The world needs to hear about JESUS®. They do. And you need to tell them all about him.
Here are just a few things about JESUS® that you should know.
JESUS® wants to live in your heart. At some point in the 1960s or 70s, JESUS® started living inside people’s hearts. Actually, JESUS® wants all of you–your heart, your mind, your body, your pocketbook, and in some cases, JESUS® wants to live on the empty wall space inside your college dorm room.
Seriously, JESUS® does enjoy living on the wall space of dorm rooms.
Back in my day, JESUS® talked me into hanging a poster on the wall space behind my bed. He LOVED seeing it there. And it made me feel pretty good having it there. JESUS® liked the poster because it was very colorful and it showcased many different fonts. But mostly, he liked it because the colors and fonts were used to list all of his various names and titles found in the Bible. And JESUS® totally blessed the creator of that poster with a HUGE house and a 1986 Delorean in perfect condition! Yeah, JESUS® rocks.
PS: If you’re out of college and would like to dedicate your wall space to JESUS®, most of his sayings are licensed through Home Interior. Don’t thank me; praise JESUS®.
Gosh, these days, JESUS® wants all of your personal ad space… from your dorm room wall to your car’s dented bumper to that prime little spot on your desk called “the paper weight.” JESUS® wants it.
And now, if you live in Europe, JESUS® wants to live in your iPhone, iPad, or your iPod touch. JESUS® hasn’t made this “What Would Jesus Say” app available in the United States yet, but he will if a whole bunch of Europeans ask it into their iTunes library. JESUS® is smart, and he knows that, if the Europeans like it–Americans will like it! Well, except for soccer, Robbie Williams, and sodas without ice.
But Europe LOVES JESUS®.
And for a limited time, JESUS® has donated his eyeballs to create this little plastic reminder that he’s always watching out for you. Put it in your car if you want JESUS® to watch you drive. Put it in your kitchen if you want JESUS® to watch you eat. Put in your bedroom if you want JESUS® to watch you sleep and… well, you get the picture. JESUS® loves watching you.
Of course, remember, that wherever you put this little plastic toy, in addition to JESUS® watching out for you, he will also be able to see you drink beer, engage in near-sexual intercourse, and enjoying Dances With the Stars. So be careful. Place JESUS®’s eyeballs carefully, so he’ll only see what you want him to see.
JESUS® also LOVES Mark Driscoll. You’re surprised, right? Well, JESUS® is full of mercy. JESUS® loves the hell (a little inside joke to Mark from JESUS®) out of Mark Driscoll. Why? Because Mark knows EVERYTHING there is to know about JESUS®. And he doesn’t mind telling everybody those things, so they will also know that Mark knows everything there is to know about JESUS®.
JESUS® 100% endorses Mark’s new book Doctrine. Because some of you need to know–as the subtitle suggests–what Christians SHOULD believe.
And JESUS® loves how edgy Mark is, too. (He’s got tattoos.)
And JESUS® believes in the Christian America! JESUS® knows that, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, AMERICA NEEDS JESUS®!
So JESUS® thinks you should purchase a reprinting of this painting. It’s currently on clearance wherever fine non-historically correct Christian art is sold for insanely high prices.
This is JESUS® kneeling on a cross for you. And all around JESUS® are your sins. Except that tank in the background! It’s helping JESUS® win.
Are you a Star Wars fan? Well, guess what; JESUS® loves you too. And JESUS® proves that love in this following picture…
FYI: JESUS® does not endorse the following painting unless you happen to like it. Then JESUS® will happily endorse it for you on the side.
Until next time, remember JESUS® loves you. JESUS® wants your butt in church on Sunday mornings. And JESUS® thinks you should sing hymns unless you hate hymns. Then, JESUS® would love to hear you sing Chris Tomlin songs. JESUS® also digs The Fray. Because JESUS® is cool like 2006.
More about JESUS® to come soon. Oh, and I almost forgot…
JESUS® wants you to know that he’s busy working out a plan to take care of this for you…
(And you can be sure that the plan won’t include anything natural or expect you to live under conditions that would keep you from driving your SUVs. How would people see all of the JESUS® fishes without SUVs?)
Go in PEACE®
Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet just released their new book Jesus Manifesto. In celebration of that release, I invited Frank to write a guest post for Jesus Needs New PR. Learn more about the book at TheJesusManifesto.com. (ALSO: Below the post, read how you can enter to win a copy of Jesus Manifesto!)
I’m honored to have Frank blogging at JNNPR. Hope you enjoy…
“A Vanishing God”
by Frank Viola
Recall the way Jesus came into the earth.
Consider the situation. For centuries, Israel had waited for a political Messiah. They expected Him to break the yoke of Roman bondage and liberate God’s people from Roman oppression.
But how did the Messiah make His entrance into the world? He came in a way that made it easy for His own people to reject Him. He entered the planet as a frail baby, born in a feeding room for animals. The King of the universe was born as a weak human being in the ill-starred town of Bethlehem, in the midst of the stain and stench of animal manure. And His parents? A poor Jewish couple.
There He was. The promised Messiah who was expected to overthrow the mighty Roman Empire and set Israel free from Gentile oppression. A needy Nazarene born in a manger.
Ironically, none of the Bible scholars who had the Old Testament memorized and knew the prophecies about the Messiah’s coming were present at Christ’s birth. The only people who were present were those who were led to Bethlehem by revelation. All of them happened to be shepherds and pagan astrologers, not Bible scholars.
