(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Martin Neuhof)
This is part of a book blogging project for Scot McKnight‘s book, One.Life. In this blogging project, various contributors will be looking at each chapter of the book as McKnight unfolds his answer to the question, “What is a Christian?” I believe that what McKnight has to say will challenge each of us in different ways on how we view what it means to follow Jesus and how we help children and families understand that. Please interact with what is written here in the comments section below. Also, I encourage you to pick up One.Life and read along with us adding your thoughts and impressions as well.
The review for chapter one is submitted by Doug Olson. Doug Olson is a full time special education teacher who has taught mentally impaired kids for 20 years. He and his wife have 4 kids of his own and are on the brink of a new frontier: ADOLESCENCE! (Pray for us!) Doug and his wife, Robin, have been married for almost 19 years. They attend a large non denominational church where Doug and his older kids volunteer in the children’s ministry. Doug has been a part time children’s director, camp speaker and conference speaker. He is currently working on a certificate in Children’s Ministry and has completed The Kidology Personal Coaching program.
Chapter 1 – One.Life
Question: What is a Christian?
A Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus, and the Christian life focuses on personal practices of piety.
We have One.Life. What are we going to do with it? How will we feel fulfilled? How are we going to make a difference? What is it all for? What are our dreams?
In the first chapter of One.Life, McKnight explains that we dream because it is God’s way of showing us what He wants us to accomplish in our lives. God gives us our dreams. Our dreams guide us to fulfillment and purpose. When you chase your dreams you live. Our dreams provide the passion that fuels what we do from day to day to make a difference. When we find the dream of all dreams we flourish. Everything else in life falls into place.
McKnight doesn’t leave us thinking all we have to do is dream big, pursue those dreams and life would be peachy. He brings a sense of reality to the table. When we begin to dream big we get “possibility overload.” We can see so many ways to change that it becomes overwhelming. McKnight states that to really follow or chase our dreams, we need to devote our One.Life to the dream behind all that we dream. That “dream behind our dreams” is the Kingdom dream of Jesus. We need to give our One.Life to following Jesus and his dream. McKnight devotes the rest of the book explaining the Kingdom dream of God and what Jesus meant when he talked about this Kingdom.
How refreshing to see in writing what I have believed about living for Jesus!
I have been in the process of following my dream for the past two years. At times I believed this dream to be crazy. I am a 20 year veteran teacher in public education. In those years I have acquired a nice pension that will be fully available to me at retirement. Currently, my benefits and salary allow my family to live comfortably. I have this dream, though, which doesn’t include me continuing in public education. My family and I will need to abandon what we know for this dream. My dream is to work in full-time children’s and family ministry.
Many of the questions McKnight and his wife asked and the situations they went through living out his dream are the same questions we’ve asked and situations we’ve gone through over the past two years. This past summer I finally realized that my dream was to only follow Jesus, making Him the process by which I live. As McKnight said, Jesus’ vision is so big it calls me to give up everything I know and have known. His vision is so big it swallows up my dreams. I am a follower and disciple of Jesus, first and foremost.
McKnight suggest that often times, being a Christian means you carry out many pious acts: saying and doing the right things, hanging out with the right people, going to the right church, etc. I think the implications of this are huge for kids ministry. We need to be more focused on Jesus. I often think of Peter walking on water. When he focused on Jesus he could do it. As he lost his focus on Jesus, he sank. Our kids need to know that. It is following Jesus and making Him the focus of their lives and their dreams that make life fulfilling and rewarding. At a conference one of the speakers put it this way when speaking about our burdens (I often equate my burden to my dreams). Our burdens can and do become overwhelming, but Jesus’ burdens are light. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus himself says it best, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (ESV). We need to help our kids focus on how to follow Jesus, how to live out loud, and how to have Kingdom dreams. This One.Life will become real to our kids if we provide ourselves as an example by living it out in our homes.
Question: What is a Christian?
A Christian is someone who follows Jesus.
I am still working on following Jesus and dreaming Kingdom dreams. This weekend my family and I have been invited to be guests at a church to learn more about them and the community as a possible fit for full time ministry. We are serious about living our lives for Jesus and following Him. We are excited that we have this opportunity to abandon our reality for His reality.
Be sure to check out the rest of this book blogging project:
- March 28 – Chapter 1: One.Life – Doug Olson
- March 29 – Chapter 2: Kingdom.Life – Eli Suddarth
- March 30 – Chapter 3: Imagined.Life – Dan Scott
- March 31 – Chapter 4: Love.Life – Emily Mullens
- April 1 – Chapter 5: Justice.Life – Noel Walker
- April 2 – Chapter 6: Peace.Life – Jesse Smith
- April 3 – Chapter 7: Wisdom.Life – Jared Massey
- April 4 – Chapter 8: Church.Life – Tim Shiels
- April 5 – Chpater 9: Committed.Life – Chris Lema
- April 6 – Chapter 10: Sex.Life – Henry Zonio
- April 7 – Chpater 11: Vocation.Life – Helen Lee
- April 8 – Chapter 12: Eternity.Life – Christiaan VandenHuevel
- April 9 – Chapter 13: God.Is.Love.Life – Henry Zonio
- April 10 – Chapter 14: Cross.Life.Ressurection.Life – Barbara Graves