You need to leave your church, as soon as possible

One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Zachaeus from Luke 19:1-10.

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.””

There is a lot of good theology in these verses, as there is with all of them, but what I like about these most is that they are a great example of Jesus blowing people’s minds by shattering expectations.

In the passages, Jesus didn’t simply nod at Zacchaeus, a tax collector who was hated by the people. He didn’t simply wave at him in passing or just issue a casual verbal greeting as He walked by. And, and I think this is most important, He didn’t just pretend not to notice.

No. Not only did Jesus stop, He called Zacchaeus down from the tree and invited himself over to the hated man’s house. In other words, He inserted himslef into the life of someone who was hard to love.

Think about that for a second and let it sink in.

Last night at church, we passed on our normal Wednesday night teaching and preaching, asked people to bring their leftover Halloween candy, filled up buckets, and went out into the neighborhood behind the chuch to pass it out and to get to know the people.

Sure, it was a small thing but it was particularly meaningful to me because we met a Zacchaeus, of sorts, in the flesh.

We walked up a drive and surprised a man in his garage.

“Oh man, church people.” He said, shocked.

“And here I am with a beer in my hand.” He said, visibly embarrassed, looking for a place to put it down.

“A beer.” I chuckled.

“We don’t care if you are drinking a beer, we came to chat for a minute, not to judge.”

“Wait? What? You aren’t going to say anything?”

“We are all sinners, who are we to judge someone else?”

The man, who had quite obviously had a few, was literally blown away that we didn’t condemn him and were, in fact, just there to chat.

He went on about church and his previous experiences and that he has always felt judged, looked down on, and that he believed he never quite measured up to a standard “church people” had imposed upon him.  Sad but true story for far too many people and this man and his family lived right in the shadow of our church and we had no idea until we deliberately got outside the walls of the church building and our collective comfort zones and into a real life.

He said he would definately check out the church and only time will tell if he actually does. The one thing I am absolutely certain of is that we ( by the grace and through the power of God) shattered an expectation and potentialy changed a life and it took almost no time and very little effort.

Bottom line here is this. We should all be connected to a local chuch but we also need to get out every now and then, that’s where the magic happens.

*We talked to a few dozen people but this man is the one I remember the most. I am praying earnestly that I see him at a service soon.



Categories: Christianity

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15 replies

  1. I am thinking that same thing our pastor was fired for preaching God Word ( a close friend of mine ) they said he was not a good fit for the church

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  2. James, I am going to offer some criticism that I hope is constructive, because one of the biggest problems we have right now is that we lack good models of evangelization.
    In my 20s I belonged to a group that did door to door stuff. Maybe we touched some people, I hope we did, but I never liked it, I felt like the spiritual version of a PUA: meet a bunch of people, strike out a lot, stumble across someone a little vulnerable, get an emotional reaction, then go on your way looking to create your next emotional high.
    Not that we shouldn’t try to reach out to people, or never be spontaneous, or that there is no place for door to door, but I don’t think it is the model for building a lasting Christian community in modern America.
    But to be honest, I have no idea what the model of building a lasting Christian community should look like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Criticism is always welcome here dp and I totally understand what you are saying. I actually don’t like door to door stuff myself but we are trying to do more than just give our pitch and leave a handout. We are really trying to get to know people whether they ever darken the door of the church or not.

      We also met a 90 year old woman who is alienated from her kids, is a widow, and has no car. We fully intend on following up with her, brining meals, giving her rides if she needs them, doing chores…

      Anyway, thanks for the comment, it is appreciated.

      James

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  3. Praise the Lord you reached out to him…his soul matters.

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  4. A church that that celebrates Satan’s holy day…? Oh yeah…bet that makes God happy…no, in truth it doesn’t. He hates the paganism within the walls of the churches called by His name. Too many Ichabods out there and THIS is why. And why I would leave this church or any that does these things.

    Acts 15:20,29 Abstain from all things polluted by idols. -Jerusalem Council (NO, that is not meaning meats because Paul laid down the rules for that subject so that is not “abstaining”or having nothing to do with). See Acts 19:19 to see this verse fleshed out.

    Jesus is to be set apart, holy, not incorporated into supposed christianized religious paganism. From bringing Him down to the level of other gods by putting His birth on the same day as as the heathen celebrate for their gods to calling His resurrection Easter to allowing Satan’s day to be used for evangelism its no wonder people consider Christianity just another pagan religion.

    How does one glorify God by using worldliness which is hatred toward God? How does a Christian worship God by doing that which He hates? Scripture twisting to make allowances for X Mass, Easter and Halloween in the church does not fool God. He sees these days as Satan’s high holy days where there are humans and animals being tortured and sacrificed. So, He certainly isn’t going to be pleased with His own thinking it a good idea to entertain the children with and “get to know the neighbors” with. Satan is sly and uses the children to cause us to sin against God. Now, HE is the one quite pleased with such devilish tactics!

    Lord God, open their eyes of understanding. Reveal to them all of the lies they are believing as truth. May they love You more than the children, more than evangelism, more than these unholy pagan/papist traditions of men! Bring them to worship You in spirit and in truth. Amen!

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  5. Thanks for the reminder. As much of a blessing as a church building can be, bricks and mortar can also become a curse when we view the building as the Church, rather than the Body as the Church.

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  6. Well, I love door to door stuff myself. As has been pointed out, it may or may not be the most effective way. I can testify I have seen it work though. It can either be just a casual visit to say hi, or sometimes a chance to actually deliver the entire Gospel to somebody. I have also had to wait sever years to see anything bear fruit, and some never does. Nonetheless, I love door knocking, It’s not for everybody, but if it is….it’s awesome.

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  7. Sorry hit enter too soon. In our case, it may be a better model, as we are just a small rural community and we can visit the same people numerous times over the course of a few years, so in some ways we can actually build at least some sort of relationship. We have friends, friends of friend, people who know other people…think it’s a good thing for us. Sad part is we are bad about not staying after it as we should, so your post was convicting.

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    • Wally,
      I think it would make sense in a rural community where you have a chance to develop authentic relationships with people, sort of a natural extension of being a good neighbor. We were doing this in suburban Connecticut. It felt so fake.
      So I guess by process of elimination the model of 21st century apostolate should be 1) authenticity and 2) building community?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hey Dp. I have heard that actually. I have no clue what the solution is in suburbia where every body drives into their garage and slams it shut. The solution is the same…but the how is problematic

        Liked by 1 person

      • Being genuine is important dp and that is what we are trying to do. We don’t want to just hand out a flier and walk away but we do want to form real relationships. As you said, this is an extension of being a good neighbor and something churches should do.
        My fear wasn’t that we would think it was fake but that people in the neighborhood might. I can see how an outsider might think we were just checking a box but being disingenuous.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Way to be the church and fulfill the great commission in your community!

    Liked by 1 person

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