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Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #5”

Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. — JC Luke 9:62(NLT)

Have you ever been on a farm? Driven a tractor and plow? I grew up on a farm in Kansas. This passage has very little to do with farming. Jesus was a carpenter, not a plow farmer. I’m guessing that Jesus might have known that the man who made him give this answer was a plow farmer. Jesus was good at knowing who people were, what they were thinking and He always had answers that really caught His audience off guard. (He did have an advantage…He is the Creator or all things) The Bible says that God knows our thoughts before we even think them! That’s Jesus! Wouldn’t that be an incredible advantage in a Presidential Debate. To know your opponents thoughts before he/she even thinks them? How fun! If you can’t relate to being in a presidential debate….then….can you imagine the advantage you would have if you knew your spouses thoughts before they even thought them? Now that would be even better! LOL.

So what did Jesus mean as He tweeted this statement for all his followers to think about?

I could give the simple answers. Simple answers are still good answers. The simple answers would be about how Jesus had other references recorded in the Scriptures where He says, “Don’t build a house unless you’ve counted the cost as to whether or not you can afford it.” Or, “What King would go to war without first counting the cost to determine his chances of actually winning.” (Not exact quotes, but close enough for this purpose.) Those statements from Jesus could be compared to putting a hand on the plow and looking back or not looking back.

Is this what Jesus was referring to with this guy as he refers to plowing and looking back? I don’t think so.

I think Jesus is making a major statement here about WHO He is. In Jesus’ day, He had to argue/talk/teach/debate with so many people. Most of these people would have had a very strong knowledge of the Old Testament times and people. What I am saying in making this point is this….I think the guy whom Jesus encountered, that made Him tweet the statement that I write this blog about, would have known many of the stories in the Old Testament. There is a story recorded in 1 Kings19:19-21 that is about plowing. My version of the story goes like this…

Elijah was getting old and was needing to prepare to retire. If Elijah needed to retire soon then he needed to find the man who would replace Him. God had already chosen this person…his name is Elisha. Yes…EliJAH was to be replaced by EliSHA. According to the Bible story in 1 Kings Elijah finally comes across Elisha. Elisha is out Plowing in a field. Elijah takes off his coat and places it over the shoulders of Elisha. This is a sign to Elisha that Elijah wants him to be his attendant and future successor. This is an important thing! Elijah would have been well known. I suppose it would be like your favorite celebrity walking up to you and asking you to be his/her successor when they die. Pretty cool right?

Well…Elisha…accepts the offer…but says he wants to go home and say goodbye to his mother and father first. Elijah says, “go-ahead.” Elisha knew that Elijah was important, but other pressing things needed to be done first…Elijah wasn’t SO important that everything else needed to be left behind to follow him. Its saying that Elijah is important, but not THAT important. We don’t get much more of the story or how Elisha said goodbye to his parents. We do know that Elisha did replace Elijah when he left this earth.

What I’m trying to say in this blog is this. When Jesus told the guy, “Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God,” He was making a very strong point about Himself.

Everybody in Jesus’ day knew who Elijah was! He was the great one. Elijah is so famous because according to the Scriptures, Elijah never died. He was so pleasing to God that God just took Him from the earth. The Bible records the story of how this happened. Its full of what we would call Science Fiction today. Flaming Chariot coming out of the Heavens…Elijah jumping on and being taken to Heaven. It would make a cool movie. I suppose in today’s time all the Alien lovers would call it an “Alien Abduction.” But it was just God taking care of business! (You can read this full story in the book of 2 Kings Chapter 2 in the Bible)

Back to what I’m trying to make a point about. I think this Plow Farmer knew the story of Elijah and how important of a Bible Prophet he was. Elijah was a great-great man of God yet Elisha didn’t follow him immediately but first went home to do a few things. In the story of Elisha being asked to follow Elijah….Elisha commits to follow (Put his hand to the plow)….BUT first he went home to take care of a little other business.(Looked back)

So….I think when Jesus says…”Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, He is saying…Elijah was great…but not so great that Elisha dropped everything….sacrificed everything….to follow him. Jesus was saying….Elijah was great….but I AM the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the forgiver of all sins, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the final authority and Judge, I AM THE PLOW! If you say you are going to follow me….then NO LOOKING BACK! Step up and let’s go…NOW…there is nobody greater to follow…there is nothing that even compares to how important I am that you should first take care of before following me.”

