david herndon


hospital

I awoke suddenly to the incessant beeping of the IV machine, letting the entire hall know that it was time to change the bag. Luckily the patient did not wake up since by now I knew how to work the buttons better than the PM nurse.  I settled back into the plastic covered recliner that was my bed and tried to go back to sleep, knowing that in 90 minutes I would be up again, helping take vitals with the nurse.  I was exhausted, but sleep did not come easy.

I was worried.  I was anxious.

This was my life for most of last week.  My son woke up one morning with a stomach ache.  A doctor’s visit, a hospital stay, and then a transfer to another hospital.  It could be appendicitis.  I could be colitis.  It could be a parasite.  “We’ll have to run tests to be sure.”  Tests meant drawing blood, among other things.  Lots of pricking and prodding tended to weary the patience of the strongest 6 year old I know.  Doctors, nurses, needles, oh my.  He was scared.  So was I.  My son was sick and I didn’t know what was wrong or how to fix it.

So in the early hours of the morning I sat in my plastic recliner and prayed.  Then God reminded me of this scripture:

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).”

I get it.  I’ve heard like a million Christian talks on how “worry is the opposite of faith,” and how “worry is a sign that we are trying to control God,” and blah, blah, blah.  I know that I shouldn’t worry about making a good impression on the new neighbors.  I know that I shouldn’t worry about that red light when I’m already running late.  I shouldn’t worry about affording to pay for one more Disney trip.  That’s first world problems.  That’s the small stuff.  That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the big stuff.  What if I can’t afford to pay for all three of my children to go to college?  What if my daughter gets pregnant as teen?  What if one of my sons gets a girl pregnant?  What if one of my children becomes a drug addict?  What if I get cancer?  What if one of my children gets cancer?  What if my wife gets cancer?  What if its not appendicitis or a stomach bug?  What if its something worse?

When you love someone as much as a parent loves a child or a husband loves a wife… how do you not worry?

When tragedy strikes and your whole world turns upside down… how are you supposed to be thankful?

Abraham worried about fulfilling God’s call so he had a child with a woman who wasn’t his wife.  Noah worried about finding land after the flood, so he kept sending birds to their deaths as they flew across endless water.  Gideon worried about battle so he often tested and challenged God.  Paul writes in Philippians 4 the famous “do not worry” passage, but just 2 chapters before he talks about his own anxiety concerning one of his disciples, Epaphroditus.  And even Jesus, the night before his death, sweated blood as he prayed, “If there is another way, let this cup pass from me.”  The bible doesn’t really give instructions on how not to worry.

I hashed this out with God, the beeping IV machine, and the plastic recliner all night.  As I watched my son sleep I couldn’t help but think that my love for him is but a fraction of God’s love for us.  “I would give my life for his health,” I said.  “So would I,” God replied, “and so I did.”

In John 16:33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

This next sentence is difficult to write and perhaps more difficult to read.

God is not as concerned about our health and well-being and general comfort in life as we are.  I’m not saying that He’s not concerned.  Its just that the things we value most are not as valuable to Him.  On the cross, Jesus could have died so that we would never experience illness or disease. He could have died so that we would never experience poverty or hunger.  He could have died so that we would never experience injustice or hate.

But he didn’t die for those things.

Jesus died so that we would never have to experience separation from God.

God is most concerned with our relationship to Him.  The only thing that ever threatened our relationship with God, and thus our eternity, is sin.  Through the cross, Jesus took care of that problem.  So we don’t have to worry about it anymore.  We’re cured… if we want to be.

The truth is that any anxiety I feel is evidence of being more concerned with this life than the life to come.

I may or may not be able to afford three college educations.  My children may or may not become drug addicts.  My son may or may not have a parasite that makes his stomach hurt.  God does not require us to have a college education in order to understand His love.  God does not require us to be clean and sober in order to receive His grace.  God does not require us to be healthy in order to live in His ways.  God does not value us based on our checking account, our car title, or the title on our office door.

In the end none of that really matters because none of these things determine my relationship with God.  None of these things determine my eternity.

I still worry, especially about my family.  I probably always will.  I don’t understand how to prevent anxiety anymore now than I did last week in the hospital.  But I take great comfort in the fact that my eternity has nothing to do with my abilities (or lack thereof) or my wealth (or lack thereof) or my success (or lack thereof) or my health (or lack thereof).

