Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Out of Focus

There are tons of assumptions people base their opinions and actions upon as they go through life. This reality easily transfers itself into church culture. Within the context of the church gathering on a Sunday morning there are those who base opinions off assumptions they have of church or Christianity and those who behave based on a similar set of assumptions. I think assumptions are dangerous and have turned our teaching opportunities to the masses into step programs than anything life altering. The assumption made by far to many Christians is that the Sunday morning event we call church is full of those already knowledgeable of the Gospel message or consistently seeking its truth all the more.

The question that always arises when I sit in the back of these services is, “Are all these steps and plans going to change the world? Is this what Jesus dies for?” We are good about making sure people walk out the door with tons of suggestions of what to do or how to act in view of Jesus. I think that approach is weak by itself though. I think when people walk out of a teaching environment they should be challenged at the core instead of the reflection of that core. So instead of offering so much advice, the church should be asking more questions and challenging more people to think for themselves. That is also good, but can quickly look like a philosophy class with no point in challenging oneself than just becoming more of a well rounded person. I think that anytime something is said within the Christian context it should be gospel-centric. This term is to say that the focus, the core or everything said will always point back to the Gospel message.

So instead of just doing, do because, instead of thinking, think because, instead of being, be because, all because of the Gospel. So these assumptions often times make the church service teach higher level thoughts of someone who may be constantly focused on the Gospel and reality that Jesus is the Christ. When this message, the message of Jesus as Savior, is what is driving every other thing, every thought, every behavior, then one who learns or listens must eventually be faced with that, the Gospel. To teach the message with the assumption that people know is heresy really. There is no reason for the Bible or anything in it if God did not completely reveal Himself in Christ to us and offer us salvation through Him. It all falls apart without Christ. If the entire deal is dependant upon the Christ we call Jesus then why is not everything that pours forth from our mouths pointing right back to the Cross? In 2009, we must be careful to assume or take the Cross as a given, it cannot be subtle and must be the primary reason for all we do and think and say. This gospel-centric church will change people. These gospel-centric people will change their city. That gospel-centric city will change the world! Are you gospel-centric? To say do something because it is in the Bible alone is foolish. I would not believe anything or follow any of this book if it were not for Christ. We should not expect anyone else to either.

I’ll ask again, are you gospel-centric? May you not get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget the reason you do and think. May you always point everything you are back to Jesus. May we be a church, a city, a people so focused on the cross that we point others towards it. May we passionately study the Word in order to better understand the reality that is the message of Christ so we can further challenge and educate others. May we live out the great commandment and make disciples of all nations. The only thing this is based upon is Jesus authority as Christ. May we seek to be focused on the gospel.

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