Preaching to the Choir

I’ve spent most of my adult life preaching to the choir. Most of that time has sadly been consumed with watching the choir ague with each other about who had the better choir. People hire me to preach to their choirs. The choirs gathers at retreats, camps, conferences. My journey has allowed me speak at some of the largest churches in America.

Before I continue, let me begin with reminding you a little bit of my story. I grew up in a broken home and by the time I made it to Jr. High I ended up at a Christian School that was a part of an Independent Baptist Church. That became our church home. We were crazy conservative. I remember referring to Liberty University as Liberal U and being told that Rock and Roll and CCM were the devil’s music. I have heard more “sermons” on what is wrong with other churches and ministries than I care to count. I remember a gem from my Pastor just for those of us called into ministry called, “Why I would never play golf with Charles Stanley”, which was sad because my pastor could have used Dr. Stanley’s awesome comb over skills. Needless to say, I have witnessed much carnage in the absence of grace.

A battle has been brewing between the “angry calvinists” vs. the “optimistic armenians”. The plot line seems so thick that George Lucas may find the script for the next Star Wars trilogy in the battle. There was a significant disturbance in the force this week in the blogosphere. Pastor Ed Young Jr. of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX called reformed theology, “deformed” as part of his Cool-Aid series. (if you want see his whole 12 minute rant at the 27 min mark here) I made the mistake of searching for all of the blog posts against Ed Young Jr. You can find better play by play from pastors who are bloggers. I still blame Rob Bell for this, (I also blame him for the heat wave we are having in Nashville this week). His book, “Love Wins” awakened the sleeping giant of the dark side. John Piper was all over him like Vadar on Obi Wan Kanobi.

I’m not going to take a position on reformed theology, but what my Calvinist brother and sisters I know did not
hear in the middle of the over the top rants of the spanx wearing Pastor was a brilliant reminder that Ed said, “You can’t contain God, He does not fit in a box.” Religion is man’s attempt to fit God in a box. The God of all creation is beyond understanding. I don’t agree with all that he said, but please, please don’t miss this that the God who uses the WHOLE earth as His footstool surly won’t fit it some neat and tidy theological explanation. Isaiah 66:1 (NIV) made the size of God pretty clear. “This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?” I’m ok with the current arrangement of God being God and me not being God. Last I checked, Jesus was the way the truth and the life not celebrity pastors or bloggers.

The gospel is messy! The unexplainable grace of God collided with our sins 2000 years ago on a tree. Our worship is rooted in our awe. We worship things that are beyond our understanding. If you don’t believe that, google what happened when Justin Bieber performed on the Today Show. This is not a new phenomena…N*SYNC, Michael Jackson, the Beatles all experienced the worship of millions of screaming fans. Throughout history we have worshipped people who we really know nothing about. If you knew how bad they smelled on stage, you would not worship them. There is a sad arrogance alive and well in the church. None of us fully understand God. In fact, every day I feel like I know less about Him. Something about the whole He must increase and I must decrease. I’m gonna go withMarjorie Poff (who works with me) says, “I’m gonna let God figure it out, because He already has!”

Matthew 24:14 (ESV) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

So here is our choice. We can either be consumed fighting arguments with others that we won’t win, or we can spend our time doing what we have be called to do. As the late Rodney King asked us, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Enough already with the arrogance that we are right and everyone else is wrong. I wish we would all stop worrying about being right and just be about what God has left us here to do.

I don’t know about you, but on every school campus we have been at with ACTIVATE I have seen 100’s of kids dying and going to hell (sorry Rob) and are going to spend an eternity without Jesus unless someone tells them about Jesus. Those kids could care less about hearing what divides us as Christians. They just want to hear about a God who loves them.

Go today to some dark places. Go and be light.

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