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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I Don't Want to Be Associated With Christians

I listened to a sermon by Louie Giglio recently. In it he polled the congregation. "How many of you came to Passion City Church from another church? You grew up in one, moved to this one, etc…" The majority of the audience raised their hand. "Ok. Now, how many of you came to this church because someone showed you the love of Jesus and you came alive in faith?" Only one woman raised her hand in the congregation of nearly 1000. "And that's the sermon!" He concluded. 

This event and many others have made me wonder if I even really want to be called a "Christian." Yes, I am one. Born and raised. I love the Lord with my whole heart. I've given my life to ministry and serving the King. 

This week I've become increasingly convicted. Both personally and for the Church. It seems that every time I would scroll through my Facebook news feed, Christians were applauding one thing while simultaneously condemning another. 

Matthew McConaughey gave a God-honoring Ocsar speech. Christians everywhere went nuts! Some sang his praises. Others claimed that the movie he was nominated for completely went against everything he said on stage; going so far as to call him a hypocrite. This from Bible-believing "Christians."

At work, we have seen the release of Dannah's newest book, Pulling Back the Shades this week.  It's a book written by two Christian women addressing the erotica phenomenon created by the fastest selling book series in the world, 50 Shades of GrayYou can imagine the feedback we've been getting from women across the nation. Some women praise the authors for their boldness to address what the church has turned a blind eye to. Others say they will no longer endorse the authors or their respective ministries because of the book. It is sad to see Christians with such opposing views on such issues. I wonder if it is the cause of confusion for many nonbelievers? 

The homeschool family from Tennessee who is facing deportation at the hands of the Obama administration has warranted the attention of Christians across the nation. You've seen it on your newsfeed I'm sure. A whole bunch of angry believers are now threatening "civil disobedience" if the administration follows through with the process. 

Do I agree with what is happening to the family? Not at all. One would think that you could find room for 8 immigrants who are working to be here legally considering that we have approximately 12 million illegal ones within our borders! But, I recall Jesus taking the ear of the High Priest's assistant as it lay bloody on the ground and placing it back on the man's head. Peter's zeal was not used correctly. I've never seen anyone won to the Lord because of a fight. Attempting to chop up another, even when "justified" was still wrong in the eyes of the Lord. 

Church, is this really the image the world sees of us? Is this how our Savior is being displayed? We so easily become entangled in arguments of right and wrong and whose convictions are correct. (Which Romans 14 tells us not to do.) When we develop such a mind set, it is difficult to see through the barriers and simply love on another as Jesus called us to do.

My heart is aching and desperate to see the church be the Church Jesus established. One that operates in love and grace rather than quick judgements followed by condemnation. In 2014, nothing new is happening. The world is acting like the world!  GASP! It's been happening since the days of Noah, Abraham and Moses. Why do we focus so much effort on talking about them and how what they're doing is so wrong? We waste a lot of time doing that. But, what might cause a spark - a flicker of light in this generation - is if the church began to act like the Bride she was called to be. Being a true light would be far more effective in the Kingdom than pointing out that their darkness is dark. (Captain Obvious!) 

I've been convicted. On my face in repentance. How many times was I too quick to assume. Too hasty to arrive at a judgment. Too swift to type that "strongly opinionated" comment. As I've studied the gospels, I've seen my Jesus eat with prostitutes, liars, cheats, fornicators. He didn't point fingers at them. He loved them. (And mind you, he put the disciples and the Pharisees in their place a time or two when they questioned Him.)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

How do we expect to see the lost saved when as a Church we are so quick to condemn, judge and cast aside? When we argue amongst ourselves and divide into denominational walls? Who have you invited to church lately? Do you live confined within your Christian bubble? I'm challenging you to pop it. Let's drop the religious mask and Get.Off.Facebook. and put our noses in the Word of God. Study the way He ministered. The way He loved. The way he healed the man's ear after one of His nutty disciples got a little too carried away. 

So no, I don't particularly want to be associated with Christians who try to prove how "right" we are.  I don't want the headlines and statistics to be true of me. I simply desire to be a disciple of Jesus. A God-chaser. A Holy Spirit dweller. A lover of the lost. A safe place for the hurting. The arms of Christ to the broken. I would be happy to drop the title of "Christian." In fact, the term Christian is used only three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26, 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16). Each time it refers to a follower of Jesus who would not acknowledge the emperor of Rome.  Sadly, in today's society, the term "Christian" often brings a negative connotation. I simply want to be called a disciple, a follower of Christ.  

Here's an example of how we can step into the "Follower of Jesus" title: 
I'm sure you saw friends post photos of themselves sporting the red X on themselves in an effort to stop human trafficking recently. This part of the EndIt Movement was a social media campaign to create awareness of the issue. Great cause. Great leadership. It's about time someone stood up and brought attention to an issue that is impacting the entire globe! 

While I didn't sport the Red X that day, another member of my office did. She confessed that it was a struggle. "Do I want to put this photo up just to get 'Likes'?" While it was a mental battle, she did stop and pray that day. Of those who sported a Red X and took the photo that day, how many prayed? How many donated? How many signed up to volunteer? How many fasted? How many interceded for the missionaries who work in the sex trafficking world day-in and day-out?" Or was it just a photo for a good cause? Just a way to look good and get "LIKED"? While a photo spreads awareness, prayers call Heaven into action - demons to flee - freedom to reign. So much more impact comes from being on our knees. 

Let us be the Church that moves. That is the hands and feet of Jesus. The ones who go into all the world and make disciples. The ones who bring the lost to church so when the question is asked, countless hands go up. 

We are followers of Christ.