The Weekly Epistle 4/26/23

Hi Living Hope Family,

Seen on a church sign: “We care about you. Sundays 10 AM only.” 

On another church sign it said, “Don’t let worries kill you, let the church help.” Or “We love hurting people.” 

Mixed messages. Other mixed messages might be- “come as you are,” but make sure you clean up your act first.” Or “For God so loved the world, but not members of the other political party.” 

What messages are we sending to the world? What does the world think about Christians. I then typed in, “Why are Christians so…?” The autocomplete provided me with words such as mean, arrogant, fake, hateful, judgmental, and why are Christians such hypocrites. My heart aches. Why couldn’t the autocomplete say things like, “Why are Christians so kind, so loving, so neighborly, so selfless, so honest.” Perhaps I am asking for too much here. 

My point is, what message are we sending to the world? What message am I sending to my community? When what we say we believe doesn’t actually match how we are living, that is a mixed message. When we say, “this has nothing to do with my Christianity,” we are sending the message that our faith only takes place on Sundays. Mixed message. 

I am not talking about perfection. People around us already know we aren’t perfect. This isn’t about acting like we have it all together. But others should see that we live the gospel. It should be evident that Jesus is transforming us. 

Paul says, “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited” (2 Corinthians 6:3). In sending Timothy to the church in Corinth, Paul says, “He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:17). To the church in Philippi, he says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me– put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9). 

If someone were to follow me around during the week (without my knowing it), would I be able to confidently say, “Whatever you have seen in me, put it into practice”? Would you dare say this? Again, this is not talking about perfection. My heart’s desire is to close the gap between my beliefs and the practice of my beliefs. That my life would point people to Jesus. 

I know it is cliché, but it has been said that the only Bible people may read is you. Church signs and other marketing strategies are tools of evangelism. But the best “marketing” is living out the true gospel before the watching world. 

Why is Living Hope so…? Why is (your name) so…? 

Blessings, Pastor Brian