Get it?

Maybe this is a better way to explain it. By Elisha committing to follow Elijah, BUT first running home to tell mommy and daddy…He had a “BUT” Moment.

Are you doing this with Jesus?

Are you saying to Jesus, “Yes Jesus, I am giving my life to you….BUT…do I really have to change that much?” OR “Yes Jesus….BUT…do you really want me to forgive that person who hurt me?” OR “Yes Jesus….BUT…do you really want me to tithe?” OR “Yes Jesus…BUT…I don’t need to commit to a church family right?” OR “Yes Jesus I accept the forgiveness of my sins…BUT…I just can’t really stop gossiping.” OR “Yes Jesus, I want to read the Bible everyday…BUT…” “I want to give up Porn….BUT.” “I want to stop being prideful….BUT.” “I want to be a better ______________ for Jesus …BUT.”

Do you see what I’m trying to say?

I’m saying….DON”T BE A “BUT!”

Don’t say you are a follower of Jesus and then have all these “BUT” arguments. Christianity has too many “BUTs” in it already. What Jesus wants is a faithful follower of His ways at all costs! No looking back.

Are you really a follower of Jesus Christ?
What has changed in your life since you chose to “put your hand to the plow?”
Do you have any”Buts?” What are they?

Write the “Buts” down and begin kicking them!

Be aware of the very last part of Jesus’ tweet. Jesus says, “Not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

That’s Heaven. To not be fit for the Kingdom of God means that you do not go to Heaven and you do go to Hell.
We’re talking eternity here! Don’t mess with this stuff. Is your “But” really that important to you?

So I ask you now…. ‘What is it that you “Can’t” do or give up for Jesus Christ?

You and I know what Jesus did for us. He gave His whole life.

If you and I say, “I can’t.” It really means we don’t want to.
You can!
It will be worth it.
If you’ve put “your hand to the plow,”…then plow on!
There is nothing in your life worth “looking back” on…or going back to.
Plow on.

How can I help you?


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #4”

My Mother and My Brothers are all those who hear God’s Word and obey it. JC Luke 8:21 (NLT)

This Tweet of Jesus plays out like a movie in my head. Jesus is inside a house and He is spending some time with a crowd of people. He has just recently set out, going from town to town, teaching, and healing, and building His influence. In this scene He’s in a house. The Bible said that His mother and brothers show up and want to talk to Him but they couldn’t get to Him because the crowd was so big. How cool would it have been to be in the crowd? Someone runs into the house and said to Jesus, or maybe they shouted it over the top of the crowd. “Hey Jesus….your mother and brothers are outside and they want to talk to you.” I imagine Jesus taking a seat for a second, the crowd is silent waiting to see what He is going to say or do. He grabs His mobile phone and hits His Twitter App and tweets out to His followers, “My mother and brothers are all those who hear God’s Word and obey it.” –JC All throughout the room everybody’s mobile phones start beeping the tone that lets them know a new message has just arrived into their inbox. The women in the room grab their purses and begin to dig through them looking for their phone. The guys do a quick self “pat-down” trying to remember what pocket they stashed their new iPhones in. The rustling ends and everybody’s faces are aglow in the candle lit room as they are reading their message from their phones. At nearly the exact same time as the whole crowd finishes reading this obscure tweet…you can hear the crowd in nearly unison say, “huh?” The guy in the back who doesn’t have the new 4G phone sounds like an echo as he says, “huh?” about 24 seconds later.

