Hey Church,

Wow! As I sit here at Starbucks reflecting on the Love. Always. Conference, I’m flooded with joy. There were so many topics and challenges from each speaker all united around the common theme of loving others as yourself. I’m certain that everyone who attended had a special moment during the conference when they felt God’s Spirit impress a truth or challenge deep into their soul.

For me, one of those moments was Dr. McKnight’s Jesus Creed challenge. If you missed it, Professor McKnight explained Jesus’ approach to spiritual formation. Drawing from the Jewish practice of repeating the “Shema” three times a day, he pointed out that Jesus would have followed this same practice. So, each day for his entire life, Jesus would have repeated these words, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 You   shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

So, when someone asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment, it’s not surprising he quoted the Shema. But then Jesus added something, “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Putting these together we have what McKnight calls the, “Jesus Creed.”

In Mark, Jesus answered,  “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Here’s the challenge:
Let’s do what Jesus did. Let’s recite this creed daily, at least three times a day. But probably it’s gonna take more. As Mcknight told us, reciting this as you go into work, encounter a tense relationship, or begin a stressful day, continually reminds us to love - God  and  others. As we repeat these words over and over they will begin to penetrate deeply into our souls and begin to form us spiritually. The truth is, we have a choice over what we become. And as a follower of Jesus, our call is to become a beautiful copy of Jesus himself. And we’re called to do this together to become a people who authentically love God and our neighbors as ourselves.

Here’s what I’m doing:
I’ve make reciting the Jesus creed a calendar event on my iPhone. I’ve set it for when I get up, around noon, and just before bedtime. I’m not sure, but I think even android users can do this! Haha! This will help remind us and help this new habit form.

Let’s do this!

Join me in taking the Jesus Creed Challenge .

-Pastor Brad