Letter to FaithPoint

Pic from Flickr by Ensar IAY+k

Pic from Flickr by Ensar IAY+k

Last week I posted notes for you from the series that I am doing on holiness for a local youth group. These notes are part two of that series.

The title of that sermon is: Whatever It Takes.

The text for that sermon comes from Luke 19:1-10

Jericho – same city that Joshua leads the people of Israel to march against in Joshua 6. It is not the same place as it was in the time of Joshua. King Herod acquired the city from Caesar Augustus. Herod tuned the city into what he wanted it to be. Jericho became Herod’s winter retreat.

Jericho is where Zacchaeus lived. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. He had people that worked under him. He was rich. He most likely made his money by over-taxing people what they really owed. If you were a tax collector, you were considered to be dirt, worthless, the scum of the earth. People would have rather had their teeth pulled out than to be in the vicinity of a tax collector. Tax collectors were hated people. This was the case with Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming to his town. Zacchaeus had heard stories of Jesus. Stories about Jesus spread quickly. Jesus taught Scripture as did the temple leaders but Jesus taught with authenticity and authority. Jesus preached in such a way that people were compelled to listen to him. People walked away in awe of Jesus. When was the last time that you were in awe of Jesus?

Word quickly spread about Jesus and his teachings. This is no doubt the way Zacchaeus heard about Jesus. Zacchaeus had a desire to see Jesus. He had heard about Jesus but just hearing about Jesus was not enough. He wanted more. More of Jesus. So he takes it upon himself to do whatever it takes to see more of Jesus. He runs ahead of the crowd and climbs a tree.

Zacchaeus was determined to do whatever it took to see more of Jesus. Zacchaeus had lived his whole life living for himself. Prideful, selfish, conceited and the list probably could go longer; these were words that described Zacchaeus. With the stories he heard about Jesus, something resonated insided him that made him aware that he needed to see Jesus.
What Zacchaeus did would be considered by some – drastic, strange, weird. He climbed a tree.
Now this brings up a question that we all have to answer.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to see more of Jesus?
There are times where we get complacent, stagnant and bored with the routine. We sing songs, listen to the preacher, go home and nothing really changes. It is like we are at a dry, deserted place in our life.
What we need is an oasis, a new refreshing taste of who Jesus is. We need that relationship more than ever. For us to be passionate, engaging, devoted disciples of Jesus, this is not an option.
If you stay in a spiritually dry desert, you will die.
You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to know Jesus more.
Wake up earlier.
Read your Bible because you want to not because you have to.
Pray…and mean it.
Give like you have never given before and then trust God to provide.
Serve and expect nothing in return.
It is easy to get so caught up in the routine that we completely miss Jesus.
Run to Jesus.
Chase Jesus.
Pursue Jesus.
It is after all, ALL ABOUT JESUS.
Be forever in awe of Jesus.
Be as my friend Margaret Feinberg says, Wonderstruck.
Your relationship with Jesus is your relationship with Jesus.
Cultivate that and renew your love and passion for Jesus.
Do whatever it takes to know Jesus more.