Now that we have put down some basic parameters within our reservoirs lets talk about where the water is coming from.

If this is your first glance at this blog I urge you to stop and read the prior blogs as everything written here is connected.

To get to our water sources we need to ask some basic questions.

1. Who and what influences how you make decisions?

2. Who are your role models?

3. Who would you say is the prime Master or Teacher in your life?

4. What has been the results in your life for you in following these influencers, models and teachers?

Each of these questions will be discussed in a separate blog to help us all process and dialogue.

I want to use my narrative to help us see how the who and the what of influences can shape us for better or worse.

When I began high school I was such a nerd and so insecure anything could and would influence me. My mother though did a pretty good job of keeping me in a protective bubble till college. I would say the tv shows of the 60’s, the messages of my 60’s music, and my mother’s heavy hand were the most prominent influencers. Pretty simple and straightforward. As I went to college I still did not make friends easily and when I did it was for others manipulation and control. I was hearing a strong message from peers to drink heavily and be sexually promiscuous. I attempted both to no avail.  It just was not me. I did though have a girlfriend who helped my self-image immensely. I stayed with her until I met my future wife my second year in college. I dropped out of college after meeting my future wife, got married and had a child. I went to work, working with the developmentally disabled. During my first six years of working I finished college took up smoking pot and became quite influenced by B.F. Skinner and his operant conditioning for control of behavior. In fact I was a “skinnerian” to the core in thought, word and deed. It was my god. That influence began to wane in the late 70’s as  disability law began to replace  it as my line of work changed from programming to legal issues affecting the disabled. Then in 1980 everything began to change.  Several people began to come into my life talking to me about Jesus. I listened but never took their thoughts to heart. I would never allow religion to influence me. You see I suffered from what too many people suffer from today mixing Jesus with religion.  Shortly after that through a personal visitation from the Holy Spirit, I began to engage in religious activities.  Note here that no man drew me into religion, I would have never responded by that method. Now thirty four years later let me clearly state that religion is dead and Jesus is alive. It took me twenty years to sort through the rubble and duplicity of religion to get to Jesus. Once I was able to do that in 2000 my life has never been more abundant on the inside. Throughout this period from 1963 to 2000, the tv shows, the music, the mother of all mothers, beer, pot, behaviorism, religion all fell far short until I allowed Jesus to be my sole sphere of influence. Everything else was a dead end of relentlessness striving and posing in a sea of shallowness and anger. My reservoir of love before 2000 was contaminated with ME all apart from the influence of Jesus and was toxic. We pollute the culture everywhere we go if our sole influence is not Jesus. We stream out greed, evil desires, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, lies and lust. Now before you tell me I am being a religious zealot here, look around at the world apart from the influence of Jesus. Look not only at 2014 but centuries back. Nothing changes in a culture that does not put Jesus first as Master and Teacher.

I know it is quite a statement to say that since 2000 Jesus has been my sole sphere of influence as we all know the immense distraction in the world but HE is! It takes discipline to make this happen and an awareness that He is always with you and always present wanting to shower you with His grace given through direction and guidance that leads to such love, joy and peace. I also have found that when I  away from that discipline and awareness other influences make sway into your decisions.

I know you who are unchurched and not religious are put off by Jesus because you think He belongs to that stream of religiosity and that is not for you. I get that. But it is a lie. No one owns Jesus, religion can think they do but once you really know Jesus you will know what I say is true. Jesus and religion are as different as black is from white.You can make Jesus your MASTER and TEACHER and stay far from religion, in fact that is the only way you can stay close to Jesus.

This world will only change as humanity embraces Jesus as MASTER and TEACHER and lives out His direction and guidance for life  connecting with Him through His Word and communicating with Him through prayer. I do not care what you think of the Bible read it as whatever you think it might be but READ IT and HEED IT. Live it!  It is time to come under the influence of the one and only one- Jesus Christ and His Word. Your reservoir will then be replaced with love, joy, peace, compassion, and humility in all of your relational life.

We will talk next about role models and how they affect our reservoir of love.

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