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Friday, November 28, 2008

A True Seeker Service

In most churches today we expect the lost to come to us. In the Bible, God is always the Seeker going after those who are lost. He pursued Adam in a garden and Moses in a desert. He pulled Jonah off the bottom of the sea and Peter off the top. Jesus found Matthew in an office and Paul out on the road.

God became a man and entered the world through a birth canal just like the rest of us. He chose to come to us on our turf, rather then expecting us to rise to His. Jesus preached everywhere that the kingdom of God has come near. He came to seek and to save the lost, and He now invites us to join Him.

If you want to reach this world for Christ you are going to have to learn to sit in the smoking section.

Many ask: “How can we make the church more attractive to the lost?” If we start down this path we unintentionally leave our true path: Letting people see how attractive Jesus is! It’s all about Jesus…not us. In a sense, for every step we take toward impressing people with our own strengths we move further from letting them become impressed with His.

God always prefers to reveal Himself in weak things rather strong. It is the simple vessels that often reveal God’s glory more then having to find Him in the midst of laser lights and fog machines. The curiosity of a child’s question; the embrace of a loving grandmother; the accepting handshake of a good friend; the smile of a proud father; the warmth of a soft shoulder to cry on—these are the things that reveal God’s character more than any sermon.

Love for one another is a powerful ingredient in transforming the world, but sitting in an auditorium listening to a preacher talk about it is not as powerful as being able to see it and taste it first hand. A “neighbor nudge” for two minutes on Sunday morning is not enough.

“If Jesus were on earth you’d find him in a gay bar in San Francisco. He’d be with people suffering from AIDS. These are the new lepers. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out it’ll always be with the lepers.”
—Bono

5 comments:

Andy Baligian said...

really really good stuff, Neil. thanks for sharing this very important truth.

Mike Edwards said...

To continue Bono's quote [in my words]: or sitting with his disciples explaining to them a parable, or condemning the pharisees, or spending the night alone somewhere on a mountainside, or being transfigured...

I think we can't make Jesus LESS than the guy who hung out with lepers, but he is SO MUCH MORE. Not only incarnate, but exalted.

Neil Cole said...

True, but all of that is a result of his incarnation, not in addition to it. He is "highly" exalted because of his humiliation and incarnation (Phil 2: 5-11).

I think the idea is that we bring his presence with us into the world rather than continue to hide from the world as if Jesus is not strong enough to transform the darkness into light. Lets stop circling the wagons and start brining the glorious King into the world and let Him shine brightly there!

Mike Edwards said...

Absolutely--my fear is that the social gospel isn't the full gospel. We need to express Christ in all of these ways in all of these dark places.

Neil Cole said...

Amen.