Trumpvangelicals

Pope Francis pontificated, “One is not a Christian if he speaks about walls not bridges.” Donald Trump testifies, “I’m an Evangelical, a Presbyterian.” The central question for any Presidential candidate who claims to be a Christian is this: Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Trump and Bible

The question unveils two more: First, are “Christian” and “disciple” synonymous? Second, is Jesus more than Savior but equally mentor, teacher and #1 campaign advisor? Consider the questions in reverse order.

Jesus declared, “Teach them to do all that I commanded.” He repeatedly correlates love for Him with obedience to Him. Is Mr. Trump a good disciple or student of his teacher?

Jesus the Master                           Trump the Apprentice

“Turn the other cheek.”             “Punch him in the face.”

“Love your enemy.”                     “Bomb the hell out of them.”

“No anger & contempt.”             “Crazy Bernie…Crooked Hillary”

“Forgive me as I forgive.”           “I never asked for forgiveness.”

“Can’t serve God & $.”                 “I’m really greedy.”

“I am meek & humble.”               “I built a great company.”

Question #2 – Is public profession in Jesus enough or does an “Evangelical Christian” by definition prioritize and practice the teachings of Jesus as a disciple? Is Jesus’ exhortation to the religious, “Get away from me you evil doers” relevant to Christians who believe in but don’t behave like Jesus? Will a believer receive the Master’s welcome into the Kingdom of Heaven without living out His words?

Professed faith does not produce practiced faith. “Un-Christlike” Christians are rampant across American, consumer Evangelicalism. Mean Christians populate pews. Righteous indignation is praised if the anger furthers a partisan agenda. A Trumpvangelical is one who endorses the Teacher but ignores the teaching, a guest in His house on Sunday who disregards His directives Monday through Saturday. NY Times Douthat calls them the Christian Penumbra who are “Christian-ish“.

When the life of Jesus is not disciplined into the fabric of our character, our words and actions tear back the curtain. Sincere yet fundamentally unchanged believers do not resemble the One we claim to follow. Daily habits give the impression Trumpvangelicals dozed off during the Sermon on the Mount.

Are the Pope & I too judgmental? Is my log eye blinding me from removing Mr. Trump’s speck? I am not indicting Mr. Trump, I am inviting him and pews full of Trumpvangelicals to follow Jesus with me and learn His cheek-turning counsel is more than advice for the antiquities.

Who is missing the mark? Mr. Trump and I. We preachers often present a gospel as divorced from discipleship as Donald is from Ivana and Marla. We seek bigger churches not bigger Christians. We offer discipleship as an elective not core requirement. Thankfully, an amazing grace-full invitation to become apprentices of Jesus stands with no fear of being fired. Attendees can become followers when someone walks with them. In addition to a promised, eternal Miralago after life, our next POTUS, if he or she wants to, can learn from the One who shoulders the government how to serve like Jesus if He called the White House home.

by Doug Webster

JesusCollege.com

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New Jesus College resource: Artist in Residence Tim Timmons‘ blog, “10,000 minutes”

Aloha State of Mind

Hawaii Palms

I have extended family visiting Hawaii. Bummer, I wasn’t invited. I wish I was there. I like to say, “In my mind, I’m in Hawaii.” I can hear the water. I can feel the balmy breezes. You know, Maui on the Mind.

I remember “talking story” with another friend Jason who reminded me living in the Kingdom of God is like an “Aloha state of mind”. Things are different in the spirit of Aloha. People treat each other more kindly. The pace is slower. The end result is less intense, less obsessed. The process is the prize. People are a gift. Creation is cherished.

There’s a difference between being on vacation in the state of Hawaii and being in an Aloha state of mind. The first is fleeting, expensive, often unobtainable. The latter is available, affordable and adaptable to whatever the circumstances.

The Kingdom of God is now available. “The Kingdom of God is at hand.”

The Kingdom of God is affordable. “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”

The Kingdom of God is adaptable. “May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done right here in my world as it is in Heaven.”

Pack your beach bag. Slip on the slippas. Hang up the hurried and hang loose, haole. Let’s travel to His Kingdom now. Seek His kingdom first and everything else is no problem, bruddah. We talk story, yah. Sit. Stay. Heal. Mahalo Jesus and Aloha!

by Doug Webster

Jesus College

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Another resource thru Jesus College – My friend Jason impacts another Jesus follower along the same lines: here’s Jesus College Adjunct Professor Tim Timmons, Sr.’s take on the “Aloha” topic.

Potato Salad Memoirs

imgres-1I stood at the deli counter next to a solidly built guy sporting a tank top and board shorts likely beach bound on a beautiful Spring afternoon. I overheard him say, “I make the best potato salad from a recipe I got from my mom” as the attendant handed him two large containers of potato salad.

