Fools JAM Journal Part 1

jesusfreak

I am grateful to have had the chance over the years to write some JAM (Jesus And Me) Journals for the quiet time morning Bible studies that Fellowship Church’s youth group uses each year for their youth retreats. This is one I did for their Fools curriculum. I hope it is something that God uses in your life like he did mine. 

When I was a teenager I lived through (and guess I was actually part of) the Jesus Freak movement in Christianity. If you’ve never heard of them, there was a very popular Christian music group named DC Talk who released an album named Jesus Freak which was also the name of the hit song. The song was released in 1995 and began a movement among Christian teenagers embracing the idea that Jesus has called us to live a lifestyle that appears to be foolish to worldly culture. This lifestyle took on the name (like the song) of being a Jesus Freak and living a life based off of how Jesus taught his followers rather than how the world says we should live.

Nearly 22 years later, we are still called to be Jesus Freaks by living counter to the culture of the world. Jesus actually commands us as His followers to do things that our culture would deem as crazy. Jesus said things like, “Love your enemies and pray for those who curse you.” (Matthew 5:44 NLT) and “If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (Matthew 18:9 NLT) These are ideas that our world considers foolish but if we properly understand what Jesus was teaching then we will understand that He was calling us to a higher lifestyle that leads to a more fulfilling life that brings the Kingdom on Earth like it is in Heaven.

This weekend will be all about becoming Fools for Christ. As you journey through these short days I want to encourage you to take this time seriously and use it to honestly evaluate where your faith stands. Are you willing to be considered a fool by the world in order to reach one single person knowing it can change their life for eternity? Or, are you so weakened by fear that you fail to share your faith with others? Only you can answer that; and only you can change it for the better.

Dig Deeper

[18] One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. [19] Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

[21] A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. [22] They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind. (Matthew 4 NLT)

The record of these events are in multiple Gospels and others give more information. To give you more background, Jesus convinces Peter, Andrew, James, and John to go fishing with Him during the daytime. The crazy things about this is that, in that region, fishing is always best at night and their business was in fishing. To add to that, they had been fishing all night and didn’t catch anything. Yet, when Jesus took them fishing they caught so many fish at one time that they couldn’t drag in the nets into the boat! This meant that Jesus had just basically given them tons of money (in their economy) and then, immediately after that, tells them to leave everything behind and follow him as his disciples.

To our culture, this would be incredibly foolish. To get into such a lucrative situation with your business where you just made tons of money and then leave it all behind would be such a crazy thing to do. In our culture, much like theirs, receiving such a financial blessing would be a sign from God to keep doing what they had been. Yet, Jesus immediately asks them to leave it all behind and follow him. They left behind a prospering business, their families, their responsibilities, and the life they had lived for who knows how long to be disciples of a radical Rabbi they had probably never met before.

And they did it.

Look in the mirror

How does this apply to you? Perhaps, like me, you’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that what our culture says will make you happy, successful, and fulfilled will actually do that. Maybe you’ve even thought that what Jesus taught or what the Bible says is crazy because it is the opposite of what the world says to do. The thing that we will be learning this weekend is that no matter how foolish it may look, doing what God calls us to do will always give more satisfaction and fulfillment than anything the world says to do. Start now to ask yourself, “Am I willing to be a Jesus Freak to do what God is calling me to do? Or am I too scared to truly be a follower of Jesus?” This weekend will challenge you to think over that idea and consider whether or not you are simply a believer (someone who places total trust in Jesus) or if you are a disciple (one who follows the example of their teacher or master).

Write it down

What are some things that the world says you should do that the Bible says you shouldn’t (or vice versa)? Which way of living do you think will give you more fulfillment and satisfaction in the long run? (take time to reflect and answer these questions)

What in your life needs to change so that you can surrender to God? Are you willing to be a fool in the eyes of the world in order to truly be a disciple of Christ? Take time now to list them by name and pray for God to empower you to share the Gospel with them soon.

Final thought:

[15] Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. [16] But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16 NLT)

In this passage Peter is telling Christians that they must always be prepared to share their faith to anyone who would ask about it. Take some time right now to ask God to give you the strength to be foolish in the eyes of the world and to provide you with the boldness to share your faith with those who need to hear it. I pray that you would even now begin to think of those who need to hear about God’s great salvation and pray for chances to share it with them.

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