Are you a disciple of Jesus?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and, in your name, perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23

Do you realize what Jesus is saying – there are many people who are emotional about their faith, who are active in ministry, and who in fact perform miracles, but their hearts have never been transformed by the gospel of grace. They are believers in Jesus who are not disciples of Jesus.

Is there a difference between believers and disciples? Believers and disciples appear to do many of the same activities, but their motives are miles apart. Many believers try to impress God and those around them by being involved in church and service, but disciples do the same things to know God better and reflect His goodness and greatness to everyone. Believers serve God if it’s convenient, while disciples serve God based on conviction.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus compared the way to heaven as a path and suggested that many have intentionally widened that path by pushing aside the boundaries God placed before us in scripture. Believers focus on the passages that promise what God will do for them, but disciples take the whole counsel of God seriously. Disciples follow God whether they agree with God’s word or not, whether they understand or not, whether obeying is comfortable or not. Believers elevate their opinions, feelings, and thoughts above the Word of God while disciples elevate the Word of God above their opinions, feelings, and thoughts. Jesus says that because so many have created a wider path, they will miss the gate that leads to eternal life with Him. Many will miss eternity with Him because they think they are playing the game properly. But it is not a game, or a performance God seeks but a relationship with Him. The creator of the universe wants us to spend eternity with Him, He has given us the Holy Spirit, prayer and scripture to guide us to Him.

Have you ever considered whether you are just a part-time follower of Christ? Do you only trust God when everything is going well? Disciples follow God regardless of the circumstance. Part-time followers stick around if God seems to be blessing them, and life is easy, but disciples keep pursuing God and trusting in Him even when their world is falling apart. God asks us to believe in Him, repent and turn away from our desire to be a follower under our terms. He asks us to acknowledge His grace and forgiveness, repent and turn from activities we know are offensive to Him, to those around us, and even to ourselves. He wants us to turn from being a weekend follower to a 24/7 disciple.

Instead of starting your day with a coffee, breakfast, a quick check of the news, or whatever you habitually do, start your day by saying: “You are my God, and I want to be on the path that leads to you. Help me honour and love you this day and every day”. It’s a start on the discipleship path.

Which path are you on?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

Christian blogs, magazines and even friends often offer advice on ways to improve ourselves so we can become “better” Christians. They list activities or actions that, if followed, could lead us closer to God. Although the advice comes from the heart and is meant for good, it often leaves out a key component of the change; the needed influence of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, many tend to analyze these suggestions, even if they are biblically sound, to decide whether to accept them or not. The Holy Spirit stimulates us to think of Jesus not ourselves.

We don’t become Christians unless God chooses us, and we don’t change unless the Holy Spirit transforms us. It is not about will power, but God’s power. Although God chooses whose eyes and hearts He will open, He does not take control over followers unless they allow it. Scripture tells us that we have choices including whether we want to follow Jesus or not. Being a Christ-follower requires a mindset that points to God. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (see Romans 12:2). We have to intentionally choose to become followers so that we can honour and glorify God. We have to purposefully seek to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength and we can’t do that without the Holy Spirit’s help.

There is an expression that states, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. God does not want us to imitate Jesus or flatter Him as flattery can also suggest an insincere act or word used to impress the recipient.

God wants our action to be sincere and pure.
God wants us to be as Jesus is

When the Holy Spirit gets involved, our actions and behaviours should become Christ-like. They then should become immediate responses to the Holy Sprit’s activity in our lives, not responses motivated by our personal preferences of even a desire to please God or get something from Him. We do what is right to honour God.

During a gathering, referred to as “The Sermon on The Mount”, Jesus presented guidance on becoming His disciple. He spoke about disciple attributes but did not suggest these were steps or checkpoints we must achieve to climb a ladder to get to heaven. He proposes these as behavioural boundaries which guides us on a path that leads to God. A path that can become wide as we judge whether these words are relevant, whether we understand them, or even whether we agree with them. The wider we make the path the greater chance we have in missing the gate to life.

Our desire to be Christ-like should be for no reason
other than to seek and worship God. 

We must look to scripture to find God’s boundary markers pointing to Him. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit as a guide and we must respond to His prompting. Prayer, reading scripture and responding to the Holy Spirit keeps us on the path to God.

Blessings for a True Disciple

We often hear people speak of the cost of being a disciple of Christ however, when we follow Jesus, numerous blessings help us live a life focused on God.

