All Posts Tagged: Steve Jobs

ADVENT: Why Jesus Came -Part 1A

This is the first week of Advent.

Advent (Latin: to come) is four weeks before Christmas when disciples of Jesus ponder His coming; specifically, WHY DID HE COME?

The first reason Jesus came was to reveal God.


There are three means by which we come to know a person; the first of which is reading about the person. Think of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. Walter Isaacson wrote the authorized biography entitled, Steve Jobs.  

 

 

 

 

However, reading about a person is rather superficial and shallow in that one is presented with a mere narrative. You view the person from a distance. She is barely perceptible. “We shall be grateful for every inspired word which has come down to us through a book – grateful, but not satisfied because a book is impersonal.” (E. Stanley Jones)

The second level of knowing a person is to personally meet him. Imagine traveling to Apple headquarters to encounter Jobs in person. You shake his hand. You listen to his voice. You observe his body language. You study his demeanor. You might even have an opportunity to ask him questions. You are meeting a person who has dramatically changed the way you live. Certainly, you’d be in awe of this amazing person! Meeting is enormously deeper than reading

The third level of knowing someone might be called revelation. You become friends with Steve. Removing his mask (which we all wear), he gradually reveals his inner space: his dreams, thoughts, feelings, failures, fears, hurts, etc. He invites you IN. You begin to know him “from the depths” of his being. Obviously, without revelation Jobs would remain opaque and inscrutable.

 

Hence, in all relationships we encounter a Pyramid of Knowing.

Anticipating the next post about Jesus’ revelation, note the words of E. Stanley Jones. “You see God in the face of Jesus, His Son, or you do not see Him. You may see your imagination of Him, but you do not see Him. If you would come to the Reality about God you must come through His Son. Jesus said, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.'”

Steve Jobs on people with passion

“Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.” —Steve Jobs, addressing employees after returning (he was fired in 1985) to Apple as CEO in 1997

“You will tell about Me … to the ends of the earth!” —Jesus, CEO of the church, addressing eleven disciples just before He left the earthly scene

FACT: the Movement of Life, the church, conquered the Roman Empire in one century!

REASON: the early church was People of Passion!

People of passion for a Person

My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become My disciples. (John 20:21)

jobsIn 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, two college drop-outs, started Apple Computers in a garage. Both left the company nine years later. Subsequently, the company speedily spiraled downward so the Board was forced to ask Jobs to return in 1997. Four years later Apple lifted the curtain on the very first iPod. From that point Apple has grown exponentially, so that it has impacted the entire world. Get this! Upon his return Jobs addressed the employees with these somewhat prophetic words: “Apple at the core, its core value, is that we believe people with passion can change the world for the better.”

Jesus said: “I will build My church.” Not surprising words from a carpenter! He first gathered personnel: “Come, follow Me.” After mentoring the crew less than three years Jesus announced His departure. The enterprise was entrusted to the Eleven with this simple directive: “Go and make disciples in all nations.” By 300 AD Christianity had, so to speak, conquered the Roman Empire when Emperor Constantine became a Christian. Though his conversion was probably more political than spiritual, it does show the inroads of the Christian faith even to the top levels of governmental power.

So, what accounts for this meteoric growth of the church in the early years? Obviously, it wasn’t personnel. By any standard the Eleven were all ragtags! To them Donald Trump would most likely have said: “You’re fired!” (Theological professionals didn’t surface until the late second century.)

Second, given the fact that the Eleven had never ventured more than 100 miles in any direction, their worldview must have been rather narrow (perhaps that’s the reason Jesus advised them to start in “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria” … places they could grasp).

Third, the company had no buildings (not until the third century according to archaeology).

Fourth, they didn’t have an authorized New Testament until the fourth century. So, Bible study, as we know it, was non-existent.

Fifth, until 325 AD there were no doctrinal standards to which one could appeal (the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, Reformed, Methodists, and Assemblies of God would be out to sea in a small raft!) Just a little humor!

Get the point? Every ingredient that we view as absolutely necessary for the church to succeed was nonexistent in the early years. Inquiring minds want to know: what was the secret of the early church’s growth? Steve Jobs nailed it! They were People with Passion for a Person!

launchMany years ago—so long ago that I remember neither the author nor the title—I read a book that evaluated the American Church by the standard which Jesus set at His departure. The author compared the church today to an experience at Cape Canaveral, Florida. We have garnered the most brilliant space experts known to humankind. We have designed incredibly complicated and unbelievably powerful rocket launchers. We have built giant launch pads for the rockets. We have engineered complicated electronic control sites, like the Houston Space Center, capable of outer space tracking. And, to top it off, we even have a spectator’s gallery for watching a launch.

