Friday, June 26, 2009

How Offensive Are You?

I once heard a speaker tell a group of pastors that if they weren't offending people then they weren't really preaching the gospel.  

I am happy to respond to this statement with one of my own.  A child coined it back in the 80's on a half hour TV show.  His response to the person who just gave him startling, shocking or insane news was, "whatcha talkin bout?"   This question was usually directed toward, but not limited to his older brother Willis.

I am always amazed at how many Christian leaders I meet that believe the best way to share Jesus with the "lost and broken" is through a judgmental approach of laying out the list of what we can and cannot do (this list usually involves no coffee in the sanctuary).   If these lost and broken people would work on following our list they might someday arrive and be like, or better yet, one of us.

Jesus clearly communicated to all people that in order for us to have a relationship with Him we must love. Love trumps all!

7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:7-8

Let's break it down like this; in a Bible quick search you can find the following words and how many times each is mentioned (this may vary depending on translation, NIV was used for the following search):

  • Correct = 5
  • Discipline = 12
  • Rebuke = 33
  • Encourage = 43
  • Teach = 236
  • Love = 258
This tells me that I need to evaluate what my motives, ministry and relationship with Christ is built on.  Is it teaching people the right thing at all cost, using our list of rules that has little room for grace?  Or is it living a Christ filled life, teaching and speaking truth in love and allowing the Holy Spirit to ministry to a person's heart.  We need to continue to remember that we don't change and then come to Jesus.  We come to Jesus just as we are and then our lives begin to change through the love, encouragement, teaching, correcting and discipline of the Holy Spirit and people who care that make up the body of Christ.

We are going to offend people and I am sad to say I have many times.  However, I never want to become comfortable hurting people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ.  I choose to represent my God as a God of love... now where have I heard that before?  That's right, directly from God himself (1 John 4:16)!

"You don't have to be offensive to be on the offensive." 


REVPATT said...

This article has caused me to look at some of my motives in my church. I find myself guilty, at times, of preaching with the purpose of disturbing some of the people in my congregation. You words are a gift to me from God. A friend mentioned your blog to me a month or so ago, I don't blog, but finally checked it out and am very impressed at the content. You speak real truth for leaders in the church. I don't like to hear the truth, but it feels a little easier reading it. Keep it up, you have made an impact on me.

For His Glory,

Rev. Patterson

Zakk Roberts said...

really really enjoyed this post!!

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Tod. I have shared this article with a couple ministry friends enjoy your insight and wisdom. Look forward to more.