There is more to Jesus than what you are currently experiencing today.
There is more of the awareness of God’s presence available to you.
There is more of His acceptance and love that You are called to explore and know.
There is more of Christ’s character that He desires to form in your life.
You’ve only gotten the smallest glimpse of the miracle working power He wants to extend on behalf of those He loves. No matter how much of God’s power you’ve seen and experienced in the past, there is more for you to see.
Don’t be limited by what you’ve experienced. Your experience pales in comparison to the vastness of God. Whether you’ve experienced much of God or experienced very little, He has so much more for you.
We should never be satisfied until we see the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus Himself taught us to pray: “on Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
Be hungry, fellow traveler. Don’t be satisfied with the Jesus you knew a year ago or the manna you gathered yesterday. Let your hunger and the fact that there is more push you beyond your current experience and into all He desires to give the human heart.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)
A year or so ago I had a minor revelation that changed how I understood much of the New Testament. It’s a small thing that dramatically shifts how we understand the priorities of Jesus and the apostles. Are you ready?
Somewhere along the way I began to replace every occurrence of the phrase “the word” with “the message.”
You see, every time I read the phrase ”the word,” my mind always pictured the Bible. So when I read that Jesus was “the Word” (John 1:1) I would always think Jesus is the Bible. This was really confusing and I’ve seen it cause some folks to deify the Scriptures.
But if I replace “the word” with “the message” I get something entirely different. Now when I read that Jesus is the word I understand He is God’s Message. He is what God would say in any circumstance. And this message became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).
So when Luke writes in Acts 13:49 that “the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region,” I know that Luke is talking about the spread of the Gospel and not the knowledge of Bible verses. In the same way, when Paul encourages the Thessalonians to pray that “the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,” (2 Thessalonians 3:1), he’s asking them to pray that the message of the Gospel would be received powerfully.
All of this should shift the focus from accumulating Bible knowledge to actually being a part of knowing, embodying, and declaring God’s message that’s found so clearly in Jesus and the Gospel. This is why I’ve argued elsewhere that one of the minimum standards of discipleship is a functional knowledge of the Gospel.
What do you think? Would reading the Bible this way change how you understand what’s happening in the New Testament? And, is this approach dangerous in any way?
A church is not a program of events where spiritual things happen.
You cannot attend a church.
You may have been thinking about a church meeting.
A church is a group of people with names and faces.
You can know a church and be part of one.
A church is not a what, it’s a who.
We should be careful to not call things churches that are not churches.
It assigns a false significance to things that aren’t that important.
Unless the thing you’re describing is a people that Jesus bled and died to redeem, you’re probably not talking about a church.