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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

My Challenge Lately

My Challenge Lately

Over the last year life has been very busy. My wife Brittany and I had a baby boy named Oakley, we sold our home, lived with friends for a few months, bought a new home, completely remodeled it and just now we seem to be settling in. We have another baby boy coming in April now too! JSAW has also been going through quite a bit of change in the last 18 months. We have had 5 staff changes, a new board of directors; we cut hired events and two other longstanding events, grew the budget by 35%, grew the shop by 20% and more than doubled our mentoring relationships and number of small groups. It is exhausting just typing these things out and I find myself unimpressed with it.

It seems like that is the world we live in these days, especially in this holiday season. We are constantly barraged with content from TV and social media, there is an overgrowing pile of activities to get the kids to, friends and family to connect with and lists of to do lists. Everything is constantly competing for our attention, our affection and our time. I feel it in my heart, and I see it in the faces of riders and their parents everyday.

Luke chapter 10 is encouraging to me in this moment. Its what I’ve been teaching at Bible study the last three weeks. At the start of the chapter Jesus sends out the 72 disciples into the towns ahead of him. They return rejoicing that even the demons submit to them in His name. Jesus is filled with joy and tells them to rejoice not because of the submission of demons, but because their names are written in heaven. Next Jesus is approached by a lawyer asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus points him to the law’s commands to love God and love your neighbor. But the lawyer further probes to discover who his neighbor is. Who is my neighbor? Who should I extend this love to? Jesus responds not with what to do, but with a story about who a neighbor should be, because what we do flows from who we are. Luke 10 ends with Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha. Martha is scurrying around like a good host at Christmas when Jesus comes over. She is preparing the food, getting the house in order and being a servant. Then there is Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, enthralled in worship, soaking up the words and presence of the King, the creator of everything, my friend and my Savior.

That is what is most important; BEING with Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus is not something I do, it is who I am. Oswald Chambers said it well, “The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for him.” Look at your life; what are you doing… what does it reflect? Where are you investing your time, affection and attention? Maybe your actions are selfish and sinful. Maybe your actions are others focused and holy. Either way we need to be with Jesus. Serving others is good, but not the most important. Serving yourself is not the most important either. Jesus is. It’s about being in the presence of Jesus. This is something the Holy Spirit has been challenging me with lately. This Christmas don’t let all your doing and activity camouflage your lack of being with Jesus. After all, Jesus is what Christmas is all about! Never stop being with Jesus.

-Jonny Nelson

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