Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Glad I'm Not that Smart."

When Kellie and I were in the process of starting Crossroads Christian Church, we got a lot of unsolicited advice from friends and associates. Excited, eager and enthusiastically they would either invite us to their church or begin to instruct us on the way we should do it. They meant well. I was glad they were excited about their faith community and their ministries. I was truly glad they would share with us what was going on in their church. Anyone who has been a church planter will know that there is no cookie cutter plan, no magic program, or no miraculous strategy to have a growing church because every faith community is uniquely different.

After numerous invitations and relentless inviting, I visited a fast growing very popular congregation. I arrived and was warmly greeted. Took my seat and enjoyed several minutes of great quality praise music. During the passing of the peace one person shook my hand. More praise singing, a funny entertaining video, I began to get into that worship spirit. A good looking stylish minister came out and began to speak to us. His message was upbeat, entertaining, and seemed to move with grace and articulation. The audience held on to every word and reacted beautifully to his prompts. I was enjoying it, I must admit, just as everyone else but I realized something was missing. I could not put my finger on it but something was definitely missing. I was having a good time and then it hit me. I began to look around. The minister did not read scripture, there were no cross anywhere, no religious images I was accustomed to. As I listened closer, what the man said was morally correct, but he not once used the words; God, Christ, Jesus, or Savior. When I asked about the lack of religious images or vocabulary, a nice man instructed me that they were a “high intellectual faith community and they didn’t want to offend anyone.” I left there realizing that I must be lacking in “high intelligence” because I missed the huge attraction. Church for me is about Jesus and the cross and I cannot comprehend a worship service without such. It may not have been church in my book but it sure was popular.

Paul writes to the church on Corinth about such a division. It was a division about the meaning of the cross. One group, the Jews had one idea, and the other group the Gentile held another. Each struggled to convince the other they were right. In Paul's responce to them it reminds us that Christianity is not about how much we know. It is not about requiring a supreme knowledge of how to be a popular church but something of the heart. We must not be afraid to share the essence of our faith. To be wise is to always keep ones heart open, if your heart is closed, you cannot grow in wisdom. We gain wisdom by living our lives as disciples, followers of Christ with an open heart. When we keep an open heart we keep an open mind. It allows us to accept people the way they are, learn about their lives and experience, and gain knowledge about ourselves and Christ in the process. We begin to copy the same method in which Christ drew great crowds by keeping an open heart and open mind even when it is popular or not. Open your heart to a stranger and see what wisdom you gain about yourself. If you do then you will see how God honor such intelligence.

See ya in a church somewhere but until then take care of yourself, grow in wisdom with a open heart, and take care of yourself and one another.
Peace & Grace,

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