It would be a strange tweet to receive wouldn’t it?

I can’t imagine how confusing this must have been to the crowd listening. Even more…imagine what Mary, Jesus mom, and His brothers might have thought when they heard His reply. I think James, Jesus’ younger brother might have pulled Mary aside and whispered to her that he thinks his older brother might be doing drugs. Or maybe James would have said…”Mom, you can’t let Him keep getting away with that kind of attitude.”

To be honest…I’m not really sure what to blog about this comment. It seems pretty clear.

Jesus is simply saying…My family members obey the Word of God.

I want to be in Jesus family. I want to obey the Word of God. What should I obey?

I think Matthew 25 gives us a “final exam” glimpse at what Jesus “Family” does while on earth.

Things like clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the prisoner, care for the sick, love and care for orphans and widows, do kind and loving things for society’s “least of these.” The Bible is also loaded with great things that Family members of Jesus should WANT to do.

Who are the “Least of These” in your circles of influence. In our world today our Circles of Influence have expanded. You and I can get on an airplane and arrive in the middle of Africa in very little time. The Word of God tells us to love our neighbors. We have world-wide neighbors and we have neighbors living under our own roof tops and next door.

To Obey The Word Of God…is to GO into all the world and love all people. Love is action.

Are you really a family member of Jesus?
What action will you do today or this week that shows you are a family member of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the final judge, the savior of the world, King of Kings, the Messiah, the doorway to Heaven?
Now that’s a family member anybody can be proud have!


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #3”

It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves! JC 40
Matthew 21:13 (HCSB)

Do you remember the movie “City Slickers?” Jack Palance played the part of “Curly.” Billy Crystal played the part of “Mitch.” Curly was an intimidating man in the movie. Very focused and direct. In the movie there is a scene where Curly and Mitch have to round up a cow that got separated from the herd. While these two men are off on their own, Curly uses the time to challenge Mitch about “The Secret of Life.” Curly, a leathery old cowboy, challenged Mitch to understand that the Secret to Life is to get his ONE THING figured out. Mitch wanted to know what the “One Thing” was because Curly was holding up his pointer finger in the air demonstrating the #1. Mitch sarcastically says, “The One Thing is your finger?” According to Jack Palance playing “Curly.” Jack said…”No, you’ve got to figure out your own one thing…You get your one thing figured out and everything else don’t mean Jack.” Except he didn’t actually say “jack,” if you know what I mean.

Do you think Jesus had his ONE THING figured out?

Jesus’ one thing was complete honor and delight for his one True Father. Over and over in the passages of Scripture we can read how Jesus’ only real “thing” was to honor and delight His Father. Some of those passages read like this.
“I can do nothing outside of my Father, I only do what I see Him doing.” Jesus to the Jews.
“Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Jesus to the Devil.
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” Jesus to His Father.

Do you have that kind of priority structure? Your “One Thing?” Your Essentials? Do the people around you know it.

I suppose its safe to say that after the temple scene where He “tweeted” the passage above…everybody knew what Jesus’ one thing was.

After tweeting this passage, Jesus took a whip and began to whip people out of the temple area. He flipped over tables. Scattered the money, the animals and the people. This scene had to have been a scene of total chaos. There would have been yelling, pushing, frantic running and fearfulness. One passage comes to mind from this scene. Psalm 69:9, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

Jesus’ one thing, is His passion for the honoring of God’s Household.

God’s household is His Kingdom. God doesn’t live in buildings made by the hand of man. God’s House is His creation, His will.

The temple area in Jesus’ time was massive. I’ve personally stood on this specific area in Jerusalem. This area was supposed to be an area of worship. In Jesus time there was even an area called the “Court of Gentiles.” Its of my opinion that this is where this scene took place.

