Companions of Jesus

Come away with me, Come away with me
It’s never too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of Me

Open up your heart and let me in…Open up your heart and let me in…

These are lyrics from “Come away with Me/Let Me in” by Jesus Culture.  I have this scripture I read a few days ago stirring around in my heart but as I was listening to this song earlier I knew I would start my post with these lyrics today.  By now, if you read my blog, you know that I listen to a lot of this band Jesus Culture!  I stumbled across a song called “See His Love” almost 2 years ago from an email my friend Deanna sent to me.  Ever since, I have found the lyrics and genuine worship of this music impacts my life…my worship…my time with Jesus.  So, I encourage you to read over those lyrics again.  I believe they are meant for someone today. 

Those lyrics also go along with what is in my heart to share from Acts 4:13-14 (the message)
     They couldn’t take their eyes off them – Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright – so healed! – what could they say against that?

The backdrop to this scripture is a story I wrote about earlier:  Peter and John had been on their way to the Gate Beautiful when a crippled  beggar called out to them for money.  Peter had no money to give, but simply gave what He had which was the power of the Holy Spirit overflowing in his life.  The crippled man was healed and this drew a crowd!  As the people gathered around the two men, Peter addressed them and proclaimed the Jesus they had crucified the risen Messiah! 

The religious elite of the day were quite angry with these “upstart apostles” (chapter 4) who were instructing the people and telling them Jesus was alive.  They had them arrested and thrown into jail, never-the-less many of those that had listened to Peter believed – around 5,000!!  The next day, the religious leaders brought Peter and John out to question them in front of the “some bodies.”  Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, once again began to boldly explain that Jesus was alive and that Salvation comes no other way.  As you read in the scripture above, it is at this point even the religious rulers, those “trained” in scripture (but having no actual relationship or faith), were themselves mesmerized by these ordinary men…these “companions of Jesus.”

As I sit here at my kitchen table with little girls giggling in the next room (a snow day!), I think of the gospels, of Jesus inviting these ordinary men to “come away” with Him.  Jesus extended to the gruff fishermen, to the devious tax collector, to the educated doctor, to all of them the same invitation He extends to you and I.  Jesus is still making the same request today as He did 2,000 years ago as He walked this earth:  Come away with Me…Open up your heart and let Me in.  And the promise is still the same:  I have a plan for you…it’s gonna be great…it’s gonna be wild…gonna be full of Me.  The reassurance and finality of it all settled:  It’s never too late for you…never too late.

It’s obvious if you read in the book of Acts that the “religious” of the day were put out with Peter and John.  These were not men who had been to Bible College!  These were not men who had kept all the commandments and had a shiny resume to offer God!  Most of all, these men were cutting into their power with the people!  Changed lives were the results of the words and actions of these ordinary men.  Jesus was being glorified and love was raining down in hearts and lives of the people all because when asked, these men opened up their hearts to Jesus and let Him in. 

No doubt God calls men and women to Bible College and Seminary!  I am personally quite grateful for the Pastors I have had in my life that said yes to that call.  The point here is that without real relationship with Jesus our lives are not healed and invaded by God in such a way that we experience those “wild and great” plans God has for us.  You don’t have to have the 5-year plan to come away.  You don’t need a spotless past to open your heart for Him.  You don’t have to possess formal training and education to be a “companion of Jesus.”  I didn’t go to SDU (Shannon Dorsey University) to become a companion to my husband.  It wouldn’t matter if I could spout out facts and dates of his life if I didn’t spend time with him.  A companion is not the same as an expert.  The Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus day would have been the experts…they knew the party-line, they had the title and prestige but they didn’t have the fruit because even as Jesus called out to their prideful hearts they would not come away.  They would not leave the comforts they found in  power and recognition…they would keep their hearts hard and closed off.  These men, who were also invited, would miss out on the power of the Holy Spirit.  They would miss out on Love.  They would miss out on the miracle of a changed life…a healed life.  They missed out on Jesus.

Being honest and real, I have known a lot about Jesus as I have grown up in church.  And I really loved God the best I could but it wasn’t until I became a companion of Jesus that I really experienced His power.  Oh yes!  A healed heart.  Finding that I really could be free of the hurts of childhood.  A marriage renewed and redeemed.  The purpose and gifting of God drawn to the surface of my life.  A strength and stability deep inside that I never, ever had before.  A heart willing to hear and receive correction from God without condemnation.  Catching a clearer glimpse of what Grace really means to me and God.  What it means for others.  Supernatural forgivenss…receiving and giving it.  My life is being turned around, wrung out, rebuilt and it is exactly as those lyrics promise…it’s wild and great and full of Him.

Peter was rough around the edges and so am I.  But the invitation is for all…the self-righteous as well as the self-conscious.  It’s for the one that grew up in church and kept all the rules as well as the one who doesn’t dare darken the door of a church.  He calls out to each of us…

Come away with Me and be My companion.  Let me shock you with My goodness.

Can you hear Him?  Will you come?

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