Jesus Freaks

There’s a part of me that wants to shout it from the rooftops. I’m a Jesus Freak.

There’s a part of me that wants to then hide under the bed.

We have, as humans, an innate need for the relationship with God that we lost in Eden. We also have the same sense of shame Adam felt after the first sin.

Jesus took the punishment and bore the shame for us, but we still feel it. Especially when we admit our need for Him. Human nature since the Fall changed us from freely connected to God, walking with Him in the cool of the evening as friends to ashamed and hiding. We learn as we grow in our faith how to overcome that, and to take the stand for Christ.

But we always have the fight within us. Even Paul wrestled with his old nature. It was a battle he was prepared to fight for Jesus’s sake.

So I’m a Jesus Freak.

DC Talk joined with Voice of the Martyrs a few years ago and compiled a collection of testimonies of people who had been imprisoned, tortured, ridiculed and killed for their faith in Jesus, starting with Stephen’s stoning in Acts and moving to the murders of children and adults worldwide up to the early 21st Century. Every century since Jesus has seen hundreds of martyrs die for their faith. These Jesus Freaks took a stand despite their worldly nature and held fast to the confession of their faith.

I want that.

So I’ll say it again. I’m a Jesus Freak.

Now I’ve been criticised for taking a stand for my faith. In the Western society the toughest persecution we face is largely insidious, undermining us a little at a time until we simply stop fighting, like a paralytic agent. I get the occasional barbed comment on facebook from people I’ve not seen in 20 years who are proudly atheist – men with no invisible means of support – and from people who have become friends more recently but don’t share my beliefs. I made a reference in a quote to Islam a while ago and offended a few people. The summary is that I agreed with a writer – mis-represented as Bill Cosby – who had stated he was sick of being told Islam was a religion of peace while it’s representatives were busy undermining Western society by means of terrorism.

Christianity is not without it’s dark history, such as the Crusades (as sponsored by the Gengis Khan school of evangelism) in the Dark Ages, and it’s persecution of innocents for heresy through the 16th to 18th centuries. I’m not saying those actions were right either. The inquisition as it is remembered by History could not be further from true Christianity than the Islamic terrorists who took down the World Trade Centre are. Pure evil bred from fanaticism.

I doubt very much that the people who have rejected Jesus over the years will be amused when they stand in Judgement and realise how easily they were deceived and that they chose the deception rather than face the flames, sword, cross or critics.

I don’t want to be one of them.

I refuse to be.

Jesus Freaks stand out in a crowd. Usually because they are moving against the common flow. All rational argument is placed before them, and the response is “But God said”. It’s a tough place to be. The criticism even comes through families and churches. I left a church some years ago because the leadership rejected a major move of God in that congregation. They stirred up trouble for the minister to the point where he left and a large number of people left with him because we refused to stand by and reject God’s movement with them. The church slipped back into religiosity and practically died on it’s feet.

Jesus Freaks have Faith, not religion.

James said he would show his faith by his works. We should do no less. I want to be known as a man of Faith, not a religious man. My Grandfather was a man of Faith who coincidentally was a leader in his local Salvation Army. Ony a few days before he died he called me, excited to share what God was revealing to him after 64 years as a Christian. Fresh revelation and new insight to the Lord he loved and lived for. Neither of us knew it was a preparation for his Promotion to Glory, but he was excited at the thought of new insight. My dad, his son, was a man of Faith too. He quietly spoke and learned and demonstrated his Faith in his everyday life, sometimes initially through clenched teeth he would extend forgiveness to people who had been a thorn in his side professionally and personally, but always from the heart eventually. He understood that forgiveness, like love, is as much or more a choice than a feeling.

I move in fits and starts sometimes. I have a time when my Faith is more important to me than my life, then I get distracted for a while, but it always comes back to the same root eventually.

I’m not a fan of big churches. They have their place, but I prefer a smaller group where true fellowship can grow. I understand many churches have “home-groups” where a small group gathers and has a mini church meeting mid-week, and some of them are amazing groups, but some of them are as forced as the Sunday service.

I spent several years in and around Totnes in Devon, England. Whilst there there was a group of us who for several years lived almost as the first century Christians did. We were in and out of one another’s homes, ate together, met up at impromptu times, crashed on each other’s couches, used each other’s cars and put up with each other’s personalities because we had a true fellowship. I miss that group still today after almost 15 years since we last were all together. I’ve never had that shared experience of faith anywhere else.

We were Jesus Freaks and proud of it. We went into the local secondary school and ran a youth alpha course, we invited Jehovah’s Witnesses in for coffee and spoke nothing but Truth and Love to them until they were fighting to leave!

We met and prayed and loved and sang with each other from Dartmouth to Buckfastleigh and every nook in between.

Jesus Freaks to the last.

It’s amazing that the memories are so fresh as I recall those days, the anointing on the conversations stick in my mind, and the witness of the group stays in my heart. I love those people as much today as I did all those years ago, and I long for their company again.

Jesus Freaks. United by a common insanity the World can never grasp. And worth every second.

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