So .. I FOUND MYSELF MUSING THIS MORNING!
I stopped off at a local Starbucks to do some business work on my computer, study a little Scripture and read a few chapters of “Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”. As I surveyed the menu board and selected my individual beverage of choice, this morning it was a cold brew lite ice, I was struck by the notion of what this great book is teaching in comparison to how most of our lives are structured.
COLD BREW TRUTH
For some time now I have been noticing the differences between when I was a child and even a young adult and how things are today. It is easy to wax nostalgic and romanticize the past, believe me I can be very guilty of that at times, but sometimes the cold brewed truth is that life is just different, and by different I mean busier, more filled with stuff and things that we feel we have to do and in this case choices we have to make.
Have you noticed that we went from 3 main TV channels when television first became a thing to, by the late 80’s and early 90’s, tens and then hundreds of channels on most cable or satellite services. And with the internet and various “channels” online we are likely now in the realm of having thousands of choices to make or not make everyday. How has this change affected us?
On the positive side we could say that now we can get the consumable media we want and not be forced to watch, from limited resources, what they want us to see.
On the negative we could say that having so many options makes us just want more of what we want and we can get it our way. It can certainly eat up more hours per day than anytime in the past if we are not careful.
Both of these position can become so much a part of how we live our lives that it can spill over into our Church lives and Faith lives as well. And it is also likely compounded by the fact that we can have almost everything our way. From the food that we eat to the children we do or don’t have. Do you have any apps that allow you to have your own “playlist”? I know I do!
As a result, we have likely all been guilty of saying, “I’m going to go to this or that Church because I like this or that or the other thing about them. And we certainly do have freedom to choose one Church over another or not choose one at all. But the cold brewed truth is that where many of us end up is asking ourselves if what they offer suits our individual needs and lines up with who we think Jesus is and how we think Church should go. “Do they have a Jesus that is like “my Jesus” and therefore we won’t be in disagreement about what I am there for and how they should preach and teach to me?”
You see what most American Christians look for first in choosing a church is not likely to be “Are they doctrinally sound in belief, teaching and confession.” We don’t often ask, “Do they believe that the Bible is the sole source and norm of doctrine and practice.” No, what we are most often tempted to ask, even if only subconsciously, are questions like, “Is it close enough to my house?”, “Is it a fun place to go on Sunday morning?”, “Do I leave happy, with a full tank of faith to carry into the next week?”, “Do they have the kind of programs I want so they can keep me and my kids coming their every week?”, “Is the carpet the right color?”, “Does the building design make me comfortable enough?”, “Is the music fresh and energetic enough?”, etc.
In his book “Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” pastor Matt Richard introduces us to the many False Jesus’ who are created, in a have it your way style, by us, to meet our individual needs and sensibilities.
When we apply a magisterial use of reason to what the Scriptures say about Jesus and what his Church should be like we always end up creating a false Christ.
FINDING THE REAL JESUS
So, what can be done if we find ourselves or our family and friends worshiping or beginning to create a false Christ? The answer to that question is what this book is all about and why every Christian should not be afraid to read it. It will challenge most, if not all, of us but that is a good thing.
As pastor Richard says over and over, “Our goal is not to somehow prove that Christianity is superior (even though it is); rather, we advocate to bring about cognitive dissonance so we might have an opportunity for a clear confession of the real Jesus to be heard, for we know that faith in the real Jesus only comes by hearing the Word. (Romans 10:17)
This great book can be purchased at Amazon.com
You can also download the first chapter for free at the same link!
HERE ENDS THIS COLD BREW BLOG POST!