Thursday, March 3, 2011

Making a Difference

I started this blog to encourage people to tell me how we can make church better. By that I mean how do we share the unchangeable and life changing message of Jesus Christ in a way that is winsome. Over and over again I hear people say they are all for Jesus but are put off by his followers. Where's the disconnect? What is it that the church does that doesn't accurately reflect Christ? What should we not be doing and what should we be doing.

Christ is at the core. The message is that, because of our sin and the price that is required for that sin, Christ came to reveal God's father heart to us and then die in our place to pay the price for our sin. That's a hard message. First because it means we must grapple with the truth that we are fallen sinners stained from birth with a mark that condemns us eternally and there's no amount of good works we can do to save ourselves. If you don't accept that truth it's hard to get to the next point. That is Christ paid the price of our sin so that we no longer need to live in bondage to it. We are set free from the condemnation of God by the grace of God. God has both established the penalty for our selfish, sinful rebellion and paid that same penalty in order to restore us to himself.

So how do we get that message of hope, freedom, grace and mercy out to a world that's desperately seeking satisfaction in any number of counterfeit ways? My concern is how to make church better not for the sake of the church but for the sake of those who need what the church has to offer. Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior brings with it the gift of eternity in the presence of God. It also sets us free to serve others with reckless abandon in ways that shock the sinful, self-focused, lost people in this world. Jesus has set us free to make a difference by acting with compassion to help people who are in need. People who are struggling with poverty, illness, imprisonment, hunger, loneliness and, a friend of mine says, dealing with life on life's terms. When we know Jesus we share Jesus. When we share Jesus lives are changed.

When I ask 'How do we make church better?' I'm asking how do we remove the barriers so that people can see Jesus.