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GOT A MINUTE?
We received a call from a good, long-time friend of ours, a Jewish friend. He gets Jesus more clearly than most who have grown up in the Church. He and his family attended one of the many Christmas Eve services of an Orange County mega-Church. Near the beginning of the service, they showed a film of a lady who had grown up Jewish and then came to this particular Church and converted away from her culture, she found Jesus. My Jewish friend was hurt! He said, “We don’t believe that kind of exclusiveness of Jesus, do we?” You see, my friend and I walk together in this life and we have learned amazing things from one another. He knows Jesus enough to know that Jesus would have never allowed that kind of blast against the Jews, would he? “No, Jesus invites everyone, everywhere to follow him.” And, Jesus is not owned exclusively by any Church or religion.
My hurt friend is not the one I’m most concerned about. I’m concerned about the people, mostly the young people, who experienced a poor caricaturizing of Jesus. What’s interesting is that when we asked others who attended that service, they each had a bad feeling about that segment.
Adding insult to injury, many Churches take up a special Christmas offering at this service. Think about this. This is one of two big services of the year, where people show up, like attending an ‘open house’. And, they are urged to make a financial contribution…one of the major turn-offs that keeps people away from Church.
I want to urge everyone who can make a difference in how we advance the conversation of Jesus to avoid having anything to do with Jesus free zones this year. And, do all you can do to avoid asking for more money. WHAT WOULD JESUS DO IN THESE SITUATIONS? Let me be clear. Jesus would be primarily focused on his invitation to follow him and Jesus wouldn’t be taking up any offerings. Let’s determine to follow Jesus’ lead this year!