Sunday, June 10, 2012

JESUS, Friend of sinners.....let's not forget.

I have felt this one coming on for a while now, but wasn’t for sure exactly where God was going with it.  I still don’t know 100%. To start off I will say what I like to preface all of my writings with….stop HERE if you’re too sensitive, too prideful, too arrogant, or too narrow minded to look outside of your denominational box to see what Jesus might REALLY want to say to His church. The majority of people, if any, who choose to read this know me well enough to know I understand what I write, whether it be a blog, a simple note, or a Facebook status has the potential of stepping on toes, popping out a hemorrhoid or two, or causing a slight rise in blood pressure for some. And that’s perfectly fine! There’s a medicine or a doctor for all of that J  I also understand it isn’t the un-churched, the lost, or even those of other religions who might be ready to mob me after reading it…’ll be the church folk. The saved. The righteous. Children of the Most High God. Why? Because what God lays on my heart to relay to His Bride, the church….the body of Christ….well….hurts. I am not talking about any “specific” church, but the body of Christ as a whole. It causes us, INCLUDING MYSELF, to have to take a look in the mirror and compare our heart to His….and sometimes it is a tough thing to have to do.

For the last few days I have been listening to this song over and over. “Repeat” is my friend. I have prayed. I have cried. I have been on my knees. I have praised Him. I have thanked Him. I have asked Him to break our hearts for what breaks His. We get so caught up in life and in ourselves do we really ever stop to remember why God sent His son to die? It wasn’t to add color to the cross. Do we ever stop to remember the reason God chose Jesus to live on earth as a man? It wasn’t so he could simply exist and live a self-centered life. Do we ever stop to remember why the resurrection of Christ IS of the utmost importance to you, me…..AND….the lost???

How is the church as a whole doing representing the ministry of Jesus Christ? You know, the one God sent His only son to die for? You know, the one where Christ was crucified, buried, and then resurrected on the third day? How well is the church representing the resurrection of Christ? How well are you representing the resurrection of Christ in your day to day life? I OFTEN get misunderstood with my stance on this because people automatically assume I “expect perfection”. For the love of pop tarts, that is not what I mean.  I am so not perfect. Don’t and will never claim to be. Forgiven, yes. Perfect, no. Do I have a responsibility as a Christ follower to check my heart in the mirror (which for me is the word of God) and see how I’m doing and where I need work? Yup. Was I given a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEVEL OF REPSONSIBILTY IN MY LIFE AFTER RECEIVING CHRIST???  You better bet your life savers!!!

Church….the resurrection of Christ was NOT simply to give you a get out of hell free card. Yes, definitely one of the perks (thank the LAWD for it!)…..but….the resurrection has major responsibility attached to it. For those of us in Christ, there’s MINISTRY in the resurrection. Why did God bother sending us the Holy Spirit? Salvation, yes. But to go beyond that…….

He sent it to complete the ministry Jesus started…THROUGH US. How well are we doing?  Well, I must say, all in love of course…..we are very judgmental. Very opinionated. Very biased. Very rude. Very selfish. I’m speaking as a whole, not “every” individual, but take a look around. Sometimes, honestly, it is hard for me to be on Facebook. It’s fun, it allows me to say random weird things and unload my crazy brain, but often, as Brady used to say, “it gives me a PAIN I can’t locate!”. It’s the fact that, Christians confuse me. They always have. To the point I wasn’t for sure I wanted to be “one of them”. But then I met Jesus and the rest is HIStory. I think if God had a song for us, for this generation, for those of us RIGHT NOW that He has ENTRUSTED with HIS ministry….it would be “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. This song breaks my heart. Why you ask? Because it’s true. I see it every day. I, at times, have to check myself as well. I’m no exception to anything I write or say concerning any matter.  To me, it’s almost as if the church has forgotten they were forgiven….which means at one time they were not. It’s almost as though the church has forgotten they were hell-bound sinners and ONLY by God’s grace and mercy have they been redeemed….now we are Saints…who sin, but because of our love of Christ we repent (change our way of thinking) and feed our hearts with His word in order to become more like Him.  It’s almost as if the church feels as though “they” are the only ones who are “deserving” of God’s forgiveness and eternal security. I don’t get it. And because I don’t get that mentality….I’m sure some in the body of Christ feel as though I “expect perfection”. I believe at different times I have been passed by, overlooked, avoided, and ignored by people who could have mentored me to great degrees (I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself…simply stating the facts. God will find others who are willingJ), but because I believe God gave us a great deal of responsibility (leading people to Christ), I believe the church should be held accountable. I believe the church should look different than the world….just sayin’.  This is what I believe we, the church, look like to the world. Check out just a few of the lyrics from “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”…..

