Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lead. Serve. Love.

As the editting process unfolds, you end up having to cut a few words here and there in everything you write. This is the early draft Introduction I wrote for my first Christian book, Lead Serve Love (available May, 2011). In the final draft I had to cut it a good bit but didn't want to lose the original altogether, so elected to post it here for your pleasure:

A few years ago it seemed everywhere I looked people were wearing bracelets bearing the letters WWJD. Of course, we know this is the acronym for the question, What would Jesus do? I observed then that surprisingly few owners of those bracelets could answer that very question when confronted with any number and manner of dicey dilemmas or moral conflicts, let alone everyday awkward encounters with other people. Further, reluctantly, I have to admit that then I too had only vague ideas about what Jesus would really do in a given situation. I was not yet a student of the Bible, especially the New Testament, in those days.

Since then I have taken up the Bible not only as an incredibly interesting read but also as a guide for living. I spent a full year in extensive daily Bible reading and doing my best to live by the example of Jesus Christ himself and as taught by his apostles. One day, I came across this verse: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6). Those eleven words have since become a driving force in my life; they helped me to answer the question: What would Jesus do? Reading through the New Testament a second time, now intentionally seeking to learn how to walk as Jesus did, my life began to change.

I was finally discovering how to walk the Christian talk, so to speak. And with every step, I grew closer to God, and the closer I grew to him, the more I wanted to share what I was learning. This book was written for those who also want to walk in the Spirit, to do what Jesus would do, and who need a simple, loving nudge to take those first life-changing steps of Gospel living.

This is a rather simple book really, one meant to be understood quickly, thumbed through randomly if you wish, yet resonate deeply. To that end I’ve written one hundred brief, three word sentences (a friend of mine calls it the threeology theology), each followed by an expository paragraph and a few Bible verse references which encourage the recommended behaviors and traits posited in the three word sentences. You may begin and end your study of Jesus with this book alone, or, and I hope you will, you may go to your Bible and read the verses I’ve cited in their full context. The latter process will take more time but leave you more blessed with greater knowledge of the teachings of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Either way, it is my hope that with the help of this book you will discover walking with Jesus means putting into action what Jesus has commissioned us to do, and that is to make the Gospel known to all people by demonstrating the love of God through our words, deeds and motives. Jesus charges us to take up his mission in our generation to bring glory to God so that his kingdom may continue to come through the work of his people - including you.

We cannot adequately demonstrate the love of Christ in the privacy of our homes, among only our closest friends or within the walls of our church. Instead, just as Jesus walked from city to city imparting mercy and grace to all he came in contact with, we are to be similarly intentional about imparting mercy and grace to others. We should do this as every opportunity arises, even if in unlikely places. As in when standing next to someone on a street corner, while in line in a grocery store, in the break room at work, during rush hour traffic jams, and even more far reaching places and occasions.

Being a disciple, an ambassador to Christ and a willing minister to others, is a dynamic life process. Yet for some, putting his or her theology into action may at first be an awkward, even uncomfortable, process.

Many of us go through life looking away from unfamiliar people and those whom are different from us, missing an opportunity to speak to or literally touch someone who may be in great need or agonizing pain. But imagine a world where you demonstrate one loving, selfless deed every day, and your deed inspires good deeds in others, which in turn inspires even more good deeds in still others. Your one act of Christian loving-kindness may ripple across the workplace, your neighborhood, even your entire community, resulting in immeasurable Kingdom impact, all for the glory of God! Oh, for such a world!

Turn the page and begin your walk with Jesus today. And along the way, may you lead others to Christ through your faithful, righteous example, may you serve all with a humble, true and compassionate heart, and may God’s love shine through in everything you do.

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