July 20, 2007

Beers and Tears

“I can assure you of this: if you are associated with the use of beverage alcohol, I think I dare exaggerate not to say that 99% of all doors of ministry in the Southern Baptist Convention will be closed to you.”
- Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Sig Hamilton is a missionary in Springfield, MO and once or twice a month, he goes to the bars. He usually goes late on a Friday or Saturday, sits at the counter, orders a diet Coke, and listens. He listens because the people who sit near him at the bar are generally trying to drown their sorrows in alcohol, driven by the pain of life. And he says that the people he meets at the bars are genuine and honest, looking for help, looking for a way out, looking for a change. They too are created in God's image and looking for love. Sig has touched many lives because he was willing to go to where the hurting people are. He goes knowing that people are pointing fingers, and those pointing fingers are often people he sits near on Sunday mornings.

Michael Frost is a missionary in Australia. He was a guest preacher, preaching to a large gathering, and there was a lady sitting on the front row who was fascinated by the stories of Jesus. Instead of a lecture, the sermon became a dialogue between the two, with hundreds listening in. But before the conversation was over, she had to leave, she couldn't be late for work. She asked if Mike would come and talk with her after work, and scratched down on a piece of paper the address. He promised to come. After the service, he asked the host the directions to where she worked and learned that she was a stripper. Which is more important: to break his promise to this one person and save his "reputation", or go and tell more stories of Jesus to a hurting heart--at a strip club?

Jesus drank wine, and was accused of being a drunkard.
Jesus touched prostitutes, and they followed him faithfully.

I think we care too much about what others think of us and too little about what Jesus thinks about others. Jesus said a lot of things that we dismiss without even thinking about them.

What would the world look like if we loved our enemies?
What would the church look like if our passion was to connect with "outsiders", not coddle "insiders"?
What would our lives look like if we worshiped God, instead of technology...instead of money...instead of our reputation?

Jesus was not killed for being a nice guy.
Jesus was not killed to make me a nice guy.
Jesus was killed living in the reality of God's kingdom, not the kingdom of this world.

No comments: