This morning I had a conversation over coffee with a good friend. He was telling me how he lacked passion and joy in his spiritual life. He was reading the Bible daily and praying, but he was in a place now where these things felt more like a routine and he was not receiving the joy, passion and happiness he once did. He longed for a return to that feeling, and was reading more and praying more to try to get it back again. He wanted to experience again the depth of longing of praying, searching the Scriptures and the direction of God like his life depended on it, because it does, instead of just going through the motions.
I was with another gathering in a home yesterday around noon where part of the discussion and prayer was in this same vein. We wanted to break free of the structure, legalism, routine and control we have created and centered many of our churches and Christian experiences around. Where the cross is neutered and domesticated and the Holy Spirit is viewed as a “lap dog” that can be beckoned to come and go as needed. We confessed and prayed release and freedom from the powers and principalities we have put into place in the church and our walks with Christ that keep us from ascending to a real encounter with Jesus.
God has an amazing way of reaching and speaking to you where you are. It just so happenedthat a book I by “chance” was drawn to read now spoke, and read from last night spoke into this.
But how does one keep the passion in practice and not just the performance? A musician who simply copies a master may be technically accurate, structurally sound. But he will never be a true musician, nor an original artist, nor a passionate creator, but only a derivative paper doll. It takes more than technical skills and disciplined knowledge to fuel passion. It takes the imaginative living of your art.
For those following Jesus passionately in their daily lives, it takes an emotional connection, an experiential identification, a sensory awareness, a creative imagination, a spiritual engagement with the living Christ. For Wesley, the “Method” of Methodism was never meant to be an organizational scheme, but a missional relation, and incarnational regime of living Christ out loud in every part of life. Methodists didn’t just spout Jesus, they shouted Jesus, and everyone who met them saw Jesus in them…
To follow Jesus means more than walking in the footsteps of Jesus, the illustrious teacher, or speaking with his tongue. Jesus is not a hero to be emulated and put on some pedestal, admired from afar. Methodism was not in the business of incubating a message, but incarnating the messenger. Holiness was not the working harder to mimic Jesus, but was to manifest Jesus. A life of holiness was not the imitation of Christ, but the impartation of Christ through the impartation of the Holy Spirit, who connects us to Christ’s resurrection presence and power. When the Three become One in you, transcendence becomes immanence. Then you know the “kingdom come.” Then you know the joy, and bliss, and heaven….
The “good news” is the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But the good news “story” is less a genre than an attitude, less a position than a posture, less a doctrine than a dance, less a statement than a song… As Jesus people, we are singers of the Jesus song. The lyrics of the melody? “I Love to Tell the Story of Jesus and His Love….”
(Leonard Sweet, “The Greatest Story Never Told: Revive Us Again” pgs 92, 93, 97, 100)
My ODC family, I pray today you will enter into the dance with Jesus who is constantly dancing over you. I pray you will enter into the song of the Holy Spirit who is constantly singing over and in you. I pray you will join in the cast of actors on the stage of this world the Father has created and prepared for you. And that you will create, improvise, imagine and present the gospel in a unique way never seen before that only you were designed to compose and perform. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!!!