The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Why Jesus Is Enough

Claudia May is known for her leadership in Bible studies, workshops on reconciliation, counseling, prayer and spiritual guidance—all of which, she says, is inspired by how the Bible can transform lives. She lives in England where she is a research fellow at the United College of the Ascension/Queen’s College and honorary lecturer in theology at the University of Birmingham. When she was in Minneapolis recently to launch her new book, Jesus Is Enough (Augsburg Books; www.augsburgbooks.com), she talked about her faith with local writer Gayle Aldrich who shares some of that conversation.

Claudia May
“Amid all my struggles, and regardless of how long I have been a Christian, I am learning that my choice to follow Jesus, even when I do not have answers to the questions I ask of him, is a decision I choose to make daily” (Jesus Is Enough, page 25).

Turning the pages of her book to this sentence, May said she has found ministry opportunities because many don’t see Jesus in that way. Because they’ve been raised Christian, she said, some people feel they must present themselves to Jesus in a certain way. Some find it difficult to approach Jesus with aspects of themselves that may be less attractive. But we can come just as we are, she said.

May’s deepening relationship with Jesus came in college when the truth broke through: “Jesus loves you.” This was a time, she recalled, when worry dominated her life. How would she provide for herself? How would she get through university? What about her father? Others in her family? That’s when, she recalled, she learned in reading Matthew 6:27-37 that you gain nothing by worrying: “You cannot add a single hour to your life by worrying.”

It had never occurred to her, she admitted, that she could convey worries to God. But as she talked with people, she began to see God’s faithfulness and realized that faithfulness—even in the midst of worry—by keeping a blessings journal. Worry, May learned and now tells others, has a way of eclipsing God’s goodness through spiritual amnesia because when you are entrapped by worries, you lose site of Jesus’ faithfulness.

May said Jesus has helped her be mindful of the triggers of worry. Now she gives any worry to Jesus right away. It’s “Jesus knowledge,” she said, that helps put worry into place: “Ask for prayer. Stop. Step back. And discover a new understanding.”

“It always starts with Jesus,” May said. “Jesus constantly moves and challenges us. This relationship is an ongoing process of discovering. It’s humbling because I can never say that I’ve arrived. This enables me to be fully dependent on Jesus, always in need of him.”

This week's front page features:

Meet Emil & his tribe. (Photo at right.)

Youngchurch: A quiet message of praise.

Resurrection on this side of the grave: From depression, I am called to new life.

Global service has a ripple effect: Lutherans put to work leadership skills gained internationally.

Also: The Spirit's temper.

Also: He watches TV for you.

Also: Walking with Lithuanians.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

This week in our discussion forums:

Join Elias Kitoi (right), Tanzanian missionary to the ELCA Greater Milwaukee Synod, and Philip Bouknight, pastor, to discuss global service today through May 2.

Kitoi has already posted a question for readers to respond to. He asks: "What have you, your congregation or institution learned about leadership from your global experience?"

(Haven't read the articles? Check out "Global service has a ripple effect" before joining in.)

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Andrea Pohlmann (right) writes about those not-so-sweet 16th birthday parties.

Why do ELCA colleges host the annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum? Elizabeth Hunter tells us.

Julie Sevig asks: "Can you stand one more blog about Easter from The Lutheran staff?"

Andrea Pohlmann (right) blogs about trends in Easter finery.

Check out our blog (and leave a comment) > > >

Web exclusive hurricane recovery articles:

We've just added two articles to our Web site that couldn't wait until the next print issue.

Mark Staples, director of a new Faith and Life Programs initiative at the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, visited Mississippi in April with 17 other members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pa., to aid in the recovery effort. They worked out of the Lutheran Episcopal Disaster Response center at Christus Victor Lutheran Church, Ocean Springs, Miss.

Read "A love supreme to weather life’s storms" and "‘Not doing something is the worst thing ...’", both by Staples.

Last chance!

Tell us! Why you stay, or why you’ve left …

Are you someone who has deep disagreements with the church and remain connected to it anyway? Tell us why. Or are you someone whose sharp disagreements with the church caused you to leave? Tell us why. This can be why you as an individual or family stay or left, or written from a congregational perspective.

Please send your 300- to 400-word responses to Julie Sevig by Monday, May 1.

Or respond on-line > > >

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For only $15.95 you'll receive 12 issues of The Lutheran magazine in your mailbox. You'll also receive access to back issues' articles since 1996 and unlimited study guide downloads (regularly $3.50 each) at www.thelutheran.org.

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