Below is a shortlist of scripture that speaks of the abundant life that God offers. These are given to those who learn to love God and obey His commandments above all else:

  1. PURPOSE – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

  2. DIRECTION – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

  3. STRENGTH – I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).

  4. COMPETENCE – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

  5. PEACE – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).

  6. SATISFACTION – Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

  7. POWER – Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and will do even greater things than these (John 14:12).

  8. RELATIONSHIP – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).

  9. ETERNAL LIFE – And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).

  10. LEGACY – Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Not retired yet!

“Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40: 30-31)

Since moving to the city of Miramichi New Brunswick, I’ve noticed there are a lot of silver-haired people in the community. At one point, I thought Miramichi was the staging area for the snowbirds preparing to go south for the winter. Regardless of the hair colour and slower lines in the grocery store, my wife and I love it here and are blessed. This past Wednesday, I spent some time sitting on a bench in the Newcastle Town Square; this seemed to be a popular hangout for the elderly. As I sat enjoying the rest, many antique cars drove around the square, with the occupants honking their horns or shouting hellos to those sitting in the park. As I looked over the crowded benches, felt the warm sun and cool breeze, and listened to the oldie’s music playing in the background, I imagined I was in a Norman Rockwell painting. Although I was just people watching, I could not help but overhear a group of seniors nearby chatting and telling stories. During the twenty or so minutes I was there, I must have heard the statement “I remember when...” at least thirty times. I don’t mean to sound judgemental, but these retirees seemed content just to sit and reminisce about their past glories and seemed uninterested in what they still might accomplish.

When Caleb was forty years old, Moses sent him and eleven others into the promised land to recce the area. The scouts came back singing the praises of the fruitful earth. However, all of them, but Caleb and Hoshea (Joshua), shared a message implying they could not defeat its occupants. They stood at the edge of the land promised them by God, and only Caleb dared to say, “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb and Joshua, who were most likely older than the other scouts, trusted God’s promises and wanted the people to take what God had given them. However, the people were afraid and did not trust God and chose not to enter, and as a result, they wandered in the desert for forty years.

When it came time to settle the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua remained from the original Israelites freed from Egypt. They had trusted God and were blessed. Flash forward forty-five years after the recce when Joshua and Caleb are senior citizens discussing the new land they have conquered. Caleb, who is eighty-five, said to Joshua, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12). Caleb, who is well beyond what we consider to be retirement age in our country, had not retired from God’s work. He knew that because God was with Him, He could still serve God.

Although I know very little about the people sitting in the Newcastle Square benches, their conversations told me they seemed to have no vision for their future beyond their seats. Caleb spent his life trusting God and was full of energy to do His work, regardless of his age. We do retire from our jobs, but there is no retirement from Christian service to God. We are employees of heaven 24/7, and we must not act as if our best years are behind us. We must consider that the most significant work we can do for God is yet to come. We may not have the physical stamina of Caleb to fight wars for our countries, or build wells in foreign lands, or be part of a community-building project, but we can still serve God. While we still have breath in our lungs, and a pulse in our chest, God wants to use us to glorify Him and share the Gospel to the lost. Talk with God on how you can be used and spread your wing and be ready to soar.

Honour your parents

“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” Exodus 20:12

As a child, I remember that I did not always agree with my parents, especially when it came to things I wanted, and they said I could not have. My response was often to go to my room to sulk and cry. I know my thoughts about their response was often not pleasant especially when a group of us would get together in our little boy pity parties. We would complain about how we hated our parents. I do want to point out that we had discussed the theological implication of such thoughts as one of our group reminded us that we were to honour our parents. However, we had our own little interpreter who assured us that honour and love were two different things and we did not have to love them, so it was OK to think these thoughts. When I think of those times, I recall how Jesus told us that we must be like little children to enter His kingdom, and yet He must have known that even children possessed evil thoughts.

As children we played a dangerous game of interpreting God’s Word to meet our needs; a game that has been perfected by much of the world. Whether it was purposeful or through ignorance, we ignored all the places in the Word where God revealed the honourable responsibility that He gave to parents. He has entrusted them with the role of leading their children to His kingdom. Because God loves the world, He shared His Word with us and revealed some of His nature through scripture. If we view the 10 Commandments as behavioural traits of God vice seeing them as Do’s and Don’ts, then honouring our parents becomes the ultimate act of love. He asks us to honour our parents because He loves them, and He honoured them by blessing them with us.

