Summary: Life Verse: Scriptures that guide your life
life verse| Give Me Jesus
A few years back I was volunteering at a Christian music festival in New Hampshire called Soulfest. I had been a couple of times before but that had been when I was in high school. Now I was living in an apartment, working a part time job and going to school full time. So, needless to say, things had changed.
I was on Facebook and I stumbled across a post from Show Hope, a non-profit organization that helps orphans find forever families. The organization also assists with financial costs in the adoption process and helps to provide medical care for orphans. I had been supporting them for a while and I noticed that they were looking for help (volunteers) to help out as they would be at Soulfest.
I quickly e-mailed them and got my name on the list. I went ahead and took a few days off from work and I was able to help them out. To be honest, it was a win-win situation because I was not only able to volunteer with an organization that I truly believe in but the stand was next to the main stage so I was able to listen to some really good music while I worked. I enjoyed being able to listen to Gateway Worship, Thousand Foot Krutch and Tenth Avenue North, just to name a few.
One band I had not previous heard before took the stage and began playing. I heard them in the background and I thought it was decent. The band turned out to be, Ascend the Hill. I remember one song they began to play was a modernized version of “Take the World & Give me Jesus.” That song captured my attention.
I stood next to the tent where I was serving as a volunteer and looking around at people walking by, girls were holding their boyfriends hands, people were listening to music on their iPod (what a strange thing to do at a concert/festival right?), and checking their cell phones. I then glanced up to watch the band play this song. I began to think about the lyrics, take the world and give me Jesus.
I found myself realizing just how much attention I don’t give over to God. I realized that I am often guilty of loving the world more than loving Jesus. I get excited when I get paid from work; I get excited when a good album or a good movie comes out. I get excited when good things happen to me. I am happy when I step on the weight scale and I discover I have lost weight. But…do I rejoice when I wake up, knowing God is in my life? Do I rejoice knowing I am forgiven? Do I thirst for God?
Let’s be honest: Paul was a remarkable person in history. He had everything going for him as well. He had a dual citizenship (Israelite and Roman), he was from the tribe of Benjamin (the one tribe that did not bow down to the golden calf at Mount Sinai) which allowed him into the priesthood, he had a solid occupation (tent-maker) and many biblical scholars believe he was heading towards the position of being High Priest. What Paul was learning was this…
[When Jesus comes into your life, he often messes up your plans.]
Paul was transformed by the gospel of grace. His life was based on pleasing God through obedience alone and he replaced his efforts with faith. Paul was transformed by the gospel of peace. He sought to destroy the church but he changed and was seeking to plant churches and builds them up. Paul was transformed by the gospel of love. He was once an enemy of God but had been reconciled and was a friend of God.
The transformation which came through the saving power of Jesus came at a great cost though. While he was still able to maintain his occupation and have an income, he lost his seat in the religious community. The idea of becoming high priest was gone forever. He lost a lot of friends and possibly even family. He would no longer be considered a true Israelite. He would find himself on multiple occasions fighting against his own people and he would be beaten and imprisoned. Some biblical historians have Paul being executed for his faith while others maintain that he died while in Rome under house arrest but again, he died for serving Jesus. What Paul was learning was this…
[When life gives you lemons, live for Jesus.]
-The Person of Jesus-
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared to the infinite knowledge of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”