A PRESCRIPTION – Drink 8 glasses of water today. Your body will thank you. With each glass, recreate Ezra at Jerusalem’s Water Gate reading the Word of God to the Israelites as you focus on the hydropower of Jesus. Imagine your health, spiritual & physical, if you did this for one week let alone a new formed habit.
“The average person uses only 10% of their brain capacity.
Imagine what she could do with 100%.”
Sadly, Lucy took a violent, vigilante path to the apotheosis of humanism – a deified person who controls time and others. She ends omnipresently texting “I Am Everywhere” leaving behind a thumb drive of total knowledge.
Has anyone ever used 100% of their brain or is this Hollywood fantasy?
Consider One. Did Jesus use His whole brain as the apotheosis of humanity?
If the brain of Jesus operated at 100%, what happens to those filled with His Spirit? Might your brain unleash its God given potential as you become more like the 100% human you follow?
Here are five mind blowing (sur)realities* available to followers of Jesus:
The Spirit of Jesus fills the brain of His followers with the wisdom to present each one perfect in Christ.
The mind of Jesus was and is complete. His human brain functioned fully. He is not only the source of creation – the alpha, He is the fulfillment of creation – the omega. As a fully capacitated human, He did not choose vengeance. Jesus chose to serve, to teach, to heal, to love, to sacrifice, to die, to rise revealing the most beautiful, most wise, most normal, 100% human to ever live.
Imagine your brain operating like it was designed.Surrendering to the love of God in Jesus unleashes His mental power to reign over our desires, our bodies, our will. We have the mind of Christ. As apprentices learn to think like the Master Jesus, priceless wisdom fills Heaven and Earth.
What is projecting across your mental big screen? Which one of the five (sur)realities* most blows your mind prompting, “Wow!”? What if you focused a % of your thoughts on this one truth for the next 24 hours?
Jesus calls Kingdom candidates to commit with full capacity to be faithful above all else.
CAUTION: To those who want to enroll in the school of Jesus, the wise Professor uncovers 5 reasons His students drop out:
Familiarity ~ Wealth ~ Ego ~ Tradition ~ People
Are you willing to pray, “Spirit of Jesus, show me what’s really behind my ‘I’ll follow you anywhere!’?
Pick from Jesus’ list your #1 hurdle then rise humbly with Him in action this week.
Familiarity – Speak, give or walk outside your “ordinary” ways as Jesus would if He walked in your shoes.
Wealth – Bless a poor person with a ridiculously generous gift.
Ego – Meet with two trusted confidants to confess where you often make it about you.
Tradition – Trade a religious, family or cultural tradition for a totally different way to worship or serve God.
People – Replace an easy, regular habit with a sacrificial act of obedience seeking God’s glory not trying to appease your spouse, parents, kids, boss.
Many claim the badge of Jesus. Few stay through His hard training. Honestly, do we want Jesus to forge His character in us as much as we think we do? Right now, are you ready to quit false starts and half-hearted faith and really follow Him?
A long time ago, in a land not far away (I live about 20 miles from my first home), I was a 14 year old experimenting with ways to ruin my life, partly because I could and partly because my broken family life left me wanting. My risky business could have ended poorly. Thankfully, I met some people who had a mentor teaching them how to live a good life. I was intrigued. Three years later I went from student to novice teacher. 40 years later I’m still helping others learn how to live a good life.
What is a good life?
Imagine if I ran into you at Starbucks and asked, “How are you today?” and you answered “Good”. Typical. What if I responded, “Why?” Yikes, atypical. Make that a double espresso!
Before your first sip of liquid addiction, I engaged your ontology, your definition of being, your reason to get out of bed. If you hastily concluded, “That’s an easy answer”, I invite you to think about what you think about. Many humans stagger out of bed, consume their coffee and go do what they do believing they have thought long and hard about why they do it. Most have not. And when the day is over, how many people say, “Today was a good day!”? Fewer conclude, “What a great day!” Your checklist for “good” or “great” reveals what matters most to you. It’s the fuel driving you to be good at pursuing the “good life”. What is it? Money? Power? Fame? # of Likes? Sex? Controlling all of the above? Why do bezillions of us lay our head down at night discouraged, depressed, sad, frustrated for not having a good day or worse, resenting others who are living the life we want?
Are you living a good life? If you answer yes, please share with the class. If you answer “Mostly, but I hope to live a better life. I long to deepen the quality and increase the frequency of good in my life”, join me as a fellow traveler on a “good” adventure through the blogging wardrobe.
I’m guessing by the blog name – Jesus College – you know who the professor is in front of the class. Historians, educators, leaders of thought and everyday folks agree overwhelmingly the teacher I met over 40 years ago is history’s most famous, most followed and most influential voice.
The Jesus College blog is my pursuit alongside billions today and billions before us who think a good life was best lived and taught by Jesus 2000 years ago. He remains today as the preferred life guide. For many, He is much more. If a better plan came along, Jesus would be the first one to recommend it. Otherwise, could you trust Him to know what is really good?
FIRST, I won’t be religious. I am not trying to convert you to religion. I’m inviting you to discover with me what a good life looks like from the One who has the goods on “good”.
