Far too often we do not hear the simple call of Jesus, "Follow me," and we become lost in following lesser gods. Unfortunately, our experience mirrors what has been a less than fully faithful pattern throughout the church. Despite our tendency sometimes to follow lesser gods, we know that, as Christians, the God we profess to follow is a particular God. We know that the call of Jesus to follow him is a call to follow the God he lovingly called Abba and to whom he fully gave his own life. It is in Jesus that we have the clearest picture of who God is, what God does, and how God invites us to live as God's children.
The writer of Colossians put it this way:. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the one who is first over all creation. Because all things were created by him: both in the heavens and on the earth, the things that are visible and the things that are invisible Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him, and he reconciled all things to himself through him— whether things on earth or in the heavens.
He brought peace through the blood of his cross. This is the God revealed and made known to us through the Creation, the prophets, the events of history, the sacred word, the saints of God, and, most clearly, the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the life of Jesus we explicitly see this incomprehensible God who is not bound by our limitations or imprisoned in our preconceived ideas— a God who is greater than anything we can think, imagine, or fully comprehend.
The God Jesus reveals shatters all our little ideas about God and reveals a God who is author and creator of all there is. In Jesus we see a God who reverses the values of our culture and turns upside down our scheme of priorities, leaving us gasping at the sight of such bone-deep love, justice, and mercy. In Jesus we see such bold and radical truth that we tremble in awe and then cry out for help as we try to practice the faithful way of living he demonstrated so splendidly. In Jesus we see a God who does the unexpected and the unpredictable.
We see Jesus choosing to be the friend of sinners and being just as comfortable with the very wealthy as he is with the homeless beggar. We see a God who refuses to accept the boundaries that culture establishes and who moves with ease among scholars, religious leaders, soldiers, prostitutes, farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, and demon-possessed men and women—inviting them all into a new way of seeing the world, a new way of living, a new kingdom.
In Jesus we see a God who is not swayed by popular opinion, loud adulation, or noisy rebellion. In Jesus we see clearly a God who is not controlled by any ideology, philosophy, concept, force, or power. In Jesus we see a God who is never under our control but always free of any control, and who may act and create as it seems wise and is in keeping with God's will.
Jesus reveals a God who is always and forever beyond us, completely other than we are, and yet who wants to come and dwell within us John Jesus reveals a God of love. Everything that came from Jesus' lips worked like a magnifying glass to focus human awareness on the two most important facts about life: God's overwhelming love of humanity, and the need for people to accept that love and let it flow through them in the way water passes without obstruction through a sea anemone.
The Bible is filled with passages about a God who is best described and experienced as love. Psalm 25 and 1 John declare this truth in powerful and memorable words and images that we can understand and relate to our own life experiences. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O LORD!
Psalm NRSV. Who of us does not need to hear the comforting words of the prophet Hosea declaring God's tender love? I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. Hosea b-4 NRSV. And who does not need the frequent reminder that we are created in the image of God, and that God is love?
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. Jesus reminds us that love is our connection to him and his beloved Abba. Our relationship to God and to each other is found, centered, and maintained by love:. Therefore, imitate God like dearly beloved children.
Live your life with love, following the example of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. Ephesians 5:l-2a. It is clear from the experiences of the prophets and poets, Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints that have followed them—as well as from your experience and mine—that this way of love is neither easy nor strongly supported by our culture. Designed to help participants reinforce connections between the book and scripture, this six-session DVD is essential for creating a successful "Three Simple Questions" church-wide study.
Each of the minute videos lead naturally into discussion and sharing through the use of Scripture, engaging graphics, and music. A comprehensive Leader Guide is also included that contains useful information for organizing, leading, and preparing for each of the six sessions. In addition, you will find extended reflection and discussion questions, suggestions for spiritual practices, guides for prayer, and flexible group sessions.
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Want to Get Closer to God? Here’s a Simple Spiritual Growth Plan
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Why "Faith, Hope, and Love" Are So Important and Will Last Forever
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