about this weekend…

Do you think there are trappings of Christianity enabling a false security prompting feelings of  “everything is A-OK?”  For instance, could a diet of only Christian music give us the illusion that our relationship with Jesus is rock solid because our music is all based on the solid Rock?  There’s nothing wrong with Christian music, but it was never intended to be a substitute for walking with Jesus.

Let’s try another one.  Does frequenting a Chick-Fil-A turn us into a grade-A believer?  Although CFA is a great Christian company, and some might feel more Christian eating a #2 Chicken sandwich combo, I don’t think anyone actually believes a CFA milkshake is a good substitute for time with Jesus.

Do you think it’s possible to go to church an entire lifetime, and not be an authentic Jesus follower?  Could church become a substitute for the real deal?  Jesus dealt with religious people who were trapped in all the trappings and substitutions of religious doing and not doing, but they missed the Point.

So how DO you know if you’ve been genuinely called by Jesus?  Maybe, exactly because of Jesus, there something unusual going on in your life.  For an ancient tax collector named Matthew, he left his job and invited Jesus to hang out with some not-so-churchy folks.  Maybe our allegiance to Jesus is so radical, others begin to see unusual behavior in our lives (I’m not talking about rainbow hair and a John 3:16 sign at football games).

Matthew was loved by Jesus, and was radically transformed.  He went from being a low-life, extortionist to an Apostle and writer of a gospel.  In his gospel, Matthew quotes Jesus’ teaching about someone confronted with sin and they don’t listen.  Jesus, Matthew writes, teaches to eventually treat such a person like a pagan tax collector.  But wait a minute… Matthew was a pagan tax collector.  How did Jesus treat Matthew?  With grace and acceptance and unusually non-religious behavior.

Let me stress…  THERE’S NOTHING WRONG with Christian music, movies, clothing, concerts, churches and stuff.  But when the religious trappings cause a false sense of holiness and a harsh sense of judgment on others, something is horribly wrong.

What a great and challenging text we’ll be diving into this Sunday.  I can’t wait to dig through this one with you.  We’ll take a look at how Jesus dealt with losers like Matthew and religious elite like the Pharisees.   I wonder where we’ll place ourselves and our church on this Biblical continuum?  Are you frustrated with religion these days?   Got any friends who are absolutely done with religion.  Come Sunday and bring them along.  It’s going to be a great time to gather.

See you at 8:30 or 10:30!


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