[aside] The following is a guest post from my friend, Chad Johnson. He leads an amazing community of artists called Come&Live! out of Nashville, TN and partners with bands to proclaim the good news of Jesus while making their music available for free. His life is deeply inspiring to me, and he graciously allowed me to share part of his story here. The following piece was originally posted on a brand new blog Chad is part of called OneThousandRisks.com. Follow Chad on Instagram & Twitter.[/aside]
While at church a few weeks back I overheard our pastor quote the phrase that one of the church members has taped to his computer screen. It is a bold reminder of who we are and what we’ve been called into: “Take a risk. Your father is king of the universe.”
I was reminded that I was not given the spirit of slavery that causes me to fall back into fear, instead, I was adopted. It’s because of my adoption that I can cry out, “Daddy! Father!”
This began a new journey with a blog called One Thousand Risks that is meant to serve a single purpose: holding my hand.
I’m not trying to be selfish, but more often than not, I need accountability. I felt Jesus challenge me further along the road He already had me on: step consistently out of my own way and learn to notice others the way the God of the universe notices them. Pray for them. Share with them. Laugh with them. Give to them. The early Jesus-followers had freely received, and as a result, were taught to freely give.
One thousand risks, no time-line. One person, loved by God, at a time. Then recorded in short-form to challenge my own Jesus-journey and possibly even inspire yours. This is not a numbers game. Jesus left the 99 to pursue 1; I simply want to grow in His footsteps.
I’m sure there will be times I am rejected, Jesus promised it! There will be times I am misunderstood. Other times where the words just don’t come out right. Times where I will likely drop the risk choosing fear or flesh instead. Obedience is better than sacrifice. I know I’m going to learn to love others more like our Father loves them. I will grow in being able to see them the way they were meant to be seen. My dependency on the Holy Spirit’s leading will increase.
I was called, as a Christian – a follower of Jesus, to live life on risk. Following Christ is the most dangerous decision I’ve ever made. If you follow Him, then you too have been called into this risky love business. Two are better than one.
Would you take a risk today to love someone?
For each of the past two years I’ve sought Jesus on how he would stretch and grow me in the coming new year. I was drawn to read through the Bible in it’s entirety for year 1. This year I micro-focused on individual verses, especially memorizing and retaining (a Gold-nugget of a practice I hope to never lose). Until December 31st I had no clear directive from the Lord for 2013. The only thought stirring was that of trying to pray for every sick/hurting person I come across…something I’ve considered many times as God weaves greater compassion and expectation in me.
I mentioned this risky just-pray-for-them-all, stepping/stumbling out idea to my wife and she immediately offered a profound suggestion, “Why not just make a goal like, one thousand risks?” Hmmm. One thousand risks. Daily risks, motivated by love, bound not by days, months or years – then followed by a short synopsis in blog form. Make known the awesome works of God, the awkward attempts along the way, and even the flat-out failures or rejections. Share it all, encouraging and equipping others along the way.
To give credit where it’s due, my wife has been hugely inspired by Canadian farmer-wife-turned-author, Ann Voskamp, who wrote the New York Times Best-seller “One Thousand Gifts“. In short, Voskamp’s idea was to list daily those things she is grateful for with the goal of coming away with 1,000 “gifts”. As a result God has used her to inspire a lifestyle of gratitude amongst countless many. Rejoice always!
Jesus has been growing me in the area of stepping out of comfort to pray for and encourage complete strangers – as a normal element of my Christian journey. Praying (and believing) for sick and hurting bodies to be restored, generously sharing Scripture verses as I learn them, giving encouraging/prophetic words, tipping excessively, random acts of kindness, etc. I have also felt conviction to record more of the testimonies God delivers. I see Jesus heal, encourage, and restore more people than ever – but honestly, I’ve slacked on recording his kindness. Occasionally, I’ll blog testimonies but never have I considered doing so on a consistent, recurring basis. As you may have guessed, my wife’s words resonated deeply.
So, here’s to a
resolution revolution of love-inspired risk-takers moved by a hunger to see the kingdom of God established right here among us. Humble, often scared (never alone), lovers of God and others, thirsty to witness the whole world awakened to the blazing love of Jesus.
What risks do you need to take today or this coming year?
What’s holding you back?
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