I just returned from a weekend in Seattle, where six of us women gathered to celebrate our dear friend Jody’s birthday. I don’t often get away for a girls' only weekend, and can I just say it was fun. It was noisy. It was filled with laughter, but it was not restful! Indeed, we had so much fun I needed a 90-minute nap once I got home and then still went to bed at 8:30. Yes, I am a wimp!
While in Seattle we got to talking about “fire and brimstone” street preaching. I have a picture in my mind of a man who stood on a corner in downtown Seattle nearly every day, back when I lived and worked there, shouting to all of us about repenting and burning in hell. He was not a happy looking guy, and I always hurried past him as fast a possible. I just wonder does this kind of “ministry” ever work? I mean who would be drawn to that? I’m a Christian, and I couldn’t wait to get away from him.
Last summer I read the book Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis and my world was changed. This book made me look at the world and myself differently! Mr. Medearis writes, “If we don't truly know what the gospel is, we have to find an explanation for Christianity.” This made me ask myself, do I know Jesus well enough to share him? Can I talk about the gospel while talking only of Jesus? Can I leave rules and doctrine out of a description of salvation? I hope so. Medearis goes on to say, “We don't trust Jesus with our salvation. We think he needs our help. We think He needs our doctrines, our church charters, our definitions, and our circle. We're insecure about salvation.”
I then sat down and read again the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible. I hadn’t read them in a while, and I was reminded at how beautiful they are. The gospels are filled with story after story of Jesus loving people, even (actually especially!) unlovable people. Why do we forget that? Why do we make it complicated? Why do we make it scary?
“Jesus gives us a new way of living and loving and being loved - this is the gospel message. That's what Jesus does for us. He gives us life. Heals us and restores us. Provides answers and truth, a way to live forever. All good things.” Speaking of Jesus.
“Not feeling like we have the burden to convince the world that they're wrong and we're right allows us to talk about Jesus and how amazing He was and is with total freedom.” Speaking of Jesus