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“People should know what Christians are for, more than what they are against.” This phrase should sound very familiar because you’ve heard me say it many times. I believe this as strongly today as I did when I first began to capture this reality in my own heart. It started when I studied the Gospel of John in a deeper and more meaningful way.   

If we were to ask any of our unbelieving neighbors, co-workers, friends, or family, “What is Jesus against?” we’d get several, possibly many, answers. Would their answers be based on their own personal study of the Bible? No, probably not… They’d be based mostly on their experience with other people, the ones who claim to know Jesus well…    

A few months back I came across a research project by Baylor University. They studied what perception Americans have of God. Their conclusion was that Americans view God as authoritative, benevolent, distant, and critical. Bottom line: the majority of Americans (70%+) perceive God with negative characteristics.   

We must ask ourselves, “How are we representing God and Jesus to the world around us?” A Jesus who is authoritative, distant, and critical doesn’t sound like the One I’d like to follow. These were certainly not the traits that led me to surrender my life to Jesus 29 years ago…  

Let’s face it. And, yes, this might sound critical. We have one side of the American church that has aligned itself with liberal political parties and the other side of the American church has aligned itself with conservative political parties. Many unbelieving Americans view the Church as nothing more than a political power entity trying to get its way.   

If this weren’t bad enough, we don’t have to look far to see hypocrisy on grand levels from prominent celebrity church leaders. They have been guilty of terrible behavior, and not representing Jesus well at all.   

Christians have been slow to acknowledge, repent and seek forgiveness for the way we have treated people. This has led many Christians to abandon the building of God’s Kingdom on earth to the building of our own “Christian-esk kingdoms”. This is a blatant failure to fulfill the Great Commission in the 21st century.  

What characteristics of God led you to surrender to Him and follow Him? Are these the characteristics other people see in you? Are these attitudes and habits of living so evident in your daily life that someone would be intrigued and want to know more? If not, why not?   

This Sunday we will explore the fifth of six temptations that keep us from loving the city. I hope you will join us at 9:00 or 10:40 am.   

Grace & Peace

Pastor Tom