The Court of Gentiles was an area where the Non-Jewish people (Gentiles) could gather and watch what was going on in this Holy place. To the Jewish people, Gentiles were unclean and a Jewish person was not even allowed to touch such a person. However, they created an area of “evangelism” for the Gentiles to stand and watch in hopes that the Gentiles watching might be converted. But in the pursuit of money, this evangelism area had been converted into a market. When the Gentiles arrived expecting to stand and observe the Holy activities of the Jews, maybe even pray to God, what they found instead was a giant Swap Meet. And when Jesus arrives on the scene and sees that an area of evangelism had been converted into racketeering. He created a racket. The fire inside his bones that consumed Him to be so devoted to the will of the Father….let loose! Jesus officially “lost” it! He got angry…yet didn’t sin. Our world of political correctness has forgotten that you can get angry, call people out, speak the truth, demand justice, demand accountability and yet not sin. Our culture would do well to remember and practice this. Our Church Culture too.

So…if Jesus walked into your “house” what would he use a whip to clear out? What would He see that would cause Him to flip over your tables in anger? Jesus knows your unbelievable potential to be such a strong follower of His…what in your life would He be really upset about because you are choosing to settle for it, instead of be all that you can for Him?

When I say “your house” I mean your life. Your body. Your home. Your work place. Your thoughts. Your habits. Your marriage. Your words. Your heart. You!

Your “house” was created to dedicate and Honor and Delight God the Father…have you turned it into a place of thievery, sin or????

What is of God’s that you have made your own?

This tweet of Jesus is focused and serious. It deals with Eternity and Heaven and Hell are in the balance.

Does Passion for “God’s House consume you?
Is it your ONE THING?
What will you do about it today?


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #2”


RT@JesusChrist” #2
Matthew 13:33 (NIV)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about 60 pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” 2

In the time of Moses when God commanded the Israelites to leave Egypt under the leadership of Moses, God commanded them to prepare bread for food on the long journey they were about to embark on. God told them not to use yeast in this bread because they wouldn’t have time for the bread to rise as they were going to have to leave Egypt in hurry.

Since that time, the Jewish people use unleavened bread in their times of worship and celebrations as a reminder of that great Exodus out of Egypt. Because God commanded the Israelites not to use Yeast in the bread’s preparation it became custom in the Jewish culture to refer to yeast as an example of evil and sin.

Jesus, in this tweet, turns the tables on the Jewish people. He is using yeast in a good way. Jesus was good at doing this kind of thing. He was good at catching the people’s attention when it came time for Him to teach. Many of the other teachings of Jesus recorded in the Bible demonstrate that Jesus had a knack for using the common to teach in an uncommon way. This uncommon form of teaching, done with his authority and cleverness, was part of the reason He had such large crowds pushing in to listen to Him teach. It also helped that He could raise the dead, heal the sick, blind, deaf, mute, etc. That will help draw in a crowd too! Too many people get upset at the mega churches for their marketing practices and they get blamed for being shallow because of the large crowds that they attract. I hope you and I are not that quick to judge because Jesus used marketing and drew in large crowds as well. Some might argue that Jesus’ miracles were out of His love for people, not marketing tactics. I would agree with them, but I can’t guarantee that it also wasn’t a marketing tactic of Jesus to help Him draw a crowd so He could teach about the Kingdom of Heaven. Don’t forget that Jesus is the one who commanded his followers to be “Sly as a snake and innocent as a dove.” Strategy and marketing are not sins, they are instruments of change.

So, as I am retweeting Jesus’ comments about the Kingdom of Heaven being like Yeast, I hope you are asking, “how is this relevant to you and me throughout today?” I think its good to understand Yeast first. Yeast is a living cell. It’s actually a Fungi. There are estimated to be potentially millions of different kinds of yeasts throughout the world. The experts say that we have only identified about 1% of all yeasts that exist. Yeast contributes to the creation of some of Jesus’ favorite things. Bread and Wine! Don’t forget that the religious wackos of Jesus’ time accused Jesus of being a Glutton and a Drunkard. We know that Jesus didn’t sin because we have the perfect Scriptures that verify this. But in Jesus’ time, the New Testament hadn’t been written and the Religious people of Jesus day who were very legalistic didn’t have the Bible to show them differently. They just saw Jesus hanging out with people who loved to party, drink, eat, etc.

