Do I have a contagious love for Jesus?

That causes other believers and pre-believers around me, to want what I have, because He’s so awesome that nothing else hardly matters to me?  So I have an other-worldly humility, and an other-worldly love for others, especially those whose values are opposite of mine?  So I operate in out-of-character-for-Dave kinda ways?  Self-forgetting/uninhibited?

Or is my faith saltless, impotent, my love lukewarm?

How does one get fresh faith: that contagious-kinda love for Jesus?   I don’t see it starting as a cognitive/intellectual thing: not something I will into being: not something for which I get glory.   Faith is something granted.   A God-thing.  From the Spirit via fresh conviction of sin, especially the sin of indifference/dissatisfaction with Jesus and His righteousness imputed to me, wanting some of my own: wanting to feel good about Dave’s performance, as a believer, hubby, father, friend, Gospel-centric discipler, writer, lover-of-pre-believers, investor, manager-of-his-health-issues.  All good things.   But usually distractions for me.  From being captivated by the Lover of my soul.  So my love for Him is contagious.

–LukeWarmDave, needing prayer so he’s freshly wowed by Jesus, head-over-heels in love with Jesus, can’t stop thinking about Jesus, so the pre-believers around him are wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

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High-caste Hindus now following Jesus,

and paying a high cost.  Sareeta and Sunitha followed Sai Baba, a person that is worshipped as a god.  One of their sisters had a powerful mystical experience with the Hindu gods.  Her family and community started to look at their sister as a god herself.

Sareeta moved to London and everything went wrong.  She found herself all alone in the hospital.  She was dying but the doctors could not determine why.  A worker in the hospital shared that Jesus could heal her and he prayed for her.  She survived.  The Lord now had her attention.  God brought a series of Jesus-followers into her life and soon she gave up Sai Baba and became a follower of Jesus.

When she visited her family in India she told them about this Jesus who saved her life.  Her sister Sunitha became a believer too.  Both of them received abuse for their belief.  All Indian Christians are low caste.   They were giving up their high-caste somebodiness to be considered low-caste nobodies.   They endured shaming and abuse heaped on them by family and others.

Sunitha moved to London too.  Mounika, the daughter of their sister who is respected as a god, also wanted to learn about Jesus.  When her parents discovered this they shouted at her and her dad beat her.  She wanted to learn more about Jesus so she moved to London to live with her two aunts.

Today, all of them attend church and several Bible studies, including two run by missionaries I know who have created Indian-friendly Jesus-communities in several parts of London, full of both new believers and seekers.  Sometimes these three former high-caste Hindus call, Pat, a missionary for whom I pray, and invite her over to teach them some more.  Pat says they are voracious studiers of God’s Word.

–WeakDave, trying to get us believers to see ourselves as the ones most needy of further change by Jesus, so we hang out with pre-believers in fruitful ways (please pray now)

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Relax and enjoy the ride.

I sit behind the steering wheel, like God Himself, assuming I know the way, know good turns from bad.  Is it any wonder that life is so hard for me?  Boy this driving job seemed like a fairly easy one, but now I’m feeling pressure: like someone completely out of his element.  Sometimes fearful, sometimes frustrated, and sometimes discouraged.  ShepherdJesus is sitting in the back seat telling me it certainly doesn’t have to be this way.  I can crawl over the seat and sit in the back anytime I want.  ShepherdJesus is more than ready to switch with me and take the wheel.

But can I relax and enjoy the ride from the back seat?  Do I trust Him to make the right turns?  Am I sure He knows the right route to get me the happiness/LIFE I’m wanting?  Whoa, why is He turning down this street?  This doesn’t seem right to me at all.  What is He doing?  Is He worthy of my trust, or is He in fact the nincompoop, ne’r-do-well that I am beginning to suspect?  Uh-oh, another turn up a street that seems equally bad.  I think I’d better jump back into the front seat and take control of this car.  I’m just sure I know a better way.  This is out of the way, we’re taking some roads that could be very dangerous/hazardous…especially to my comfort, reputation, self-esteem.

“Okay, ShepherdJesus, that’s it; get out from behind the wheel; I’m taking over.  I may not have the self-confidence I’d like in all areas of my life, but I doggone sure know good turns from bad turns, good roads from bad ones, and this is not a good route You’ve taken me on.  Stop the car: either I want the wheel, or I want out.”

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to embrace being childlike, dependent, riding-in-the-back-seat DumbSheepDave, so the pre-believers around him will be wowed by the difference his Shepherd makes in his life, and want Him too (please pray now)

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In the upside-down Kingdom of Jesus,

shepherds are losers and sheep are winners.   Why?  Because He created us humans to be dependents, not independents.   Pride is only a problem of shepherds.   And self-righteousness.   And feeling superior to others.   And irritation, impatience.   And control-freakness.  And fear.   And discouragement.  Why?   In the right-side-up kingdom of this world, we shepherds think we know what’s best for us and those we love.