SECOND, I will be practical. I’m not religious but I try to practice what I’m learning religiously. Folks who are good at what they do practiced what they learned for at least 10,000 hours. I read recently “practice makes habit”. Teaching what you’re learning expedites the process. You can’t wing “good”. Good athletes aren’t good because they make good shots. They trained to be good.
THIRD, If you commit to this course, something miraculous might happen. I’ve witnessed thousands of apprentices of Jesus become good people. I’m guessing if you are like me, you not only want to live a good life, you want to be a good person. Students who go to school in the way of Jesus more readily, easily and naturally live a good life because they are becoming good people.
In short, they are good students of Jesus College with a Professor who not only knows good but is good.
New Semester Start
Are you ready to enroll in Jesus College with me? It’s a good school.
Start by subscribing to my blog. (To say thanks, I’ll send you a free PDF of “Living Worry Free” Jesus College course notes.) You can “attend class” via the weekly blog per your schedule in your preferred attire. Along the way I will introduce you to fellow Jesus College Adjunct Professors who have a good grasp on a good life.
In the Spring of 2015 I was invited to meet with Orange County’s top cop – Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. My new friend Tom Thorkelson, Director of LDS Interfaith Relations, thought I would find the meeting valuable and surprisingly so, I might contribute to it. Reverend Mark Whitlock of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church, a black pastor with extensive experience interfacing with multi-racial communities, hosted the event. Sheriff Hutchens wanted to proactively engage community leaders before our County faced an event of Ferguson or Baltimore proportions. Her instincts could not have been more spot on and timely.
At the end of the introductory meeting, the Sheriff invited the very diverse gathering of clerics – Protestant, Evangelical, Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Pentecostal and more – to advise her on building relationships within our community. The next gathering was hosted by the Sheriff at their nationally acclaimed training academy. The Sheriff’s brainchild with consult from clerics like Pastor Whitlock gave birth to the OC Sheriff’s Interfaith Advisory Council. We’ve been meeting every other month to build respect and rapport with each other while advising how to best enforce law and order in our county.
The brains and the heart behind the badge integrate a savvy and sincere effort by an astute leader to protect and serve our county-wide community in an increasingly divided nation. Whether it is politicians or pundits, law enforcers or those fearful of the enforcers, suburbanites or urban dwellers fretting in the face of civil unrest, “What do we do now?”, I stand behind Orange County’s badge. My strong advice – follow Sheriff Hutchens lead.
What can we citizens do? Here are nine ways I am striving to bolster the badge to make Orange County fruitful of the good life at a time when America begs for civil unity.
Pray for Cops…by name. No longer just offer “God, bless the police.” Bring up the ones you know and seek to know. I now pray for Sheriff Hutchens, Undersheriff Barnes, Assistant Sheriff Solorza, Recruiting Deputies Curtis & Dolan, Santa Ana PD Sergeant Gonzalez, Irvine PD Chief Maggard added to the cops & CHP I know. Individualized prayers personalize people.
Defend Cops – The next time someone says, “Yeah, cops these days, they’re all…”, speak up for the ones you know personally.
Love Cops – Love means to seek the good of the beloved. Practical ways to love our neighbor become evident when our intent is their well being.
Join Cops – I recently brought six potential recruits to meet with our Undersheriff. I have referred three more to the agency. The OCSD is a dynamic group of community servants with races, roles and backgrounds as diverse as the county we call home. If you want good cops, refer good people to cops.
Befriend Cops – Cops have families. Cops like food. Cops go to sporting events, movies, the mall, the beach. Invite them next time you play.
Celebrate Cops – Bring them up front in your next fellowship gathering, office party, kid’s team meeting, PTA. Cheer them on publicly. Say “Thank you!” to their face.
Serve Cops – There are simple ways law enforcement can benefit from us like gift cards to feed themselves, their kids, clean their car, launder their clothes, fill their tank. Carry gift cards from In-N-Out Burger (my OC native addiction) and you’ll see how much fun it is to give them away. Warning: you might have to be stealth or deploy a 3rd party to accomplish the transaction.
Obey Cops – Pull over when you see flashing lights. You might need their quick response soon. Get out of the car when asked. Provide I.D. Take your hands out of your pockets. Use “Officer” or “Deputy”. This does not mean we do not expect and require law enforcement to be respectful, courteous, safe, prudent, controlled and without prejudice. Interestingly, the OCSD trains recruits to respect everyone they encounter while attentive to what they call “Contempt for Cop” so prevalent today.
Feed Cops – After our first OCSD Interfaith Advisory Council afternoon meeting, I said, “We’re all scrambling to grab a sandwich or salad before we get here. Why don’t we make it a working lunch.” Another council member suggested, “What if one of us hosts each meeting and provide the food?” We have since met at the Sikh Center, a Muslim Mosque and we’re headed back to the A.M.E. Church. We have savored some very tasty cultural food. Each gathering starts with the host offering a brief bio on their religious community. My mentor Jesus presented powerful teaching moments over food…and unleashed some of his most harsh critics because of who He ate with. Food feeds friendship.
