I am supposed to give a short message tonight at church and I have NOTHING; NADA; ZIP! When stuck I often try to determine what is in my heart. What topic, situation, or person can I not get out of my head.
Like many of you, ever since Monday evening, I have been thinking about Robin Williams. It seemed wrong somehow to write about him, but when I thought about it, this is not really about him personally, his situation has just brought it to my attention.
Let me first say that I think Robin Williams was a great actor and an even better person. Greatness of his magnitude often comes at a price, and my hearts breaks for this man and his family. My mother is Bi-polar, so I have experienced severe depression (second-hand) and I do nothing but sympathize with his struggles.
I don’t know where Mr. Williams stood with God. I don’t know when or if he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Many who knew him would claim that they could see Jesus in him, in his actions, how he helped the sick and supported many causes. I pray that Mr. Williams indeed did know Jesus and Jesus knew him.
But this is where the urgency comes in for me. Everyone says that Mr. Willimas was a great man, but just like anyone else, if he did not believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior……I just can’t even bring myself to write it. That is how heart breaking the thought is. [Once again, what I am about to say is not directed at Mr. Williams, but his death brought it to the forefront of my mind.]
What am I doing to promote Jesus? What am I doing to make sure the hurt and sick hear the good news of Jesus Christ so that they too can have hope? Not just eternal salvation, but hope for their life on this earth, hope that they too can overcome their struggles.
Honestly, I am not doing a whole lot.
Yes, I sit at my computer and write my blog. But most of my readers are already Christians. You already have a relationship with Christ. I don’t have to sell you on Christ before I can try to lead you into a closer relationship. That makes it a whole lot easier. But the question I have for myself is: What am I doing to reach the lost?
This may be the most honest statement or confession I have made on this blog to date: I don’t know how to reach the lost. Yes, I can give the standard salvation spiel, but other than that I am at a loss.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman in a band that travels all around the world and he told me that I just needed to: keep it simple; talk about Jesus’ love for us; and let the people know that Jesus died for all of us, even those who feel like they are beyond saving. You know, the “come as you are” message, the easy stuff, the stuff that doesn’t mention sacrifice, change, or work. Why? We want them to want to get saved. We want them to come to the altar for an altar call. They won’t come if there is work to be done or if there is any changing to be done. It could overwhelm them.
I get what he was saying. I really do. A big, big part of me wants to believe this is legit, but there is a part of me that is sick to my stomach.
What Jesus am I trying to sell? The Jesus of the Bible or a Jesus the world has created?
Then another bang hits…I don’t want to make it too complicated for people to come to Jesus. I don’t want to be a pharisee! So I do nothing. When speaking to a group of “lost” people, I usually let someone else do the talking and follow their lead.
Today, I read a very interesting blog and it honestly caused my mind to spin.
I highly recommend you read the whole blog post by clicking the following link:
“Listen, it doesn’t matter if you preach a grace message, or hellfire and brimstone. The world will never like Christians. Period. The world hated Jesus, and it will hate you too if you really follow Him. The more your life reflects Jesus’, the more you will receive what He received; persecution. Stop trying to sugar-coat and dilute God’s words in hopes of getting more people to like it. They will hate and reject God regardless. The Bible doesn’t need an editor. God doesn’t need you to translate what He says to people into a more “loving” way to make it easier for people to accept. God said it, that settles it.”-Kaelin Edwards
For some this seems a little too hard-core; a little too extreme, but maybe, just maybe, there is more truth here than we could have ever imagined.
“If people come to faith based on this faulty way of thinking, they will soon read the Bible and find out that it contradicts everything they’ve been told. Why waste their time by not telling the complete, unedited truth?-Kaelin Edwards
I often wondered if I did the former style of evangelism would I be participating in a “bait and switch” kind of scam. You know what I mean. If we just tell people that God loves everyone and he is full of mercy and grace, and leave it at that, will they be angry when they find out later that as Christians we are called to live differently and there are things we are to do and not to do? Or will their new-found love in Jesus cause them not to care about these surprises?
“Brothers and sisters, it’s imperative that we realize how important it is to take this seriously. Especially in the days that are to come, there’s no telling what the world will do next. People will persecute us for our faith and there’s no question about that. Are you ready for it? Are you ready to be tortured for what you believe?”-Kaelin Edwards
The situation in Iraq is gut-wrenching. I can’t watch the videos; I just can’t do it. However, I have nothing but profound respect for those who are proclaiming Jesus at the cost of their lives and the lives of their families. I pray that I have that same dedication. However, I am further saddened by the knowledge that often times I don’t proclaim Jesus’ name in the face of ridicule! I am ashamed. How can I refuse to spread the word of God because I fear what people will say about me; I fear their laughter; I fear their rejection. Shame on me!
Some may be wondering why this is so important. This is why I find it important:
Jeremiah 7:21-22: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
When we try to simplify Christ’s message; when we teach only “happy” scriptures are we leading people to Jesus or are we giving them false hope?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.