Summary: What Jesus Says that the Church Should and Should Not Be
So hey, good morning and welcome or welcome back to this place we call DCC. We want to give a special shout out and welcome to all of our friends who are watching us online right now wherever it is that you might be and to all of our new friends who are here for the very first time today. If you were here for the first time last week, I wasn’t, so thanks for coming back and a special welcome to you too. If you are fairly new, it’s important to us that you know that you are in a safe place full of people just like you, all of your story is safe and welcome here regardless of how it reads and you belong with us regardless of what you believe. Hope you feel that and experience that in your time with us today.
Okay. So we are now coming down the backstretch in this series called the Separation of Church and Hate trying to discover how we can begin to put some distance between those two words and if you haven’t been around or haven’t tuned in we have talked about how the absence of love in and coming out of the church is creating the perception of hate in the world around us, how we need to move toward not away from people who are different than us and who disagree with us, establish common ground with them, and think conversation before conversion, how we need to stop judging people outside the church or even sitting inside the church who don’t believe in Jesus and love those around us that do enough to have hard conversations with them when necessary, and last week Andrew talked about this question that quickly arose in the first century church that still exists today. Why are we making it difficult for people who are trying to move toward God? So we have covered a lot of ground but still have a lot to talk about in these last two weeks.
ILLUST> So last Sunday, Stacy and I jumped on a plane in Denver and flew to NYC for a few days for the Solomon Foundation’s Annual Meeting where I was set to speak on Tuesday morning. On Monday night our group headed down to the end of the island toward Battery Park and got on a dinner cruise ship called the Spirit of New Jersey. We cruised around and got to hear and see a lot of cool things but the coolest part was the Statue of Liberty. Here’s a photo I took on my phone. So our group of church people had the second floor of the ship and everyone else had the first floor, but we all had access to the open air third deck. I went up there as we approached the Statue of Liberty to get some photos. Everybody on the ship had the same idea. So the music is rocking and the bar on the third deck is open, people are loud and having a good time, it was packed up there. Then as we approached the Statue of Liberty by water the captain took the boat down to a very low idle and we sat there. In just a moment or two the dj started to play God Bless America. All of a sudden the crowd got quiet. Everyone stopped taking pictures. We all just stood there looking at the Statue. Then the strangest thing happened, one by one, young and old, black, white, hispanic church, dechurched, unchurched, and never churched people started to sing. I looked over to my right there stood a man about my age holding up his beer singing God Bless America. It was incredible. I started to cry as I started to think about this great country we live in and the faith that it was established on. But more than that I teared up because it was obvious to me God is up to something. He is still trying to move in the hearts of people.
So I started thinking about that. What it is that is standing between God and the people that he is trying to reach? I’m not up here to talk politics. The answer is not politics. As I thought about it I couldn’t help but come back to this. How much of that answer is this thing that we do called church? Our country is what it is today because throughout our history there have been individuals and groups of people who were unsatisfied with the status quo, people that decided to take it personally and set out to change it. I think we can learn from that. See I think that the separation of church and hate will naturally occur as we begin to take it personally. That’s what I want to talk about in the few minutes that we have left together today. So you ready? Let’s do this.