My eternity has everything to do with Jesus’ victory over sin in His death and resurrection.  I can be thankful for that.  No matter what happens (or doesn’t happen) today, my sins are forgiven and my eternity is secure in Jesus Christ.  Come illness, come trouble, come injustice, come hardship… nothing can take that away.

I can be thankful for that.

And that is one less thing to worry about.

Happy Easter.

 

 

 

 

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more than a fisherman

So I saw this picture yesterday…

Image

It is a group of protesters from Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside of a Lorde concert in Kansas City.  You can read the full story here or Google it to see more ridiculous protest signs.

What caught my eye were the WBC protest signs. “God hates lukewarm Christians.”  “God hates sluts.”  “God is your enemy.”  There were worse statements but I will not even give the courtesy of repeating them.  At first I was angry with the protesters because this is not exactly good PR for Christianity.  In the end, however, I found myself feeling sorry for them because this protest shows just how much they misunderstand Jesus.

God hates us?

God is our enemy?

Is that how God would describe himself?

Is that even a good evangelism tactic?

If God hates me for my sin, does he also hate you for your sin?

I find this rule often at work in the world.  What people say about God is really a reflection of what they believe about themselves.  For example, a man may say that God hates another person because he himself feels unloved, or worse…. unlovable.  This belief will ultimately take shape in the way he views and treats others.  Believing he is unloved leads to a life in which God’s love is neither received nor shared.

This man thinks he is just a fisherman.

I finally watched Captain Phillips last weekend (it was incredible).  At one point near the end of the movie Captain Rich Phillips has a conversation with Muse, the Somali pirate leader.  Throughout the movie Muse has struggled with inferiority and repeatedly made the statement that he is “just a fisherman.”  He was never surprised when his plans failed to work out.  He never really believed he could accomplish anything.  He believed he was just a fisherman – not a real pirate.  When Muse  finally realizes that his latest plan will also fail he puts a gun to Rich’s head, and the captain says, “You are more than just a fisherman!”

And Muse puts down the gun.  Its like that’s all he wanted to hear.  He just wanted someone to believe in him, and in some very strange way that is what Captain Phillips was communicating to him.  Despite all of his violence, hate, and anger Captain Phillips still saw potential in Muse.

“You are more than just a fisherman.”

It was as if for the first time in his life Muse realized he could be someone different, someone better.  There is still hope for Muse.

As a full-time minister I have all kinds of conversations with people.  People don’t think they can lead a small group because “I don’t read my bible enough.”  People think they can’t participate in a mission trip because “I’m not generous enough.”  People think struggles arise in their lives because “I’m not a godly person.”  My least favorite is when people say something like, “I’m not a good person like you, David.  You’re a professional Christian.  I’m just a (insert occupation).”  As if somehow your career determines your standing with God.  Trust me – “professional” Christians are just as sinful as anyone else.

People often (and unfairly) think poorly of themselves, and so they just assume that God feels the same way.  Somali pirate, Baptist protester, Pop-star, “professional” Christian – we all live life based on our beliefs about ourselves and about our God.  These beliefs will ultimately take shape in how we view and treat others.  If we believe we are unlovable, then we will live a life in which we neither receive nor share God’s love.

We’re missing out on something different, something better.

Let me be the first to say to you today, “You… are more than just a fisherman.”

There is still hope for the 17 year old pop-star and the WBC protester.  There is still hope for the Somali pirates.  There is still hope for the “professional” minister as well as for the accountants and lawyers.  There is still hope for you.   Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over you and takes delight in you.  Romans says that we are indeed sinners, but God dies for us so that we don’t have to stay that way.  Jesus personally says in John 15:9 that his love for us is the same as God’s love for him.  There are no conditional clauses attached to these statements.  These promises are not reserved for a select few.

God loves you.  He delights in you.  He pursues you.  He sacrifices for you.  He believes in you.

“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now remain in my love (John 15:9).”

Jesus deserves every drop of God’s love.  God sees perfection and hope in him.  There is no shame, no condemnation.  Only worthiness.  And Jesus says that his love for you is the same.  He believes you deserve every drop of His love, that you have perfection and hope in you.  He has no desire to condemn you.  He finds you worthy.

