Monday, August 6, 2012

Today. Here. (and) Now.

God is really moving here, and I want you to know a bit about it. 

I just got off the phone with an old boss of mine, Dewey Moede, the station manager of KKIM christian radio out of Albuquerque, NM. He is getting daily pressure from the owners (secular) of the radio station. He was told to his face by the owner that essentially his ministry is trash. He's really torn up about it- Im torn up for him. 
How would you feel? 

That's what's happening with Christianity in America. 

About a year ago, the Lord moved my wife Steph and I from there to where we are now, living in Hannibal, MO. I was confused, depressed and angry. Now, a year later (almost to date!) we are getting ready to buy our first home, and I was called out of the blue to pastor Payson Christian Church. Later today I will go to work at a local gas station where I interact with what many Christians would call the most 'unsaved' of anyone- all clamoring for cigarettes, alcohol; stealing gas; routinely insulting myself and my co-workers. In what is considered the northern part of the American 'Bible-belt', where churches are on almost every corner- I've been hard-pressed not to find more religious apathy, more insincerity, more destructive life choices, or more hurting people. Most people either avoid church like the plague or are so deeply wrapped in the security of their religion that Jesus' words have a hard time getting past the muffling blankets.

And now, this Sunday I am expected to preach at Payson Christian Church in a tiny Illinoisan town. Im only 24 myself and have never pastored anywhere before. But the Lord has sent me here for such a time as this. It is God behind this movement, all these chance encounters, all these individuals I daily interact with. Tell me, where is a better place for Jesus to be than this? Jesus is friends with prostitutes (Im pretty sure a couple of them come to my gas station), tax collectors (they regularly do money orders at my work), the down-and-out, the broken, the helpless (the last people at Payson Christian Church).

I think if we only shifted our way of seeing, we would see the sort of people Jesus regularly encountered and spoke with all around us. We would see a harvest (just like all the corn and soybean fields near my home right now) ripe for harvest. Jesus and people who love him with their lives live right here in Hannibal, MO; in Albuquerque, NM; in your town and America. We are all His people, his family, his church- we are all Christians together.

When our perspectives change, we no longer approach church growth like its a business with the appropriate marketing techniques. We simply see people. We feel God's spirit in us call us, intuitively, to follow Jesus where we are right up to the people we see everyday at the store or the gas station or the church or driving to work. 

God desires mercy, not sacrifice. 
It was never a fancier church or a flashier gimmick
- it was our humble mercy for people all around us today.

When Jesus is actively kept at the center of our lives all the 'noise' of proper church etiquette, end of the world theories, politics and societal morals boil down to one question: 

Are we loving God through our lives for others today?

Like what you read? Join in with your own insights, stories and art- send them to Thanks and God bless -Ryan

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