Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Carry Your Cross

I was reading in Luke 23 this morning and noticed something I'd never noticed before: Jesus was indeed guilty of the charge that was brought against him.

But Jason, what you say is blasphemous. How could you--

Whoa, calm down. Let me finish. I read that it was customary for the accused (or I guess at this point, the damned) to have their charge displayed above them as they were crucified. The inscription above Jesus read, "This is the King of the Jews." To that charge, there was no dispute. He was indeed the King of the Jews. But that's hardly (read: not at all) punishable by death. So, thinking about that, I compiled a list of people that should have been on that cross instead.

  • Pilate, who 3 times declared Jesus' innocence
  • Herod, who also found no guilt in Jesus, though he mocked him anyway
  • All in the Sanhedrin
  • Caesar
  • Barabbas, who actually was convicted of crimes punishable by death
  • Simon of Cyrene, who actually carried Jesus' cross
  • The women who mourned over Jesus as he walked to his death
  • The soldiers who mocked him
  • The centurion, who noted that Jesus "certainly... was innocent"
  • The crowd, who left beating their breasts as a sign of grief
  • Jesus' acquaintances, who watched from afar
  • Joseph of Arimathea, who took Jesus from the cross and buried him
  • Jason Allen Jefferson
It's amazing that Jesus not only prayed for the forgiveness of those on the list, but carried out the gruesome, painful, humiliating act that would make that forgiveness possible. As he carried his cross, I remember his words for us to do the same. And that seems like a small thing when you consider that he not only carried his cross, but his cross carried him, for three dark hours, while he shed his innocent blood on our behalf.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heck no, I won't go!

A friend at church on Sunday said that he wasn't going to do EDGE Corps, which I took to mean that he would eventually do EDGE Corps. I only came to that conclusion because I made that same vow, as did many who were in my EDGE class. I have a general rule that I don't tell God I won't do something, because then He'll make me do it.

The rule's kind of a joke, but at the same time, kind of true. EDGE is one example. My (hopeful) post-EDGE career choice is another.

I once vowed not to ever work with junior high kids. It's just an awkward age and they're learning how to be complete jerks (if not learning, at least perfecting the art). Let's be honest, if we put junior highers in a locked room for a couple years, people wouldn't mind too much.

But right now, I'm applying to be a substitute teacher. I'm open to whatever grade will take me, but I'm hoping for junior and senior high jobs.

That's the weird thing about the way God works sometimes. Yeah, I have that rule to protect me from God calling me to something I don't want to do, but He hasn't. Yes, I did EDGE. Yes, I'm applying to work with junior highers. Yes, I already did work with junior highers this summer.

And I loved it.

It's a silly thing to try to protect yourself from God. He didn't spring me onto something I didn't want to do. He changed my heart. He gave me a heart for college guys. He gave me a heart for those boys in Sacramento. He gave me a heart to teach teenagers that are awkward and going through a lot of weird bodily changes and who probably smell funny.

I need to stop fearing that God will put me into something I'm not gonna want to do. If anything, I should just open up to the possibilities that God has for me, whether there possibilities I want right now or not. It's been good for me so far. Although I'm still waiting for the results of my vow never to be rich.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My (Bad) Luck with Phones

I couldn't tell you what my first phone was, because I don't remember. I know I got it my second semester of college, and couldn't pay for it come summer after my freshman year (I'm so responsible).

After that, it was hell trying to get in contact with me. That is, until I discovered Net10! I could talk for only 10 cents a minute, and texts were only worth half a minute! I had some less than awesome crap phone (I think it was Nokia or something). Anyway, after having that for a while, I gave up on it for several reasons:

  1. The phone was crap.
  2. 10 cents per minute and 5 cents per text (sent or received) is not a good deal.
  3. Several times, I would end a call, but the seconds would keep ticking. I pressed end several times, to no avail.
  4. I hated talking on the phone. I was keeping constant tabs of how much time I was talking. It was annoying.
So I went with Verizon. Yay! I like Verizon. I got my minutes that I rarely use, but get unlimited texts. This way, when my mom texts "k," I don't have to freak out that I'm wasting valuable minutes.

I'd tell you what that first phone was, but I lost it a while back on the Greyhound. That sucked.

My second phone with Verizon (4th overall) was a Samsung Smooth. This baby cost me the least amount of money when I went to replace my lost cell phone. But I obviously have no phone loyalty, so...

I bought the LG env3 off of a friend. This one was truly awful. It would turn itself off for no reason at all. One time I was donating plasma (a nice little hobby of mine) and overheard other people talking about their phones and how much they sucked because they always turned off. I looked over and, lo and behold, they had this piece of crap phone. Not to mention I had to have a stupid data plan, which I almost never used. It was truly a waste of $10 a month. I actually marked on my calendar when I would get a free upgrade (and I don't do well with calendars; they're much too organized for me).

