Thou Shalt Offend Pharisees! (Part 1)
Amazing! Sad! Exciting! Heartbreaking! Cool! Wrong!
These are just some of the emotions I have been experiencing lately. Emotions not relating to anything happening inside of our church – what is happening inside of our church is one big, exciting, God-sized thing. It’s some of the things taking place outside of our church that has me perplexed. Things like – churches complaining that our billboard is offensive and is communicating a horrible message to our community (according to them) – churches who from their own stages/platforms are denouncing our church, our billboard, and condemning us for welcoming “sinners” into our church (at least 4 churches I know of).
We have also had many of our road signs vandalized or stolen. Yesterday at the grocery store, I had someone approach me because I was wearing an Eagle Pointe t-shirt and then proceed to read me the riot act about how bad our church is & how we’re leading people astray. Of course these are people who’ve never actually been to our church.
I am reminded of what Ghandi once said (BTW: Don’t tell people I’m quoting Ghandi – who knows what they’ll say ) He said, “I like your Christ – I just don’t like your Christians! Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I think the same would be said by most of the “not yet-Christians” in our world today. It is heartbreaking to me that in addition to fighting all of the negative influences/attacks of this world, fighting a spiritual adversary who is trying to bring us down at every turn, that we also have to deal with attacks from churches. Imagine what would happen for the Kingdom of God if churches/Christians spent as much time trying to reach people for Christ as they do worrying about what other churches are doing. I will tell you one thing that would happen -we wouldn’t be living in an area where 90% of the people do not attend church – that percentage would be a whole lot lower!
The reality is that we could have 20 churches with 2000 people in each in our community, and we would still not be putting a substantial dent in the number of people who do not go to church (who most likely are not Christians). This is why I am constantly praying for the other churches, pastors, & ministry leaders in our area. I pray, “God, if that church is honoring You & putting a smile on Your face USE THEM & BLESS THEM!” There is no place for jealousy and competition in the kingdom of God and cause of Christ! We need to be working together – we are all on the same team – and the more our spiritual enemy can keepus separated – the more he wins. Sadly, we’re not talking about points on a scoreboard – we’re talking about where people/souls are spending eternity.
Let’s keep our focus on the main thing/big picture that God has called us to! Thou shalt offend Pharisees – after all – that’s what Jesus did! As a good friend of mine Shawn Lovejoy once told me, “If you’re ticking off the religious establishment, you’re putting a smile on Jesus’ face!” True – so true!