Searching For Life on This Planet

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”

“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Himand have seen Him.”

“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.

“I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth.The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

“In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.

“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all thingsand remind you of everything I have told you.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.

“Get up; let’s leave this place.

-John 14

Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.

Photo: Pixabay
Growing up, in the church, I am not sure I got this.  I could see that there was "church life", that encompassed everything we participated or attended at the building, as well as camps and youth group trips to Disneyland; "family life", was the life in our house and times with relatives and meals out together; and finally, "life in the world", which was school, the neighborhood, sports, and my friendships.

Christ, or my Christianity, was something that I had and took with me, sort of compartmentalized; in the three spheres of life.  For about 18 years, I attended services and Sunday School, youth groups, and music groups.  I even had an older brother in the faith, who took me out to eat and we did things together, yet I never understood about how to open up the compartment of Christ in my life and live from that place.

I am not blaming anyone and if there is blame, it would go on me perhaps, for my own resistance.  Part of my story, is that in the midst of my not getting it and not being trained or learning how to walk with God and be a disciple; perhaps in a weak church culture, without much mentoring that was working for me; God intervened and offered to help me.  But, I said, "no thanks", and things got worse for me, bringing confusion, loneliness, lack of direction, and lack of fulfillment in my life.

I had to go through 12 years of pain, before I surrendered to God, and took Him up on the offer to give up everything and be a disciple.  I realized I had been like the prodigal son.  Since then, I have been learning about living the life.

Along the way, I have grown or cultivated a life with God; something we call our "a secret history with God".  I have also been very enamored with church meetings, big and small.  I know about 10 to 15 minute sermons that are considered perfect in one group and the 60 to 90 minute sermons that are considered the right length in another group.

I know about the benefit of sitting in a circle and everyone getting a chance to share that wants to.  I also know about alter calls and ministry time and even carpet time.  I also know about deliverance, hands on prayer for healing, recovery groups, and about worship being our highest priority.

But the life is grown and lived in life, on the ground, out there.  If and when we "go to church", it is to go to celebrate and share what God has done and is doing in your life, 'out there'.  We come from having been with God, to the fellowship or gathering of the church, to share.

We come to give.  We come to share.  We come to edify one another (tutor, train, guide, enlighten, build up, inform, cultivate, develop, teach).

Even though there are innumerable denominations and expressions or tribes in Christianity, I have been blessed to know and be with a variety of them and have a desire and curiosity to know people in new streams that I have not yet experienced.  I caught God's heart, that He loves the whole church and that sectarianism is a big "no, no", and the "yes" is an opportunity to experience a greater life.

Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.

And love leads the way.  This whole thing started with love, God's love.  God loves me and God loves you, then we love one another and invite those that don't know God's love into relationship with God and with us.  That is Christianity.

What about repentance?  What about doing the right thing, living right, or holiness?  Yes.  Love leads the way.

The life is from love, for love, and to love.

We, who are swept off our feet, and begin living in this life of love, in Christ, usually start doing what we call "going to church".  I put the words in quotes, because church really is not something you go to, and there really in not a verse in the New Testament for that.  

The church are the people.  The people are a body and together the bride of Christ.  When we gather, we are the church.  The people, plural, are the church; and the gathering can be anywhere.

We actually need to gather with other Christians and be the church far more often than one, two, or three hours on Sundays.  The problem, for many people is that the gathering, as is, is not satisfying.

Jesus did not hold church services.  That says it all.  Jesus Christ is the model for how to be a Christian and how to live the Christian life.

How does it make sense to be his follower, have his life within us, and even decide to let him live that life through us; but then do that life in a very different way than he did?  We have developed a life style that is based more on custom or tradition than Jesus and his commands.

One exercise might be to go through the gospels and read Jesus words.  Some Bibles have his words in red letters.  Look for his lessons on how to live, how to do life; and look for his commands.

When you do that, you begin to see the blue print, the plan, the way, or the directions for the Christian life.

Jesus' method of teaching was to walk with people and teach them, on the way.  When he gave anything like a sermon, it was often in parable form, which was a story that was like a riddle.  He would often preach, in the streets, the message of "repent, for the kingdom of God has come".  He would also often have healing and deliverance meetings.  And, he did also, as part of what he did, taught in the synagogues.

Teaching in the synagogue, which may or may not have included healing or deliverance ministry and which was sometimes a "hard teaching", or "hard word", that got the people very upset, was not the main thing, but was part of his method.

Jesus' main method was to mentor a small group and minister to people, in life.  His main thing was being "out there, among people".  He took his small group with him and they learned by watching and by question and answer sessions with him after the ministry.

The challenge for us in our time, is to get back to letting Christ live his life through our lives and then being able to call that Christianity.

Christianity is life in Christ.  It is my life and our lives in Christ.  It is life together in Christ.  The life is from love, for love, and to love.