Jesus calls His Followers to be different because all things are possible. Jesus declares in Mark 9:23 "Everything is possible for one who believes." The "possible" flows from Him, but courageously standing on the foundation of belief is on us. Belief is not a momentary feeling just as love is not. Belief is a long commitment. It's a lifestyle whereby we trust and expect God to do what seems impossible. Belief produces a new level of sacrifice, joy, and trust in us. It brings abundant life.
Abundant life is good but not easy. It is not given to us; it grows within us as we walk out the heart and mission of Jesus. In so doing we discover that abundance is found not in what we get but what we get to participate in, see, and do for others in the power and authority of Jesus. That is the great secret to being different. You and I were meant to be givers not getters.
If following Jesus does not make us significantly different than those who are not than are we really following Jesus? Maybe we are instead following some 21st century, water-downed, safe version of Him? Maybe we are embracing a Gospel that encourages us toward worldly similarity rather than Godly distinctive?
Jesus is inviting you to be different. He is inviting you to a life of prayer and fasting that leads to mission. He is inviting you to witness and participate in the impossible where the sick are healed, the addicted are set free, the hardened heart is made soft, the horrible marriage is made whole, the generational cycle of poverty is ended, the violent one becomes the promoter of peace, and the people of God are the solution not silos of isolation.
Over the next 7 weeks I will be challenging everyone, who will listen, to be different. The context for my teaching will be Mark 9:14-29. It is a blueprint for what is possible in Jesus. He is the embodiment of hope and love and mission.
You can have this world, but as for me, give me Jesus. I want to be different. Do you?
Ex nihilo (out of nothing),