Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Abiding 101

La Jolla, California
Henri Nouwen writes:

"When we are anxious we are inclined to overprepare. We wonder what to say when we are attacked, how to respond when we are being interrogated, and what defence to put up when we are accused. It is precisely this turmoil that makes us lose our self-confidence and creates in us a debilitating self-consciousness.

Jesus tells us not to prepare at all and to trust that he will give us the words and wisdom we need. What is important is not that we have a little speech ready but that we remain deeply anchored in the love of Jesus, secure about who we are in this world and why we are here. With our hearts connected to the heart of Jesus, we will always know what to say when the time to speak comes."

The idea is: abide in Jesus.

A few years ago some students from a local high school visited our church. Afterwards they interviewed me for the school project they were doing. The first question they asked me was: "As a pastor, what is the #1 thing you need to do for your people?" My answer was this:

"The #1 thing I need to do for my people is to abide in Christ."

I need to stay connected. I need to be a branch, attached to Jesus the True Vine. I need to be tight with Jesus, and allow him to pour his resources of joy and love and peace and truth into my spirit. To not do this is scary, because it leaves me alone and on my own "doing ministry" disconnected from God. Would you want to hear someone speak who admitted to this?

Abide in Jesus today.

Do it again tomorrow.

The instruction manual for Abiding 101 is found in John chapters 14-16.