Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Love Like Jesus

"We are the world..."

Don't worry.  This post has nothing to do with the 1985 USA for Africa song. No video, no more quoting of lyrics. I wouldn't do that to you- today. Even though the sentiment of the song holds so true for followers of Jesus Christ- the world is our family. All people are God's people, even if some of them are completely unaware of that fact. This post is a little bit about that, but it is mostly about a very important if somewhat controversial part of the Jesus Revolution. Stay with me...

One of the real misconceptions of the 21st century Church is that Christianity is still centered in USAmerica. Nothing could be further from the truth. The church is shrinking in our country. It is booming in places with names we can't pronounce. It is growing by leaps and bounds in countries where worshipping Jesus is illegal. The Jesus Revolution lives; I am just not sure it lives here. All of the efforts of many our politicians to legislate Christianity into a "national religion" are back-firing. We are alienating people at a faster rate than we are attracting them. The attitude of the Church quite often does not reflect the teachings of Jesus. The world looks at us and they don't see a people of grace; they see a people who are not very different from the world around us. People outside the Church question our purpose, they question our politics and worst of all, they question our willingness to love. My non-Christian talk about how it sometimes feels like Christians seem more concerned with the way they vote than with the way they live. And too often they are correct. Historians note that when religion and patriotism (no matter the faith and no matter the country) become too tightly intertwined, bad things happen. The kingdom of God knows no earthly boundaries. The only flag the Church should ever fly is the flag of Jesus.

There is a truth that Jesus tried to share with us 2000 years ago that we desperately need to believe today. The church in the U.S.A. needs to respond each day like we do in times of disaster and turmoil. We are at our best when we quit thinking about ourselves and reach out to those in need. When our focus is service and love, we show the true nature of the Christ. When we reach out in love and in times of distress no one cares if the people we are helping have a proper theology. No one asks their feelings on Gay marriage. No one wants to know their views on eschatology or universalism. We simply help because their plight is more important than our petty concerns. Their need for love outweighs everything else that usually clouds our minds and our actions. And that, my friends, is what the Jesus Revolution is all about. It's not about improving our theology. It's not about legislating morality. It's about loving the world the way Jesus taught us to love the world. A love without restriction, hesitation or conditions. And perhaps most importantly, it's about doing those things every single day, and offering that love to the people we find it most difficult to share it with. That is what will change the world. "They will know we are Christians by our love" is not just a song- it's a teaching straight from the Master! Love is what will turn around the Church in our country. Don't believe me? Think about this- the Pharisees had all the proper actions, all the correct theology and all of the legal power. Jesus was a wandering vagabond who came to teach us how to love God and each other. Which one changed the world? I promised I wouldn't quote more We Are the World, but I made no such promise about the Beatles"All you need is is all you need!" Just as long as that love comes from Jesus....

Because of Jesus,

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