How We Failed a Test of the Emergency Christian-Response System

board-361516_640Yesterday was a test of the emergency Christian-response system and we failed miserably.

We forgot that we are at war.

We forgot that Satan has strategies and that he isn’t stupid.

We forgot that deception fills the air like a noxious gas and we all inhale. So our minds must be so infiltrated by truth they serve as filters for these lies and when we exhale, we exhale only truth.

We forgot that it’s not our job to get people to like Jesus. It’s our job to build the kingdom of Christ and tell the truth so they have the opportunity to repent and enter into relationship with Jesus. Two very different things.

MORE THAN ANY OTHER FAMILY, the family of God is inclusive, diverse, and colorful. This is the truth no matter what lies reign now in the headlines. When John was allowed a glimpse into eternity, one thing he saw was every kind of people. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,” Revelation 7:9 ESV

And we are diverse, not only in color, tongue, and nation but also in personality. Some of us are quiet and restrained while others of us boom like sonic planes and produce flop sweat when we tell of our passion for Jesus. As in any family, the quiet are sometimes embarrassed by the loud and the loud are sometimes frustrated with the quiet but part of building the kingdom of God is learning to love one another, accept one another, encourage one another, and build one another up in Christ. Yes, we are to correct one another, too, but in gentleness and humility.

Man, did we blow it yesterday.

Until the Starbucks red cup controversy, I’d never heard of Joshua Feuerstein. I’ve watched a few of his videos now and he is one of God’s louder, more exuberant children. I’m not like him. I’m no reclining wallflower and I work to get readers attention but his style isn’t mine and mine isn’t his. Still, I appreciate his zeal.

Starbucks cups aren’t on my daily radar so I really couldn’t care less what’s printed on them but the company has been clear that the design is intended to please everybody. That’s their goal. They’re a business and they want as many people as possible to like them. They are, in fact, compromising Christmas, to please everyone. That’s their business, not ours.

But yesterday, we didn’t handle our business properly. We compromised our love by falling all over ourselves hoping the world would continue to like us despite this zealous brother.

Joshua didn’t tell people to boycott, Starbucks. He just encouraged a smart-alecky way of announcing the reason for the season when purchasing a Starbucks coffee. Seriously, I’m not sure why Christians felt they had to attack him, unless we’re worried about being liked. Unless we’re embarrassed by his zeal. Unless we’re more concerned with separating ourselves from our “colorful relatives” than we are about taking seriously God’s commands to love one another.

Because let’s be honest. We weren’t as concerned about this red cup thing getting in the way of evangelism as we were embarrassed to find ourselves mocked publicly again on late night talk shows. We cringed at news of another “crazy” Christian. We engaged in large-scale duck-and-cover tactics in our rush to separate ourselves from family in order to maintain our popularity with as many people as possible. Much of our modern-day evangelism is us attempting to be so likeable that people will like our God. How’s that working for us?

Yesterday, we were more concerned with being cool than with asking ourselves how it would be best to love our brother. We got played. And in this war for souls, we have got to be smarter than that – a wisdom that comes from obeying God’s Word to be slow to speak and slow to anger even if we’re being mocked in the media.

We have got to get over ourselves loved ones.

King David was so in love with God, he paraded through the town in celebration and at one point, danced so exuberantly he flashed the royal jewels. God applauded David’s love for Him and it’s clear that David’s wife’s embarrassment was about her own needs, not her love of God.

And when a woman broke into a dinner with Jesus, poured oil on Him, and wept over Him out of pure love, it embarrassed the other attendees. Not Jesus. Jesus praised her self-less love and corrected the crowd. The others are condemned by their embarrassment.

We all have different personalities but let’s ask ourselves this, when was the last time our love for or zeal for Jesus was so uncontainable it made others around us uncomfortable? Lord, if this is a crime, may I be found guilty.

The first casualty of war is always the truth. Satan rules the air of this world, loved ones, and likewise, the airwaves. When headlines crash into our laps like tsunamis, we still have to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. We still have to love our brothers and sisters. We still have to see to please God more than the spectators in the stands.

Don’t you think that in the days of Rome, the crowds encouraged Christians to fight one another for sport? The right thing for any of them to do would have been to refuse to fight, to refuse to tear one another apart just to quiet the ravenous crowd. Even if it meant they died looking passive and weak, it would be best because what does the unsaved world know of true strength?

Yesterday, loved ones, was a test of the emergency Christian-response system and we failed. How will we respond when it gets real?

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    The Conversation

  1. Shawn Kuhn says:

    Your response is very thoughtful. I have not as a rule found Joshua Feuerstein the same. I have however found him purposeful and effective. I believe he opens himself up to this criticism. Pulling a gun out at the end of his “talk” and tying the second amendment into his Christian message belies his flaws. In my opinion, he is the Elmer Gantry of the internet.

    • As I said, he doesn’t represent my style. I’m not a fan of whipping out a gun. Even in the early church, some preached Christ only for profit but the word was to let them go and let God sort it out. From the videos I viewed, he seemed to be aiming for a “shock jock” style of evangelism. Not my deal but Noel Paul Stookey used to sing a song called “Peace in the Valley” and the last verse said “So if you meet a man in a pastel suit with an alligator Bible to match his boots, well, you may not like his style too much but if he could reach a soul you can never touch you’ve got to say, Peace in the Valley.”

  2. Carla says:

    I find it sadly hysterical that Christians feel the need to threaten violence to preach Peace. When Jesus and Pilate were talking and Pilate said to Jesus, ‘ARE you a king?’ And Jesus said (and I paraphrase), ‘I am, but My Kingdom is NOT of this world. If it WERE, My people would fight.’ He had a similar conversation a couple hours earlier with Peter, who, in his zeal, cut off the soldier’s ear. Jesus rebuked Peter and healed the ear. The Spirit also said in Revelation that ‘whosoever will kill with the sword MUST be killed with the sword.’ We are no longer fighting a physical enemy, this fight is spiritual. And how can we fight spiritual with physical weapons? Paul told us in Ephesians 6 to put on the spiritual armor, and why would he say that if he felt physical armor would be effective? If ANYONE needs to see Truth, it’s those who don’t have a clue of what their alleged Savior has been preaching for 2,000 years. It is OUR duty to make Jesus look so attractive people would be insane not to accept Him, NOT to point a gun at them. It’s time we wake up and actually READ and understand what we are—spiritual creatures passing through this earth towards Heaven.