Quick reflection on “Simply Jesus”

1Simlpy-Jesus3This past weekend I had a chance to live stream into a conference called, “Simply Jesus.” The Simply Jesus conference was profound and life/ministry affirming in so many ways. First of all, one of the aspects of Simply Jesus that really made an impact on me, my wife and another couple who watched the live stream with us over the weekend was the breadth and experiential range of the storytellers. It was one of those God moments where the diversity of God’s presence and the myriad of ways that the Lord acts in, loves and challenges His people were vividly displayed. In other words, there was no “boundary” on the richness of the sharing and the theological scope that was apparent in the room and during the event. The Simply Jesus team is not afraid to have Jesus shared and experienced outside of the conventional “box” that is often driven by denominational categories and theological roots. So often within denominational Christianity we end up focusing so much time and energy in only speaking to our own tribe. I see that in almost every denomination and church movement that is alive today. We end up “speaking to ourselves” and staying comfortable within our own “box,” I believe, because of fear of being exposed to something that might make us think or even question or embrace new ways of experiencing (and articulating) faith. Again, something that really was amazingly transformative about Simply Jesus is that speaker after speaker brought not only a story that affirmed a Jesus focused life but almost every one made me see something about a walk with Jesus that was “new” to my experience. I can’t even begin to summarize how many times I simply just remarked out loud…”woa, that makes me feel uncomfortable.” Spiritual discomfort is a good thing and it should be happening more and not less. It was a prophetic experience capitalizing on bringing discomfort to the comfortable and fresh perspectives to those who often find themselves spiritually and theologically stale. I believe that faith communities will only grow and discover new ways of being faithful to the Missio Dei by hearing voices and new stories from outside the bounds of conventionalism. We need not be afraid of being bold in exposing the movement’s constituents to these voices and experiences. Jesus “grows” as we see Him in other people and ministries outside of our comfort zone. Every time I heard another story this weekend, Jesus got “bigger.” That’s exactly the experience I believe we are seeking if we love and follow Jesus. When we only speak to our tribe from our tribe’s collective, agreed upon experiences our Jesus stays “small.” I know you want a “big” Jesus…and I do too!

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