Monday, December 03, 2007

What am I all about?

A couple of days ago I wrote one of my regularly recurring snarky-about-the-church posts. [Sorry, I can't stop myself!] After the usual spate of hightly-intelligent complaining (heh heh) I asked the question, "Is this the way church is supposed to be?"

And of course the implied answer is, "Heck no!" [Excuse the strong language.] The fact is, we know what church is supposed to be like. We know the message that is supposed to be the central core, the very heart of Christian preaching, because we have it, for example, in Peter's first sermon (Acts 2). We know what message brings peace, breaks down hostility, lifts burdens, and awakens gratitude. All through the letters of Paul we hear the strains of that melody. It comes again in Hebrews, in the letter of James, and in those of Peter and John. One thing is sure: the core message always has to do with Jesus.

Now, this may seem a no-brainer to some of you, but the strange fact is that much preaching has to do with everything else but Jesus (see this post over at Gospel Driven blog for more on just such "everything else"). And perhaps the stranger fact is that many of us don't even notice his absence. I once attended an evening of worship music in which many songs were sung, but not one mentioned the name of Jesus. When I pointed this absence out to someone, it took him completely by surprise. He hadn't noticed, and began rummaging in his mind through the lyrics of each song he could remember. No, surely this one or that one mentioned Jesus. But it was not so.

And that experience is not unique for me. Consequently, I've taken up the cause, along with many others, of restoring Jesus and the Gospel (the message of who Jesus was, what he accomplished, and why it matters) to the forefront of church life. You see, we do know what church should be like. We have the casebook in hand. It's just that somewhere along the line we have grown dissatisfied with Christ and his cross, and have replaced it with other things. We're following new models.

This problem has now come to be recognized by many, and consequently there is a Jesus movement in the church today. Note: this is not so much a movement to declare and exalt Jesus among the nations, as to re-declare him within the church, to Christians. Jesus must be restored to the church before the church can be expected to exalt him to the nations.

This movement is many-sided, crosses denominational lines, and can even unite charismatics and cessationists (for example). Among those leaders who have come to the fore in this movement are Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, John Piper, Michael Horton, C. J. Mahaney, Sam Storms, and others. Among the bloggers are just about everyone you see on my blogroll (and many others).

So that's the "element" within Christianity that I want to identify with. That's the lapel-pin I want to wear for the rest of my days. Jesus freaks, Jesus geeks, Christ-followers, whatever you want to call us. Jesus first, last, and everything between. Always relevant, entirely able, our ground of hope and reason for laughter, present in all the Scriptures, dethroning the self and its constant needs and demands. That's what I want to be all about till the end of my days.

9 comments:

NaNcY said...

i agree that the truth lies in faith in Jesus.

and i believe we get there
by obeying the command
to love God
and love one another

and to use prayer and God's love,
instead of faith in ourselves

NaNcY said...

i mean
to get the truth
in faith in Jesus
to others, that already
believe in Jesus, in the body
is by those with faith in
prayer and the Love of God.

NaNcY said...

those with faith...
through prayer
and the love of God given through those that are placing their faith in Jesus.

i think i finally got the words in the right order. whew!

NaNcY said...

asking for faith to continue

faith in Jesus
our continual battle
against the evil one.

NaNcY said...

the trick is
that in trusting Jesus, faith,
and living out the Love of God
in prayer, faith,
is the way
for each of us

and in living that
is the way to bring others
into that

it is God's way

NaNcY said...

by the way, brother...thanks for the wonderful post.
Love.

Milton Stanley said...

Count me in, Bob.

Paul said...

Hi Bob,

Amen!!

Count me in brother!!

Among the Other Religious Nuts :)

It is good to visit your blog!

Writing for the King,

Paul
The Mayor of Starbucks :)

Bob said...

Yup, you both get the lapel pins, and so do all six Nancy's above. Thanks for dropping by, you guys!