This Monday I will bury a friend who was certainly loved by her family. As I spent time with the family listening to stories and looking at pictures, it was obvious that they enjoyed spending time together. We know that is not the case in all families. We know that some people reading this article may not have a good relationship with one or both of their parents. We dare not profess to understand the circumstances of your situation nor do we wish to suggest it can be easily fixed. We can only pray that you will be willing to talk with your heavenly Father about it so He can help you honour your parents through reconciliation.

To be the parent or child that God desires, we all need His help. Pray that God our Father help us understand His will. Ask the Holy Spirit to influence our understanding of His will. Pray for parents who love us. Pray for parents who need to wake up to their calling of being obedient, loving teachers of the kingdom.  Pray today for military parents and ask God’s grace over them as they raise their children in a unique environment.

Telling Someone

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done” Psalm 105:1

Imagine that you have a friend who has been in trouble at work because of lateness. You know they are often late because, when you leave for work in the morning, you see their car is still in the driveway even though they start work 30 minutes before you. One day your friend confides in you and shares that their boss has threatened to fire them. You know your friend was previously given warnings, fines and even a suspension, but it seems the boss has had enough. Your friend adds that their life would become horrible if fired. In addition to losing their home, they stated their spouse warned they would leave with the children. You listened empathetically and even offered some tips to early rising. Although the friend heard your comments, they ended the conversation with, “it was not their fault, the world was against them, they were a good person, and why should they lose everything because of some poor choices?”

The following week, as you leave for work, you look towards your friend’s driveway and are relieved to see it empty. You are pleased they heeded the boss’s warning. However, one morning, as you head off to work, you notice their car is still in the driveway, but you are not alarmed. There is still time for them to get to work on time. You are leaving early because of the violent storm the previous evening. You anticipate debris in your workplace, and so you want to get an early start on the cleanup. As you turn the last corner before crossing the bridge, you see flashing lights. The bridge has washed out during the storm. There are emergency lights and crew on the other side of the missing bridge but not on yours. You decide that, before emergency services arrive, you will stop and warn others of the danger.  As you prepare to set up your roadblock, you hear screeching of tires. When you look in the direction of the sound, you notice your neighbour’s cars speeding down the hill towards the bridge. Your friend is trying to make sure they are not late. As you watch the car, you recall the distress they expressed regarding the consequences of their next lateness. You imagine their panic and worry as they race down the hill. You also remember that they stated, with bitterness, how others were to blame for their troubles. You now have your dilemma. If you stop your friend and warn them about the bridge, they will undoubtedly be late and will more than likely blame you for losing their job. If you don’t stop them, they will fly off the bridge into the river below and die.

You ask yourself, “Why should you be held responsible for them losing their job, their family, and their home?” What do you do? As they get closer, you must decide whether you are going to step in front of them or whether you are going to step aside?

God often puts us in the path of people whose lifestyle and choices are leading them to eternal ruin. We know the consequences of their actions. We can choose to step aside and let them continue their way, believing or hoping that someone else will tell them. Or, we can step in front of them and also choose to stand beside them to share the simple truth about Jesus’ love for them. Pray the Holy Spirit helps when you are faced with these kinds of decisions. Pray, we do not let anyone fly off the bridge.

In God I Trust

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6

My friend is dying. On Monday she was told she has probably three weeks to live. She was diagnosed with cancer last July and has been undergoing aggressive and even experimental treatment since then. Four weeks ago, she was preparing to come home. She rung the bell and was ready to return home. Last week she started to get headaches and they conducted tests. That is when she was told her cancer was back, and it was worse. She is a follower of Christ and knows what awaits her, but eternity is our reward for following Christ, not an exit strategy she wishes to pursue at this time because life hurts.

I share this story not to elicit condolences for her or me; I do cherish your prayers for her. I want to tell you about a journey our church family has been going through as we prayed for her.  Many righteous followers of Christ have dropped to their knees and pleaded on her behalf. The elders anointed her with oil and the church sang praises to God. We acknowledged God’s control over all of His creation and surrendered to His will but not in a way to suggest we gave up interceding for her. We prayed daily and have asked other communities to join with us. Admittingly our overall prayers have been selfish because we have asked God to leave her with us so we can enjoy her company and blessings. However, we prayed for more than the healing of the body. We prayed for peace and comfort to engulf her so she could face this journey and be a light to her family. She has shone brightly throughout, reminding people to put their trust and hope in God no matter the circumstances.

