Keynotes – April 2017

No

There are rumors that some young, and not so young, girls daydream. Not just any daydream, but dream about a beautiful dress, a fantastic party, flowers that favor their complexion, attendants that assist them in every phase for “Their Day.” They pick out the music; they have a guest list; they have picked out the church and verses for the wedding. Sometimes there is one thing missing from the picture, the _________. If this sounds at all familiar then you may have guessed that the blank could be filled by the word groom.

Some would call this putting the cart before the horse. Others might call it a great imagination. Some might say that it’s good to plan ahead. Others might not be so kind and mock them as having their head in the clouds. Some might even say they are desperate. When they go out on a date some might say they have an agenda.

Many married friends might comfortably say, “Just relax; it’ll happen when it happens.” On the other hand, the aging single woman might hear the ticking of a biological clock others just don’t appreciate. It’s hard to say the right thing without being in their shoes.

Having an agenda is a good thing for a meeting because it keeps things moving forward in an orderly fashion. But one of the surest ways to get men to run on a date is to start fanaticizing out loud about the wonderful children you could have together; or to write your new name combined with his on the napkin at dinner. Is it possible the same is true as we proclaim the Gospel?

Something fascinating seems to have happened in our lifetime. Oh, it’s also possible it’s been around for a long time and we just didn’t notice. When we share the Gospel with MOST people today we are seen as having an agenda. We are seen as trying to suck people into a church and they don’t want to be there. They have heard too many bad things about churches. “They are hypocrites. They are haters. They are stuck in the past. They want to impose their rules in my life. They are a cult. They’re just looking for money. They don’t have any fun.” Maybe you could double or triple that list! Maybe they’re even right.

Don’t you want them in Heaven? Of course you do. Is that an agenda? Yes, it is. Isn’t it a good thing? Yes. So, what’s the problem? The path to Heaven is paved with love not agendas. Unlike a meeting that can be led, people come to faith by a path that is unique for each person and that God alone knows. Just because our path was A-B-C-D another path may by D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T or it may be U-N-I-Q-U-E or B-O-R-I-N-G. As long it the path leads to faith in Jesus it doesn’t matter!

How we approach people with Jesus is without an agenda. An agenda assumes that we have the wisdom of God knowing the path a particular person needs to take. We need to be humble before God and allow His love to be what people see. It would be good to know the path we took, perhaps someone will ask someday. But it is more important that we love people as Christ loves them and us. Then we get to watch how God will use that love to change hearts and lives in ways we could never predict.

In this season of Lent we take time to reflect on our sins and how they have separated us from God’s love. As Christians we don’t stop there. We look forward to Easter! The love of God shines bright in our lives, let’s share that love and see how it grows.

Pastor Oatman