So I was happy when that date came and I got my Samsung Intensity II in Metallic Blue (say that 3 times fast). This one caused me problems from the git go. The first one I had had a faulty screen that broke the next day, though I did nothing to break it.

They replaced that one graciously with Samsung Intensity II in Metallic Blue #2. That one lasted a week before it started screwing up all of my contacts, saving some multiple times and refusing to save others. Plus the backlight wouldn't turn off, which drained my battery quick. That was obviously not my fault, so they gave me #3.

#3 lasted a while. I was pleased. I dropped it several times (a week) and the screen stayed in one piece. The backlight only refused to turn off once, but it walked it off and was fine after that. It was just a bit of humidity.

Hey, speaking of water, you know what happens when you drop a Samsung Intensity II in Metallic Blue in the toilet? It turns off and doesn't turn on again. Even after 2 days of sitting in rice and a couple hours in my car in the Arizona heat. Yeah, it's donezo.

So what phone am I using now? Well, I had to resort back to my Samsung Smooth. And it's doing me well. I'm not gonna lie. I miss the QWERTY keyboard and, you know, all those numbers I'd saved that were lost. But hey, I have a nice, working phone now.

That is, until my next inevitable cell phone disaster.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nobody's Savior

The following prayer is based on a true story.

"Dear God, I need you to help this person. He's going in a direction that I don't really like. Maybe it's Your will, but I don't see how. I don't know what's going on inside him. What he's thinking. Lord, it's killing me. I don't know what to do.

"Well, there's nothing I can do. I guess there's nothing that I should do. I'm nobody's savior. I'm Jason. I guess I need to just give it to You.

"Lord, forgive me for my pride and thinking that I could change somebody. I only-

"Wait! What are You doing? I wanted to pray for this guy. I didn't wanna pray for myself! He needs the help, not me. Okay, okay, I need help, too. But this isn't about my pride or my savior complex. This is about him.

"Alright, God, I surrender. I've been prideful. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a...."

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Current Reading

I made a New Year's resolution in 2010 to read more. Yes, that was 2010. I guess I kinda read some, but really, since going to college, I lost interest in reading.

But I've picked it back up. I've started reading a whole lot more than what I'm used to. And it's kinda been awesome. Here's a bit of what I've been reading.

Ashamed of the Gospel--I picked this up at our most recent EDGE Summit in the Glen Eyrie bookstore. I enjoy it for the most part, although it's not what I was expecting. I thought that it would be on a more individual basis, but MacArthur's focus is mainly on churches shying away from preaching the unadulterated Word of God in the hopes of being seeker friendly. I think he makes a lot of oversimplifications to be honest, and makes the same point over and over and over again, but he does make good points that can be applicable to individuals desiring to preach the gospel as well as those of us on staff who aren't necessarily a church, but are in Christian leadership.

Redeeming Love--I went to a staff conference and one of my EDGEmates was talking about this book and how amazing it was and how men need to read it. I thought, "Why not?" So I checked it out from the Tempe Library. I must say, it's a much easier read than John MacArthur's book (though I think that's gonna be the case with fiction vs. non-fiction 98% of the time). Francine Rivers does a great job of writing characters that I care about. My previous attempt at reading a novel was Twilight, and I can't for the life of me understand why I should care about stupid Bella going gaga over this beautiful and extremely rude boy that she comes to learn is a vampire. However, within the first couple pages of "Redeeming Love," I found myself teary-eyed over what I was seeing happen in Sarah/Angel's life. I find it hard to put down at night, even when I'm dog-tired.

Jeremiah--After reading through Acts (and taking an EXTREMELY long time to do that), I decided that I wanted to go through a book in the Old Testament, mostly because I haven't quite yet read through the OT, while I've read through the entire NT at least twice. I can't remember why I chose Jeremiah over something else, but I'm truly digging it. Well, I don't know if I'd say digging. It's really sad. I'm only in chapter 3, but the hurt that I see in God's words, the strong language, the unfaithfulness of Israel and Judah are enough to make a grown man cry (granted, that grown man is me and doesn't take much for me to cry sometimes). Throughout chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3, God is telling of how they've turned from Him time and time again, and would only turn to Him when they were up the creek without a paddle. I want to be able to point a finger at them and say, "I can't believe you would do that. I can't believe you would turn to God only when you need Him and never at any other time. You want Him to be your Savior without Him being your Lord." But it's like they say, whenever you point a finger, you have 3 pointing at yourself. I know that I'm no better than the Israelites. I can run and do my own thing for a while, realize that it's not working, turn to God, rinse, repeat. Reading God's words delivered by Jeremiah, I think I have a better understanding of the fear of the Lord. He knew their hearts weren't towards Him. They wanted forgiveness for being unfaithful, but were all too willing to remain unfaithful. I've truly been convicted and blessed from reading this one so far.

