Following Jesus in today's world
I know that this post can become a lighting rod, so let me bring some clarity to why I’m writing this.
As your pastor, I get to share the words of Jesus and let His Holy Spirit encourage and inspire your thoughts and feelings when it comes to how best to faithfully follow Jesus in today’s world.
To be clear, it is not my place to tell you how to vote or what it means for you to “vote your values”.
So, as a follower of Jesus, our heart beats to hear and live out the words of Jesus: love God back with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself - like God has and continues to love you. (Matthew 22:37-39)
Or, to be succinct, Jesus said it best on the night he was betrayed: I give you this new command: Love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34)
Here’s the dilemma: Simultaneously loving God and people has never been more important or challenging.
It’s never been more important because at times, loving God and loving people can sometimes feel so diametrically different.
And we are called to both - love God and (all) people. Equally. Wholly. Completely. No exceptions.
And it’s never been more challenging because we know that the only thing that can transform a heart of stone into a heart of flesh is the love of God through Jesus. (Ezekiel 11:14-21). And, people experience this love through echoing Jesus’ human words and actions like, “I forgive you”; “I’m for you”; “I am with you”; and “I love you”.
Afterall, Jesus - the complete and total love of God becomes human and changes the world with His words and actions. (John 1:14)
It is no surprise to me that many Jesus followers today have become cynical and apathetic or increasingly vocal and active when it comes to politics (on all sides, everywhere). As a result, so much of what we hear and see are emotional topics tied up in religious phrases.
Where does that leave most of us feeling? Exhausted? Overwhelmed? Disappointed?
It may surprise you that Jesus does not give instructions on how to vote.
However, Jesus does remind, renew, and restore our understanding of the role (or vocation) we have as citizens and neighbors in our communities, nation, and world.
Here are five things Jesus said that are worth considering when it comes to following Jesus in our current politicized reality.
Want to have a deeper conversation about your vocation as a child of God, a human neighbor, and citizen of your community, nation, and world? Reach out and let’s plan to grab a cup of coffee or lunch.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.