[anzac] "What *WOULD* Jesus Do?"

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 14:24:01 -0500
"What *WOULD* Jesus Do?"
-by Ron Wood.

If you wear the bracelet, you get off easy. If you walk the talk,
you'll stir up a hornet's nest.

Years ago as a young believer, naive and full of zeal, I came to think
that being like Jesus meant we should battle in prayer to heal,
deliver, and encourage hurting people. That's what my ministry
beginning was like. Somehow I've gotten away from it and I confess
that I miss it greatly.

I assumed then that everyone who claimed to be a Christian, and
certainly every pastor, would be delighted to see more people
becoming more like Jesus and doing more of his works. Before I
became a paid professional pastor, that's what I used to do. Then
I found out that doing the works of Jesus had a lower priority in the
religious world than having big crowds, fancy buildings, and keeping
everybody under control of the system of our unspoken expectations.

It's not the written expectations that hold us back, nobody would
dare put on paper what is wordlessly communicated. For example:
Don't get too passionate for Christ or too burdened for souls, it may
become emotionalism. Don't hold small prayer meetings in your
home, it may get out of order if an elder isn't there. Don't prophesy
out of turn, it may be imperfect or you might miss the mark. Don't
pray for the sick, only the elders are authorized to do that. Don't
attend other meetings across town, they may have error. Don't
plant another church or preach elsewhere unless we've sent you,
or else you will be in rebellion.

How can obeying Jesus be rebellion?  To this day, the seat of
Moses has not lacked a Pharisee to sit in it and issue new decrees.

There's something about the clerical collar that chokes the spiritual
life out of good men who used to be spiritual sponges. All of a
sudden they know everything. The spirit of adventure, of learning, of
lowering themselves to admit their need, departs. They quit humbly
spreading the kingdom to small circles of intimate acquaintances
and start managing the crowds, building the facilities, raising the
money, holding advertising campaigns to reach the world. I'm
saddened by this outcome of our success.

We've become 'professional clergy' instead of men who simply
follow and imitate Jesus. Our prayers get pious; our demeanor gets
cynical; our preaching gets hard; our family life suffers. People
around us feel used instead of treasured. How do we get out of this
trap? We turn and we bow down at the feet of Jesus. He hasn't
changed; we have.

The road back to reality is the road of repentance. It is the way of
honesty and humility that first gave us our taste of salvation.

One of Jesus' ways was secret prayer. He was always moving from
one prayer meeting to another. He talked with God like He was his
Father. Why, he even prayed with his eyes open! In between times
of prayer, he was fellowshipping with real people. And along the
way, he stopped to heal people, to forgive sin, and to break
oppression off of them. Sounds like fun to me. Does it to you?

This company of un-churched, un-bathed non-religious pioneers ate
together, drank together, sat around the fire talking, rode through
storms on rough seas, and then worked miracles outside the
sanctuary under the noses of the Pharisees. "Hypocrites,
white-washed tombs, murderers of the prophets," Jesus named
them and shamed them.

Those same ordinary men watched Jesus demonstrate God's
kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit. He demonstrated it
by driving out demons, forgiving sins, curing diseases, and
encouraging beaten-down people. Why, he even prophesied to
blatant sinners! That, my friends, is the kingdom of God in a
nutshell. We need it today.

No formality, no religious piety, no rigid rules, no legalistic "thou
shalt nots." Just men and women being progressively liberated
and becoming whole, and in the process, doing real damage to
Satan's realm as many victims were set free. I like the thought of
it, don't you?

This band of brothers also saw Jesus get roaring mad at religious
leaders who burdened people with rules but never lifted their loads.

Later, after training by "doing" (not lectures), Jesus sent his disciples
out to do what he had been doing. "You go do it, too," he was
saying. He didn't keep the authority to himself. He delegated to
them the power to drive out devils and heal diseases. He shared
his anointing with them. He made every person who believed in
him an agent of his kingdom. He didn't create a new elite
priesthood who alone had the franchise; instead, he distributed
gifts freely to his whole body.

Recently I had a conversation with an experienced supervisor at
one of the world's largest and fastest-growing companies. He told
me that his purpose was to help the people under his care develop,
to use all of their gifts and talents, and to be promoted beyond
where he was. He said if they succeeded, then he was a success.

My heart cried silently inside. This secular manager knew more
about God's ways than most preachers. I said in my heart, "If only
every pastor viewed every person on every pew as a soldier in the
battle and would not rest until everyone under his (or her) influence
was equipped to wage war and to win in the name of our King!".....

© 2005 By Ron Wood.