St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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An Audience of One
Part 2 of 2 (see part 1) | January 22, 2012

Last week, we began a journey that embraced a powerful vision of ourselves before Jesus. Against every temptation to see otherwise, we put our eyes on him as our “Audience of One.” I introduced the vision with a personal story, but in the week since many have shared their own stories of how they too find comfort and peace in living for an Audience of One.

One might be tempted to believe that living for the audience of Jesus is somehow unrealistic when the boss is threatening or when people expect us to meet their needs. It may even cause some to shrug off responsibility they have to others. I believe this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I believe that living for an audience of One uncovers the deception that we merely work for a paycheck or the approval of others. Under oppressive demands and loveless criticism, the Apostle Paul shows us Jesus right where we need him saying, “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” (Ephesians 6:7).

I believe that living for an audience of One reveals the highest standard as Jesus himself. He carried the curse away that sin cast on our view of God’s standards. Our twisted thinking may reduce God’s high standards to some competitive grading scale with our peers, rather than freedom, peace and joy to imitate with Jesus. The Bible shines this light on such faulty thinking, “by grace… we are God’s workmanship.” We are snatched from the curse, forgiven and empowered with Jesus’ blood stained hands and divinely setup to succeed. The lie is living to boast of it before another audience (c.f. Ephesians 2:8-10).

An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal1 was slipped in my box the other day. It traced the journey of two faith stories, athletes Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. The article displayed an uncanny understanding that what the audience of the world may judge about success or failure isn’t what defines the faith of a Christian. Speaking to the ups and downs of Tim Tebow’s public performances it remarked, “Tebow handled the spotlight, always crediting God with his success, and always surrendering his disappointments to Him as well.”

How refreshingly insightful! To surrender all—success and disappointment—is a critical part of our growth as disciples of Jesus. Both are difficult, but the audience of Jesus is a wonderful place to be both in a cruel, unforgiving world and in our world that makes idols out of success stories.

King David understood the pitfalls of success and trials of personal defeat. Despite his notoriety and imperialistic successes, he found his life in an audience of One. In the face of temptation and victory, riches and turmoil, he could say, “He alone is my rest… alone is my rock… alone is my fortress… alone is my salvation… alone is my hope… alone is my honor…” (c.f. Psalm 62).
Disciples in the first century physically followed their teacher everywhere they went. If we live as disciples for an audience of One, we will embrace the joy of the same. A disciple, after all, is a follower who has left all other audiences behind for the sole joy of learning, imitating, living and serving at the pleasure of the master teacher. That’s wonderfully challenging; and heavenly to embrace.

What the Wall Street Journal article concluded of Tebow and Wuerffel is the conclusion we know to be true for all disciples, “The crowds are irrelevant: Both men have always played for an audience of One.”

 

 

1Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2012, "Tim Tebow's Role Model" by Micheal Flaherty and Nathan Witaker.

(c)2012 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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