So, what good have our prayers been? If she goes to glory in a few weeks some people will be asking themselves “why bother praying”? Her healing was at the forefront of our prayers, but we also prayed that she does not experience any of the known side effects of cancer and chemotherapy. She has felt no pain and if you ask her, she will tell you, “I don’t feel like I’m sick at all”.  We prayed for God’s peace over her so she could help her family and friends deal with the cancer. God’s granted her this allowing her to keep her focus on Him, her spouse and family and even allowed her to comfort those able to visit. He gave her His peace to face this struggle and she has been a role model showing us how we can face life and all its ugliness with Christ at our side. We prayed that as people watched their friend deal with cancer, they would reflect on their own immortality and seek God. The ways God has been working in her life and that of others has been incredible. We are thankful that He has reminded us that He was listening to our prayers.

My friend has been scared. She has cried and she has laughed. But mostly she has been strong and wise. All who have visited or talk with her have left feeling uplifted. Even when people have asked her why she looks to God, she has given the wonderful Job reply, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b).

Her doctors say she has three weeks, but we have not stopped praying for her. It is not because we are stubborn, but we know that at this time only God truly knows whether she will live or die. Paul’s letter to the Philippians reminds us to bring all our concerns to God so we can experience His peace. When you pray today, will you remember Dorothy in your prayers? Will you also ask the Holy Spirit to open Ambrose’s (Dorothy’s husband) heart and eyes so that he may see and feel the peace, hope and joy that come with trusting and loving God.

What really matters.

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor”. (1 Peter 2:17)

I have four children. They are adults now with children of their own. When they were younger my wife and I always tried to make sure that we treated them equally and justly. We tried to provide then with the same opportunities, blessings, and love so that no one could be seen as the favourite. My children are not identical despite growing up in the same environment. They each have their own unique set of skills, traits and personalities. Sometimes, as parents, we were challenged by their uniqueness, but that did not stop us from loving them and wanting what was good.

When I had been posted to Kingston to do schooling, my wife and three children (one had yet to be born) accompanied me. This was a very important time in my career, but I wanted to ensure I had a balanced school and home life. One night, after the children were in bed, my wife and I were watching TV and heard a loud thump. We ran upstairs to see what had happened and found our son lying on the floor convulsing.  He slept on the top bunk of the bed and we had assumed he had fallen out. We took him to the hospital, and he was admitted for observation and care. Although I was in the midst of school exams, I spent every moment I could with him because, at the time of his suffering, his life mattered to me. I did not love his sisters any less but during his time in the hospital, I admit my focus was more on him. The lives of all my children mattered but at that time I knew I had to focus on him. I wanted to ensure, to the best of my abilities, that his suffering was addressed.

We are witnessing an emotional reaction to an injustice faced by a group in our society who are often looked at because of the colour of their skin and not their value to our society. They are suffering and feeling that their lives and circumstance don’t matter to the rest of us. On the walls of a large courthouse are the words: “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” That is, for the government to serve its people properly, it must dispense its laws, and make its judgements with wisdom and fairness.
I’m not sure many would disagree with that because there’s an inherent desire in everyone to be treated fairly. However, in light of the events around us, we must admit that our society as a whole is not ensuring all are treated justly or equally. We must not remain blind to the truth that when one part of our community is treated differently, unjustly, we are all impacted.

Many of us have never experienced life like those in this suffering community but it does not mean we cannot join together to seek justice. We must ensure we do not compete with them for attention but stand together as best as we can.

“God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

The truth is He wants to reconcile His creation to Him and has invited followers of Christ to be part of His mission to bring the Good news to all. Part of that mission is to seek justice for all who suffer especially when it is blatantly obvious.  We may feel uncomfortable marching in pursuit of justice, but that does not mean we can’t seek what is right. What really matters is, at a minimum, we must do a self-examination and ask; “am I loving God by loving others”. 

God is a just God

“Let the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Why are people so angry? It seems the slightest difference of opinion can lead to insults, accusations and in some cases violence. Instead of saying, “I disagree”, people are reacting irrationally. What is truly sad is watching those who declare their love for Jesus who are responding as the world responds in equally disrespectful ways.

