#Jesus is Not Just a Social Media Status

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Most of us use social media to keep in touch with friends, family members, and passing acquaintances; some of us might even have hundreds of ‘friends’ we don’t even really know. Thinking about your friends’ list on something like Facebook, how many of those people do you honestly, really know? When you scroll through your news feed or status updates, do you get to peer into people’s souls, or are we just looking through a small painted window pane that blocks the view of the true brokenness within?

Just as we do with social media, so often we do with God. We post a status update that we went and saw a really good movie, had a great workout at the gym, or just ate a whole box of girl scout cookies (#noshame). And we do the same with Jesus. We ‘check in’ to church on Sunday, we might have a temporary high, and we share a cool ‘status update’. Then Monday comes, and we forget all about the last post and share an update with how we woke up late and on the way in a jerk in a Mercedes cut us off and made us hit a red light, which ultimately led us to have to park and walk an extra five minutes in to the office. And so, with a passing whim, Jesus comes up here and there, and then he’s gone again when ‘real life’ gets in the way.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

We need to move Jesus from a status update or online acquaintance to a real life, side-by-side, close and personal kind of relationship – the kind that isn’t blind to the true brokenness that fills our lives. The way that we move Jesus from something distant and unreal to something close and meaningful is by worshipping him daily through prayer, scripture, and personal time. 

We devote so much of our time to worldly things – things that ultimately will fail us. Why do we worship the things that will fail us, yet ignore the one holding out his hand who’s already given everything, promising us eternal hope, love, and peace?

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. - Isaiah 54:10

Stop being passive. Don’t let the world win, let love win! Unplug from passing on fake news and start living a real-life side by side with the one who loves you more than you know, and who sings of a worth that outshines the brilliance of the sun. The creator of the universe made you perfectly in his eyes, and he wants to have a personal relationship with you. All you have to do is let him…

Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship.

religion is a cheap substitute

Religion is a counterfeit presence. It is God - controlled. Religion is a cheap substitute for the real presence of God in relationship. It somehow morphs into substituting appearances, control, judgement and rules for the graceful presence of an invisible God!

But religion feels "good." Religion "justifies us." Religion gives me a platform to climb up on and judge you!

The truth is, religion is dead, religion is from hell, but it doesn't always start that way. I don't think the Pharisees woke up and said "I'm going to be fake today." I don't think many people grow up wanting to be legalistic, but the trouble with legalism is that it has no grace and the trouble with liberalism is that it has no faith. The kingdom of God is where Jesus was and the scripture tells us He came full of grace and truth. It's not one or the other, it's both!

In religion, we're just concerned about how we look. We are so concerned with appearances but God wants us to think of Kingdom - first and last. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Not to worry about religion and appearances and being in control!

Religion will always let you be in control of yourself and others but control is from hell - that's why demons posses and the Spirit of God inspires!

The kingdom of God is the actual presence revealed through a childlike faith in Jesus and when the kingdom of God comes in our lives, it comes by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:9)

We trust the grace of God and we just love our dad back because we are loved in relationship as His kids!

You and I are the body of Christ that God has sent into the world to reveal His kingdom! In everything, all of our God thoughts should be about Jesus and God's kingdom -first and last! When you and I learn to think kingdom, it changes everything! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Jesus Change takes courage!

Jesus change

When Jesus walks into your life, your life is going to get totally and radically flipped upside down. If you haven't had the experience yet of Jesus showing up and having your life completely and totally flipped upside down, then you might want to ask yourself the question "Do I really know Jesus?" 

If you haven't been radically transformed in a way where you understand that what He is trying to do is make you different, then maybe there is not a real relationship with Jesus!

Because that's just what Jesus does when He shows up - Jesus changes everything!

If you've experienced change after following Jesus, there is a good chance that you're following Him. If your life is no different after following Jesus, then there is a good chance you are not really following Him! 

Jesus changes everything, and can I just tell you what 'Jesus change' takes? Jesus change takes courage! Change takes walking into situations you don't want to be in, change causes you to have to be different than you are today! Welcome to Jesus change. He's gonna take you to some scary places and He's gonna ask you to do some scary things!  If change is going to take place in your life, it's gonna take some courage!