I couldn’t help chiming in. (Well, I could have but my wife knew I wouldn’t.) “With a recipe like that, you’ll be on everyone’s funeral invite list.” He smiled and humored my next glib offer. “My concern is that while people are eating finger sandwiches and potato salad and talking about me at my funeral reception, your potato salad will get better ratings than I will.”

He responded, “I just hope they say I was a guy who cared about people and especially those who didn’t have much. My wife and I have been talking about that lately. What we might do to reach out to those who don’t have as much as we do.”

After the dry salami and swiss cheese landed in my cart, I extended an invitation. “If you ever want to act on what you and your wife are talking about, I spend most of my Sunday mornings hanging out with homeless friends at a motel carport in what the Santa Ana PD tell me is the Felony District. We feed, befriend, clothe and encourage homeless neighbors. You’re welcome to join us for what is always a very real and fresh get together.”

After engaging a candid chat about “hard times” including his first wife dying, he reached out his hand, introduced himself as Lance and gave me a hand shake I’ll remember until the next Sabbath.

“I really would like for my wife and I to come some time. Not this Sunday but maybe next. We’d love to do something of significance in our community.” He repeated, “We’ve been talking a lot about that lately.”

I responded, “You mean a way to love your neighbor?” Lance smiled and said, “Yeah, that’s it.” He shook my hand again. (Now two Sabbaths of hand cramps. I pity the potatoes.)

The “love God & your neighbor” gospel of Jesus is really very simple. Simply follow Jesus and invite others to join us living out His Sermon on the Mount. Trust Jesus will reveal to those hungry enough to eat and thirsty enough to drink He’s more than a role model. I am convinced plenty of our neighbors want to be good neighbors if we stop being “good” cops or critics and give them opportunities to love. The potato salad stories will be served in due time.

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by Doug Webster

Jesus Collegehelping students love their neighbor

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A new resource thru Jesus College – Interview with Dallas Willard & Jesus College Adjunct Professor – Keith Giles  – Part 1Part 2Part 3

Dry Farming

Branch & Grapes 2The mission of Jesus College to “Lead Apprentices to Master Love” is guided by the words of Jesus, especially John 15. In our steps learning to be His followers, we have come across an agricultural concept that has illuminated our pathway. It is called “Dry Farming”. The parallels are staggering. Consider the concept of Dry Farming, it’s back story, the quality yield and time demands associated with Dry Farming.

~ Dry Farming defined – A soil management technique, the art of working the soil, for drought-resistant crops to grow deeper to find natural water sources and eliminate a dependence on irrigation.

~ The Backstory – “Three decades ago there was very little irrigation going on in Napa Valley. There really wasn’t enough water to sprinkle irrigate. Drip irrigation changed the picture, and not necessarily for the better. Grape growing started to become like growing hydroponic tomatoes– bigger yields of crops with less flavor, because growers were putting more fertilizer on, increasing canopy size, delaying maturity, making the vines more tasty for leaf hoppers insects. Suddenly fruit was not mature because of the unbalanced growing conditions. The fruit needed more hang time because of the green tannins from over-stimulated canopies. We don’t have those problemsin our dry-farmed vineyards, because our vines are in balance with the water supply. It changes the whole paradigm of winemaking.”    John Williams, Winemaker

~ Quality – “Dry-farmed land vines are very self-regulating, and the fruit is often superior from these vineyards because natural water availability frequently causes a good balance. By paying close attention and pruning right, the vine will set the right amount of fruit. Some of the best grapes that I purchase come from dry-land vineyards.”      John Munch, Le Cuvier Winery

“Dry-farmed potato patches are remarkably tastier, thicker skinned and hardier against diseases and pests than irrigated potatoes.”     Nathan Boone, Oh! Tommy Boy’s

~ Time – “When I first started working with the vineyard, the soil was quite depleted. It took awhile before the soil-building program starting having noticeable effects. I call this putting life back into the soil. Wine quality improved as the soil improved.”      Steve Tylicki, Steele Wines

~ What we are learning as students of Jesus College – Dry Farming can produce a higher quality yield but it takes more time and effort to harvest a mature fruit that can survive changing seasons and varied water supplies. A new wine harvest of Jesus followers nourished by the Living Water will be less dependent upon the irrigation from pastors and organized church programs as we learn to follow Jesus in our everyday lives. Each week is 10,080 minutes long. A fruitful focus is His church scattered for 10,000 minutes weekly not a church gathered for 80 minutes on the weekend. We’re learning to be less about the “Wow” of our time together and more about the “Who” of Jesus day to day.

by Doug Webster
Jesus College

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Another new resource from Jesus College – Adjunct Professor Tim Timmons, Sr. offers his Podcast on The Sermon on the Mount – “Salt of the Earth”.

Dying for a Bride

Doug & Robin 7.31.82

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

Jesus College Logo Final JPEGby Doug Webster

JesusCollege.com

Jesus College Facebook

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
JesusCollege.com

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.

JesusCollege.com