Somehow I have experienced fantastic personal growth as a Christ-follower over the last 10 months of my life.
It’s hard to articulate the process or the way this has happened but the trajectory is still up and shows no signs of crashing and burning.
I have had people ask me about the transformation that has taken place and I have to say it was probably the red letters of Jesus that sparked this monumental growth in my life.
I read a book entitled, “Red Letter Revolution.” You might know the authors, they are a couple of left-wing Christians named Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne. It was one of those books that I had to eat the meat and spit out the bones.
At times I disagreed with these guys and their liberal theology but the book focused on the stuff Jesus said in the Bible and you can’t go wrong with those red letters.
I think if anything it was continuing to read the book and being steadfast in loving these guys who love Jesus — even when we disagreed. That taught me the most and allowed me to apply the very things Jesus was saying.
If you have read the Red Letters you know that we are in trouble if Jesus meant what He said — and I think He did.
He said if you have two coats to give one away — and so I did (Luke 3:11).
Jesus told me that if I believe in Him that I would do greater works than He did.
I believed that and so I started looking and doing (John 14:12).
He told me not to worry and so I stopped (Matthew 6).
He told me to give and it will be given to me and so I did and it has been (Luke 6:38).
He said to love the alien so I stopped watching Fox News (Matthew 25:35).
He gave me a new command to love one another so I stopped being angry at gay people (John 13:34-35).
He said He made the flowers in the field grow and so I started hugging trees and being more sensitive to the environment (Matthew 6:28-29). (OK, I lied about part of that — I’m not a tree hugger and I am still going to vote Republican.)
He said He came so people could have life (John 10:10) so I realized I could not just be pro-birth but I needed to be pro-life too.
It’s amazing at what happens when we stop being ticked off and accept people where they are with all their hurts, habits and hang ups.
One of the amazing things is we become like Jesus – He told me to tell you that.
See you Sunday!
Ken Ansell is the pastor of Community Life Church in Waxahachie.