Thursday, January 19, 2012



The fifth top takeaway out of the book, JESUS PLUS NOTHING has to do with Jesus' revolutionary strategy for changing the world. There are three essentials for changing the world.

FIRST ESSENTIAL-The pre-eminence of Jesus-making the main thing the main thing! Life isn't about religion or a religious experience, but a relationship with Jesus. Life doesn't revolve around a set of propositions or a performance system, but a person. His name is Jesus.

Jesus came to restore what man has lost. The loss is like a hole in the soul, filled with a gnawing ache of loneliness. So, at the core of most everything man tries to do is this inner drive to fill the hole in the soul. Every religion, philosophy, and political ideology is an attempt to fill that hole. We were created to be dependent upon God. And if you choose not to be dependent upon God, you will inevitably find yourself dependent upon something or someone else. This sets in motion a perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction. That's the bad news! Jesus, simply Jesus, is the only one who can fill that hole in man's soul. Now, that's the Good News! Jesus is the Good News-the Gospel.

Jesus came to give you what you can't get on your own. What is it that Jesus can give you that you can't get on your own? This may sound a bit strange, but Jesus came as a revolutionary. The revolution is all about restoration and transformation.

Transformation is what is needed at the core level-an inner change of heart. Since I've been following Jesus I have found four experiences that have become amazingly real to me. On the negative side of the emotional ledger we humans are continually struggling with fear, anger, guilt and shame.

Jesus offers a positive counter experience to each of these toxic emotions and makes these offers for anyone who is willing to follow after Him.
* Jesus offers peace that counteracts the fear!
* Jesus offers love that counteracts the anger!
* Jesus offers joy that counteracts the guilt!
* Jesus offers grace that counteracts the shame!

What is really needed is a genuine change of heart-to see your life, predicaments, and people differently. Several years ago, we set out to study only the five Gospels for three years-Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. We did this in order to get to know this Jesus. This focus proved to be life changing! It was through this Jesus journey that we discovered what only Jesus could do for us that we cannot do for ourselves. I have no capability to change a person's heart. I can't give people peace. I can't give people joy. I can't give them love. I can't, but I've come to realize that Jesus can!

Again, I am not speaking of the religious Jesus. I am referring to the most prominent and powerful person ever! And, in the most pragmatic way, this Jesus seems to be able to affect these internal changes in people.
There's something about Jesus without religious baggage-his words, his actions, his loving ways, his bent toward the disenfranchised and especially His name-that brings healing and wholeness to the heart and mind. Jesus is truly the most effective person you can embrace for yourself.

SECOND ESSENTIAL-The presence of the Kingdom-embracing the principles of Jesus as a lifestyle! Most of Jesus' teachings are about the Kingdom, not the Church. Jesus only mentions the church on two occasions. Jesus as the King came to introduce a lifestyle on a different level-the Kingdom level. The Kingdom lifestyle is simply living out the principles of the King's teachings. The Kingdom lifestyle is learning to walk, talk, think and love like Jesus.

Jesus' constant message was the presence of the Kingdom right here right now. He said the Kingdom is here, it's near and it's among you all as you gather in the name of Jesus, the King.

THIRD ESSENTIAL-The power of the few. The first two essentials are most effectively activated in the power of the few. This may be the most counterintuitive dimension within the Jesus movement. "The power of the few" contains the same core idea as the seed. Just as the seed is small and seemingly insignificant, proving to become large, irreversible in its growth and powerful enough to accomplish inner transformation, so it is with the power of the few.

Jesus modeled the power of the few by inviting only three to come and be with Him. He spoke to thousands of people from time to time, but Jesus spent most of His time with a few-from three to twelve.

Jesus was the model and the disciples of Jesus learned to follow the model that was set. They always traveled and ministered in teams of two or more. They practiced the power of the few very effectively. They even authored several of the books of the New Testament, often in tandem with others. For instance, the first letter to the Corinthians (I Corinthians) is attributed to Paul. But Paul didn't write the letter to the community of believers in Corinth, alone. Right up front within the letter it says Paul and Sosthenes were the authors. This may be the same Sosthenes who was the leader of the synagogue in Corinth. Paul had help writing the second letter to the Corinthians, too. Paul and Timothy wrote that letter. Timothy also co-authored Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon with him. The letter to the gathering of Jesus' followers in Galatia is said to be written by Paul and "all the brothers and sisters with me." Then, in the book of I John, John says that "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." Note that this letter was composed by a group of people that John called "we."

Read the book of I Thessalonians and you will discover that even though Paul is again listed as the author, yet this isn't exactly true. According to the first verse there were three authors-Paul, Silvanus (or Silas) and Timothy. Now get this! These three men following Jesus and walking together in Jesus' name made such an impression with the Thessalonians that their message spread or echoed forth throughout Asia Minor. It's the power of the few!

My entire life has been preparing to speak to the masses, but I walked alone. Today, I walk with a few and am stronger than ever. Jesus is the pre-eminent one in my life. I'm doing the toughest thing I've ever tried to do as I try my best to follow Jesus' Kingdom teachings. And, I am convinced that there is no chance of keeping Jesus pre-eminent in my life and following His Kingdom principles daily WITHOUT walking in the power of a few others who are walking with me. These three essentials are clearly the only possible way to unleash the power of Jesus in changing the world. And by the way, when you unleash the power of Jesus on the world, you allow Him to first change you.