I settled into my pre-sunrise beach post. My toes were exploring the white sand. Nothing but ocean, sky, and coastline stood before God and me. With eternal gratitude, I took a deep sip from my coffee mug. Coffee mug is such a deceptive term. There was absolutely no coffee in my mug.
I’m drinking fake coffee. The label says “a coffee beverage.” More deception. There’s nothing coffee about this coffee beverage. But real coffee doesn’t seem to like me these days. And so I close my eyes, take a sip, give the obligatory “ahhhhh,” and suddenly remember it’s not coffee.
Fake coffee may explain why I blew up at the Apple Support store a couple of weeks ago. I needed to return a power cable I bought at an Apple store in Ohio. I went to what I thought was an Apple store in Atlanta to make the exchange. “I purchased this power cord at an Apple store in Ohio, but it’s not the right one. I’d just like to get the right cord for my computer. Here it is…” I explained to the young, hip, long-haired clerk. My innocent, wrong cord lay sleeping in the official Apple bag given at purchase.
“I wish I could exchange that sir, but we are an Apple support store. I can’t help you.” The warm blood was rising into my face pushing the cold corpuscles back into my toes. This explains why I jumped slightly off the ground. “So, this is a FAKE Apple store?” I retorted. “No sir, we are an Apple support store.” “So you are an Apple store, but you can’t exchange my power cord? Then this is a FAKE Apple store.” With a rehearsed repetition, the fish meat across the counter replied, “No sir, we are an Apple support store.” “You are a FAKE Apple store. If you can’t exchange the cord I bought at a real Apple store in Ohio, then you are a FAKE Apple store!” I said my piece and stormed out the glass front doors. Those doors looked like Apple glass doors, but they were fake also.
My two youngest kids were with me. This was not a pristine parenting moment. They both had made an early exit around my fifth “FAKE” or so. Once I was outside, my kids looked at me and drove the knife deeper into my back. “What was that about dad?” Then they proceeded to use the word “fake” about two hundred times for the next few hours. Forever to be remembered, this was a classic dad story.
I blame it all on the fake coffee. It’s making me cranky. In reality, it’s not the coffee beverage; it’s just my choice to be cranky or not.
A postmodern world is choosing fake. A beautiful world of image, shallow social media friendships, and the pursuit of absolutely anything for adrenaline & happiness — is the bend of many who settle for fake. Evidence of fake is proven by the lack of welcomed confrontation towards whatever is causing an internal wilting of those living in the beautiful world. Even the very real 84 people killed in Nice, France are eventually dismissed through mere memorials by the beautiful world. Amazing. This is strong stuff. Many attempts by the church to stir and help are dismissed as prohibitive. Peter informs us, “They are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.” ( I Peter 4:4)
What does the church choose to do? Roll over, huddle, and hide? Hell no. Seriously, hell no. The gates of hell are where the church should take the offensive to allow the power of the Gospel to prevail. The posture of the church in a postmodern, beautiful world should be “go” and “move” and “forward!”
I love Mark Dever’s challenge of discipleship in his book, “Discipling.” Devers lays out a simple strategy: Help others follow Jesus. The local church is the best context for Christians to help people follow Jesus. It is within the framework of the church that the gates of hell will not prevail. Dever’s writes, “Jesus does not promise that you and your one friend will defeat the gates of hell.”
Devers keeps things straightforward and real. His book is a solid but non-programmatic read. It’s refreshing to read about discipleship when discipleship doesn’t become tedious. Randy Pope’s “The Intentional Church” is putting a few more teeth to discipleship — but Pope is keeping it real as well. Real. Not fake. I like that. I don’t like my fake coffee.