Friendly Jesus in the Contemporary Church

 

            It’s that time of the month again – the 1st of the month which we dedicate to a discussion about JESUS.  This month let us explore one of the ways that people “see or experience” Jesus.  Many think that Jesus can only be found within the four walls of the church building.  If that were true, I suppose some people would place a higher priority on attending and actively participating in church services.  Why do some unbelievers (people who do not profess to be Christians) not attend church?  

            Some people shy away from attending church because they feel that it is boring.  I am aware that the focus in our society is “MEism.”  Therefore, many people who do attend church have a desire for the church to entertain them.  They want to know what they can get out of the experience.  The reality is that we should go to church with a desire to give.  That’s why it is often called “worship service.”  The purpose of worship is to focus on Jesus and not on ourselves.  I know that sounds old-fashioned, but “What can I say?  I’m an old-fashioned type of girl.”

           There is so much discussion today about the relevance of the church, how the church can attract more people, and entertain the young folks.  I say that the solid foundation must always and continue to be “The Basics.”  For starters: preach the true word of God (the Bible) and focus primarily on the ministry of Jesus.  Everything in the Bible points to, is, or ends with him.  He does not dwell within the four walls of a building.  We (those of us who believe and have placed our trust in him) bring him with us in our hearts when we come, and people should see that in the way we worship him.

          Let us not lose focus and be so quick to waiver with the times.  Certainly, we must understand the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical state of our church attendees.  That’s simply a matter of loving them and having genuine concern for the things that are important to them.  For example, I love gospel music.  I would rather listen to that genre of music than anything else.  Contemporary Christian music is also cool.  However it is not a deal breaker for me if I attend a church that does not implement those genres of music in their regular choir song rotations.  You may ask me, “Why is this so?” 

           Part of the reason is because many of the churches that are not embracing the contemporary stuff are still singing hymns. What are hymns?  I mean some churches don’t even have hymnal books in the pews anymore.  Continuing in my example, we must not forget the power and the strength that are also found in our hymns, especially the hymns that talk about the character and ministerial work of Jesus. 

One of my favorite hymns is entitled, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and grieves to bear

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer

 

Oh what peace we often forfeit

Oh what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

Meditate on those words for a moment, for they truly capture the big picture.

Jesus is my friend.  He is the bearer of my sins.  He understands and cares about my grief and suffering.  It is for this reason that he came.  Therefore, I do not have to walk through this world alone.  As long as I accept him, surrender to him in obedience, and take everything to him in prayer – He will be with me every step of the way.

Can you imagine having that type of peace in this chaotic world?

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