Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'll Just LIKE Jesus on Facebook Instead

"I just wanna be more like Jesus"

I've said it. Prayed it. Sang it. Preached it. Shared it. 

Loudly. Softly. Tearfully. Joyfully. Sacredly. Candidly. 

Then I really started to think about it.

Then I started reading about it.

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. -Matthew 26:3-4

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. -John 6:15

Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” -Mark 3:20-21

And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there,because of their unbelief.-Matthew 13:56-58

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. -Matthew 22:15

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” -Matthew 8:20

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. -Mark 14:44-46

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. -John 19:1-3

So let me get this straight...

People plotted against him.
He had to withdraw to lonely places.
Called crazy by his family.
Held without honor.
People tried to trap him with his words.
Betrayed by a friend.

Upon further review, there is absolutely nothing in my life that resembles this.

Well...some people in my family do think I am crazy...but for different reasons.

So when I say "I want to be like Jesus."  What do I mean?

Holy, pleasing to the Father, focused, relational, sacrificial, a servant, etc.


And I want it WITHOUT any of the bad stuff, ya know, the suffering. Which actually makes us more like him.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. -Philippians 3:8-11

I'd much rather Like Jesus, than BE LIKE JESUS.

If we really pray to "be like him" is this a dangerous prayer?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interesting Stats Time

This is the actual graph for the past month
Here's the latest.

The top 3 most visited posts of the past month are:
Be What You Are
Generate Good

Many hits are just a result of Google image searches.  I don't know if it means the person actually went to the site, or if the picture just pulled up in Google search.  That's how I found the pic, so it's originally linked to something else.  I don't track my own page views, so I'm not adding to the count.

It's interesting to look at each posts individual page views.  Some posts have less than 10, especially lately.  It looks like the average is closer to 20, but there are a few that have huge numbers.
Will's last 2 posts Is Your Child Spiritually Prepared and Chik-fil-heyyyyy were in the 40's, as was Turn the Other Cheek?When Should You Leave Your Church got up to 148 views.  Generate Good reached 230 and Trifecta hit 369!  Of course, those last 2 have been posted the longest and again, I'm assuming a lot of those were from Google image searches since I see that site routinely show up in the Traffic Sources.  

I don't know how to divide actual readers from google image searchers, but it says to me that putting a lot of pictures in the blog can increase viewing, and the ones with the highest numbers were probably the most read also.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bloggers Blog about Blogging

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post entitled A Blog About Blogging.  In that post, I lamented the lack of responses 'we' were getting.  I say we because my intention with this blog has never been to unilaterally dictate my thoughts to an audience, but rather for us all to raise interesting questions/topics and have a discussion about them.  Additionally, I don't 'monetize' this site so it can be plainly and purely about the marketplace of thoughts and ideas.

However, responses rarely happen.

I've noticed the same phenomenon on the blogs of those who have much wider circles of contacts, and even the blogs of some fairly well-known national personalities.  Additionally, I've commented on the blogs of those who seem to have like-minded worldviews and even then often don't get a response back from the blogger!  It seems very odd to me.

So it has made me wonder lately about the feasiblility of having a bloggers blog.

Obviously, those who blog enjoy doing so.  Many may just want to get information out about what their family is up to, or post some pictures.  But others seem to want to have a discussion about various important topics.  They enjoy give and take on debating issues.  

What if there was a blog that was just made up of bloggers?  Combine various like-minded bloggers into one site.  Seek out those who feel similarly get them to trade unilateral control for greater interaction.  I think that's what I've tried to do here by inviting everyone I know that I think may be interested to be an 'author' on this site.

On the Blog About Blogging, Will mentioned a theory he has about lack of commenting that's related to talk shows.  He said a lot of people listen, but very few (percentage-wise) call in.  Maybe that's true.  But I feel certain that there are those out there who, like me - and Steve, and maybe Micah - want to exchange thoughts and ideas in a convenient method like blogging.  Not just getting their own ideas out there, but having interaction with others about the thoughts of the group.

Any comments?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fear and Self-centeredness

Will directed me to a Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) blog where the author was making the case that in order to actually BE great, you have to not CARE about being great.  In other words - get the focus off of yourself and onto whatever it is that you are making your life's work or mission.  

