I often get pulled into conversations that go something like this; "If Jesus was here today, where would he be hanging out?" I pause for a second and then I say what I always say, "with the addicts, the pimps, whores and the broken and lost...and sinners like you and me." but then I can't stop there, I have to add.." but he won't be inside the walls of the American church". It hurts to hear that, but as my dad always said, "Sometimes, most times, the truth hurts". Since last year, I have become a big fan of Jen Hatmaker. She spoke in Indiana in front of several hundred women and gave this message. The traditional church sends the message to sinners that if they just clean up their act, they would be welcome. The church that Jesus intended, is just the opposite. His church welcomes the sinners and they sort out the narrow path together. Most congregations don't want to hear that. they want to be fans of Jesus but not true followers. Why? Because if you dust off the bible and look at the definition of a true follower as given by Jesus, it would require people to give up a lot. I mean a lot. He tells us to take up the cross daily (not wear it on your body or on your bumper) but actually be willing to be crucified for standing for Jesus. He loved the lost. He hated that the religious leaders were so obsessed with ritual and costumes and words, not action. In fact when they called him out for healing and loving the lost and the broken, Jesus called them a "den of snakes". Let's face it, we are not going to be popular with main stream America.
I got word that an entire church, shut it's doors last Sunday, just to go work in the tornado zone in Knox county. That's where you will find Jesus. I prayed for 5 years for a church to be brave enough to do that without me asking them. It happened and I am encouraged, that all is not yet lost. It's not easy to lead people to help total strangers, there is no magic involved. It takes a brave and obedient pastor. He must be willing to forsake all others and listen only to our God above. Pastor Raji Hollifield, thank you for listening and obeying the Lord above!
I will see you out there somewhere out of our comfort zone.... bob