What are you reading? Or watching? Or listening to?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Like an Annoying Neighbor

I think I’ve turned into a commercial snob. It probably comes from living with Robbie and Mark Buss, because the Buss family always mutes commercials. Now that commercials aren’t muted, I can’t stand most of them. I’m always over critical of them. It’s like I’m unintentionally looking for them to say something stupid or make an outrageous claim that they can’t come close to fulfilling. Some commercials make it easier than others.
For example, the State Farm commercials. I’m not talking about the ones where people sing their theme song and an agent pops up or their spouse is instantly hotter (although I could). I’m talking about the ones with the the third runner up for the Tom Cruise look-alike contest. Like this one:

It is nice to know you can trust people. Except, I don’t think we can trust people. It’s easy to set it up to seem like you can trust people. I’ll trust someone to give me back my correct change if the script calls for it. But when there is no script, people don’t always get their change back. When there is no script, your co-worker who you let live with you out of the goodness of your heart will steal $300 in video games from you. When there is no script, the kid working at Sonic will give you back change for $10 when you gave him a $20. When there is no script, Arizona will lead the nation in identity theft. I can write a book about a black family living in North Dakota and then claim that there are plenty of black people in North Dakota, but that won’t prove anything. Using fiction to state fact does not prove your point well.

And don’t forget this one:

This one bothers me to no end. This time, they didn’t even manipulate the situation to make their point like they should have. I get that they were at a place that can hold a lot of people, just like their insurance agency. But they really didn’t think that one through. How can you stand inside of a baseball stadium after having bought concessions and claim that saving money is an American pastime? I’ve sold candy at a baseball stadium. I know that the price that they charge for snacks is outrageous. It’s like going to Westboro Baptist Church and claiming that tolerance is the American way. It just doesn’t add up.

When I buy Zacchaeus and have to pay for insurance, I don’t want to go to State Farm. I don’t care that they have more clients than Geico and Progressive combined. Especially if all those clients think it’s reasonable to buy a hot dog for $17. Give me the gecko. Give me the assassinated president from 24. Give me Flo (I’m kidding; I want to kick her in the throat). You can keep your second to last samurai.

Now excuse me while I write a book about a North Dakotan black family.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ashamed of the Gospel

I just came back the other day from Colorado Springs for my fourth EDGE summit. It was by far my favorite one for reasons I may or may not elaborate on further in the future.

One of the things that I brought back from summit was actually something I brought to the summit. We had to do a Bible study before we arrived, and it was on our calling to ministry. The first questions asked about verses that God used to call us. I’ve written about how God really put Isaiah 6:1-8 on my heart before on here, and this was of course one of the verses I’ve used. So, I went back read it. I decided to look at the whole chapter instead of just the first 8 verses (which is only an additional 5 verses). I was struck by the difference between myself and the person whose calling I kinda jackmoved.

After God asks who will go out for Him and Isaiah volunteers, God tells Isaiah the message he’s going to be giving. Verses 9 and 10 make it seem really hopeless. Blinding eyes, deafening ears, and dulling hearts is not a really good message. But Isaiah doesn’t say, “Gee, God, um, that’s not a really good message to be giving people. Maybe You wanna give them a more hopeful message.” No, that’s not what he said. His response? “How long, O Lord?”

Really Isaiah? “How long?” You hear what you have to tell people, and you ask God how long you should do it? No hesitation? I have a more hopeful message than that, and I’m hesitant to share it. I tell people that they can meet their maker, but not in a bad way. I tell people that God came down to earth to build a bridge between God and man. I tell people that they can live eternally with God, who cares for and loves them deeply. I tell people that there’s hope, love, grace, and peace. And yet, I don’t want to go up and tell people about that. That’s uncomfortable. That’s unnatural. That’s not what I wanna do. My natural response isn’t “how long?” It’s more, “Do I have to?”

This was on my mind a lot at the summit and still is. It got me asking a lot of “why” questions. Why am I ashamed of the gospel? I look at Romans 1:16, and it doesn’t make sense. Why should anyone be ashamed of the gospel? What’s there to be ashamed of? What aspect of the gospel is shame-worthy? People are ashamed of their pasts, of the things they’ve done, of the things they regret. I don’t understand why we are ashamed of the gospel.

Yet we are, and I include myself in that. I don’t quite get it. There are other things that I share with others so willingly, but the gospel? Uh, maybe later. That thing that gives life, that sets the captives free, that brings man to the relationship with God that he should have had from the beginning--yeah, that I’ll keep to myself.

Every summit, I buy a book that I fully intend to read but never do, and this summit was not an exception. While in the very popular Glen Eyrie bookstore, a John MacArthur book caught my eye. It’s called Ashamed of the Gospel. I bought it because I think it describes a current trend in the Church and in my life. I don’t want that to be true, but it is. I pray that this will stop being true. I want to love Jesus more than I love being comfortable. I want to be able to speak the words in Romans 1:16 with the confidence that I see in Paul. I don’t want Jesus to be ashamed of me because I was ashamed of Him.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. -Romans 1:16