So many people will never know Christ.
Of all the things that Pastor Chan is frustrated about, this is number one.
Some think that he just loves beating up Christians; spending a chapter labelling us “lukewarm” and accusing us of “serving leftovers to God” is evidence of that.
He should be upset.
Christians who don’t understand what their commitment to Christ means is a real problem. We need to be called out. A half-committed Christian does more to drive people away from the church than anything.
Whether you are someone who does not know Christ or someone who professes to know Christ, let’s talk about the process of moving down the believer’s road to a better life here on earth and a better life after we leave earth.
First of all, you need to let Jesus in. That is a real stumbling block for many, right at the beginning. They are not sure they want Jesus to be a large part of their lives. They like what they are doing and they are having a lot of fun. Maybe they are doing things that they feel are not right but the pleasure is there. Won’t I have to give up the pleasure when I let Jesus in my life? You will have to give up something all right. You will have to give up leading a double life and the associated guilt for the sins you are committing if the source of your pleasure is a sin [some pleasures of course are not sins]. Some folks like their pleasure so much that they can’t choose Jesus. They choose to live the life of the hypocrite. They have perfected the art of the false face. They can put on their contrite face when they need to and they can take it off and party when they are away from church or their Christian friends. That takes a lot of effort and can eventually cause a lot of pain and unhappiness.
Next, you need to let Jesus slowly begin to reduce the sins in your life. It won’t be quick but He will help you do it. The first thing that happens is awareness of your behavior begins to occur. The words you are saying become more obvious [especially words you should not say]. Unkind thoughts about people you are having become more obvious [you begin to think that you should be more understanding and empathic]. Desires for questionable things begin to diminish [you know you should monitor what goes into your mind and your body]. Again, this is a slow process, maybe taking years to see results but it will happen.
As the years go by, I like to think of this process as the “cleaning of your house.” Jesus comes in and begins to sweep it all out, the corners, the closets etc. He will clean it out from top to bottom if you let Him. Many of us have very dirty houses.
As time passes, learn to be quiet and listen to your Holy Spirit. Your “Helper” was always there but now if you are truly committed to Christ, you get feelings about what to do. Choices are more important for you. You see life as a series of choices and your Christ-like character is now being constructed by your new choices…better choices but you do have to listen to Jesus Christ in you. He is there and has been all along.
Don’t be afraid to ask Christ to control your life. Ask him to lead, guide and direct you to where you need to be in this world. He will. Ask Him to show you how to love Him. He will. If He shows you, you will understand. Many cannot understand the love of Jesus because we try to understand His love in human terms. His love is not based on human performance; it is a gift. That in itself is beyond most peoples’ understanding.
Too often, the Christian is afraid to turn over control of life to Christ. They are afraid that He will ask them to do something that is uncomfortable, too sacrificial, too painful…too much of a change. He might, but that is where real growth occurs. You see Jesus is interested in your growth. Pastor Chan is also.
Have you ever watched a Francis Chan video? Have you ever seen him speak at a conference? He does this with an ease about him. He has a natural flow in his voice and a natural movement in his delivery of his message. It is like he is never forcing anything. Powerful but natural.
I know that a person cannot make too much out of a video image but maybe this natural behavior is what we should all feel when we are flowing along in life with Christ. We are not forcing things. We are not worried about paying Christ back with our behaviors. We are not obsessed that we are not doing enough in our day. We are not concerned that we are doing things “right.” We are not compiling a list of our activities, having to justify our existence—did I do enough this week?
We did. We did what Christ asked of us.
He is still asking and we are still responding.
Pastor Chan describes the journey toward Christ in the words, “As we begin to focus more on Christ, loving Him and others becomes more natural. As long as we are pursuing Him, we are satisfied in Him.”
You see Pastor Chan wants the unbeliever to begin this journey. Most pastors fervently desire that; that is why they became pastors…to lead people to Jesus Christ. Pastor Chan wants believers to continue their journey. He wants us to quit being satisfied with the “same ole same ole” and move toward a deeper relationship.
Pastor Chan knows that two labels that we don’t want to have applied to us are “lukewarm” and “leftover server”.
Ok, let’s start!