Back to yeast. Yeast multiplies in different ways. One way is that it simply recreates itself. This process is called “budding.” It is like something we might see in an Alien movie today. All of a sudden there are two. If you can’t relate to Aliens, then how about Gremlins! Remember that movie? Don’t give them water or else. Yeast is like a Gremlin. Add a little water, flour and salt with some yeast and let the party begin. A little bit of yeast thrown into the mix and given a little time will cause the dough to expand and multiply way beyond the original mixture of dough.

So Yeast starts as just one. Give it the right stimuli and the next thing you know a bud develops off the single cell. Give it a little more time you have two. Give them a little time and the two will each have a bud develop. The next thing you know you have four. Give the four a little time and the four will develop a bud each. The next thing you know you have 8. 16. 32. 64. 128. 256. 512. 1,024, 2,048, 4,096, 8192, 16,384……!

You get the idea? In just 14 steps it went from 1 to 16,384 and it continues.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like Yeast! God the Father, started with one…John the Baptist. Then God grabs the hearts of Mary and Joseph. Next thing you know you’ve got a little “bud” growing inside of Mary. Now we have Jesus. Jesus decides to get some “buds.” Peter, James and John and then eventually 9 others that totaled 12. Next thing you know Jesus has started a Yeast-like movement. It multiplied so quickly and powerfully that even when Jesus was killed it was only days later when 3000 people were baptized. Talk about the ultimate “buddy system.” It all started with just one.

Today, it starts with you! You are but one. Yet, you are not alone. Jesus promised you that He would never leave you. He tells you that nothing can separate you from His love. This world changer named Jesus, actually lives in you…if you’ve given your life to Him. Just like Twitter. Have you chosen to be a “follower” of Jesus? If you don’t know how…just let me know on this blog page. There’s nothing to be afraid of or embarrassed about. I’d love to answer your questions about it all.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then its time to get your bud.

If you think about it, You are probably a follower of Jesus today because of a “bud.”

Someone invested in you. I haven’t met anyone yet who is a follower of Jesus Christ who did it all by themselves. Somebody made you their bud. What an honor for you to know that somebody made you their bud. They cared about you. If you are like me…then at one point in your life you were a real pain in the butt. Yet he made me his bud. The guy that got me is named Kevin. He made me his bud. Kevin brought me a little Heaven right here on earth. Who made you their bud?

So, here’s the deal. I don’t know if you remember the Lord’s prayer right now or not…but in that prayer Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven… “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

“”The KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is like YEAST that a woman took and mixed into about 60 pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

You are that yeast. Don’t be one that ends the multiplication with you. Do you have a bud? Who do you already know right now that is not in the Kingdom of Heaven yet? Do you care about them? Do you want them to know Jesus Christ like you do? Do you want them to taste forgiveness, and joy and purpose?

Then get your yeast on and start being their bud. Don’t try to change them…thats God’s job. Just be their bud. Listen to them. Be the friend to them that you would like to have for yourself. You know what to do. You just have to make the decision to do it. Be a bud.

Be the Kingdom of Heaven. People will notice.

Who’s your bud?


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #1”

Quick Intro to this project.

