The Word of God confronts us with two ways. The Law and the Prophets, the Psalms and Proverbs, the Gospels and Letters all present us with the choice of two ways.
It’s not about where you’re going to live, what career you’re going to pursue, who you’re going to marry, or what you’ll have for lunch.
It’s the way of life or death. The way of blessings or curses. The way of God or the way of the world.
Yes, this one choice certainly impacts all those others. It encompasses and involves all those other decisions you make about where you work and where you live and who you marry. But there’s only one choice in Scripture: the way of life or the way of death.
God says, “Choose life!” ~Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Jesus says, “I am the Way.” ~John 14:5-7
When we choose Jesus, we choose the way of life and the way of blessing and the way of God. We sign up for a life of following Jesus along the way. We commit to walking behind him in his way. Doing things the way he does them. Speaking like he speaks. Thinking the way he thinks. Acting and loving and forgiving and submitting and obeying and serving and suffering and praying the way Jesus does.
It’s a choice we make every day. Every hour. A conscious and constant decision to allow the Holy Spirit of God to empower us and guide us in the Way of Jesus. It’s that first and continual step in asking God to show you what’s NEXT. In submitting to whatever NEXT he has in store for you. In jumping out of your comfort zone and whole heartedly embracing that NEXT that will further transform you into his holy image.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6
Speaking of choices: My annual Tulsa angst has begun. I just received an advance copy of the schedule for this year’s Tulsa Workshop from my friend Terry Rush and I find myself in the same spot I get into every year. How in the world do I choose?
Wednesday’s kick-off evening is easy. No choice. Praise and worship with Kip Long and a keynote address from Randy Harris. Awesome. But the anxiety kicks in early Thursday morning. At 9:00, do I go with the no-brainer, Don McLaughlin, on “Possibility Thinking: Nothing Less Than Winning the World” or Bill Campbell’s “For Church Leaders Only: How to Build a Healthy Congregation?” I could also go hear my friend Josh Ross on “Baptism: Transformed to Join in Jesus’ Mission.” And those are just three of the six possibilities for that hour!
More choices, of course, at 10:00. I’ll probably go with Randy Harris on “Jesus and the Quest for Cool.” But that means saying ‘no’ to Victor Knowles and my friend Dan Bouchelle and three other really interesting speakers and topics.
The 11:00 keynote is easy. No choice. Dusty Rush. No problem. Lunch is easy. I know we’re going to eat at that Mexican restaurant where we always run into Garth Brooks.
But it starts all over again at 2:00. How am I supposed to choose between Al Maxey’s “Breaking the Chains of Rigidity: Frail Hermeneutics” and Terry Rush’s “Adjusting Our Minds to Build Winning Congregations?” Are you kidding?
Same thing at 3:00. Again at 4:00. How does one choose between Marvin Phillips, Edward Fudge, Bobby Valentine, and Randy Harris? How do you choose between “Let the Chains of Spiritual Blinders Fall Away” and “The Unchained Holy Spirit” and “How to Break Free from the Chains of Those Who Won’t Change?”
And that’s just Thursday!
The Tulsa Workshop is one of the spiritual highlights of my every year. Have you never been? You have no idea what you’re missing. I encourage you to make the trip this year. March 23-26. Here’s the website with tons of info. There are special tracks this year for preachers and elders and worship leaders. Programs for the teens. Special stuff for the kids. You’ll be blessed by the worship, the study, the speakers, the fellowship, and the Holy Spirit of God. I really, really, really hope to see you there.