Thursday, June 28, 2012



In most every profession of life, even in most interactions between people, there is usually a hook or an agenda. An agenda is usually when you want something from another. Most everyone has an agenda of some kind. If you are up front about it, then there are no surprises or disappointments. There are two basic problems with agendas. First-Many times agendas are hidden and then have a "gotcha" effect on your audience. Hidden agendas are fundamentally out of bounds, if you are striving to be ethical in your dealings. Second-Many times agendas are assumed or presumed. This keeps the conversation or interaction on more of a surface level. These are agendas that have been proven to be true so many times that you just can't imagine them not being present. It just comes with the territory.
Presumed agendas occur in the religious arena frequently and therefore eat away at the heart of authenticity. For instance, if a person identifies himself as a Christian, this tends to put others on the defensive, believing they are now a target for a series of conversion tactics. Or, when you attend a religious gathering, there is a real presumption that they have as their agenda to either extract some money out of your pocket or convert you into their flavor of faith.

We face the agenda problem in our work nearly every day. You see, because people underwrite our work financially through a non-profit from month to month, we are free to be available to help anyone, any time, without ever having to deal with the financial issues at all. It is the most amazing privilege we've ever known.

We are free to live out the question: "What can we do to help?" and mean it! We approach our work with people in a five step progression: 1. We have no agenda. (We don't want anything from you.) 2. We have no answers. (We don't know anything. By the way, before following Jesus, I thought I knew everything.) 3. Jesus is the only answer we know. (Jesus knows!) 4. Jesus is the only agenda that works. (Jesus works with anyone!) 5. Jesus is the best Good News for any bad news that presents itself!

Now, this brings us to SECRET #72: The follower of Jesus seeks to live with one agenda-Jesus.

Every day you have the option of living according to the man-made principles of the world, limited by the best man can do-your own agenda. Or, you can choose to live by the principles of the Kingdom of heaven, limited by the best God can do-the Jesus agenda. When you choose the Jesus agenda, you will find yourself wanting to walk, talk, think and love as Jesus would do. Living with the Jesus agenda also creates a new heart in you to share the peace, love and joy of Jesus with those who need it. You have an increased awareness factor about your life-to make a difference.

Jesus taught that in order to live on the Jesus agenda, it's important to see things differently. He talks about you being able to actually see the Kingdom of heaven-to be aware of living on a different plane than the rest of the world. He taught this to one of the most religious men of His day and He shared with him what was required to be able to see the Jesus agenda clearly.

Let's listen in on it: Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'" (John 3)

Now, don't be alarmed with the "born again" term. Jesus wasn't using "born again" as it is so frequently used today to denote whether you are in or out. What Jesus meant by this is that this religious man needed to become like a little child again-to unlearn the religious teachings that kept him from seeing and hearing and to learn all over again as a little child-to be born again spiritually. Then Nicodemus could be able to see the Kingdom-the Jesus agenda. SECRET #72: The follower of Jesus seeks to live with one agenda-Jesus.