Have you heard of the name Judah Smith? If you live in the Northwest and are into young adult ministry (ages 18-30ish), love the Seahawks, your favorite golfer is Bubba Watson, and you are a charter member of the Justin Bieber fan club…then you probably know him. This guy has a lot going on…not only is Judah a New York Times Best Selling author (the book Jesus Is____), he’s also best friends with Bubba, he’s the Biebs pastor and mentor, and Judah JUST added Seattle Seahawk Chaplain to his resume this past fall. On top of all those cool points, Judah and Chelsea Smith are the pastors at The City Church, which has several locations in the greater Seattle area (their main campus is in Kirkland).
Judah is (in mine and many other’s opinion), the alpha dog, pioneer, and leader for this new wave of young and hip pastors that spread the gospel in non-traditional ways (if you haven’t, look up Carl Lentz, Chad Veach, John Gray, and Rich Wilkerson, Jr.). These trend setters use fashion, pop culture references, music, sports analogies, hysterical wit, and deep storytelling to convey the message that church isn’t about religion. It’s about loving yourself and others, but mainly, it’s all about one man – Jesus.
When we lived in Issaquah, we made the City Church our church home. Since moving back to the south end (near Lake Tapps), that trek to Kirkland with three kids 3 and under is a little much to handle. We love calling Puyallup Foursquare our church home now. However, with the beautiful invention of the internet, we often get caught up on how things are going with Judah and the City Church by watching his sermons on their website (check out his sermons here). This past weekend, we went on a family walk down our big hill (two miles round trip…it’s a BEAST) and brought along our “church on the go” technique. With Winnie in the stroller, I propped up my iPhone and synced it up with our Beats Pill (this hill can get a little noisy due to cars driving up and down). This mobile church method is amazing – try it sometime – you get to get Jiggy with Jesus, while you work your glutes (uhh, what, did I just say that?)!
During this walk, we listened to Judah discuss the challenges and importance of relationships. He told a funny story about him and Chelsea early in their marriage. But during his sermon, he said a phrase that really resonated with me. He talked about how many fall into the path of comparing; keeping up with the Jones’s; looking for the flaws in others to make us feel better. During this eloquent talk, he said a phrase that sang to me and caught my ear just like the first time I heard Rihanna sing, “Work, Work, Work, Work, Work” (what she says after that only God knows). Judah proclaimed,
DISCOVER the beauty in others.
I love this. So simple, but so true. I love that he used the word “discover.” I loved it so much I looked the word up to see all the definitions. Discover means to:
· Find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search
· Become aware of (fact or situation)
· Be the first to observe
· Perceive the attractions of (an activity or subject) for the first time
· Be the first to recognize the potential of (someone)
Think about applying all of those definitions when looking at other people. Use the word “discover” to look at, think about, engage and communicate with others…if you do, it is truly beautiful. I’ve been guilty of comparing what I have (my physical traits and worldly possessions) versus what others have (good or bad). Social media is not helping with this epidemic of comparing and envy. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are vehicles for many to showcase a false reality to make others view them in a certain way. Conversely, many of us look at these social media apps as a platform to point out the flaws, past judgement, and stack our chips vs. others and say, “HA! SEE! I’m cooler than so-and-so.” Can we make this STOP please!
What lens do you view the world in? What glasses do you wear when looking at other people? Are you wearing these glasses (glasses that COMPARE):
Or are you wearing these glasses (glasses that CARE):
Are you looking through a lens that compares or cares? Let’s discover the good, the beauty, and the gifts in others. Let’s celebrate other people’s success without jealousy. Let’s continually lift people up with words of encouragement, positivity, and love. What good does the alternative do? Being bitter doesn’t make you better, it just makes you sour. This type of vision is blurred and will throw you off track and set you back from being the best version of you. On the flip side, no one is made the same or is perfect. Many gravitate toward people who are most like themselves. We tend to engage or interact with people who look like us, talk like us, and come from the same background as us. Imagine what the world would be like if we all DISCOVER the beauty in others and look to find the good instead of the bad.. What if we were intentional with our thoughts and actions to embrace our differences and look for the hidden talents in others. Breaking down the definition of “Discover,” what if we:
1. Find something unexpectedly good in someone
2. Become aware of someone’s passion
3. Be the first to observe another person’s gift
4. Perceive (think about) the attractions of someone different than you
5. Be the first to recognize the potential in someone…tell them and others of this observation
This approach, I PROMISE is a much healthier way to make you feel better, as well as empower others to be themselves. This is what Jesus modeled. When I see others who act, talk, and think the polar opposite of me…I sometimes revert back to some bad habits and start to cast judgment…but I try to remember to remind myself that God loves that person the same as He loves me…I’m no better in His eyes. He cares for us no matter who we are, not matter where we are from, no matter our circumstance. God’s vision is 20/20, He looks through a lens that Cares. He loves us for who we are. He celebrates our successes. He loves us at our best and our worst. I want to be like that for others.
What glasses do you want people to look at you through? Do you want people to focus on your flaws or your strengths? Maybe your outlook on life needs a new prescription. Try this new pair on that I described and see how they fit. I believe this lens will be much more clear and fulfilling. Oh by the way, Judah wears glasses…just saying…I’m pretty sure which ones they are too.