the barbarian way

Notes from the video this morning…   and a question for you at the bottom…

Matthew 11 – Jesus’ call – “blessed is the one who does not fall away because of Me.”  The Barbarian sees Jesus different than the civilized.  The Civilized buy the theological lie that the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will — or —  God always comes through for us”.

Safe?   Is anything about Jesus safe?

John was a Barbarian – he knew it wasn’t safe.  He knew he’d be beheaded.  Is that safe?  Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 – in prison, flogged, 40 lashes, stoned, shipwrecked three times, in constant danger

Safe?  Where did we get that idea?

We got civilized and taught people that God’s optimal desire for you is to live an insulated life, in a bubble where you risk nothing, sacrifice nothing, lose nothing and worry about nothing.

Jesus died to free us from the fear of death.  He came to liberate us so we’d die up front and then live.  He wants to take us to places where only dead men can go.

Many are embittered with God and confused because God doesn’t come through the way we think He should.  We invite people to step into the comfort, safety and security of Jesus and then we tell them He will bless them and bless them and bless them and take care of our self-centered, egotistic, materialistic self.

We need to go back to “It’s not about you”, Jesus is worth dying for, throw ourselves at His feet and – if – we live a life of hardship and suffering it is worth it because a life with Jesus is more fulfilling and powerful than a life full of the world’s stuff without Jesus.

We can’t choose how we die but we can choose how we live.  Are you willing to lose everything on His behalf?  Are you willing to live a life worth living?

The Disciples of Christ looked different – John wore animal skins on his back and ate locusts and today he’d be considered a manic or … a maniac.  So why are we “good citizens” avoiding sin instead of radically living an extraordinary life?  We’ve had experiences with God that are primal and uncomfortable.  Some have heard God audibly speaking to them.  That’s crazy!  We are not normal!  We are changed by God’s presence.  Live in that!  Stop trying to be “normal”, civilized.

The Kingdom of God has been forcibly advancing (some translations read “violently advancing”) and forceful men take hold of it.  We are at war.  There is an unseen Kingdom battle and people’s lives will be forever changed.

We are warriors of light.  Mystery, uncertainty and even evil lay on the other side of the light but we know the light we bring is the only hope this world will know.   The Church is to be an unstoppable force.

We’ve been telling believers to just back in the window where it is safe when God is saying, “This is a jump you need to take” – it can seem maddening, insane and makes no rational sense to the world but it is God calling, not the World.  God wakes you up, tells you that you can change history of eternity for all sorts of people.  Stop worrying what other people think – you’re called.

The Creator is in communion with you, whispering “I’ve created you to do something extraordinary that is beyond everything you are” but you’ve got to find the Barbarian Way out of civilization.

Notes from the book…

Over the past 2,000 years, Christianity has moved from a tribe of renegades to a religion of conformists.  Those who choose to follow Jesus become participants in an insurrection.  To claim we believe is not enough.  The call of Jesus is one that demands action.  The invitation of Jesus is a revolutionary call to fight for the heart of humanity.

The Barbarian call is not fair or equitable.  When you hear the call, when you follow the call, you must recognize that it is a life-or-death proposition.  When you understand what Jesus means when He says that you must follow Him, you finally realize that this is not a cattle call.  He is not calling you to the same life that everyone else will live.  He’s not even calling you to the same path that every follower of Christ will walk.  Your life is unique before God, and your path is yours and yours alone.

On the other hand, Christianity as a civilized religion claims to have a group plan negotiated with God.  Everybody gets the same package.  And of course, the package is always the premium plan – get rich, get comfortable, get secure, get safe, get well when you get God.  The result and proof of faith are that you get to live a life without risk, which is ironic when you realize that for the early church, faith was a risky business.

God steers us in the direction of His kingdom, His purpose, His passions.  His desire is not to conform us, but to transform us.  Not to make us compliant, but to make us creative.  His intent is never to domesticate us, but to liberate us.

If you are a follower of Christ and you have allowed yourself to be domesticated, you have lost the power of who you are and who God intends for you to be.  You were not created to be normal.  God’s desire for you is not compliance and conformity.  You have been baptized by Spirit and fire.  Asleep within you is a barbarian, a savage to all who love the prim and proper.  You must go to the primal place and enter the presence of the Most High God, for there you will be changed by His presence.  Let Him unleash the untamed faith within you.

Barbarians never exist simply to survive.  Barbarians never just get through the day.  Barbarians wake to live life fully awake.

To be filled with the Spirit of God is to be filled with dreams and visions that are too compelling to ignore.

Live or die, succeed or fail, barbarians must pursue and attempt such dreams and visions.  The barbarian spirit dreams great dreams and finds the courage to live them.

the question for you this morning…

so…what is it for you?  what is it that God is calling you to?  You see, it is just so easy to drown in the busyness of this life.  To drown in our past mistakes, hurts, hang-ups and habits.  To drown in the pressures we all face – with our wives, our children, our budget, future expenses, current debt, the pressures of work, the demands of the yard, taxes, sick parents, the… the… the…

but as we drown in the busyness, we turn inwardly focused and this “God-stuff”, this radical call of McManus, this stuff we talk about week after week at ManSchool seems go to the “yeah, whatever” file, the back burner.  There simply isn’t time.

inwardly focused is dangerous.  it is self-focused and self-consuming.  the more inward we focus, the more inward we turn.  McManus’ call is spot-on.  there is, indeed, a hero inside you awaiting to be awakened.  that hero is called to go out, not in.  To live outward.  To live Wide Awake.

this is what we’re going to be discussing starting next week.  We will start with just the introduction to the book Wide Awake.  if you don’t have a book, get one but you don’t have to have it.  if you want me to order you one, just comment below.  just come.  join us.  let God speak to your soul to become a part of this UPrising of men.  something powerful is happening.  each of our last two sessions have been faced with some opposition, some chaos.  it was 35 degrees this morning in a driving rain storm and I dropped the books in a huge puddle of water.  the internet didn’t work.  we are opposed.  and I very much believe we are opposed because we are onto something.  dream big because something big is about to happen in this community of men.

for those of you that haven’t yet come, we welcome you next week with open arms.  the invitation is wide open.  we’d love to have you.  but you have to come…

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