“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
How do you respond to a passage like that?
How do you go back to the way you were before when you see that God is hungry for your worship and sick of your noisy ego music?
I have this overwhelming burden for my generation. I lay awake at night and wonder how to convey Jesus to people who are bitter and angry and turned off by church and Christians and even God. I don’t know if I’m more upset at Christians or the world, but I think it’s Christians, because when people who don’t know Jesus rage and judge and condemn, they have no compass, but We Are the Light of the Freaking World. We should know better.
You may have heard me talk about Justin Bieber. His life is incredible to me. He’s hanging out with some of the most powerful, godly leaders of our time, legitimately trying to turn his life around, and if you bring him up in a religious setting, most people have nothing to say but horribly arrogant statements about how they’re praying he gets saved or, “God can use anyone, even him.”
Hold up, who says he’s not already saved? Are we determining salvation now? Are we at the right of hand of God???
Oh, and what about, I’m glad can He use anyone, even ME, the chiefest of sinners?
Shouldn’t we all be shouting for joy because he’s hungry for Jesus, and finding the most unlikely, broken people to love back to life and give them the hope of a Savior who can heal addiction, bondage, sexual sin, etc??
I am burdened for unbelievers and I understand them just the same. We christ-followers can be a wicked little club, forgetting to marvel and weep in the miracle of our own salvation.
I am so easily drawn toward legalism, toward skirt lengths and rules, and I can’t believe she’s dating him and did he really just say that, and oh gosh did you hear they’re a thing now, she is such a slut and wow he smells like straight tobacco and goodness, did she look in the mirror before she left?
GOD HELP US. THE WORLD IS LITERALLY CRYING OUT FOR HOPE AND ALL I CARE ABOUT IS YOUR OUTFIT??
I am so slow to be humble, and to get the plank out of my own eye before getting the needle out of yours.
How can we do both? How can we live excellent, God honoring lives, and remain a judgment free zone? How can we hate sin with a passion, but love people deeply?
This is how. Remember, it is by grace we are saved, not of works, lest anyone boast…
How can we emphasize the importance of scripture without offending everyone?
Here’s the thing. We can’t do it. Grace is offensive. It disrupts our way of life, and reminds us we are not our own savior. Grace gets us off our facebook argument thread and on over to the coffee shop to love the person we somehow think we are better than. Grace convicts us before we can convict others. Grace says enough with your religious games.
We live in far too perilous times to be distracted by little things. The enemy is hoping and praying you get so entangled in being holier than thou that you forget you are just as desperate without the blood of Jesus.
What does Jesus want?
Justice, oceans of it. Defend the voiceless, uphold the oppressed.
Fairness–rivers of it–be kind. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember where you came from.
Let’s focus on the main thing, Christ crucified, and his resurrection.
Nothing else matters.