Sunday, July 15, 2012



If Jesus presented himself as enough, and those he touched believed he was enough, why do we miss this point, which is the very essence of the Good News of Jesus? Jesus plus nothing else added on is all we need, yet we seem to miss it.
We are able to develop entire belief systems around Jesus, enlist the masses to join our organizations around Jesus, judge those who do not quite see eye-to-eye with us about Jesus, and propagate these belief systems, organizations and dogma as the only way to life, yet all without getting to know this Jesus personally.

Today there is a Jesus movement that is popping up all over in the many cultures of the world. This Jesus movement is just that-a movement that is all about Jesus who is not packaged within any institutional, religious structure. The Jesus movement is attracted to and revolves around simply Jesus without being wrapped up in religious traditions or trappings.

Participants in the Jesus movement have been confused and even turned off by these wrappings. In order to fuel the Jesus movement in such a way, so as to keep the primary focus on Jesus without religious baggage, we have been creating materials, embracing the theme of JESUS PLUS NOTHING. It's a movement that is moving to a different beat than most religious groups; it's a Jesus beat!

Today, we are introducing many to Jesus, yet these new "followers of Jesus" quickly become distracted away from the simplicity and purity of walking with Jesus and walking with others. They can easily become distracted by the religious terminology that just doesn't matter in comparison to knowing and following Jesus. Instead of embracing Jesus and growing in Him, they tend to grow into better Bapterians, Presbytists and Episcolics. Simply Jesus or Jesus plus nothing is what these new followers of Jesus need and are looking for.

A lady said to me last week that when she attends one of our studies about Jesus plus nothing, she feels like she has just come back home. Jesus resonates with her; religiosity does not. It distracts her and confuses her and leaves her with her feet firmly planted in mid-air spiritually.

This is exactly what happened to me several years ago. Whenever I spent time with others who were highly focused on Jesus, I felt so at home with this Jesus who was being discussed. It was the most attractive and satisfying experience ever. They spoke about Jesus as if they had just had breakfast with him that morning.

Why had I been missing out on knowing this Jesus for so many years? There are three subtle ways in which this occurs, in my opinion.

First, there is a tendency to add something unnecessary to Jesus. This "something" takes the form of man-made commandments and long-standing traditions; in other words, Jesus with additives.

Second, there is a tendency to hold something sacred that has become a substitute for Jesus. These substitutes can be your sacred scriptures, your revered saints, your religious services, your particular organization or denomination, your cultural identification or religious icons.

Third, there is a tendency to leave Jesus behind. Whether it is in newsletters, religious services, sermons, articles, prayers, or worship experiences. Jesus is embarrassingly left behind! Even where two are three are gathered together in his name, he is so often left out of our conversations.

These tendencies take away from the message of Jesus. They diminish Jesus by adding something unnecessary to him, by replacing him with something, and by leaving him and his message behind. These tendencies amount to a deadly triad that keeps us from seeing Jesus clearly.

If we can't see him, how will we ever be able to know him? And if we can't know him, how will we ever be able to know if this Jesus plus nothing is enough?
This was Paul's primary concern, when he said: "I am afraid lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, that your minds might be led astray from the purity and simplicity of devotion to Jesus." When we move away from the purity and simplicity of Jesus, the natural results are the many Jesus additives. Whatever you are reading, studying and discussing, be sure to make it all about Jesus.