Can anyone reading this ever imagine the following?
You have a church where the Holy Spirit begins to move in amazing waysâ€”hundreds, if not thousands, are coming to faith in Christ. Marriages are being restored, people are becoming more generousâ€”less self-serving, thereâ€™s great joy spreading like the ripple effect when you throw a large rock in the pond. This church develops an incredible sense of community to the point where people are saying the whole experience is reminiscent of Acts chapter two.
Ok, got a picture of that in your head?
Good, because that wasnâ€™t what I wondered about at the beginning of this post. This isâ€¦
Can anyone imagine Christian groups within the same community of a church like the one I just described doing everything in their power to bad mouth, criticize ,sabotage, and maybe even pray against such a church?
No way, right?
Wrong. We hear it every so often at Southbrook Church. Things like:
- Oh, theyâ€™re just interested in numbers over there.
- I donâ€™t think itâ€™s possible that all those people are really getting saved.
- They donâ€™t focus on discipleship and thatâ€™s what God said were really supposed to be doing.
- Itâ€™s just easy believism.
- The pastorâ€™s really persuasive, thatâ€™s not God.
- I think people should be brought along slowly to the realization that salvation is found in Christ.
- There just trying to out do other churches (huh?).
- Itâ€™s all a competition to them.
All of the above and more have either been said about Southbrook or me about pastor friends of mine or churches I respect and admire who take very seriously the great commission found here.
And all the above statements were made by fellow â€œChristians.â€ I put the word â€œChristiansâ€ in quotes because Iâ€™m at a loss for an accurate way to portray them. And I honestly struggle with what â€œChristianity” really means to some of these people. Would Christians get all riled up about hell-bounders finding Christ?
- Would â€œChristiansâ€ question a sincere persons moment of trusting God?
- Would â€œChristiansâ€ really take the work of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to nothing more than persuasive arguments from a human being?
- Would â€œChristiansâ€ tell a brand new, enthusiastic Christ follower that their not really saved because it all happened too fast? Who decides what’s too fast?
- Would â€œChristiansâ€ really discourage calling people out to publicly trust in Christ for salvation because of the fear that it might look too much like â€˜competitionâ€™ to someone (â€˜someoneâ€™ Iâ€™ve discovered, usually refers to the critics themselves).
- Would â€œChristiansâ€ really tell others to focus on discipleship rather than evangelism?! The last time I checked (and the time before that) discipleship wasnâ€™t even possible with individuals who were not saved.
I could go on and on but I wonâ€™t. Itâ€™s pointless. The critics live to criticize, never pausing long enough to see how they are wasting their lives for Christ and missing out on His glorious call and commission. So I donâ€™t write this for them. I write it for the confused and those who have been wounded or disillusioned by the Christian Siskel and Eberts of life. To you all I say thisâ€¦
Donâ€™t run this race called life for the critics. That audience is constantly growing and ever fickle. Run it for an audience of One.
Run it for God.
In the end, Heâ€™s the only one who really knows our hearts.
Heâ€™s the One who died for you.
Heâ€™s the One who saved you to run this race in the first place. So donâ€™t listen to the critics when you’re smack dab in the middle of doing what God called you to do. They will tell you the wrong things and before you know it youâ€™ve wasted your own life just like them. They will tell you that people just donâ€™t move like that these days. They donâ€™t come to Christ by the thousands. They donâ€™t make passionate, real, heartfelt decisions at a single meeting. But theyâ€™re wrong. Dead wrong. Donâ€™t let their lack of faith rub off on you.
By the way, the picture of nearly everyone raising their hands to make a decision at the top of this blog was not taken at a church.
It was taken at a Marilyn Manson concert and those kids are placing their trust in Satan. That freak mocks Jesus and salvation and real alter calls at nearly every concert (and I use the term, â€˜concertâ€™ in the loosest of ways). He knows the harvest is ripe, itâ€™s just that he makes sure to spoil the crop before itâ€™s ever picked.
People are desperate for someone to follow, gang. The alternatives other than Jesus Christ are pretty scary. But the truth remains. If we donâ€™t callâ€™m out, someone else will. Then they could be lost forever.
I prefer to callâ€™m out for Jesus.
If that makes me a freak, so be it.
Iâ€™m a Jesus Freak.