Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Radical Ways

Sometimes I wonder if our "American-ness" just bores Jesus to tears. I know I am sometimes.

The clean churches, the orderly lines by which we file in and out of those doors every Sunday, the absolute lengths we stretch ourselves to to never make anyone feel uncomfortable, how passively we listen to sermons, the lack of faith to His long track records of miracles... This may not be every church or person but it seems a high percentage of Christians are buying into the American Church instead of the radical, scandalous gospel of Jesus.

Combing through the scriptures I always find the opposite of boring, routine, mundane, or ordinary.

A rod turned in to a snake (Ex 4:3)
Dream interpretation for highest government ruler (Ex 41:39)
The sun and moon standing still in the sky (Josh 10:12)
Spirit of God allowing a man to kill a lion barehanded (Judges 14:6)
A jar of flour and oil multiplying (2 King 4:5)
A man healed of an illness (2 Kings 20:7)
Evil spirits cast out (Mark 1:26)
Blindness healed (Matt 9:30)
Jesus' Resurrection (Luke 24:24)
Gospel spreading through a whole country (Luke 7:17)
Eternal life (John 3:15)
Miraculous transportation aka time travel (Acts 8:39-40)
A dead woman restored to life (Acts 9:40)
Large numbers trusting the Lord (Acts 3:47)
Followers of Jesus thrown in prison (Acts 12)

Just read an article on growing rates of Christianity around the world and the sufferings they face and the risks they take. Places like Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, China, India, Sudan are seeing the most growth but also the most radical oppression from governments and people. The article was filled with words like martyr, suffering, persecution, protests, ethnic cleansing, growth, illegal, and The World. Dang Lord, when was it that you were too ordinary and and an old bearded guy just chillin in the heavens? (Um, never.)

Americans were actually charged in the article for not crying out when their own Christians receive persecution. The typical response to sacrificing our lives for the Lord or protesting unfairness is silence. If we aren't willing to take on the adventure, it seems other people who want it are actually seeing the most growth, the most scandal, the most life change and the greatest faith.

I would ditch the clean, orderly seats of the mega church auditoriums any day for the underground church where people sit on dirt floors in hiding. I would dig another 4 hour sermon like the one we heard in Uganda over the exact 1 hour church service we get here. I want a comfort zone of faith that is constantly violated. A heart believing that God's looooong history of miracle working is not a sudden rare commodity.

God is so faithful beyond our willingness. I'm encouraged by the faith of Nigerians and Chinese believers risking their lives, families, finances, security, safety, rights, freedom, their everything for the advancement of the gospel. Jesus digs the willing and not the faint of heart. Praying he doesn't give up on our passivity....I know he won't. That's just not His style.

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.
Hosea 6:3

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job 26:14

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