Friday, August 28, 2009


How blessed you are whenever people hate you and ostracize you and insult you.....Luke 6.22

When was the last time someone hated you? Did you feel blessed or did you feel bad? I am supposed to be glad when someone hates me? What?!!?

A preacher friend of mine is a affirmation/acceptance junkie. He hates it when someone doesn't like a sermon he preaches. He hates conflict and will do pretty much anything to avoid it. He goes out of his way to make sure people are good with him. His sermons are watered down, entertainment speeches that lack anything that would make anyone uncomfortable or feel convicted. He needs everyone to like him (even though he denies that).

But isn't there a part of that in all of us? The need to be liked contaminates our evangelism. Very few people are willing to be hated. People just don't want to risk rejection, ridicule or insult for the Gospel. The Gospel counters our need to be liked, wanted, befriended and accepted. When our gospel is contaminated by the need for acceptance, it gets watered down, it becomes for factual than personal. The Gospel is more than Jesus facts and theological proofs (at least I hope it is). It is more than exegesis, hermeneutics and lectures.

The Gospel is the most personal story of who we are. It is how Jesus moves in us, changes us, and gives us purpose and meaning. The Good News is very personal and vulnerable because, for a Christian, it is the very essence who we are. It is the story of our own personal redemption, the motive for living and the hope for the future. Take the Gospel personally and you risk rejection.

The Gospel is the most intimate discussion we can have. The Spirit moves in our story. God uses our story to convict the listener and confront sin. He uses our story to express His love, mercy and grace. He uses our Gospel to proclaim His Gospel. And the church is dying because many won't even talk about it.

Talk about the Gospel. Let the God use your story to tell his story. What is the Gospel to you? Is it more factual or personal?


  1. Watering down the message, for the sake of acceptance is a common problem today, in the pulpit and everywhere else. On the other hand, preaching fire and brimstone all the time is likely to push people away. As Paul advised, you need to know your audience. He said that he was "all things to all people", so that he could best lead them to Christ. I think this is part of why congregations are dying. They're trying to be a one-stop-spiritual-shop for everyone, when everyone is at a different spiritual place and has different backgrounds.

  2. Fire and brimstone preaching is a whipping...been there heard that. Another alternative is to preach prophetically...speak what God places one your heart...and if you got nuthin' don't say anything....Praise and worship until places the words in your mouth. Now that would get very interesting, it would be relevant and open.

  3. I don't tend to respect preachers (or Christians in general) who avoid controversial topics because of fear of what people may think. I try to not be rude and unnecessarily offensive, but I don't want to dishonor Christ by avoiding something important simply because I may become unpopular when I address it.

    On the other hand, I don't look for something to argue about either. If I ignore something controversial, sometimes it's because I'm not really interested in it and I consider it controversial for silly reasons. (For example, should a church worship with classic hymns or contemporary praise choruses? It may be controversial, but does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?)