Everything is in place: the launch stage, the mission plan, the rocket, the professional personnel, the electronics and the spectators. NEVERTHELESS, “HOUSTON! We have a problem!” There’s seems to be no fuel in the rocket tanks, so it can’t be launched. According to the author the church in America can boast of literally everything except that which Jesus proposed as the goal of His operation. It’s a devastating assessment. Nonetheless, a scientific appraisal such as that done by Barna Research will prove the point. Paul seems to describe our situation in words written to Timothy: We have a form of religion but lack any power in our rocket tanks (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

What’s to be done? Our most natural and powerful response is denial. If I put our excuses in black and white, I would get sick of mind and heart. The only other response is that of REPENTANCE … A CHANGE OF MENTAL PERSPECTIVE!

fruitI grew up in a small business so I shall use common sense parameters. For all of the time, treasure and talent invested in the enterprise of the American church, what dividends are we reaping IN TERMS OF THE GOAL JESUS PRESCRIBED? I shall state it more personally: “I am the vine; you are the branches. It is to My Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, thus demonstrating that you are My disciples” (John 15:5-8). As you read this are YOU able to identify by name specific fruit on your branch? At stake is the glory of your Father as well as your identify as an authentic disciple of Jesus Christ.

Faith on Fridays—Faith and facts

Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.

Abraham went on hoping in faith, relying on the promise of God that he would become “the father of many nations.” With undaunted faith he looked at the facts: his own impotence and his Sarah’s barrenness. Yet he refused to allow any distrust of God to make him waver. He drew strength from his faith, absolutely convinced that God was able to implement his own promise.  (Romans 4:18-21)

Many suppose that belief is contrary to reason, that to believe one must bury one’s head in the sand; you know, blind faith. After all, faith and facts don’t mix. Well, the story of Abraham and Sarah indicates otherwise (cf. Mechanics of Life). Note the words—“he looked at the facts.” The Greek word means: 1) to consider from the bottom to the top; 2) to concentrate by fixing one’s thinking; 3) to perceive clearly; and 4) to understand fully and closely. So, at least in the Manual faith looks facts squarely in the eyes; BUT ….

Consider the Law of Gravity, simplified. There’s a force that draws objects to the center of the earth … unless another object of equal or greater force intervenes to inhibit the downward thrust. If you throw a ball in the air, it will drop to the earth unless you catch it in your hands. Your hands act as a greater force than the downward thrust of gravity. Similarly, faith confronts facts with greater potency, rendering the facts weak, comparatively speaking.

These were the indisputable facts: Abraham was impotent and Sarah was barren. According to the laws of physiology the odds of having a child were ABSOLUTELY ZERO! “Yet Abraham drew strength from his faith, absolutely convinced that God was able to implement his own promise.” When Old Abe was confronted by the downward thrust of the facts (impotence and barrenness), he injected the promise of Father that “he would become the father of many nations.” The power of faith trumps the laws of nature (review Peter’s water-walking.) Please don’t think this vulgar or crude (it’s reality according to the Manual!), Abraham’s insertion of faith produced physical insertions for twenty five years!

As is often the case, if the facts of your life are exceedingly downward, please consider: “Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope!” (John Piper)

Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.

Faith on Fridays—Faith and foolishness

Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.

The boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and the disciples were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. (Matthew 14:25-31)

Founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, said this before his death: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”

In this Gospel episode only Peter asked to do what Jesus was doing. Only Peter got out of the boat. Only Peter walked on the water.  Peter definitely was a crazy one. He saw things differently.

Yes, there were other “crazy ones!” (cf. Hebrews 11). Noah built a large boat on dry land with no water around. Abram prepared to sacrifice his only son. Moses rejected his Egyptian inheritance to invest his future with the slaves of Israel. Face it: they were all crazy! Supposedly, that’s how people of faith appear to those who are “normal”!

Erich Fromm captures the point: “To have faith requires the ability to take a risk. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life makes himself a prisoner.” The eleven, “safe and secure”, became prisoners of the boat, the natural and normal. Only Peter exhibited courage built on one word: “Come!” Only Peter experienced the “super-natural”!

The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. I mean it.” (John 14:12-14)

Remember! Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus. (John Eldridge)

Check back next Friday as we continue our Faith on Fridays series.