Jesus change takes courage; Jesus change means that you're gonna have to give up everything if you want to know Him! There is nothing in your life that is off limits for Jesus to touch and do something with! 

When Jesus change comes, it will alienate you from some people, it will take some people away from you quite frankly that you may love. If you're dating someone and they don't love Jesus the most and you're trying to love Jesus the most and you're trying to convince them over and over to love Jesus. By the way, you can't convince them to love Jesus, only the Spirit can do that. In fact, often times you will just enable them to keep from loving Jesus!

So, can I just go ahead and tell you that unhealthy + unhealthy does not equal healthy. Unhealthy + healthy does not equal healthy. Only healthy + healthy coming together will be healthy! When it's all said and done, Jesus is going to alienate you from some people when He changes your life. 

Here's the deal folks, what are we gonna do with Jesus? Maybe it's a real life change, deciding to accept Him into your heart and start a real relationship with Him? Maybe you've been a follower for a while but you've just got some things that need to change. It could be in your finances, it could be something in your family or in your relationships or your job?

There are a lot of times I don't like what Jesus says to me, but when you're confronted with the real Jesus, you have to either say "Yes, Jesus, change whatever it is you want to change about me" or you have to look at Him and say "go away." There is no in-between! Jesus change takes courage! -Pastor John B. Smith 

All the believers were one in heart and mind.

Acts 4:32

I don't know if some of you know, but we've got a pretty serious and solid purpose here at The Church at Severn Run! It is to reach as many people as possible, by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son, in the power of the Spirit! We've heard our pastor say it over and over again, and when I read our mission statement, I got news for you, it looks a whole lot like that group back in Acts chapter 4 doesn't it? 

It says this in Acts 4:32, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had." 

There was no relational poverty. There were no lonely people that were involved in this particular group. They were all united in heart and mind and they felt that what they owned, was not their own! 

So they shared everything that they had and folks, this was not some political thing, or some government saying 'we are going to take everything that you've got and redistribute it equally among everybody else,' that's not what was happening. These people were 'crazy'--they were literally giving up everything that they had and then redistributing it so that nobody else had need inside of their community - oh my goodness!

One of the most remarkable statements of this chapter is in Acts 4:34, "There were no needy people among them." None! This does not mean that they were all driving around in Mercedes Benz. It means that there were no needs, nobody went without a meal in their community. Nobody was trying to figure out how to make sure the electric got paid in their community--their needs were being met! This was an entire community of 5,000 worshiping together and none of them had a need! That's called crazy-town!

They realized that God had not put them on the planet to acquire 'more stuff' or to build more wealth, they knew that life was about relationship with God and that it was about relationship with others; nothing more, nothing less! The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of Jesus and God's great blessing was upon them all. 

They recognized that what Jesus had really been there to do was to change the hearts and minds of every single man, woman, boy and girl. And here's what they did, they got on the road with Jesus, because Jesus' passion was that every man, woman, boy and girl from the time that He was crucified and left planet earth, would never again experience loneliness and the destructive element that this world has to offer!

These were not people that went into a classroom to try and learn as much as they possibly could. These were people that from day one, got out on the road, they followed after Jesus, they ran into as many unbelievers as they possibly could and they met their needs and they shared the Jesus story! 

We can finish what they started, don't you believe that church? They are no different than you and I, they were united in heart and mind and they had a solid purpose - like our own!  -Pastor John B. Smith

What do You Want? (The Road Ahead)

what do you want

What do you want? - You see, this is the arc of your life; this is the whole story of your life. What do you really want in life? Do you want recognition? Do you want to be significant? Do you want to be powerful? Do you want to be successful? Do you want to be loved? Do you want to not be lonely anymore? Do you want the pain to stop? Do you want to have an amazing eternal relationship with God? Because whatever you want is what you're going to go after! And you may cloak your life in religion and God stuff, but the reality is if you want God, you're gonna go after Him! If you want the world, you're gonna go after it! 

The truth is, you and I are all going to do what we want to do, and if we never take the time to sit down and honestly evaluate what we want, we will never be in an honest enough place to move towards God. -Dr. Drew Shofner


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