God calls us to believe we are loved because of the simple fact that we are.  He sacrificed for us.  He died for us.  Does that sound like hate to you?

Don’t assume God hates you.  Know that He loves you!

Most importantly, live your life out of that love.

 

 

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the business of impossible
May 10, 2011, 9:01 am
Filed under: God, life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was talking with a close friend the other day, who also works in the youth ministry profession.  We were coming up with ideas for how to get a buzz going about something that is important to us and to youth ministry.  For the most part my ideas were pretty basic and easy to do.  His were not.  His biggest idea was to stage one of those “hold hands across the state” things… you know the one – where you literally get people to line up across the state and hold hands.  I can’t fathom how this would work,and I said so.  He said we just needed people to “adopt” mile markers along the way.  But how many people would that be? Immediately my friend picked two cities, calculated the distance in miles between the two. estimated how many feet an average person can reach from hand to hand, and came up with a number of people per mile we would need.

It was not as many people as I thought.  All of a sudden the impossible looked possible.

My sister-in-law is in the hospital right now trying NOT to have a baby (she went into labor 12 weeks to soon).  The goal is to NOT have the baby for 6 more weeks.  That seems like a long time.  But that’s not how she’s looking at it.  She set a goal to get through 1 night without labor, which she did.  Now her goal is to make it 1 week.  Next will be 2 weeks.

All of a sudden the impossible seems possible.

This weekend we took a family trip to the beach.  As any healthy boys would do, my two spend most beach days digging a hole in the sand.  On this trip they found a neighboring family whose son had already started a pretty impressive cave in the sand.  When we were sufficiently baked and the baby was at the point when she’s either going to fall asleep peacefully or scream like banshee, I announced to my boys that it was time to go.  The 3 year old refused.  I said it again – time to go!  At this point I could not see him, and could faintly hear his voice coming from the depths of the hole: “We can’t leave yet!  We’re almost to China!”  Obviously, he was nowhere near China, but for him and his 3 year old mind, each scoop of sand he threw out was one more step towards his goal.

For him, the impossible seemed possible.

Life can be overwhelming.  The things we want and need can so often seem so unreachable and so impossible.  Sometimes life can be so burdensome that we feel like God doesn’t even want us to have anything good.   This is far from true.  In fact, God is in the business of making the impossible possible.  But that doesn’t come without some level of struggle and strain here and there.

The Israelites often became overwhelmed as we read through the Old Testament.  They kept repeating this cycle of inheriting all the good things God planned for them, then becoming over-confident in their own abilities, forgetting about God, and finally being overthrown by a pagan government/empire.  As I would probably be, once in captivity or exile or slavery or all of the above, the Israelites would very quickly see how good they had it and remember God.  Yet, He felt so far away.

Can you relate?  Have you ever looked at life and thought: “Wait!  This isn’t what I planned?  This wasn’t the goal?”  Or maybe you thought you would have reached that goal by now.  Or maybe you just feel like you CAN’T reach that goal.  That’s how the Israelites felt.  They felt like they had lost it all and it would be impossible to ever get it back.  How fortunate for the Israelites and for us that God is in the business of making the impossible possible.

Listen to the words of Isaiah:

“The LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!  People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  How gracious he will be when you cry for help!  As soon as he hears, he will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

What a beautiful passage.  Our lives may consist of adversity and affliction, but there is a God who longs to be gracious to us.  He just waiting on us to ask for help.  And when we do ask for help, how will he send it?  Step by step – “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”  With God, the impossible is possible – whether you’re digging to China or trying NOT to have a baby or just trying to hold hands with a few thousand people – Follow God step by step and you’ll be there before you know it!



thou shalt drive a hybrid

Its been a while since I posted a controversial blog.  I know you’ve all been waiting for one, so here you go:

With gas prices soaring and global warming heating up, everyone from Woody Harrelson to Rob Bell has something to say about “going green.”  It is a real issue and the state of the environment is something we all need to seriously think about.  It is also a movement that is on the rise within Christianity and the Church’s voice on the matter gets louder every day.  As an avid outdoors person myself, I am a big supporter of the “go green” movement.  That being said, I do have some concerns with the way it is being presented in Christian circles.  It seems that the Christian view is being taught that if you are a believer, yet are not environmentally conscious or active, then you are committing a sin.  In some ways “go green” is being taught as the Eleventh Commandment (thou shalt drive a hybrid), and as usual I have a little different view on the spiritual side of this discussion.

