The Vision and Mission of Ronin’s Journey

What’s the point of this blog? Why bother? It’s because I see a need, a world that’s harassed and helpless. I want you to not only to apply what you learn here, I want you to know why. In a nutshell, I want to develop thoughtful purposeful Christians.

How?

By cultivating a life of the mind that’s connected to the heart, to create depth, a thoughtful Christianity. Then working outward in an application with a purpose. That’s the point of the two series, Simplified Systematic Theology and Learning Under Jesus.

There is a surface belief in the world, but it’s shallow. There’s little to no application. Why? Because it’s not real to people, they haven’t thought it through. The ones that have, live it or reject it.

Some History

That’s how this blog has been trending since 2014. Before that, it was politics and social commentary five

In the early days

 

days a week. Then a traumatic accident took my godson. Ronin’s Journey became a soul-searching grief journey in mid-2013. Little over a year later, I met Jesus in a way that was deeper than my cultural Christianity.

I began writing what it was like to actually follow him. Matthew 6:33 was the tagline and is still my life verse; “Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, all these things will be added to you.” Then I began refining the blog, and still am to this day. First by moving to private hosting this time last year. It’s not cheap, but I have more control, and no one can take it from me.

Why Bother?

At this point, we are surrounded by cultural Christians in an environment that is increasingly hostile to our worldview. They grew up in church, but never totally committed to Christ.

Does your foundation have the depth to withstand and answer the world’s questions? If not, prepare yourself; if so, prepare others. Take what you know and share it, live it as a testimony. It’s getting dark but that’s when the light shines the brightest.

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It…

Here are my goals for me, and for you if you so choose:

  • Grow in knowledge and service to Christ. How? By following him and thinking through the ramifications, deeply. Ask questions like, “What if I don’t do ____?” “Why should I do _____?” “What’s this mean?” “What if I do             ?”
    I’m confident that time and time again, it’s the best choice. Not always easy, but the best.

Here’s my challenge for you.

Every place that you are at, Jesus is there in you, Christian. Do what he would, in your place, at work, home, public, private, etc. Not sure how?

When I first took the plunge, Pastor Jaime told me to start by reading two things, the book of Romans in the Bible and Immediate Obedience: The Adventure of Tuning Into God. I started another blog, inactive but still there, to chronicle it. First Samuel 12:24. Click the title and it will take you to the first post ever, where I began a 90-Day challenge.

I can’t do this alone. I’ve gotten this far with a lot of grace, curiosity, and self-study, yet I’m reaching almost a thousand people online. You can do it too, you can do better, live a life that’s a worthy testimony and reach who you can your way.

A Miraculous Catch; Learning From Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions. Enjoy.

We looped back towards Capernaum, following the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret, a.k.a the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd gathered and was pressing around Jesus, listening to him teach.

Jesus noticed a familiar face, Simon, who was washing his nets beside his boat with Andrew. Without a word, he climbed into Simon’s boat. Then he asked him to put out a short distance so that the crowd had room and could hear him.

Then he sat down and taught from the boat, the cove’s acoustics allowing his voice to carry far. When he finished, he turned to Simon Peter’s crew and the few of us, saying, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

They took us out into the lake and let down the dragnet. Peter and Andrew began to pull it in.

“I can hardly move it!”
“Is it stuck on something?”

We began to help as the net came to the surface. It was full of fish and began snapping. Wildly, Peter waved and called for his partners, James and John, to bring the other boat. They would have to fix the net before they could fish again, and it could be expensive.

Between the two boats, we got it in. Both were filled with fish. Andrew said they had never had a catch like that before.

Simon’s response was different.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Looking back, I think Simon began to realize who he was standing in front of before the rest of us did. He knew he didn’t deserve that catch. I mean, Jesus called him, and he left us with Andrew in tow. As did his partners, James and John.

Surely Jesus was going to chew him out for it.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.

We got to shore, they left the boats, effectively giving up the fishing business, and followed Jesus. As fishermen, they were a bit better off than other workers. There was money in it.

But they gave it up…to follow Jesus when he called.

How To Find Your Mission

I love listening to Ravi Zacharias’ podcasts, Just Thinking and Let My People Think. In one podcast, he summed up his message like this, ‘pathos for your people, prioritize in prayer, pondering in proximity, the process of preparation, and the paralysis of pessimism.’ Then he closed saying do what is right, undergirded by the Gospel.

What does that even mean?

“Pathos for your people”


Pathos means compassion or pity. In the latter, we feel bad for them, but we don’t act, no matter how many infomercials are shown with sad music overlapping. It’s the former that makes you move.

Compassion sees something and shouts, “this should not be!” Then it acts. Is there anything out there that kindles those feelings?


“Prioritize in prayer”


Then you have to go to God with it. We can temporarily alleviate suffering, and unfortunately, there’s more out there that we can’t reach alone, if at all. We have to get our hearts right, check our motives, and make sure we’re not doing this on our own strength. If so, we’ll be like a match trying to fight back the darkness. A brief flame, and then nothing.


“Pondering in proximity”


Everyone seems to have an opinion on how a nation should be ran, yet, few have been in, or seen the inner workings of the government. We’re not fully informed, so we can’t see what dominoes would fall if we did this or that, let alone know how to change directions without collapsing everything.

We have to get close to what we want to change.

Get into the middle of it, talk to people on all levels of it so you can get a variety of thoughts and ideas. Understand where they’re coming from. Pastor Rod said, “Your pain is a key to your assignment from God. It can be used to minister to others”, during a sermon last month.

If it’s something you have faced, then you have the experience, so you can more readily identify with others. Then prayerfully think about it.


“The process of preparation”


You have compassion. Your heart is right. You know what’s up. That means you’re ready…right?

No.

You have to prepare for it, plan, rather than foolishly going off half-cocked. Like the time I locked my keys in the truck and wanted to smash the window. My wife wisely had me call a locksmith. Jesus spoke of preparation in Luke 14: 28-32:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.”


There is a cost to everything you do and to be effective you have to plan accordingly.

1: What’s the plan?
2: What do you need to make it work?
3: Can you get it?
4: What are the alternatives?

All questions that must be answered.


“Paralysis of pessimism”


“It’s just too much for me, I’ll never make a difference.”

That thought can come in anywhere during the process, particularly during the planning or application phases. If you make a difference in one person’s life, and they make a difference in another’s, you’ll have started a domino effect. People usually pay it forward if they can’t pay it back.


“Doing what is right”


There are a lot of opinions on what’s the right thing to do. Some of them are wrong. Some are right. How can you tell what’s right?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NIV


“Undergirded by the Gospel”


That’s just a good, basic way to live, but what’s the foundation? Undergird means “to give fundamental support.” In Matthew 7:24, Jesus said anyone who puts his words into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. It’s a firm foundation. The Gospel is the good news of second chances at reconciliation between God and mankind. Reconciliation is the center of it.

Jesus is the foundation that gives second chances.

Find the cause that you’re compassionate for. Is it a cause that can restore people to God primarily, and secondly restore them physically, ? Consider what it looks like at the ground level. Jesus looked at the crowds and said, ‘they’re like sheep without a shepherd.’ Helpless. Prepare for it, press forward, and go forth doing good.