It’s time to clear the air.
I’m embarrassed by the screeching voices and angry tone of misguided people who claim a special calling from the God of the Bible. These self-appointed voices are giving my God a bad rap. They pop-off, picket, protest and post putdowns and judgment in defense of their own guilt and close-mindedness. Their words may grab attention, but their voices are empty… having the form without the spirit.
While Jesus constantly looked for the good in people, these posers and protesters see only the bad in everything and everybody. It has become their passion to point out what’s wrong with everyone, except themselves.
Jesus didn’t come to judge and condemn. He came to show us how the Father wants us to live. The old Law was set in place to teach us the impossibility of living under its demands. Jesus came with a NEW agreement–a new vision based on grace. The Old Testament was written on stones and skins, but Jesus saw to it that his new vision is being written on hearts, yours and mine (Hebrews 10:15-25). It’s time to stand up for His message of grace and kindness and goodness.
Follow Jesus…show the way!
Show people how to live beyond themselves and the bad-stuff is eventually traded for the good. The good news is Jesus called us to bring out the best, not point out the worst.
She glanced over and spied my business card sticking out of the folder, “So, what’s a faith coach?”
Before I could get more than three words out of my mouth, she interrupted, “It doesn’t matter. I bet it’s another ‘Christian’ attempt to screw-up America.”
I tried to capture her gaze, but she was looking past me, oblivious to any part of me. In a matter of speaking, to her, I was just taking up space.
“I gave your religion a shot, but it’s impossible. Give this up, stop that, quit, refuse, put others down. What kind of life is that? And they call it good news, huh!”
Then without a word from me, she got up and walked out the door.
For days, I wrestled with what I could have said, given another chance. I have concluded that my “God Story” message in any situation would have to be shaped by the context and the Holy Spirit. There is no cut-and-paste right answer, but in general here’s a shot
Let me introduce you to the God who inspired the Bible and writes on hearts.
Others may follow a god who accepts them after they have stopped doing a bunch of fun stuff, or after they have jumped through a bunch of hoops, or only if they believe all the approved doctrines, or if they are good enough. That’s not my God; my God loves me “as is,” in spite of flaws and failures.
My God didn’t just create this world and walk away; He’s still creating and shaping and speaking. I sense His presence in the pages of His Book, and in the eyes of the people I meet in Starbuck’s and at church. He is right here, in this room.
My God invented second chances. For some incredible reason he loves me in spite of my brokenness, forgetfulness, and selfishness. He enjoys knowing every detail of my life. How good is that? My instinct and intuition are gifts from His hands. He wants the best for me and the estranged, angry people who pretend to speak for Him.
He invested centuries of earth-time showing us how impossible it is to live perfect and keep all the rules, then he punched a hole in the sky and invaded the impossible with the unthinkable–incarnation–God in human skin–Jesus.
The “Jesus event” changed everything. The promise is no longer confined to a book. It’s written on human hearts–yours and mine. Jesus didn’t die to set up a new rule system, or build a tax shelter, or establish a religious institution. He didn’t come to leave us with a world religion. He visited this planet to do one thing, to grace us with a personal invitation to life beyond judgment and brokenness.
He gifted me with free-will, passion, and promise and wants me to live without condemnation. He knows about life with the WOW factor because he put it there. And when I let him, he shows me how to live with thankfulness in every dimension of life
I’ve gotten angry with Him, denied Him, and fought Him, but I can’t get away from him. I have tried to ignore Him, but He always finds a way to get my attention.
He has caught my tears while I was still hiding them, listened to my heart before I knew the words to speak, and gave me a dream that is now a mission. And, through it all, He has written His words on my heart and given me a story to tell.
He has challenged my values, tested my decisions, refine my motives, and grabbed my attention. It was his idea to give me imagination, and it’s his plan for me to use everything I do to make him look good.
That’s why, I too, am tired of all the empty, angry and hateful voices, but God still loves them.
I have one task for you this week, only one: Write a “God Story.” What would say to defend your God? This task will prepare you for some future event, when you will be called on to give an answer for the hope you have.
Begin writing and let the Spirit shape the words.
You will be blessed beyond your imagination.