The question that keeps popping up in my head as I hear green sermons and have green discussions with people is this: What is God’s perspective on “going green?”  Is it really as big a deal to Him as it is to us?  How concerned is God with our environment?  If Jesus traveled by jet, would he buy a carbon offset?  It is often taught that God is green and that being environmentally aware is vital to our spirituality.  I’m not so sure.

The most famous scripture quotation would come from Genesis 1, in which God gives man authority over the earth, the vegetation, and the animals with the command to subdue to the earth and be fruitful and multiply.  The interpretation is often that God’s command for man to “care for the earth” is really a command to “take care of the earth,” that our responsibility is to do our best to preserve it and protect it.  But is that what God is saying?  He could be saying, “I’m giving you the earth – do with it whatever you want -it’s yours.”  In Isaiah God talks about how the grass will wither and the flower will fade, but the word of the Lord will stand forever.  I interpret this as God saying, “Don’t get too invested in temporary things, but invest in what is eternal.”  He presents the earth as being a temporary thing – a material thing, if you will.  It will not always be here.  God’s word is eternal.  It will always be here.  It will always stand.  It is the only thing worth truly investing in.  Biblically speaking, no matter what we do environmentally, no matter how green we get, the earth is eventually going to be destroyed anyway.  It was never meant to last forever, so how concerned should we be in preserving it?  In Genesis 6, God himself decides to flood the earth and start over (talk about a global warming crisis).  He doesn’t seem too concerned there about “going green.”  He does seem concerned with preserving righteousness.

The truth is, I just don’t find much in the bible that presents a strong spiritual argument for “going green.”

One day someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment is.  Jesus did not say to recycle or install solar panels on your house or to drive a hybrid.  He did say this: “you shall love the Lord, your God, with all of your heart, soul, and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  All of God’s laws hang on these two commandments.”  It seems Jesus’ priority was less in how we treat the earth and more in how we treat the creator and the people of the earth.

Before you get too angry with me and misinterpret what I’m saying, let me be clear:  As humans, we should try our best to be good stewards of the earth.  As Christians, we should be the front runners in this movement.  I’m not telling you to start throwing all of your trash on the side of the road or to start burning down forests or to start killing bunny rabbits or anything.  Out of respect for our Creator, we should respect His creation.  I just think we’re going about things the wrong way.

Instead of opening the newspaper and seeing articles about how to care for the environment, I would be delighted to see articles about how to care for people.  Instead of seeing a movie star on TV talking about being green, I would like to see a movie star talking about being loving.  Instead of governments imposing pollution taxes, I would like to see governments imposing uncompassionate taxes.  Instead of Nobel prizes being awarded for environmental accomplishments, I would like to see Nobel prizes for evangelical accomplishments.

I think if we as humans became consumed with loving people, then our environment would be in a better state.  Our world is going to great lengths and spending incredible amounts of money in the interest of the environment.  What would our world look like if we went to such lengths and spent as much money in the interest of loving people?

The grass will wither.  The flower will fade.  The earth is temporary.  God’s word and God’s ways will stand forever.  You tell me which is more important.

I look forward to your comments.



into danger/out of rescue
January 24, 2008, 2:04 am
Filed under: life | Tags: , , , ,

For over a year now this phrase has been rattling around in my head – “into danger/out of rescue.”  At first it was just a catchy phrase.  I was not sure where it came from, but I was intrigued by what it could possibly mean.  The more I thought about it, the more I explored it, the more I realized it was not just a random phrase but an invitation form God Himself.

So often we live a limited life.  In a way, we feel like we have to.  You have to have money, right?  You have to have a roof over your head, right?  You have to have life insurance, right?  A car, a retirement plan, a cell phone, cable TV, a computer, and the list goes on and on.  We have to have certain things in order to be productive, to be healthy, to be safe.  We also believe there are certain things we should not have or should not do.  You should not pick up hitch-hikers.  You should not eat too many carbs.  You should not take candy from strangers.  You should not put yourself in a position of danger.

