Welcome to my blog! Each week I post new thoughts on worshiping God through a transformed life in Jesus Christ. I also invite you to check out my brand new book “The Isaiah Encounter: Living an Everyday Life of Worship” on Amazon and at selected bookstores (Published by Morgan James Publishing)
Last week my wife Terese and I had the privilege of serving in ministry at three funerals and a wedding. We logged close to 1,000 miles on our car in just a few days, going from Minneapolis to North Central Minnesota, then to Southern Iowa, and back home again. In case you are wondering: Yes, We heard from several people that our week reminded them of the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts movie, “Three Weddings and a Funeral.”
During each of these services, I couldn’t help thinking about the significance of milestones in our life. From the joy of the wedding ceremony to the deep emotions at each funeral, we witnessed laughter and tears, joy and sadness, and a deep sense of introspection and reflection. These milestones remind us that life quickly passes as time flies by us.
At our friend Eleanor’s funeral, I was asked to deliver the message. At one point I asked people to consider the most important questions of life.
Why are we here? What is our purpose? How do we find meaning in our life?
As valuable as those questions are, I brought up what I believe is the most important question of life, one that ultimately answers all the others. It’s the question Jesus asked a few of his closest friends and followers, and it’s the same one He asks us today.
Jesus asked them,
“Who do you say that I am? “ (Mark 8:29)
I believe it is the most important question that each of us must answer. In Jesus’ time, some people thought he was a wise teacher, many religious leaders considered him a threat, while others thought he was a prophet.
Jesus asked his friends an intensely personal question, “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered” “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God” His answer came not from his thoughts, but from God-given insight. Peter brought his life questions to the Living God, who provided Him with the answer: Jesus.
That same question is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. Who do YOU say Jesus Christ is? We can even go to church and still run away from this question. It’s kind of like that old saying: Just because you’re in a garage doesn’t mean you’re a car.
Who does Jesus say that he is? He answered this question straight on:
“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)
He is the only way we can enjoy life with God, not only in eternity but starting right now. Our friend Eleanor knew the Truth of Jesus Christ, a truth that set her free. She understood that knowing God isn’t about being religious; it’s about being in a life-altering relationship with Jesus Christ. Religion commands we DO more, Do this, and don’t do that. However, Jesus adds two simple letters to the word DO:
On the cross, the perfect, sinless Jesus took all our faults, sins, shortcomings, crimes, lusts, selfishness, in short everything that is sick and ugly in us, and died in our place. He took our penalty and gave us His righteousness so we can experience an eternal, perfect, redeemed, and loving relationship with God.
No more DO. It is DONE!
When we ask Jesus to change us from the inside out, to forgive us and give us a new start, we can experience God in an amazing way and rest in the fact that It IS DONE! We are free; we are God’s own, and we have a wonderful life and eternity in store for us because of Jesus.
This is a truth that not only applied to Eleanor but is also for us. We are all thirsty people, and I’m not just talking about a physical thirst, but more importantly a soul-thirst. We all crave something—more accurately Someone— to satisfy the empty hollow pit that inside each of us. We’ve all tried to fill that thirst with things both and bad, but in the end, we end up thirsty again.
Over a thousand years ago, a man named Augustine put it this way:
“Our souls are restless O God until we rest in You”
Just like a deer pants hard until it gets water from a lake or stream, all of us have an inner soul thirst for God. Especially at milestone moments like a wedding or a funeral, we are made even more aware of that inner emptiness.
What are you going to do about that thirst?
God made us all free agents. God loves you and me of us so much, regardless of our past or present, or any spiritual, emotional, or physical baggage we have. God desperately wants to move you from where you are now to an amazing new start and future with Him. This is not about becoming more religious. It’s about living in a new reality and relationship with God.
God will never, ever force Himself on any of us. He leaves it up to you and me.
As time flies by and we see milestones come and go, what will we do about Jesus’ question? Keep on running away from it? Go on living like the emptiness inside us is not there, try to cover it up and anesthetize it with other stuff that will ultimately leave us empty again? Go through life without doing any hard work to find out if maybe, just maybe, this God and Jesus thing is true?
God’s words beckon you and me today: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). There is more to this life than just living and dying. Our lives are a mere grain of sand on the shoreline of eternity, yet we spend much of our time and energy focusing on the temporary stuff of life. Jesus asks each of us to answer the most important question of life, one I will leave with you today:
“Who do you say I am?”
God bless you!