Some of you may know I have been working on a book that will help tell the story of the Grace Place. It is a labor of love. The book will be more than our story it will be the story of How God's Grace works in advancing us into His presence as a full fledged disciple of Jesus Christ. On my end there remains a great deal of work to bring this book to completion. To that end I would be grateful for your prayers over me in this effort. I believe God wants to say something through me to the church in this book and I am grateful for the opportunity to be His conduit.
Below are a excepts from the book.
As I started the invitation following the morning sermon, I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to clarify the difference between a fan and a true follower of Jesus. On any given Sunday gathering, there are those who are committed disciples of Jesus and those who are big fans of Jesus and all He historically accomplished.
Among His fans there are those who are deeply moved and overwhelmed by the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, the code of ethics He taught, the way of life He lived, the miracles, the love He demonstrated. Sunday, for them, is a meaningful reminder an opportune encounter, an emotional and intellectual stimuli. There big question each Sunday is “What is in this gathering for me”? They are hoping that something happens that will get them through the week, inspire them to change, clarify some of the why questions of life.
The fans of Jesus are wonderful people. They see real value in the Christian life. Their primary struggle is Lordship. They are struggling to make Jesus Lord of their life. They easily see how He is Lord over all things. They longingly want what they see in true disciples of Jesus Christ but they do not know how to get there from where they are now....
After service Greg came up to me. Greg would often confront me after service with points of disagreement about my message, so that is what I was expecting this time as well. To my surprise he said “This is the first time I have really understood my own struggle. I have never heard it that way…Fan or Disciple. Thank you for helping make it clear”.
A happy ending to the story of Greg and me would have been that he took that next step and asked for prayer and made full surrender to the Lordship Jesus Christ. Unfortunately that’s not what happened. Greg turned from me and walked out the door. Years in the pastorate ministry told me that if Greg did not surrender soon he would leave our church. Why? Because now there was clarity in truth. You cannot continue in the lie when truth exposes it. When we refuse to apply revealed truth in our lives we get uncomfortable, like trying to sleep on a bed of nails. After "truth" we can never again get comfortable with the lie.
Greg became more and more frustrated with the church and with me over the course of the next few weeks. It was as if he were working overtime to invent problems with the church and my role as leader. Finally he sent me an email message that stated he and his family had discussed it and they would no longer be coming to our church.