I’m just no sure those things are as true as we make them out to be.  Sure there are certain things we should have and should do, and other things we should avoid.  But how many limitations do we put on ourselves, not because we truly believe in it, but because we live in a culture that demands it?  Are there certain limitations we have put in our life because we feel like we have to, but the result is that we’re missing out on our passion, our dreams?

When I answer the question, “what would you do if you could not fail?” my answer is always the same – I would record songs I have written and I would write a book and I would hit the road, sharing the music and the songs in hopes that God would speak to people through them.  Yet I have never pursued that dream… because of limitations.  I lifestyle like this is not exactly the norm when you have a wife, 2 kids, a full-time job, and a mortgage payment.  A career in music is a risk to say the least.  I have been limited in pursuing this dream.  But what if I took those limits away?  What if I altered my lifestyle, my job, my family in a way that would enable this fantasy to become a reality?

I don’t have the answer, but I am asking the question.  God has invited me to.  He has commanded me to.  I am leaving a place of rescue to pursue the danger.  On January 29th, Rebuilt Records will release “Into Danger/Out of Rescue,” a CD/Book combo that addresses this issue – what would happen if we asked the questions we’re afraid to ask?  And after it releases I will spend a majority of my time traveling and sharing this music and this message.

Will it be safe?  Hardly.  Will my life be different?  Guaranteed.  Will it work?  I’ll let you know (Buy lots of CD’s and it will).  Is it worth it to take these risks?  I believe so.  This message is so important to me that I am willing to “suffer” a little for it.  I’m willing to do without some things I’m used to having, and I’m willing to deal with some things I don’t usually deal with.  Deep in my heart I know this dream is much more than a dream, its a calling.  God is stirring my heart.  He is speaking to my soul.  And when God speaks He refuses to be ignored.

God has no limitations.

So what is your dream?  What would you pursue if you didn’t have any limitations?  What are your limitations?  Can you remove these limitations?  Are you missing out on God’s call for you because of limits you have put on yourself?

This is my challenge: remove the limitations.  Let go of safety long enough to discover the adventure God has in store for you.

*To find out more about “Into Danger/Out of Rescue,” visit www.davidherndonmusic.com



attack of the mega-church part 2
December 17, 2007, 5:10 pm
Filed under: religion | Tags: , , , , ,

Okay, folks, here we go again – Since my mega-church blogs always get so much attention (fifty million dollars, part 1), I had to share this post (and I won’t even mention Northpoint).

Willow Creek is undeniably “the” mega-church.  Dating back to the 70’s, Willow Creek Community Church is the church that started it all – Small Group Network Philosophy, Contemporary Worship, Drama, and big, big numbers.  I’m not sure what their exact attendance is, but I’m sure its ridiculous.  As their website says, “we’re big enough for you to blend in and investigate the claims of Jesus Christ anonymously, if you choose to.” 

I recently read an article about a multi-year research project Willow Creek has been doing on itself.  The topic: is Willow Creek’s Mega-Church ministry effective?  The result: Not even close!  Oops.  Here is an excerpt…

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

“Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.  We made a mistake.”

There are two kinds of Church growth in my opinion – 1) growth in number, 2)growth in spiritual transformation and maturity.  I don’t believe the two are exclusive, but my experience sadly has been that usually churches focus on one or the other.  Focusing solely on maturity does not make for the most “attractice” or seeker friendly church service, and so often churches opt for the easier to swallow “Starbucks” model.  To achieve growth in number, just give people what they want more than what they need.  This seems to be what Hybels and his church discovered, but now they are discovering something new – being attractive simply is not enough.  If your staff and pastors are the only spiritually mature people in the church, how long will the church last after the mature people are no longer around – and for what reason does the church exist if not to help people grow spiritually?

I celebrate with Willow Creek that they were willing to ask the hard questions and that now they are trying to correct their mistake and do things more effectively.  Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek says this of the recent findings, “Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church. That we take out a clean sheet of paper and we rethink all of our old assumptions. Replace it with new insights. Insights that are informed by research and rooted in Scripture. Our dream is really to discover what God is doing and how he’s asking us to transform this planet.”

Upon this note, I would like to reemphasize my heart in all of these blogs: Mega-Churches have a responsibility to make sure they are leading the way responsibly.  How many small, medium, and even large churches have modeled themselves after Willow Creek?  And now what good has it done?  I sincerely hope that ALL churches, large or small, will follow Willow Creeks new example and ask the hard questions.  I sincerely hope that ALL churches will learn to value true spiritual transformation over simple numbers.  I sincerely hope that ALL churches will strive to accurately reflect Jesus rather than dress Jesus up and try to make him “attractive.”

Click HERE for the article this blog is based on.  And thanks to my Dad for sending me the link
 



fifty million dollars
October 3, 2007, 3:31 pm
Filed under: God, life, religion | Tags: , ,

Okay, I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of weeks and I can’t hold it in anymore.  It is sure to step on some toes and rattle some cages, but in the end I hope I can start a healthy discussion here about what is necessary.

 A couple of weeks ago I bumped into an old friend at a wedding.  This friend currently works at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, home to Andy Stanley and other Pop-Christian-Culture Spiritual Gurus.  As we talked he began filling me in on all that is going on with Northpoint and everything he’s working on.  Then he invited me to come up to Atlanta some time so that he could give me a tour of their newest Buckhead Campus.  Here is how the conversation went:

Friend:  You really need to come see our new Buckhead Campus.

Me:  I’ll give you a call next time I’m in the area.

Friend: But you really need to see this building.  It cost Fifty Million Dollars.

Me: FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS?!

Friend: Yeah, fifty million dollars. (said in a “what’s the big deal” tone)

Me: SERIOUSLY, FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS?! (no, this is not a typo)

Friend: Yes, fifty million dollars. (now he seems a little annoyed)

Me: Don’t you think you guys could have used fifty million dollars to eradicate world hunger or something instead of adding another building to Atlanta?

Friend: Yeah, but this building is like a work of art… it’s all glass… the view is amazing… its beautiful… its even up for an architectural award… we hired the same architects that built the Atlanta Aquarium. (now he’s really annoyed)

Me: Don’t you think you guys could have used fifty million dollars to eradicate world hunger or something instead of adding another award winning building to Atlanta?

Friend:  Well, we raised 25 million within the church. (does that mean a 25 million debt?)

Me:  Don’t you think you guys could have used 25 million dollars to eradicate world hunger or something?

 Friend: Well, property in Buckhead is really expensive, so that’s where a lot of money went.

Me: I hear real estate is pretty affordable in third world countries that don’t have schools or hospitals or churches.

 Friend: Well, it was good seeing you.  Call me next time you’re in Atlanta.

I’m not sure if we’re still friends, as I may have offended him.  I’ll be the first to admit I came off a little strong, but am I the only one who has a problem with this church spending such a ridiculous amount of money on a building?  I mean I know buildings cost money – a lot of money – but not fifty million dollars.  So I left that conversation (or rather was left in that conversation) with a lot of questions:

Is it necessary to spend that much money on a church?  Is it necessary for churches to use award winning architects to build their buildings?  Is it necessary for churches to be made of all glass and to have amazing views?  Is it necessary for churches to build in the most expensive areas of town?  Do we go to such great lengths because we are trying to make church and Jesus attractive to the world around us?  What kind of message are we sending to people when we try so hard to get them to come to church?  What kind of message are we sending about Jesus if we have to try so hard to get people to come to church?  How can we teach people about Jesus and compassion and justice, ask for their money, and then waste it on a building instead of replicating Jesus’ compassion and justice?

 Northpoint is not the only church going to such great lengths to reach people.  “Mega” churches all over the country are spending enough money to buy the moon building worship facilities.  But for what purpose?  Does Jesus really need us to make him attractive?  When Jesus prayed for all believers in John 17, was he envisioning the mega-church?  Is Christianity suppossed to be attractive?  Is this the same way Jesus would have done it?

Jesus did not need a fancy building to teach and heal.  He did not need flashy backgrounds or the latest presentation software or a Mac.  He sought necessity and sufficiency over flash and splurge.  He was relevant.  He was authentic.  He was effective.  But He was not wasteful.  He presented the Truth and let the Truth do its work.

He told all of his followers to lose themselves and to die to themselves and to love others more than they love themselves.  As a result all of his followers abandoned him and He was killed as a result.  It doesn’t sound very attractive or fun or easy, but it made the biggest impact the world has ever witnessed.

 I think Jesus would have spent fifty million dollars feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and freeing the oppressed.




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