I am presently sorting it out, but it seems that there are 14 truly self-standing complete sentences that Jesus said in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that are no more than 140 spaces…And not connected to any other statements He made. These are true Twitter-Like Phrases. Only 14 in the whole Bible. What does this mean? It means that if Twitter would have existed I’d like to think that Jesus would have tweeted these out for his followers to read. Some are deeply serious and some are a bit obscure. I hope you will read one a day with me as we retweet Jesus. This is not a theological thing…this is a devotion thing. When this is all said and done and you find a 140 space sentence that is completely self standing that I have missed…meaning not a part of another statement or paragraph that Jesus spoke then let me know. I’ll retweet it into this material and give you credit for the “find!” BTW…I’ll be using different Bible translations and I’ll pick the one I feel is easiest to understand. Also, I’d like to think this blog platform for this retweet Jesus project is the precursor to a pretty cool book for people to use to inspire them to focus more on Jesus’ way.


RT@JesusChrist” #1
Matthew 7:12 (NLT)

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” JC 9

Oh, what an easy thing to say, and seemingly impossible to follow through with. I don’t even think that Jesus had an easy time with this tweet. Think about it…there were times when Jesus called people(pharisees) names. i.e. “Sons of Vipers, brood of snakes, white washed tombs.” Another time He used a whip that He hand made and used to whip people out of the temple. He must have been okay with others doing the same to Him or He would not have done these to others. Strange to think about that. He was called names and also whipped. This makes me think about what Jesus said to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Peter…put your sword away…Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

Do to others what you would like them to do to you.

I wonder if Jesus were living in this day and age of suicide bombers and self-mutilators if He might have worded this tweet a bit different? Because, after all, a Suicide Bomber that kills 40 innocent men, women and children actually did to others what he did to himself. A terrorist that did this brutal act of horror actually followed what we call the Golden Rule. Make sense?

Now as to whether or not Jesus would say it differently today…I don’t want to open the door of someone thinking that I think Jesus made a mistake here. That’s not my point. I am thinking that maybe Jesus…if He were living in today’s culture wouldn’t use the Golden Rule, as tweeted above, as much as He might have used what I would call “The Platinum” rule. I think the Platinum Rule, if spoken by Jesus, would read “Do to others what I have done and will do for you.”

Out of the mouth of Jesus that is a game changer. The Platinum rule seems to squelch all possible neglect and abuse from the speaker of the rule. For today, we would have to quote the Platinum Rule this way. “Do to others what Jesus did for you.”

The Platinum Rule makes the following comment from Jesus pop! “There is no greater love than this…He who lays down his life for another.” He commands us to give, share, reward, encourage, hold accountable, even die for each other. These would be things that Jesus did for all of us. These are things that fit the Golden Rule also. Do to others as you would have done to yourself.

If Jesus actually tweeted this to you today. “Do to others what you would like others to do to you.” And you knew it was directly from Jesus…how would you live your life today? Think about the free gifts that Jesus gave you. Hope, Joy, Forgiveness, Purpose, etc. Would you give these to others today? And then tomorrow as well? And then….

Spend a few moments and meditate on that. Think about what you should do today in regards to the Golden Rule.
Think about your day and what’s coming. Who do you know that you will encounter today? Make a decision right now to treat them like you would like to be treated. Be prepared. Don’t be caught off guard.

I hope as you live your day that you will dwell on this Golden Tweet. Do to others what you would like done to you. If that passage makes you feel guilty about selfish decisions in your past…ask God for forgiveness and the person you offended and then take care of today. Don’t let the past distract you from what you can do right now. Right now is more important. Today is more important than your past.

Its crazy to think that the Golden Rule sums up the Law and Prophets as the Tweet says. The law and prophets include way too many things to actually remember. 613 Old Laws from the Old Testament and then all the things the prophets said. Jesus gives us the cliffsnotes to the Law and Prophets! I like how Jesus thinks. “Do to others what I would like to have done to me.” Jesus had a way about Him in keeping things simple.

So, be like Jesus and keep it simple. When we start treating others the way we DON’T want to be treated…things get complicated.
So focus on this tweet today. “Do to others what you would like to have done to you.”

It will impact and change how you live each moment. How incredible would it be if you could remember this tweet all day every minute?

Practice makes permanent.
tr


Copyright Trent Renner 2013