Lowly, humble, clueless sheep don’t know what’s best, are not wise in their own eyes, do not lean on their own understanding, so they look to their Shepherd for direction: they ask about everything.   And because they don’t know what’s best, they thank Him for everything, even the harrrd.   But.   Clueless sheep have fun in this world, while shepherds have misery, unless things momentarily go their way.   And when things go their way, they become even stronger shepherds.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to have more fun as DumbSheepDave, so the other shepherd-wannabes will want what he has, want his Shepherd, and the fun of being shepherded by Him (please pray now)

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Jesus delivers happiness,

but only to clueless sheep.   Jesus has nothing to offer other shepherds/independents, those who are wise in their own eyes, leaning on their own understanding.  In fact, Jesus frequently thwarts the attempts of His sheep who are shepherd-wannabes, trying to make their lives work, trying to find happiness, on their own.  Jesus created us to be happy as humble, clueless, lowly sheep, and to be miserable as shepherd-wannabes.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he returns to being DumbSheepDave, asking His Shepherd about everything, thanking Him for everything, especially the harrrd, so he’ll be happy as a clam, no matter the circumstances, so the other sheep will want His Shepherd too (please pray now)

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The quest for independency,

is the curse of the human condition since Adam and Eve.   Humans live in denial of how consumed we are with human accomplishment, somebodiness.  Not just pre-believers, but we believers too.  Materialism is only one facet of the problem.  Believers of modest means are also eaten up with feeling good about self, having some performance of my own, or noting the poor performance of others.

Who will deliver us from this prison, this curse, of being so circumstance-dependent for our joy and peace, and the stress of trying to live as an independent?   Jesus.   He’s in the business of reversing the effects of The Curse in the lives of His kids, by lovingly bringing suffering into our lives to painfully retrain us in a better way to live: as childlikes, created-dependent sheep, looking to the Good Shepherd to take care of the details of life, so we can just have fun, being directed by Him.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer to return to being a contented clueless sheep, with no need for somebodiness/performance of his own, so the other sheep will be wowed and want what he has (please pray now)

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Loving pre-believers is fruitful.

Excerpt pasted below, from the prayer letter of a missionary couple I’ve been praying for, who spend lots of time building intimate friendships with pre-believers in an edgy section of London.

–WeakDave, trying to encourage believers to spend time with pre-believers

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“Someone knocked on Oli’s door.  It was a guy our team had met on the streets several weeks before. He had prayed with Constance and Oli, and for the first time in his life had acknowledged that Jesus was Lord and the only way to come to the Father.  That day he was drunk.  Last night he was completely sober.  He had a crumpled flyer for the Jesus study in his hand, and a question for Oli burning in his mind.  He has been sober since Constance prayed for him, and he has felt alive and eager to tell people about Jesus – and he wanted to know: `What has happened to me?!’  Oli explained that when we put our trust in Jesus as Lord, he comes and lives in us – what he was experiencing was the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in his life!  He now wants to become part of the church and be baptized.  How awesome is that?!  Rejoice with us and with the angels that one of God’s lost children has been found – and also pray for Oli and all of us in Lysan as we welcome this guy and grow together as disciples of Jesus.”

The yoke of a created-dependent sheep,

trying to be an independent/CEO/orphan/shepherd, is extremely heavy, burdensome.  A Curse, weighing down the sheep: we get stressed, exhausted, from having the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Why do we sheep do this?  We believe a lie, that we’ll be happier functioning as shepherds/somebodies, rather than lowly sheep.  Common.  Ordinary.  Nobodies.  Losers, by comparison.  Unable to direct myself, captain my soul, master my fate.  No glory to me, because all glory goes to shepherds/somebodies.

But the Good Shepherd offers His own yoke to His sheep, and it’s as light as a feather.  Easy as pie.  And for those who are humbled by the Spirit, into wearing it, LIFE-giving.  Effortless existence when I function as DumbSheepDave, because my joy and peace have nothing to do with my circumstances.  Ahhh.  Tis so sweet to freshly trust in Jesus: freshly dead to being something I was never designed to be.

–ShepherdDave, needing prayer for fresh conviction of the sin of independence, so he experiences LIFE as DumbSheepDave, enticing the pre-believers around him to want what he has (please pray now)

To read past email updates from WeakDave, or free subscribe: gospelfriendships.icontact.com or search for GospelFriendships (one word) on Facebook, and “like” the page, or subscribe to my blog: dumbsheepdave.com