reading Scriptures and talking with God about them in my prayer time.”  If you would like, I can call you on your phone and I can share with you what I’m doing.  The owner replied: “Yes, I would like that,” and he gave the Landscaper his phone number.  A wonderful friendship developed and he and his wife made up because of an attitude change that even affected the owner’s business occurred.

     
    The owner felt led to help others as this Landscaper helped him and asked him if they could work as a team.  The owner contacted a Pastor in an economically depressed area of the town.  He boldly corrected the Pastor who was in wrong relationship and told him about his own marriage.  The three men started fellowshipping and the congregation members started one by one to join together.  This is just one story.

     
    When you watch the News on Television and see the crimes of Murder in Gang Drive by shootings against children playing outside, teenager murders because of drug and assault to steal, women drugged and raped and men spending 8 Billion dollars on Pornography, last year. I have a DVD where Cities in Columbia, Africa and in Hemet California were so significantly impacted by Christians that the Police Chief in the African City closed his jail because he said: when someone stole something, got into fights, vandalized places they stopped and made restitution to those who they committed offenses against because of a “Godly sorrow of conviction, not feeling condemned or judged by Christians.  The Churches in those cities were so full that the Pastors who use to try to steal the other Church Pastor’s flocks were sending those same Pastors new Christian converts.

     
    A TEENAGER’S VIEW OF HEAVEN
     

    17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. ‘I wowed ‘em,’ he later told his father, Bruce. It’s the best thing I wrote. It also was the last.

     
    Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend’s house when his car went off
    Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

     
    Brian’s Essay: The Room…In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.  There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read ‘Girls I have liked.’ I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

     
    This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
    A file named ‘Friends’ was next to one marked ‘Friends I have betrayed.’ The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird ‘Books I Have Read,’ ‘Lies I Have Told,’ ‘Comfort I have Given,’ ‘Jokes I Have Laughed at.’ Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: ‘Things I’ve yelled at my brothers.’ Others I couldn’t laugh at: ‘Things I Have Done in My Anger’, ‘Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.’ I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

     
    Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked ‘TV Shows I have watched’, I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.

     
    When I came to a file marked ‘Lustful Thoughts,’ I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!’ In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
    Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it… The title bore ‘People I Have Shared the Gospel With. ’The handle was brighter than those around it, seemed newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
     
    And then the tears came. I began to weep, sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.
    No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again.  He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things.  But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.
     
    Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. ‘No!’ I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was ‘No, no,’ as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive.The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side.He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, ‘It is finished.’ I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.                ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’   Phil.4:13  ‘For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him
     

                                        shall not perish but have eternal life.’

     
    If you feel the same way, forward it so the love of Jesus will touch their lives also. My people I just shared the gospel with you, my file just got bigger, how about yours?

     

    What in the HELL is going on?
     


     

    Christians are not taking HELL as serious as Jesus Christ wants us to:
     

     
    Mt 18:8           Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

     
    Mt 18:9           And if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

     
    I have discovered something about the wide road to destruction, which is not just in the “end times,” it is in the past, present and in future times. I discovered just by asking the members of any Church: “Would you want Jesus to come for the Dead in Christ and you who remain, say within the next few days?  The answer is never a full church fellowship saying "Maranatha," as the early church did.

     
    As a Pastor, I know how important it is to disciple our flock.  Neither GOD nor Jesus gave suggestions.  Jesus said if you are my disciples indeed, you will keep my Commandments.

     
    Our Risen LORD Jesus Christ had the most extensive discipleship training session for 40 days and nights to more than 500 people and if there were books written then, there would not be enough room to contain all that Jesus taught after He was raised from the Dead.

     
    The Commandment Jesus gave after these 40 days of discipleship training was just what John the Baptist said Jesus would do when John said; “I Baptist with Water, there comes one after me, He will Baptize with the Holy Ghost and Fire.”  So Jesus rose from the Dead, gave the Commandment "Tarry in Jerusalem until you are endued with power on high.,”  which literally means wait, do not go of on your own and try to do something for me by your power and your might but wait and do it by my Spirit.

     
    If Jesus, being raised from the dead, could get less than 1/4th. of those He discipled (120 out of over 500), more than 3/4th’s wondered off and did their own thing, while only 120 people cooperated with Him and with one another by waiting in Jerusalem to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to Preach the Gospel to all Nations and to all creatures; why would satan want to rush his unholy event of the appearance of the Antichrist, False Prophet and Beast. to destroy a little more than one half of the world’s population when he got more than three- quarters of discipled Christians to disobey Jesus after Jesus showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs for 40 days to these more than 500 people.

     
    WHY EVANGELIZE?
     

     
    tO GET UNBELIEVERS SAVED!  sAVED FROM wHAT?
     
    SAVED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION-ETERNITY IN THE “LAKE OF FIRE Wrong actions & SIN CATAGORIES THAT WE MUST TARGET TO CHANGE.
     

     
    STARTING WITH GARDEN GROVE CHURCHES, I WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH PASTORS TO START A CITY BY CITY EVANGELICAL PASTORS ASSOCIATION.