The Church of Chicken Little – How Do We Represent the Voice of Jesus in Demanding, Divisive Times

What does the voice of Jesus sound like in demanding, divisive times?

As His church, we need to consider this because we either represent it, convolute it, or dilute it depending on what we add to the public conversation.

This is the question communicators for Jesus wrestle with whenever we dip a toe into a society-wide discussion or step up to whichever pulpit, stage, or social media venue we’ve determined to be our microphone.

I would propose, however, that even those who contain their conversations to car rides, coffee shops, and kitchen tables should ask the same question.

Wherever, whenever we represent Jesus, whoever we are, we impact the plan for His kingdom. What we whisper in the ear of a friend can travel like the light of a star in a distant galaxy and continue to testify to its origin long after our soul has gone dark on this side of glory.

For me, part of discovering the answer lies in knowing what His voice doesn’t sound like.

For instance, not once in scripture do I hear the voice of God mimic that of Chicken Little.

Jesus knew better than us all how steep the price of sin, how dire the situation of humankind, and how far we’ve fallen from our intended glory. And yet, we don’t see Him running through the streets of Jerusalem shrieking that the sky is falling.

Too many modern believers testify to some false Chicken Little Church. Through their words, Jesus sounds panicked, foreboding, and desperate.

I don’t have a verse to back it up, but I believe we can trust that Jesus never whined. We know He never played the victim. Voices like this reflect their own manufactured light, not His.

I wrestle with this. I’m working this out for my own work, my own voice. When I speak or write on current events, too often Jesus’ voice through mine is too strident or too plaintive. It’s an ongoing work to align my words, tone, and emotional tenor with His.

We need one another to get this right. Revelation 1:15b says, “his voice was like the roar of many waters.” Corporately, we represent Him and so together, we contribute to the sound. Here are some foundational thoughts on this:

First, the Body of Christ should lead the conversation, set the agenda, host the discussion. We need to not wait to be invited in. We represent God and God initiates.

Jesus never let others set the agenda for discussion. The religious leaders baited Him. Sinners tried to distract Him. Satan worked to derail Him. But, He didn’t waiver from His Father’s talking points.

The church faces all these obstacles, but we have the example of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome. No matter where the world wants to take the conversation, we need to be clear on God’s agenda, His talking points. Rather than dodge challenging conversations, the church needs to be creating opportunities for them to occur.

Second, the tenor of our corporate voice should be hopeful, brave, and redemptive, no matter the times. Disciples of Christ face the future unafraid.

We know there’s trouble ahead. We believe persecution and hardship will come. Yet, we walk in confidence and freedom in the steps of the One who conquered death. We know that ultimately what lies ahead is abundant and eternal life, so, while our eyes are open to the now, our vision is set on the time to come. We are those who see beyond.

Yes, we call out sin where we see it, even in ourselves. Yes, we warn others of the coming wrath, even those in power. Yes, our message isn’t always comfortable, cozy, or easily consumed. But, we can learn to explain the consequences of sinful choices while expressing confidence in the character of God and testifying to the hope of redemption.

We can own up to feeling fear and yet, explain the reason we have for courage. We can admit to sorrow over current circumstances, while pointing to the joy that is ours in Christ.

Third, our message moves us forward. The Kingdom of God is an advancing unit, not one with a view to the past. We respect the work that has transpired, but we build on it, we don’t dwell in it. Our call is to where we are now and where we are going in Christ.

Some Christians make a habit of ignoring Ecclesiastes 7:10, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” They risk forming the Church of the Sacred Salt Pillar.

As a church, are we initiating conversation, inviting others into dialog, and hosting discussions about the concerns of our times?

When we speak, is our language hopeful, brave, and redemptive? Does it testify to a kingdom beyond the trials ahead?

Is the motive of our message one that advances and propels the kingdom forward to eternity or are we tethered to an irretrievable past?

These questions are where I begin when determining what I contribute to the many waters representing the voice of Christ in our times. What are your thoughts?

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Craig Britton says:

    Hi Lori. I always enjoy what I read from you. It usually comes from a sister at church, but today I “followed” you on Twitter. You mentioned that you didn’t really have a verse for Jesus not whining or being the victim? I agree. But what did immediately come to mind were the several instances where it is said of Jesus something like … He taught them as One having authority. Those with authority don’t whine and they certainly aren’t victims. So just rest in the “opposite” in that many times the calm and yes, commanding Savior from Nazareth spoke with the kind of voice that attracted all the Father had given Him. Thanks again. BTW-what does it mean that you disturb Hobbits. I think I perceive a little double meaning there. Have a terrific day in Christ, the Lord.

    • Western Christians, like Tolkien’s hobbits, enjoy our comforts, like our meals on time, and are suspicious of adventures. I am hobbit-like and have been disturbed, in the best way, by Jesus and seek to pass on the disruption toward adventures

  2. Donna Richmond says:

    I get encouraged each time I read your blog, God bless you