Who do you say Jesus is?

08d2a046a15511e1b10e123138105d6b_7

By: Jana Greene

Who do you say that he is?

Jesus, I mean.

He asked me to ask you…..who do you say that He is? He is quite concerned about what you think of Him.

Do you say that He is Historical Figure, criminal, prophet or ordinary man? Would you say that  He is the Son of the living God?

Writer and scholar C.S. Lewis, who was an avowed (and very vocal) atheist for many years before accepting Christ described him this way: “Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

This Jesus, who so radically changed the world, was brought up on bogus criminal charges at the end of his earthly life.  He was the first and only completely perfect human being  to have walked the earth. His reward? Death by brutal crucifixion, burial in a tomb from which He would rise in splendor three days later.

But what does that have to do with you? Why would it matter what one man did over two-thousand years ago?

You and I can never live as perfect human beings. I’ve tried, and it was the hardest seven minutes of my life! We need God’s help to secure our place in eternity. Jesus was the sacrifice that makes this possible. But God is not only interested in the “forever”; He is sincerely invested in the ‘here and now’.

Who do I say that Jesus is? He is my

Debt Settler: Jesus is not a debt collection agency, reminding you of every mistake. He is not in the business of setting up payment plans for all of your sin, either.  He settles the debt of all you have accrued  in the past (and I mean ALL of it!) and cancels it entirely when you ask Him to be your savior.  When asking His forgiveness,  no sin debt is  too big or too small. He is waiting to set you free!

Game Changer: Your rules? The way you’ve always handled challenges on your own…He doesn’t even need to see the playbook. He wrote a better one! He changes the trajectory of your life in ways you cannot imagine….in ways you will be so humbled by.

Name Changer: When you accept Jesus, your name is written in permanence in God’s book of life. It isn’t penciled in, jotted down hurriedly. It is written in Spiritual Sharpie, bold and eternal. Your name, and your life, becomes His as you are adopted into His family. The name He remembers you by when He thinks of you? “Mine.”

Life-Giver: I want the kind of life that is eternal, but let’s be honest…I’d like it to be pretty awesome here, too. Jesus doesn’t want us trudging through each day with just enough energy to survive until we get to heaven.  Here’s what Life-Giver Jesus has to say about that in scripture: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10.

Friend: Why the Creator of the universe would want to hang out with me, I have no idea. But for some reason, He does. If he were a great human teacher, that would be humbling enough; but no. Jesus, in dying on the cross and raising to life, bridged the gap between the Holiest of Holy Ones and puny, neurotic, recovering alcoholic, generally-all-around misfit and master of mistakes – ME. His Holy Spirit never leaves my side and calls me “friend”.  And that’s a miracle.

Who do you say that He is? It matters very much.

My name is Jana Greene, and I say He is also the Savior of the world.

ThisClose to a Nervy-B, but all around, His Grace fills Me.

Fences Watermarked

By: Jana Greene

I haven’t written a blog post for over a week, because it has such an odd, difficult, wonderful, sad, exciting time in my life – just over the last week. Today is Saturday and it is 7:00, and I am still in my pajamas. I guess I should mention that it is 7:00 P.M. and I am still in my pajamas. I had scheduled a minor nervous breakdown for today and was hoping it would have resulted in enough crying to snot through at least two boxes of Puffs Plus (the lotion in the tissue makes them extra soft, and if you are having a half-way decent nervous breakdown, you’ll need at least one box). But no. Now that I’m home and have the time to grieve, all I can manage is not getting out of my pajamas. I don’t have the energy to cry.

I was thinking about what a weird week it’s been, and figured that if I can’t muster a nervy-b (as my daughter calls it) maybe I can write about it. Oh yeah. I have a blog….such a distant memory, my blog. But it’s only been a week – an eternity – since I’ve written in it. I thought maybe opening the door to my thoughts might lubricate the gates of my release, so I can get these pent-up feelings out.

As a matter of fact, if I had to choose a word to describe the past week, it would be “gates”.

In the span on one week, the gates of opportunity swung open in a most unexpected manner, so that I could start work in my (WARNING: cliché use ahead) “Dream Job”. Starting any job is stressful and at least a little difficult, what with learning new things and faces and protocol in the office. I worked hard and long and with great enthusiasm because I want this to work so very much.

A few days after I started work, a terrible thing happened. Our sweet, sassy, bossy dictator of a 20 pound cat, Hunter, had to be “put down” because his cancer tumor was pressing on his windpipe and he was beginning to suffer. My Beloved and his daughter took him there and held him, loved him as he passed into the pearly Gates and out of his family’s arms. He had been healthy only a month before! His tumor grew so fast, there wasn’t a lot of time to say goodbye. And now we miss him like crazy – his incessant hissing at the dog, crying for food, but also his ability to scrootch up against you while you are trying to type on the computer and put his little paws on the mouse…..you know, as if he was saying, “Hi, Mom. I’m just gonna walk across the keyboard and rewrite your document with utter nonsense, then I’m going to lay on it, because you’ve obviously been warming it up for me. And then I’ll just erase your work with a few kitty keystrokes. And you are going to think I’m adorable.”

I miss that stinkin’ cat like crazy. He died on a Tuesday, but I had no time to grieve.

Our church is kicking off a brand-spankin’-new Celebrate Recovery program at Lifepoint, which is REALLY exciting, and for which we leaders have worked and trained and sacrificed and poured ourselves into. That meeting opens up Monday nights and we are all standing right at the gates waiting for the moment to launch, waiting for the time we can finally serve others who need Christ.

But then yesterday, I got a call that a good friend of mine had passed away from cancer…after a valiant seven-year battle with it. We were such good friends that she helped me plan my wedding in 2007 and I sat though her chemo treatments many times. But suddenly, she and her family moved three states away and I never heard from her again. So its kind of a double whammy – I am grieving for her, and grieving that there is no closure between she and I. All the things that needed to be said were left unsaid, and will always be unsaid now. She got to walk through the gates of Heaven, and I was too busy learning a new job to even break down like I wanted to. I wanted to so badly. When the tears sprung up in my eyes, I chastised them, telling them they would have to wait. When I got the call about Jen’s passising, I was at work. I held it together, making a promise to myself that I would have this Nervy B today, here in my pajamas..

So much sad news.

But so much happy news, too! Like starting my job, and starting the Celebrate Recovery at church. OH – and my dear friend, Beth, who is due to give birth any minute now and has asked me to be her birth coach.

Isnt’ that just like life? Losing friends and kitties that we love, while new babies drop in to position for birth – seven and a half pounds of screaming, puking, erethral, soft and lovely evidence that God wants life to carry on. Even with all the stress, and loss and work that we must endure.  I’m glad he gives us such a heaping measure of grace with which to get through all of these things.

I think I might be too exhausted to really lose it, Nervy B style. Maybe I’ll just cope with this week by eating mass quantities of chocolate  and staying in my pajamas for another day or so….you know, until the gates of work open Monday Morning.

And Monday night, when our Celebrate Recovery small group shares around the circle, I will share that I ate mass quantities of chocolate, and no one will tsk tsk at me, judgementally, because they understand the particulars of a really healthy Nervy B. And then, just maybe, we will pass the Puffs Plus  around and remind each other of how blessed we are. And about how grateful we are that the ministry is not a gated community and they let the likes of us in.