John 16 :33 says: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
I spoke awhile ago in the Village of Splatsville (names and places have been changed to protect the innocent) and I asked the question: “How long has it been since the village drunk in Splatsville has been saved?” Blank, pale faces stared back at me with no response.
After the service a young man came by and said “We have been concerned about ourselves, we don’t even know the name of the town drunk”. They had become so isolated from their community at large they didn’t know who the town drunk was. Not that knowing the name of the town drunk is the measure of a church's influence in a community, but what influence do we have, if any?
Christians wake up! Quit worrying about global warming, we aren’t going to survive until that becomes a serious problem because our Western culture will be long gone before that point.
I know and discuss things with people with a myriad of views. I know this sounds trite, and you’ve heard it before - “They like our Jesus, but they don’t like us, His followers. I am including myself as one of His followers.
As I wrote “His Followers” I realized I may have put my finger on the problem unintentionally. We are followers, not Disciples. To me a follower of someone does not paint a passionate picture. I envision people quietly trudging across a desert in a long silent line.
Now Disciples make me nervous. Disciples are doers. They are serious about their beliefs. They put themselves on the line, stand for truth and have courage. I don’t have to agree with them, but I respect them because they live out their passion.
Over the last two weeks I heard Christians decry Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. We are quick to point out that Ms. Smith was in Playboy and her only accomplishment was that she married some 86 year old rich man. We lollygagged while Anna Nicole Smith may have very well slid into Hell for eternity but did any of us give a damn?
A pastor friend called me and told me he shared with his church his burden for Britney Spears (the one who shaved her head). As I see it she is crying out for help. She needs Christ, she needs a dad, she needs a mom, she needs the unconditional love of Christ. Are any of us besides this pastor praying for Britney Spears?
We here in rural Minnesota will most likely not rub shoulders with the likes of Britney Spears, but we can pray. We need to pray for her but also pray that our hearts would be tendered towards the “unlovely people” all around us.
We as believers are sitting in huddles, in little groups called churches, tentatively looking out our stain glassed windows, hoping the town drunk does not show up and disrupt our church service as it is printed in the church bulletin.
God helps us to be courageous, gives us strength to go “into” the world, but being “not of it.” We must go into the world and be the sweet fragrance of Christ’s love, hope and forgiveness. Jesus said, “Go”, we say “Come”. And the truth is, they never come because they do not know what they will find inside our church. They don’t know us, and we don’t know them. We are scared of "Them" and "They" are scared of us.
Jesus said he overcame the world! Do we believe it? Jesus prayed for us in John 17: 13-19: "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." If that’s what Jesus said and prayed, what are we afraid of? Notice we are to stay here and do what? Minister to people, be a servant to others.
In Acts 1, at the ascension of Christ, Christ ascends and His disciples stand around looking into the sky. "They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1: 10-11. "Why are we standing around and looking into the sky?" May I suggest, because it’s the easy way out. Keep my hands clean and keep my Holy Huddle secure while the world around me goes to Hell.
Mount up Christians, let’s march into Hell for a Heavenly cause. It’s later than we think. Go to the hurting people in our communities and minister to them.
We need to ask ourselves -
- What have we done with the gifts God has given us?
- How will we as Christians answer for our loss of impact on our society?
- How do we continue to justify our spiritual deadness?
“Quit bugging me Jerry! Pass me a coke, I just want to watch American Idol.” Ya baby. Slumber on Church, slumber on.