This most unusual fellowship of brothers & sisters was brought together by the least expected host – the local Sheriff. I recently attended my first Ramadan iftar. And, I was just invited to a NAACP event. Imagine me, a W.A.S.P.ie kid from Orange County, celebrating with neighbors as new friends.
If you look behind the badge in our fruity county, you’ll find one cop and her posse as a model and inspiration leading a nation into healing and unity.
The invitation to my first Muslim Ramadan “iftar” – the meal breaking the day’s fast – was a privilege afforded me as a member of Orange County, CA Sheriff Sandra Hutchens’ Interfaith Advisory Council. I was warmly welcomed as an honored guest to a delicious meal enlivened with engaging conversation. A very informative video explained Ramadan and the iftar meal. I was humbled by the infrequency of the discipline of fasting in my own spiritual journey, let alone an annual, month long, daily dawn to sunset fast.
Here are ten pithy observations from my blindly W.A.S.P. vantage point between a familiar American Christianity and the Muslim faith invoking dynamic conversations worldwide.
ONE – I was greeted by a few Muslim women wearing a “hijab” headdress. Nearly half of Americans including a substantial portion of American Christians support legislation and politicians who empower women’s rights such as the choice to have unprotected sex and then abort an unwanted fetal consequence. Americans embedded in our sexually titillating society deem it incomprehensible for a woman to be compelled to cover her head in public. It seems so religious.
TWO – Admittedly, difficulty pronouncing names encumbers my social interaction. I know, how shallow of me to be concerned over misspeaking a name a few times. Okay, every time. I met a sweet woman Emine named after the mother of their Prophet. Think “Mary”. After concentrated effort, I still garbled her name. When I introduced her to a new Muslim acquaintance, I couldn’t pronounce his name I heard minutes prior. The first gracious woman I met at the door was the event emcee and a board member of the host organization. She said her name twice after I stumbled the first time. Her name was Cassandra. This awkward Anglo’s over-Arabicizing blunder messed up an easy name.
THREE – Confession #2, (#3 if you include my fast-light habits), I don’t have Muslim friends. Not even casual friends like your kid’s team parents you acquaint at the post game pizza party. Our former neighbors across the street were Muslims we didn’t befriend beyond cordial, curbside chats. Yes, she wore a hijab.
FOUR – Ramadan is a Muslim’s discipline of fasting every day of the 9th month of Islam’s calendar. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam along with Testimony, Prayer, Almsgiving and Pilgrimage to Mecca. I believe most American Christians rarely, if ever, fast. It seems so religious. We’re too busy to fast. We use fast to describe food not denounce food. Few practice consistently spiritual disciplines including the “Golden Three” Jesus presumes in the Sermon on the Mount as habitual – “When you give…” (like tithing), “When you pray…When you fast”. Forget the obligation to a once in a lifetime, better yet annually, travel to our Mecca unless Disneyland qualifies.
FIVE – Muhammad was not only a prophet, teacher and leader, he was a warrior. He was more Joshua than Jesus, more President General Eisenhower than Billy Graham. Followers of Jesus join the military but Jesus never led an army into battle. Muhammad did.
SIX – Annihilation of the infidels by ISIS and other radical terrorists is driven by their self proclaimed obedience to Islam. In light of these atrocities, my Muslim fellow Council members, plus every speaker at the Ramadan iftar, stated emphatically the radical jihadists do not reflect their faith. We American Christians have so many flavors of “Christian”, whether the Protestant plethora or Catholic singularity, we easily differentiate from and do not take responsibility for “The Troubles” of the Irish 30 years ago let alone the Crusades a millennium ago. Such distinction is not easily parsed for Muslims.
SEVEN – Separation of church and state in American politics is starkly different from how some see Islam in the purest form through Sharia Law. Christian voters and politicians bring their faith into the public square as values not doctrine. Many consider Islam irrevocably socio-political.
EIGHT – Muslims revere the prophet Jesus while American Christians have little regard for Muhammad. To a follower of Jesus, Jesus is the only way of salvation. Muhammad is Islam’s true and final prophet who was preceded by the prophet Jesus but not subordinate to Jesus. Christlike Muslim doctrines and values exist in Islam but Muslims do not resurrect the prophet Jesus as the incarnate God who is Savior and Lord. Descendants of Father Abraham’s rivaled offspring Isaac through Yeshua (Jesus) and Ishmael through Muhammad still struggle coalescing a respectful disagreement for the greater good of our global community.
NINE – As only a child can accomplish, during our meal, a precious, blonde hair, blue eyed, little girl named Fatima brought much life to our table and the gathering. A child with her kind mother (in a hijab) and friendly, bearded father of Turkish descent celebrating a meal as a family in their faith community is a universal picture of the love, joy and peace we all want in and outside our homes. I heard in my mind, “Unless you change and become like a child, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
TEN – Jesus’ commission to“Love your neighbor” defined my Ramadan iftar experience eloquently expressed in the unplanned, recurring theme of each speaker. This is a kingdom we can all seek first. Our gracious host Cassandra finished our gathering in tears, uttering softly, “There’s too much killing, too much.” She bid us goodnight from the depth of her heart. The unity of humanity transcended difference and buried indifference.