When Jesus grew up, He ate and drank in their presence and taught in their streets (Luke 13:26). Yet they didn’t recognize who He was. He was unassumingly modest, of humble origin. A mere craftsman; the son of a craftman.
He grew up in the despised city of Nazareth, fraternizing with the despised and oppressed. But more startling, He befriended sinners (Luke 7:34). As such, the people of God didn’t recognize Him. Why? Because He came in a way that made it easy for them to reject Him.
And what about the disciples? Read the story again. Jesus continued to break out of their expectations. He couldn’t be pinned down, figured out, or boxed in. The Twelve were constantly confounded by Him. His teachings were offensive. His actions scandalous. His reactions baffling.
But the greatest offense of all was the cross. It offended everyone—both Jew and Gentile. The only crown the promised Messiah-King would accept was a crown of thorns. Look at Him again. A suffering Messiah, a defeated King. It’s easy to reject Him.
One of the Lord’s most faithful disciples teaches us this principle well. Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the resurrected Christ. Do you remember what she did as soon as she recognized Him? She grabbed Him, and she wouldn’t stop clinging to Him.
Jesus responded, “Stop clinging to me” (see John 20:17, Greek text). Why did Jesus tell Mary to stop clinging to Him? Because He had somewhere to go. He was on the move. Jesus was poised to go to Galilee to see the other disciples and then to ascend to His Father.
Note the principle: He was moving forward, but she was clinging to Him.
Jesus was in effect saying to her: “Mary, stop holding on to me. There’s a new way to know me that’s different from what you’ve experienced thus far. Let me go, for I must move on.”
Do you remember the disciples who walked on the road to Emmaus? Their hopes were shattered by the Lord’s horrible death. Suddenly, the resurrected Christ began walking beside them, yet their eyes were blinded from recognizing Him.
However, when He engaged in the very simple gesture of breaking bread (something He had done frequently before them), their eyes were opened.
He then quickly disappeared from their sight.
These stories hold a critical insight. You cannot cling to the Christ that you know today. He will vanish from your midst. Jesus Christ is an elusive Lover. Seeking Him is a progressive engagement that never ends. He doesn’t dance to our music. He doesn’t sing to our tune.
Perhaps He will in the beginning when He woos us to Himself; but that season will eventually end. And just when you think you’ve laid hold of Him, He will slip out of your grasp. He will appear to you as a stranger. But upon second glance, we’ll soon discover that He’s no stranger at all. Emmaus will be repeated.
We all wish to cling to the Lord that we know now. We all wish to hold on to the Christ that has been revealed to us today. But mark my words: He will come to us in a way that we do not expect—through people who we’re prone to ignore and inclined to write off.
Perhaps they don’t talk our religious language. Perhaps they aren’t theologically sophisticated. Perhaps they don’t use our vocabulary. Perhaps they don’t share our jargon nor parrot our religious idioms.
And so we cling fast to the Lord that we recognize—receiving only those who talk our language, use our jargon, and employ our catchphrases—and all along we end up turning the Lord Jesus Christ away.
I have watched this happen repeatedly. Both among Christians who gather in traditional churches as well as those who gather outside of them.
What, then, does our Lord do when we fail to receive Him when He comes to us in an unexpected way? He moves on. And the revelation that we have of Him ceases to grow.
I’ve seen churches and movements stop dead in the water, living off a revelation of Christ that was delivered to them twenty or thirty years ago. And they never moved beyond it.
In fact, this is the very root of denominationalism and Christian movements. It works like this: A group of Christians see an important aspect of Christ. That insight usually comes from a servant of the Lord whom God has raised up to restore a certain truth to His church. The group is captured by it. Even changed by it. And they stand on the earth to promote and express it.
But then, subtly, they build a circle around it. And then a castle and a wall. They then enshrine it. And when someone else comes in contact with them with another aspect of Christ to share, they blow it off with monumental disinterest.
Why? Because it’s different from the original sighting of the Lord that they received.
In effect, the group refuses to have complete fellowship with other Christians who are not like them.
Please don’t misunderstand. Fellowship is not having a meal with somebody. Fellowship is mutual participation and exchange. It’s a two-way street. If you and I have fellowship, that means that I receive what the Lord has given you and you receive what the Lord has given me. And we are both enriched. That’s fellowship.
(Obviously, I’m not suggesting that we embrace heretical ideas about Jesus Christ. I’m rather speaking about genuine Christian fellowship that is based on the New Testament revelation of Christ and echoed in the ancient creeds.)
Allow me to confess: If I only fellowshipped with those whose beliefs matched mine, then, right now, I couldn’t have fellowship with myself fifteen years ago! Furthermore, twenty years ago I would have had to excommunicate my current self from the kingdom of God!
Jesus Christ is richer, larger, and more glorious than any of us could ever imagine. And He comes to us in ways that make it tempting to reject Him.
When Peter, James, and John saw the transfigured Lord on the holy mountain, Peter wanted to build a tabernacle for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and remain on the mountain to enjoy the encounter. But God would not allow it (Matt. 17:1–13).
There is something in our fallen nature that, like Peter, wishes to build a monument around a spiritual encounter with God and remain there. But the Lord will not have it. He will always break free from our frail attempts to pin Him down, box Him up, and hold Him in place. And He does so by coming to us in new and unexpected ways.
Frank Viola is the co-author of the newly released Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ with Leonard Sweet (Thomas Nelson). You can learn more about the book at www.theJesusManifesto.com
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