What will I preach about? Love.

Recently I’ve begun to meet together with some friends from church – we’re forming our own small group.  I’ve been at my church for close to two years now and I’ve made some wonderful relationships, but I still hadn’t quite found a small group to connect with.  This looks like it may be a good fit for me.  More about that in another post.

Tonight we watched Rob Bell‘s Nooma video titled “Bullhorn”.  This is our second week of watching his videos and the second time I wasn’t quite on the same page as most people who rave over his videos.  I think they are good, but at times I challenge the challenges he gives.  In this particular video, the focus was on the “bullhorn” street-corner preacher who’s primary message is condemnation and fear.  And while I don’t believe in that approach either, I think he may have thrown the baby out with the bath water.  The point of the video was that we would show and be love – that Love be our message – and I agree.  I just think that the ‘bullhorn’ guy may have also gotten stereotyped as all bad.  Way Of The Master is a ministry lead by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron that relies heavily on open-air (street corner) and one-on-one ministry.  And while I’m not 100% on-board with all of their approaches or teachings, I do think that their boldness and challenge is ALSO needed in our world.

((EDIT: I found Todd Friel of Way of the Master Radio’s response to “Bullhorn” check it out!))

I guess I’m this way because my born-again experience came through someone making a pretty bold challenge by asking “what does God want for your life” but also having a bible study conversation that showed me what the Word says with conviction and the life-giving grace that is available through Jesus Christ.  That has been my “preaching style” ever-since I began to minister to others.  It was one of the things that drew me to my current church – that balanced message.  My previous church was heavy on the condemnation and would judge just about everybody (else).  In coming to my current church, I came with the expectation (From the former church) that everyone else would preach a ‘watered-down’ message free of conviction.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear conviction that was FULL OF GRACE – it brought me to tears.

I said all that because I’m finding out more of who I am in Christ.  We’re called to be like Jesus – who was full of grace and truth.  I want to live the balance of grace and truth – to have a life that is marked by Love.

As our group talked about these issues, it raised lots of uneasy questions that don’t have quick answers.  I thought that was very healthy for us.  To me, it’s essential to question and understand what you believe and why.  I love that our group can tread in those uneasy waters together.  I was so excited coming home on the bus that I couldn’t read my book! As I would read a line on the page, my mind would wander back to something we discussed or just imagining the potential of how God may challenge each of us – and how I’m being challenged right now.

I don’t know where things will go from here, but the lyrics to one song in particular captures it all.  I have a heart for those who have questions, for those who fall outside of the lines of being ‘fit’ for God and ‘acceptable’ but who yearn for relationship with Him.  I want everyone to know that no matter what people have told in condemnation and rejection that God loves you and Jesus is the way to a full relationship with Him.  So much influences us and raises doubt to the story of Jesus and his Message.  But God is big enough to handle that – he can help our unbelief. Check out this song “What If” by Nichole Nordeman and be blessed.

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