I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but there are seas of incredibly devout people hungering after God… who…if they are honest… not only feel like they are treading water but as they frantically splash about… are practically drowning others.
WHAT????…. Yep… it’s true… and it’s probably happening in a church near you….maybe even the one you go to.
Hi:) my name is Kae… and I think we need to talk. Given the fact you probably don’t know me from Adam… or should I say Eve? I think it’s only fair I give you some personal background.
Sooooo… I grew up pretty heathen. Don’t believe me? Call Jerry Springer, he’ll tell you. Or get Madea on the phone… she’ll dish for me. ( joke) But keeping it real…the types of things they feature were going on in my family of origin.
You know what the good news is? It’s that Jesus really does care. No no.. don’t tune me out… I know that ‘s what everyone says… but really …He does. He’s got this whole walk with Him figured out… He not only promises to take us from glory to glory …but He really does it.
See…I don’t think He found me… because He always knew where I was. He just kind of surrounded me…like He does all of us…until I was ready to see that I was in Egypt. (Happy Passover you all) and promised He’d show me the way out.
His love was the first thing I met. Christians were so excited for me they thought they’d help me out…and that’s where the trouble started. Don’t get me wrong… maybe they meant well… but it’s like they were hanging out with Paul BEFORE HIS CONVERSION instead of after.
And you know what? I KNEW they must be right. Because back when Adam met Eve their great great ancestors were the ones inviting the fig wearers to the Church of the holy clothed. ( joke) But seriously… I figured they must know more than me about Jesus because they grew up in the Church… and I soooo didn’t. Forget that I actually had encounters with Him of love that defied my imagination…turned out that belonging to Jesus was all about what I did for Jesus.
So let me tell you… I DID! What did I do? What didn’t I do? I became a youth pastor. I led Kids Klubs, started a campus ministry for SE Asian refugees, led Bible studies, went to Urbana and most importantly went around smashing folks on the head with the Bible…all in the name of Jesus. WWJD…What would Jesus do? He’d preach at folks who didn’t want to hear whether or not it was their season to hear right? Let’s just pretend that all the timings in Ecclesiastes don’t really matter and that everyone is called to preach and teach and evangelize whether or not anyone wants to hear OK? After all… this was the Good News everyone was talking about. And the good news was that everyone better talk about it……or else…
You know what I’m talking about … the word ” IF”. If… you’re a true Christian you will want to read the Bible. If… you are a good Christian you will have Quiet Times every morning. If… you really love people you will evangelize….ad nauseum.
The tempter came to him and said, “IF you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” ( emphasis mine)
The tempter kept on “iffing” Jesus about all the stuff He should be doing…but Jesus wasn’t having it… so why should we?
Check out Paul to Timothy after Jesus appeared to him.
“But we know that the law is good, IF a person uses it lawfully. AS KNOWING THIS ( what are we supposed to know Paul?) that law is NOT made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for the sexually immoral, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars , for perjurers…” (1 Timothy 1: 8-10…emphasis mine)
Gotta love a man who knows where to put his IFs. If… you’re struggling with some of the stuff in the above list… the good news is that there’s this awesome father figure of a Creator who has wisdoms and boundaries that will make your life so much better than being chained to the stuff Paul talks about in the verses above. But IF… you are not struggling with the stuff mentioned here…then WHY…are you submitting yourself to earthly principalities and the very wickedness that broke us and the garden to smithareens? Remember… God made His Creation… thought He did a good job ( His words not mine) and the tempter came along and informed Adam and Eve that God had kind of messed up… and IF…. Eve would eat something that was a no-no… she’d be so much better off.
So this is what I believe… I think a lot of Christian folks are scared. I think they’ve been taught to be scared… that IF they don’t do certain man-made dictates… then they will not really belong to Jesus… or that they will fall into sin….like the spirit of fear is what’s going to save them. Folks, we serve a RISEN LORD ( Happy Easter:)) who is more than able to keep us… lead us… and get us through the pearly gates. And regardless as to what you may have been taught… his Birthday is Christmas ( happy day)…not Halloween ( scary day). If He really wanted us to be under the motivation of fear and guilt then He would be a liar…because He calls Himself the GOOD SHEPHERD…and scaring folks into submission is for bullies…just sayin. It’s His Kindness that leads us to repentance. ( Romans 2:4)
You know what else? I think there are pastors who try to motivate churchgoers through guilt… especially when it comes to evangelism. How dare I say that? LOL… because early on… in my Bible bashing days… I was one. But Jesus isn’t like that…it really is all about love. No… I’m not talking about loving people into the Kingdom….if you love someone so you can proselytize them that’s called manipulation… just keeping it real. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a PURE heart.” 1 Timothy 1:5. It really is all about love…no.. not your love… His.
Sooo…am I one of those liberal folks who believes in cheap grace…that we should sin all we want because He will forgive us? Absolutely not…just typing that made me want to throw up. There is nothing cheap about what Jesus did when He went to the cross. Nothing. And that’s why it is OK to make such a big deal about HIS love… HIS work… HIS SPIRIT… and not worry about stuff that is part of Christian country club mentality that has to be done to truly belong to Him. God isn’t inviting us to ride his yacht. He’s inviting us to experience pieces of heaven on earth love from Him… and eventually heaven itself.
But don’t we have to get all worked up and.. and… just do something for God to prove we love Him? Folks… that’s not the way it works. “My food,” said Jesus, is to do the will of him who sent me …” Doing God’s will is not something to muster up… but rather to receive. I promise you… if you let Jesus love on you… He will give you that bread of hanging out with Him and doing cool stuff He’s doing on earth.
Check this out…once upon a Saturday I was driving and passed this guy with a sign that said, “Free Prayer.” I smiled and said to myself, “That’s the Lord.” The Lord then told me to go back and check out what that man was doing.
But you see, I had just gone to Whole Foods, had a bag of chocolate kale chips, a probiotic Synergy drink and my next stop was the gym… so I figured maybe it wasn’t too big a deal if I just prayed for the guy and followed my original healthy Saturday plan. Soooooo….I drove through several intersections… but Jesus wasn’t buying it. He kept telling me to go back… finally I did. Aren’t I spiritual? ( joke)
Turns out I know the guy and as we’re talking , a couple comes up and asks him for prayer. He asks me to stay and help him pray…so I do. The Holy Spirit surprises me by falling on us in broad daylight. Cars are zooming by. The couple gives their lives to Jesus … the Father’s hear of compassion falls heavily on me ( sometimes that happens) and before you know it Jesus is holding the gal in His arms through me. As I gently rock her and tell her how precious she is.. she keeps saying, “I want to go to church where you go.” FOLKS! These people drove up in a car that had an atheist bumper sticker and the gal’s boyfriend had NEVER been to church.
This is not an isolated event in my life. But the point is… I wasn’t trying to prove anything to God. I wasn’t frantically handing out tracts or fervently trying to force myself through the Bible in a year. Am I saying reading the Bible and passing out tracts are wrong? Absolutely not! But if you’re doing them out of a Halloween mentality rather than a Christmas one… it’s like being in labor and trying to push your baby out before it’s time . Anyone who has been around the childbearing process knows that this is counter productive.
Just let Him love you.. oh… let Him love you… it’s what He really wants most of all… He will give you the character…. the giftings…. the love for Him…but most of all …let Him reassure you…that He would… and will …move heaven and earth for you… not because of what you do… but because your name is engraved upon His palms…. and do you know what that name is?