Archives For commitment and surrender

Forget about… ME?

Jason Petermann  —  September 17, 2009 — 1 Comment

mirrorIn my reading this morning, I came upon Luke 9:23… again. It is not that I have never seen this verse or heard a message preached on it. I have read it and hear many sermons on it before. But, it slapped me up side the head again this morning. Here is the verse:

Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me.

I hate this part: “you must forget about yourself” Not that I really hate the words that Jesus spoke… but I hate that they tell me to to forget about the person I think about the most. ME! I am selfish. I want what I want, when I want it. If you are honest, you are the same. At the core, we all think about ourselves first because we are selfish beings. You do not think so? Think about this:

  1. When you are driving, why do you pull out in front of someone when you know you should really wait?
  2. When you see someone else with something new, why do we think that we deserve it too?
  3. When you call the pastor up and complain about something, what is the complaint based on? (Usually, our personal preferences!)

See, we all have a built in bias that puts ourselves first. Everything from where we go to eat or deciding to serve somewhere in church is all based on ME and my selfishness. The thing is, Jesus says if we want to follow Him, we have to forget about ourselves. That is hard. It is not natural in our sin nature. But it what we are suppose to do as Christ followers.

So, forget about yourself today. In some small way, deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow hard after Christ!

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As we continue on from yesterday’s post, we will look at a couple more saying of immature Christians…

3. “There is no where for me to get involved” – This is usually a statement that is made by those people who are looking for a high profile “position”     rather than a ministry in a church.  This is many times also said by those who do not get their way.  It is an excuse to leave.  We want people to serve where they are gifted, but many times people want to serve where there is high praise or instant recognition.  It takes all kids of people to do ministry.  Some people are out-in-front type people, some are behind the scenes.  What is the bottom line?  The bottom line is that both are just as important.  I have never in 20 years of ministry been in a position where I had a waiting line to get involved in ministry.  There has always been something to do.  I have had people either quit a team (or the church) because I would not put them out in front as much as what they wanted
4. “We can’t find any friends” or “This church is full of clicks” – Now, I cannot that there are no clicks in a church.  Certainly there can be.  no matter how hard a church tries at not having them, they are bound to show up in some way.  But most of the time I have had people say this, it is because they have not gotten involved in anything. (See #3 above).  I mean, how in the heck do you expect to get to know people when you come to church late, leave during the invitation and never get involved in a ministry.  Most clicks are made up of people that are faithful members that are serving together.  If you are not part of the “click,” what does that tell you?  My advice?  Get off your butt and do something for God and for someone else. (This goes for #3 as well!)  Once you do that, it will be hard for you to say that you are not fitting in or meeting people.

5. “_________________ is why we are leaving the church.” (You fill in the blank).  My mentor in the ministry told me very early on that “the reason people say they are leaving the church is NEVER the real reason why they are leaving the church. Most of the time it is something they are struggling with, but it is easier to blame it on the church or the pastors of the church.”  Quite honestly, I have never really been affected too much by people leaving the church.  It is not that I like it when people leave.  I leave that in God’s hands. I think he purges and moves people for reasons that we many times may not know.  Sometimes it is for their benefit, sometimes it is for the benefit of the church.  Either way, if I am more focused on keeping people than reaching people, I am in trouble already.

I know this is not an exhaustive list… what are some other statements you have heard immature Christians make?

kids1Most people that read this blog (all three of you) know that I have 5 kids.  It is exciting and rewarding, as well as tiring and challenging at times.  One of the great things about kids, is that they say some pretty crazy things at times.  They will use words that do not make sense in the way they are using them, or they will make up a word to describe something.  “Out of the mouths of babes” refers to a truth that a kid will say, and they usually have no idea what they are saying!

This same thing happens in our spiritual lives as well.  I have run across many spiritually immature people that will say things that make me want to smack them in the name of Jesus!  I know, that is not a very “spiritual” response either.  I do not smack them, I just want to!  (That is great progress for me!)  The statements that are made are an indicator o just how mature they are as Christ followers.  Now, before you think I am picking on new Christians that just do not know any better, I just want to let you know that I am not talking about new Christians.  They usually are not the ones that make these statements.  It is usually people that have been “Christians” for a long time.  You see, many years as a Christ follower do not mean maturity. Ok, let me get to a couple of the statements:

  1. “I am not being fed.” – News flash: It is your job to feed yourself!  Come on, you have been a Christ follower for 20 years and you do not know how to pick up the fork (Bible) and eat?  All five of my kids needed help to learn how to eat.  They had the desire to eat, but they did not have the ability to feed themselves at first.  by the time they reached their first birthday, my kids knew how to pick up the food placed in front of them and do something with it!  And now they get up and pretty much find their own food and fill themselves up.  Many times immature Christians say this, but what they really mean is that the message is not entertaining enough, it does not “tickle” their ears. Other times, there is a spiritual sickness that zaps your appetite.  If you are not being fed, is it because of lack of desire?  Is it because of sickness?  I have never met a mature Christian that has a problem with being fed.  They know how to pick up the Word and be fed.  That is our responsibility.
  2. “What does this church have for me.” – As I read the Scriptures, I never once see where the church is to worry about having things for people.  I do see that the church is all about putting people together that have gifts to use for the good of the body.  In other words, we ought to turn the question around and ask people, “What do you have for our church.”  After all, the gifts that are given to each believer are there to edify the church.  Having great ministries  is not a bad thing, but it is to be a by-product of people serving and using their gifts for the good of the church.

We will continue this tomorrow!

Living In Springfield, Mo has its advantages and disadvantages. The area is an awesome place to raise a family, but the church culture here is certainly different than what I experienced in Chicago. One thing that has irritated me since I moved here was the amount of “transient Christianity” that abounds. It is nothing for someone to hop from one church to the next for no reason at all, or for the silliest reasons. I loved what Tim Stevens put in his blog today. Check it out…

Dearest Career Church Hopper:

I met you again on Wednesday, the same person smiling at me through a different face, telling me that you’ve been shopping for churches for months now, and that darn it, you “just can’t find one (you) like.” The music’s too rocky at this one, you said; the preacher too funny at that one. The latest one might make the cut, though: you’d had the pastor and his wife over the previous evening for a little “dinner audition” — your words, not mine — and he said things that made you feel good and comfortable, things that you already agree with, so you’re thinking about sticking around. At the very least, you could get your teaching from this church and your worship from that one.

I’m sure we’ll run into each other again, but before we do, I’d like to suggest some things you could perhaps think about before you move on to the next church, as I’m sure you will, whether this weekend or next year:

  • Christ didn’t bleed for the Church so you could treat your search for one like an episode of Survivor, deciding who to vote off the island this week.
  • The Church was not commissioned by Christ to meet your needs. You ARE the Church, and you’ve been commissioned to meet the needs of the world.
  • Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25). Quit treating his bride like a Jesus buffet where you can pick and choose what you like, hedging your bets against the pain and sacrifice of making a commitment.
  • Per scripture’s instructions to use your gifts in service to the Body of Christ — and its lack of instruction to search for a church that scratches you where you itch — you might want to consider what the Church you’re visiting needs from you, rather than the other way around.
  • If you only want to hear things you already know and agree with, save your Sundays and talk to yourself in the bathroom mirror.

Sincerely,
The Preacher’s Wife

You can read more at Tim’s blog.