“Jesus, Friend of sinners….we have strayed so far away. We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing. Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see. The world is on their way to You…but they're tripping over me. Always looking around but never looking up, I'm so double minded. A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.

Oh Jesus,  Friend of sinners…Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy. Help us reach with open hearts and open doors….Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours.”

Maybe I’m the only one, but this song about says it all for me. Maybe I am so passionate about the responsibility and the accountability of the church because when I was lost and on my way to hell…..I almost preferred that because all I saw around me were the words to this song. It’s the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. It’s not pointing the finger at the world in disgust because we think we are better than they are (better off, yes, better than, no). It’s not steering clear of adulterers, fornicators, murders, drug addicts, alcoholics, people from other denominations and/or religions, divorcees, the poor, people who go to churches with chairs instead of pews, men and women who have children out of wedlock, homosexuals, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, or conservatives. That’s the LAST way to reach a broken world. How effective would Jesus’s ministry have been had He avoided, condemned, and judged sinners because He thought He was better than them (..and He was SINLESS)? Where would you and I be NOW if JESUS had used OUR form of what we call “ministry”?  One other line of the song that speaks volumes to me, and I’m sure it does to the world as well…..

“Nobody knows what we're FOR, only what we're AGAINST when we
judge the wounded……”

Check out your own Facebook statuses over the years, listen to yourself when you talk, think about what goes through your mind when you come across a person who is an addict, a homosexual, an adulterer, or any outcast for that matter. Nobody knows what we’re for….they only know what we are against. You know why? Because they feel the hate and condemnation. Church…..try to lead the lost to Christ using that method and you get?? The world as we know it today.

One last line……

“What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and love like You did…”

The way you live your life. The words that come out of your mouth. The way you treat others inside and outside of the church. God sees right through it all and straight to your heart. And guess what?? Those who are lost can feel hate and disgust just like you can. And….they can feel love. Church, whether you want to be or not, whether you like it or not, whether you admit it or not….YOU ARE held to a higher standard of living because it’s YOU who are representing the King of ALL Kings. It’s YOU whom He has CHOSEN TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTINUATION AND COMPLETION OF THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST. He chose YOU, but it’s not ABOUT YOU. And with responsibility comes accountability. And with responsibility and accountability comes ownership. If you screw up, own it and then change it.  If the body of Christ doesn’t hold each other accountable and responsible….then we start to look just like the world.

Those who hold the church accountable seem to end up being an enemy of the church, believers and non-believers alike.  It seems as though the people in the world automatically assume Christians SHOULD look different than them…..and yet the body of Christ has forgotten they were once lost and are now found and have been made NEW…..yet they still act like the OLD. Confusing to say the least.  I wasn’t raised in church, but since I have been going over the last 7 years I have made it a point to not leave church the same way I walked in. Even if I pick up the TINIEST bit of revelation to take out of there to apply to my life to help me be more Christ-like in my thinking and in my day to day living. I can’t say it’s happened every time. Sometimes PMS can just make you walk up outta there and not pick nuttin’ up! Lol  I’ve got a long way to go. I still have a lot to learn. I’m not perfect. But at a very heart felt level I want people to know Him by the way I live my life. Everyone seems to have their own “life” scripture. 1 John 2:6 has always been mine…..”WHOEVER CLAIMS to live in Him…MUST walk as Jesus did.” Back up what you say you believe in by walking it out. If you’re not walking as Jesus did….then you’re not looking like Jesus. It’s probably the influence of this scripture in my heart and in my life that has made other’s feel I “expect perfection”. I wish it was something I could apologize for, but I can’t (and won’t) apologize for the word of God. I guess the unsaved and wounded aren’t the only ones to get passed by daily at the gate called Beautiful J 

He has called us to be His hands and feet and voice. He has called us to finish the ministry He started. It’s not “my” ministry. It’s not “your” ministry. It’s not “our” ministry. It’s HIS ministry and He has chosen us to carry on as He did… church, let’s get over ourselves, accept responsibility, hold each other accountable, listen to what God is trying to tell us (and I’m sorry….but God uses more than one person and more than one way to speak to His people)…… and let’s lovingly carry on His ministry like He would want us to, and remember…..Jesus is a friend of sinners

No comments:

Post a Comment