This explosion of anger has been developing for several years as people have felt helpless to address the good and bad changes happening around them. Our generation has been feed by social media platforms that push entitlement and self-fulfilment. It wants what is right for them. To be heard, they attach themselves to causes in the hope of seeking justice, but most are ignorant as to what true justice look likes. People want to offer an opinion but often logic is put aside and replaced by emotions. Adding to the problem is the difficulty in finding a legitimate cause because many have been hijacked by individuals with agendas to bringing about anarchy and violence.

A friend recently noted that this current explosion of anger was inevitable. Covid-19 has possibly ignited the powder keg. People have been locked in their homes for months, some within a dysfunctional family setting. Freedom of movement has been restricted and people are upset they can’t do things they weren’t even doing before the virus hit. Many have lost their employment, which some have linked to their identity and self-worth. All these factors have contributed to the growth of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty which in turn has fueled angry confrontations in grocery store lines, parking lots, recreational areas, and especially social media.

So how do disciples of Christ respond not only to the rising anger around us but also to perceived injustices? Firstly, we must step back and look to the cross. We must remember God’s love allowed the sacrifice of Jesus so that underserving humanity could be saved from the deprived and offensive decisions it makes. We must turn our gaze upwards and seek God’s peace, wisdom and love to speak for justice and to be able to love our enemies. Secondly, we should remember the power of words to hurt and scar. We must adopt the psalmist mindset when he wrote, Psalm 19:14. Lastly, we should consider these words from James in “James 1:26”. We are on display for Jesus and must be mindful of how our words and actions can destroy our witness.

God is a just God and as Isaiah shared God wants us to, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow’s cause,” (Isaiah 1:17). God also wants us to be concerned about the way we interact with each other. He created us to live in harmonious relationship with one another and that has become difficult as Satan’s influence have turned us against one another. We should be on the side of justice for all, but we need to approach these issues with love and logic vice pure emotions. Anger and violence births anger and violence whereas godly wisdom and love bring about peace. Martin Luther King offered these words during a speech he made called Loving your Enemies, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. The Apostle John wrote “dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”, (1 John 3:18). By our deeds and words, we must be the light to the world around us and love as God desires.

What exactly do we mean by it?

There is a word that Christians often say but rarely define: the word “gospel.” What exactly do we mean by it?
In the Bible, the word used for “gospel” simply means “good news.”

This Greek word, euangelion, is not unique to the Bible, but is used in many places to proclaim all sorts of news that was considered “good.” For example, we have ancient writings celebrating the “good news” (or “gospel”) of Caesar Augustus after he had just won a great battle. Often, this word was used to announce the fact that a ruler had just won a battle, and their kingdom was therefore advancing. This context helps us make sense of what’s happening when we see Jesus preaching the good news, or gospel, “Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” (Mark. 1:14–15 NLT). In other words, Jesus is proclaiming the fact that God’s kingdom is advancing, so we’d all better get in line with it! The battle is being won, with the decisive victory being the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, perhaps we can attempt a simple definition of the gospel: The gospel is the good news that God’s kingdom has come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who now rules overall. Therefore, we can be forgiven for our rebellion and enjoy a life with God in His kingdom. Now that’s good news!

How do we share this good news with others? That’s what we do with good news: we share it. If we don’t, then it would appear we don’t think it’s particularly “good.” The first thing to understand is that nothing beats your own story. There’s no comparison for having your own transforming relationship with Jesus to share with others. Even in the Bible, we see the power of personal stories to transform lives (see Luke 8:39).

Consider these four statements that you can use to help people understand God:
God loves you, sin causes death, Jesus gives life, and live for Jesus. 

1. God loves you. Romans 8:38. One of the most important things we can understand is that God loves us more than we can imagine. Romans 8:38 makes clear, God will stop at nothing to show us this love.

2. Sin causes death. Romans 6:23. We all try to do God’s job, and in doing that, we rebel against him. This separates us from God forever, and it causes eternal death in our souls. The good news is that…

3. Jesus brings life. Ephesians 2:4–5. Not because of anything we’ve done, and not because we deserve it—but purely because of God’s unfathomable love—he provided a way for our sin problem to be cured. Jesus did it by sacrificing his own life for you, and when God raised him from the dead, that meant that when we decide to make Jesus our master, sin and death will no longer have victory in our lives, not only in this life but in the next!

4. Live for Jesus. 2 Cor. 5:15. The key to receiving this new life is that we no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus! It’s God’s upside-down sort of way. To have an abundant life, we must give it away! Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Jesus offers life to us, and all we have to do is surrender to him.