That made me think about my theory of public speaking.

It's pretty widely accepted that public speaking is the average person's greatest fear. Death is reportedly a distant second.  Whether or not this is verifiably true is completely irrelevant to this post, because I want to talk about what's behind this particular fear, and how it may translate to other fears.  

We all have felt this fear in one way or another.  Whether it's before a large audience, small group, or maybe just giving a presentation to 1 or 2 others.  Why is this?  People rarely throw tomatoes anymore.  Maybe your job depends on presenting things effectively before others.  That would be a better, but I think less common, reason for anxiety.  When you have to publicly speak, do you just try to get through it, trying to ignore the anxiety?  What if we acknowledge it?  Will it only grow?  Well, it's a fact anyway, so let's discuss strategies for overcoming it.

I was on my way to a group meeting recently.  I am not the official leader of this group, but I began to think about how I could influence it, help it run better, what I could say, how I would appear, I, me, myself....suddenly I realized my entire focus was on myself, not the group at all.  I felt as though I was being told - get the focus off of you and onto the good of the others.  This was actually a great relief.  When I began to be more intentionally focused on what I could do to further the group, connect with individuals, meet needs, and facilitate interaction - as opposed to how I would appear - I felt released to do what was necessary, rather than what made me look good.

I think this is the same dynamic that operates when publicly speaking.  We are mostly concerned with how we look, sound, how it's being received, what the audience thinks of us, than we are with simply relaying the pertinent information and effectively engaging the audience.  

I think that 1) the degree to which we focus on ourselves, and 2) being comfortable before an audience are inversely proportional.  When self-focus goes up, comfort goes down, and vice-versa.  

Another related topic is irrational fear.  I think this ties in through an anxiety cycle, or self-fulfilling expectations.

These fears don't make logical sense, yet they are real for the person experiencing them.  My wife doesn't like riding on elevators.  It didn't matter how many 'safe' elevator rides she had, or how many times I told her that was irrational - she doesn't like riding on elevators!  I have many people that come into the clinic that are afraid of needles, of getting an IV.  Some have actually passed out!  Is it from pain?  Of course not.  It was an irrational fear that manifested in a psychosomatic way as a result of anxiety.  

What's the connection?

Only the fact that if we have experienced anxiety in a setting before (public speaking), we anticipate experiencing it again the next time it comes up, and then fulfill our expectation of that event, even before it happens.  Actually, much like the IV-phobes, the anticipation can be much worse than the event.

Thus the saying:  There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

How true.

Some may prefer to ignore anxieties and fears due to discomfort, but I find that addressing them head-on gives some sense of power and control to me.  

Another interesting and related topic would be:  what do we do when our emotions are in complete disagreement with logic and reason?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are you INappropriately content?

Where are you in life?  
What road are you on?  
Where are you going?  
Are you really where you want to be?  

Some may read these questions and say, 'Heck no, I'm definitely not happy with where I'm at'.  But my guess is that most of us naturally think, 'Sure, I'm about where I should be.  I'm making the best of my circumstances.  I don't really have many options anyway.'

It's kind of like the person who doesn't really like their job, or their boyfriend/girlfriend, but thinks, 'There's probably nothing out there any better for me anyway.  Besides, why take a chance on losing what I've got just to chase after a hope or an ideal.'  They settle.  

But isn't being discontent wrong biblically?  Depends.  Paul tells us in Phil. 4 that he's learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Was he settling?  No, that man was on an epic, world-changing adventure.  He was accepting of the crazy hardships and struggles that the adventure brought his way.  It was worth it.  Hebrews 13 tells us to be content, but in what context?  Regarding the love of money.   If our ladder is on the wall of material success, watch out!  Some people, craving money, have wandered from true faith and impaled themselves (1 Tim. 6).

It's so easy in America to settle into a decent job, have all the necessities and a few luxuries, and think 'this is it, I'm secure, life is smooth'.  Cautious and/or lazy and/or apathetic.  
No adventure, no risk, no daring greatly.

"Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. The contented soul is the stagnant soul."  The Size of the Soul, A.W. Tozer