Dying for a Bride

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34 years ago I had a fleeting moment of brilliance divinely timed with a young woman’s fleeting moment of blindness. I asked her to marry me, and amazingly so, she said yes.

I did not marry my wife because she was single even though I married her because she was single. I could not have married her if she was not single but her singleness was not the focus of my proposal. I wanted to spend my life with her as my wife.

About 1953 years prior to our betrothal, another young man after many years of running a small business as a humble tradesman became a rabbi. He then invested 3 years living an unparalleled life of grace and truth only to die a brutal death falsely accused by a corrupt legal system. His case would have been thrown out today. What happened three days later altered history forever.

Jesus died for our sins but He did not die only for our sins. His purpose to live, die and rise again, the occasion we followers celebrate as the holiest day of our year, was not solely redemption no more than marrying my bride was to remove her singleness. With Jesus, atonement was for betrothment. The Cross was the ceremony. The Resurrection is the marriage. Jesus died for His bride to be without spot or wrinkle cleansed by His Word to take her for Himself with splendor.* It’s as if the Father said to His Son, “Go get yourself a bride knowing it will cost you everything.”

Watchman Nee declares, “The outcome of the Cross is shown to be a single person: a bride for the Son. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for it.” **

Creation’s first marriage occurred when Adam went to sleep and woke up with a bride. Creation’s perfect marriage happened after Jesus was “asleep” for three days and awakened to give His new bride what Eve never received. Adam later followed his wife to the Tree of Knowledge resulting in death. Jesus chose a tree of death to lead His wife to life. Adam chose his own soul. Jesus chose His bride’s soul.

Easter’s amazing grace takes away our sin before God as a mandatory and crucial act but not the final outcome. As divinely timed, Jesus engaged the Cross and disengaged the Tomb to share His joy with His bride forever. Amazingly so, His brilliance removed our blindness.

* – Ephesians 5:25    ** – Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life, p. 214

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Another new resource from Jesus College…

Jesus College Artist in Residence Tim Timmons interview with Sweetwater Sound

One After Jesus

Cross Path

Ten years ago on the proverbial freeway to Damascus, Jesus apprehended me. I wasn’t blinded. I gained sight. I began to deconstruct, unshackle and leave behind my will for God’s life. I found a wardrobe into a Kingdom that had been there all along. I started learning how to simply follow Jesus.

I became painfully aware of church-goers convinced a forgiven past and a fortified perpetuity was the full promise. Many who know the gospel belief system hardly resemble the One we claim to follow.

A human catalyst (i.e., conspiratorial gadfly) was used by the Master to unveil His Kingdom among us. His humble spirit, insightful teaching and detoxing exhortations opened a door too narrow for my baggage. This Master’s senior apprentice dethroned my vocation of growing Christian franchises populated by consumers of church goods and services. I am learning “followship”  – a reckless abandonment of the outcomes into Jesus’ hands. This tutor left me undone yet far from finished:

      “Jesus, the actual teacher of his people, has disappeared from the mental horizons of our faith. In that capacity He is not a part of how we “do” our Christianity today. [We need to] face this fact of the absence of Jesus the teacher and to change it.”    Dallas Willard

A cross shaped gauntlet was thrown down prompting…

the following – local Jesus followers striving to live our lives as Jesus would if He were us.

The Carport Church – poor in spirit, homeless neighbors turned friends teaching me how the Kingdom of the Heavens is theirs.

Simply Follow Jesus – inviting others with me after Jesus.

Jesus College – leading students (apprentices) to Master Love by training makers of apprentices and multiplying trainers of apprentice makers.

What results these endeavors produce no longer matter as I am simply one after Jesus.

by Doug Webster

Simply Jesus

Two words launched the public ministry of Jesus (Matthew 4:19). The same two words completed His ministry: “Follow Me.” (John 21:19)

Imagine a group of people walking with Jesus, experiencing His love, joy, peace & power; learning how to see the world as His Father sees the world; learning how to love,  speak, act, heal, and teach like Jesus. Imagine a gathering where Jesus is the most popular person in the group and people truly want to be like Him.

Imagine a community of friends where shame is absent, grace is present, vulnerability is a strength, love is genuine, people are real, messes are expected, forgiveness is in practice and anger no longer rules the day. Imagine the difference in your relationships. Imagine a freedom from guilt, a hope for the future and a purpose for today. 

Envision neighbors turned friends following Jesus who have this imagination. We believe there is more to life in Christ as His “church”, His body than removing the guilt of the sins of our past and securing the future in Heaven while doing the best we can to survive hell on earth trying to be “good Christians”. We think living in the Kingdom changes the very depth of our character from our soul through our mind to focus our heart and guide our emotions, body & relationships. We are confident the Rivers of Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Gate, Life to the Full, and Joy Complete are not metaphors but can be actual experiences. We believe during suffering we can find strength because we don’t walk alone. We know life’s challenges take us through a valley shadowed by death where we can develop perseverance, character & hope if we follow Jesus.

We want to be more than a church building or a church program where we come, listen, learn and leave. We want to move from being church goers to followers of Jesus. We are the sanctuary. Together we are the church. We don’t invite people to church. We invite people with us to be this kind of followers of Jesus.

“At the heart of all great movements is a recovery of a simple Christology.”

Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways

Imagine a group of people you love, trust and respect who are focused on one aim…

To simply follow Jesus and engage others to join us in the journey.