Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book Report - They Like Jesus but not the Church

A few years ago I was in a video game store getting the video game Mario Party World 7 for the family (I know 8 is out already and we have that to) and over heard the store clerk talking with someone. They were talking about Christians and how much they hated them because of their pushiness and that “they are so stupid.” I was so struck by what they were saying that I decided to apologize to them for how my Christian brothers and sisters had treated them. I was surprised by their reaction. They accepted my apology and said they really liked talking about Jesus but they just wish they knew more Christian’s that they could talk intelligently and openly with about their questions. This conversation came to my mind so many times as I read this book “They Like Jesus but not the Church” by Dan Kimball.

There is a lot in hear I could talk about and I would encourage anyone who has a desire to share Christ with the lost to read it and take to heart what is shared. But to keep to my filter of only sharing two or three key thoughts and/or concerns I will limit this report to two big take a ways for me.

We are doing our fall series as a church here at New Covenant Bible Church and this year we are doing the “WHY>” series from The first main why question we have talked about is – Why am I here? I took the middle school kids to the story of Jonah and talked about how God had placed him on the earth to go to Nineveh. But that Jonah decided not to follow God and even when he did follow God he really wanted Nineveh to get taken out. I walked through the idea that God has a plan for ever one of them and that they can decide if they want to do it or not but that God was going to use them for His purpose. Kimball says that, “People who focus so much on God’s wrath come across like they’re happy that people will suffer one day. Instead of having a broken and humble heart, they can come across with the attitude, ‘I’m glad I’m saved, and too bad you aren’t and will be punished.’” Jonah acted a lot like this. He wanted Nineveh to get it even if they were repented of their sins. I often can get this way. I have a desire to love people where they are but often I find myself wanting them to get “what they deserve.” I realize from Jonah’s story and some of Kimball’s thoughts that I really need to have a broken and humble heart for the lost and a deep desire to want them to be with the Father.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very simple man. In fact I have on my stick board in my office Maxwell Maltz statement, “Nothing is simpler than greatness: Indeed, to be simple is to be great.” And that is a motto of my life. But when I come across as unintelligent and blind to good thoughts then I really fail as a Christian. Kimball says, “we had better be ready to discuss intelligently and lovingly why we come to the conclusions we do.” And I so need to work on this in my life. As a middle school pastor I can sometimes think that my kids don’t have “major” theological thoughts and that I need to keep things simple. But I fail them when I let that totally control all that I do for them. I need to study, read, and be ready to give an answer to questions that might never come my way (but then again they might). On the other side of this is relationship. My kids are so important to me and I want to not only give them God’s truth but I want to have a relationship with them so that I can share His truth and they will receive it. “But before we can have such conversation with people, we have to build relationships with them and understand other faiths well enough that we can talk about them intelligently.” This is my job, to develop relationships and have intelligent thoughts when I talk with my kids. This is a pray that Kimball shared that I so agree to, “I will pray, recognizing that it’s not the homework but the Spirit of God that draws people to Jesus.” So let it be Lord.

“I hope that if you gained anything from reading this book it’s that it isn’t about the music or preaching or programs; it’s about having a missional heart, fully dependent on God’s Spirit, and not being afraid to make changes and take risks for the gospel.” I really enjoyed these read and I have more things to think about – Thx Dan Kimball.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did the clerks know that these "Christians" were in fact Christians. How is it that non christians are so descerning?
I think there are so many people who consider themselves to be "Christians", but in fact are anything but Christian. Matt 7:13-23 says a lot. Luke 13:22-30 says even more.
I like the pollsters who talk about how many "christians" get divorces.....the key word there is christian...are they really christian. Matt 11:12 is a wonderful verse.
God is in total control. The Christians I hang out with are usually very kind, polite, considerate and gentle....stupid?(....Greeks say we are foolish.....Jews, they just stumble).
God saves those He will save despite us humans. Joe

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