Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything We Do Must Be About Jesus

"Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).

We are becoming a community where all people encounter...what? who? The object of our encounter is not just a nice experience, or a warm, fuzzy feeling. The church does not exist to provide nice programs or simply a handout. The church exists for one primary reason—to help people encounter Jesus Christ. No one else, nothing else. Jesus is the reason we exist, and connecting people to him is why we do what we do.

We do that, however, in a variety of ways because no two people will ever encounter him in the same way. Jesus himself showed us that; he met people where they were. Were they broken? He offered healing—not for the sake of the healing itself (something we've often forgotten in American "showmanship" Christianity) but so that a barrier could be removed from that person's life, so they could see him. Were they hungry? Jesus fed them, sometimes making a meal out of very little (two loaves anyone?). Were they lonely? Jesus offered them friendship. In every situation, Jesus removed the barriers so that they could encounter him. Paul did that too: "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings" (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

So where there are hungry people, we offer food. Where there are cold people, we offer clothing. Where there are wounded people, we offer healing. And above all and in all of this, we offer the good news that Jesus wants to meet us, save us and love us for eternity. That's the reason we exist. That's the reason the church has endured. It's not because we have great programs or nice music. The reason the church has endured and will continue to endure until the end of time (Matthew 16:18) is because everything we do is and must be about Jesus.

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