Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jesus on the Outside

“It’s easier to get someone to come to Christ than it is to church.”

Maybe I’m simple minded and just enjoy finding intelligent things in simplicity, but I tend to pay close attention to what people say when they talk. I think some of the most brilliant quotes people say are often times things they don’t even remember. I was sitting at, go ahead guess, my local coffee shop, and this guy motioned me as if he wanted to talk. So here is how he starts the conversation, “Are you in school or just typing a list of people you’ve slept with in the past year?” Odd way to start a conversation and I must admit made me chuckle a little. I told him I was in school and didn’t have a list to keep anymore. Our conversation went from that to talking about Jesus as soon as he asked what my degree was in. “Leadership and ministry,” I answer. As usual, which is something I constantly praise God for, here I am just sitting at my corner table by the window and someone approaches me to talk and out of it Jesus gets mentioned. Towards the end of our conversation he says, “It’s easier to get someone to come to Christ than it is to church.” I told him this was one of the wisest things I’ve heard all day as I answered my phone. After about 30 minutes of thinking about that and chewing on it, I doubt he remembers saying it, but I can’t forget how profound it may be.

I am from the curious 3 year old school of thought and like to ask, “Why?” to almost everything. I like to get at the core of things and wonder why things are asked and said. Well, why is it that this statement is profound and true? I think what has happened is that we have fallen short of the entire Gospel and limited to a moralistic modus operandi. What I mean is that far too many people think being a Christian is about doing something to not doing some things (because unfortunately, Christians are more known for what they stand against instead of what they stand for). They think that if they say the right things, do the right things, avoid the wrong things, and fit a mold Christ will accept them and therefore they are saved. They drag this BS into the church and make this beautiful bride look more like a street whore. I am a church guy, the big C though, not little C. I’m not into this idea of church that so many have, you know, going to church, parking at the church, being on a church volley ball team. I’m into church as a body of people doing things and being things. The church isn’t something it is someone; it is the bride of Christ people! She is beautiful, like first time seeing your soon to be wife walk down the aisle beautiful, like seeing your baby girl say and comprehend, “I love you Daddy,” for the first time beautiful, like watching the sun rise beautiful. The church is a beautiful lady! The church is full of bad people though! There are churches full of people who give money, serve in volunteer organizations, and listen to only Christian music, full of these people who are bad people! Woah woah woah right? You just want to hit rewind right? Well, too bad for you this is a blog and it continues and hopefully you will bare with me and continue reading. I previously wrote about this idea of Jesus wanting our hearts, not our actions, in an entry entitled The Heart. In Romans chapter 10 Paul talks about the difference between obtaining righteousness (or seeking is what I should say) by obeying the Law in contrast to obtaining righteousness by having a faith from your heart. The difference is that those who seek to be “good” and simply obey Law will only get what the Law can give, which eventually leads them to nothing, not righteousness, but if you obey the faith from your heart then you will obtain the righteousness that Christ offers. It’s kind of a complex thought and took me about a week to truly digest and get my head around and I can’t even say that I’m a pro on it honestly. The idea here is that Jesus could care less about your actions unless He has your heart. If you don’t like to hear that then you may want to stop reading the Bible because Jesus is going to offend you. I say that partially in jest, but partially out of truth because Jesus IS OFFENSIVE!

So why is it easier to get people to come to meet Jesus than it is to come to His church then? I think it is simple, actually. Jesus does not sweet talk, He does not hold back. Jesus does not try to please people. Jesus puts the truth out unapologetically and fully understands all the stuff He teaches. The church (in the context that a majority population person would understand it) is full of people who do a lot of good things but still own their hearts. Meaning they are seeking righteousness from the law (religion) instead of faith from the heart. The church is full of people who don’t understand, don’t actually follow Jesus at all, just think the idea of being saved from Hell is groovy and like feeling good about themselves after “going to church” on Sunday. This is not to knock it, it is just to say that is not the point. Jesus wants His church to be full of people who know Him and seek to do what He wants and seeks to live out of a righteousness that comes from faith from the heart, not following some list of rules. This is a difficult paradigm shift to make. So when people can get to the truth that Jesus offers, it is beautiful? Most of the time they can’t get to him though because they encounter too much fluff and other crazy things because we don’t fully follow Him, don’t fully understand His Word, don’t truly live from our hearts.

May you remove the fluff from church, your life, so that the church will be easy to get to. May you seek to introduce people to Jesus. May you truly follow Him so others will desire to. May you live from your heart and be an agent of change in the little C church, make it something real that people will want to be a part of. May this profound truth I encountered in a local coffee shop die and become a bad memory. May we be the church and show the world, our nations, our cities, neighborhoods, and neighbors who Jesus is. I have hope for the church and for this generation, I have hope that we will embrace and be the church, so that many will know who Jesus is.

PS this picture is my friend Molly, when she was a kid, I absolutely love it and needed a reason to use it. Hope it makes you smile as much as it does me.

No comments:

Post a Comment