Awkward Evangelists, Bumbling Missionaries

nerd-294045_640Hey, pssst, you there – yes, you. We need to chat. This isn’t a post for someone else. Yes, I know you think I’m not aware it’s you reading this but I am. You’re precisely the one I mean to reach.

God’s not messing around, you know that, don’t you?

And by God, I’m not talking about the god who is so popular in certain circles. I’m talking about the God you and I know. The God of the Bible. The God who created the world. The God who deeply, passionately loves us. The God who talks about sin like it’s a really bad thing. So bad, He had to sacrifice His only Son to pay the price for ours. Sin is that bad. He loves us that much. The God who is Jesus. Yeah, that Jesus.

God is serious that there is no way to Him except through Jesus. He’s serious about how lethal unrepentant sin is for humans. It’s life-threatening and you and I know this because we’ve received the cure by grace, purely by grace. We aren’t smarter or more special than anyone else. But, really, no one needs to tell us that because we look into the mirror of His Word daily. We find love there. Forgiveness. Grace. Peace. But, we also find challenge. Exhortation. Confrontation. Sanctification. Hard truth. And a constant call to repentance.

There’s a world of deception out there, though, clouding the issue, piping falsehood into every elevator along with the muzak and aromatherapy. Peddling the lie that there is no God or if there is, He’s reached through many ways. And some of us, not wishing to offend, button-1280240_640remain silent at this fairy tale watching the elevator descend. Then, the speakers on the wall squawk that sin is an archaic notion, gone the way of “duck and cover” and that a little sin is no big deal. And some of us, wanting to be agreeable, agree, as if we’d permit our children to indulge in a little heroin and think that was okay.

At some point in recent history, our enemy figured out that if he held up a funhouse mirror to the church, we’d recoil at our reflection and, being the loving sensitive people we are, it would make us think twice about drawing attention to ourselves, to our message. The mirror hideously exaggerated our faults (yes, we have them) and made even our good qualities mawkish. We certainly don’t want to look legalistic, judgmental, old-fashioned, irrelevant, or preachy. The nasty figure we saw in Satan’s full-length sideshow cowed us and we haven’t found a way over it. So, people are dying while we try to recover from our distorted view.

It’s time. It’s time now to repent of our self-consciousness. You know why? Because people die while we try to get over ourselves.

As a church, we need to stop worrying about what people think of us. The kingdom of God is not furthered by solid poll numbers, favorability scales, or marketing campaigns. The kingdom of God does not consist of talk at all but in power. (I Corinthians 4:20) So, we need to stop worrying about whether we’re saying the right words and be sure we’re tapped into that source of power. Jesus.

So, here’s what I’m suggesting. That we spread the message badly. That’s right. Let’s just be awkward evangelists. Be remedial sowers of the gospel. Be bumbling missionaries. Let’s get up out of our pews and make a few people uncomfortable, make a few mistakes, make a few enemies, offend someone with the truth that they are so deeply loved someone died for them.

We can take a lesson from urban moms. You’ve seen them on YouTube, yelling at wayward sons out looting during riots or hollering at troubled daughters caught smoking pot. They’re not wondering what they look like to those around. They’re not worried if they’re hurting their kids feelings or using “I” sentences. They’re stepping up to get in between their kids and the dangerous choices they know will likely sign-1732791_640lead them to more dangerous choices. So they scream, “Stop it. Stop it now and get your backside home. I’m not playing. I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it. “

We know they’re not threatening murder. We know they’re screaming from a place of love. We know that they see their child’s powerful, inner potential for a life of creativity, contribution, and light at risk of being dimmed and dulled by commonplace, life-sucking sin.

That’s where God’s coming from, too, and we’re His people. Entrusted with this message to the world. Let’s take a stab at communicating it.

Sin is boring. When sin takes root in our lives, we’re drained of our spectacular life energy. We know this for ourselves which is why we stick close to Christ and access that transforming grace so we can be freer from sin every day. But we can’t consume ourselves only with our own sanctification while the people around us shoot unrepentant sin into their veins every day and die thinking their Father doesn’t love them.

There’s nothing interesting about habitual sin. It’s dull, isn’t it? Another crooked politician. Another celebrity pastor having another affair. Another addict. Another neglectful parent. Another wayward child. They don’t see what we see. They don’t recognize the light dimming in their own eyes.

Saying sin is bad isn’t judgmental. It’s like saying heroin is bad. It’s fact. Be certain of this fact and then say it to someoneinjecting-519389_640 else.

We Christians burn hours of creativity, energy, and inventiveness entertaining ourselves, instructing ourselves, and commenting on ourselves and that’s okay but we have to invest a larger portion of that creativity and passion into telling others the freeing truth we harbor like a dirty secret from the past that we all are guilty of sin but God loves us anyway and sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us and that repenting of our sin and following Jesus is the only way out of this filthy crack-house the enemy calls modern life. We’re not good at this now and the only way to get better is to do it badly so let’s at least do that.

For centuries, people have shared the truth of Jesus in the wrong ways and you know what happened? People came to Jesus anyway. board-1754932_640Because the truth is the truth and the way out of sin actually works so let’s not be the generation that invented a million ways to communicate but only uses them to tell ourselves what we already know.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 ESV

Let’s do that. Let’s live in the freedom of our redemption.

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