Thursday, August 27, 2009


something similar: something that repeats, imitates, or is reminiscent of something else

In a brief dialogue with a colleague of mine, we talked about the need for us as a ministry staff to be on the same page throughout the year, regardless if we trying to do something "all church". What God is speaking to the congregation should be inescapable whether in youth ministry, children, or adults. God does not send different messages to different parts of the body. While they may serve different functions, the body as a whole should be moving in the same direction.

I talked about my desire to have small groups and adult ed compliment what it being preached. My colleague said we should all be 'echoing' in some fashion the message God has for us as a community. I loved that word and image, echo. I realized that's all my life is about. It's about being an echo; an echo of Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection has reverberated through out history. My life is his echo. I am to live like Jesus, die to myself, and be brought to new life.

Not popular concepts in our culture. We want Jesus to make us a better me. We are hoping Jesus makes us an improved version of ourselves. Jesus had no interest in being a better Jesus. He was all about being like the Father; in what he said and did. Being different and creative was not his agenda. Echoing the Father in his teachings and love was all he cared about.

We live in a culture of Christianity where we worship and celebrate people who are creative in their expression of how they do church or how they share the gospel. Trust me, I think we need to be a little more creative in our expressions of faith. I also think we should be doing a better job of just echoing Jesus' life and teachings. We spend more time being creative when we should spend more time just tracing the image of Jesus.

Our inclination is to find ways of weaving Jesus into our life or ministry because we came up with a cool slogan, life purpose, or we started a new business, and now we have to figure out how Jesus fits in. Do you know how exhausting that is? It takes so much work. Work I no longer have the energy for. I have done it all my life, and now I can't do it anymore.

(Side bar:For those of you who have life verses,I'm glad that's working for you. I have prayed and wanted my own life verse for years, and every time I think I have found one, God brings another to me. The closest I have come to a life verse is Jeremiah 9:23-24)

I know this all sounds so simple and contrite, possibly even remedial for some of you, but as one who has served in professional ministry, I watch this happen all the time. I see the franchising of Jesus in new books, life strategies, affinity group Bibles, worship songs, you name it. All claiming to have a creative and unique perspective on faith and the knowledge of God.

In Dallas Willard's book The Divine Conspiracy he states (and I paraphrase) he would love to see a church sign that simply said " We teach people to say and do ever thing Jesus said to say and do." How refreshing would that be? No gimmicks. No logos. Just Jesus.

I don't want creative and unique. I want truth. I want freedom. I want hope. I want Jesus. I just want to live truth, freedom, and hope. I just want to live Jesus. That means less of me, and more of him. That means my voice and song are not new and creative; just an echo of a voice and song that has been playing and singing continuously.


Chris said...

George, Thank you for your posts. After reading Echo, I was reminded of the first hurdle I crossed in reclaiming my faith. Rather than trying to come up with 'creative' or 'original' prayers, I reverted to Our Fathers and after I get back into the habit, my prayers were simple ones of thanks. Thank you for this wife, for this child, for this sunset, for this day and these friends. It's easy to articulate our endless 'needs' but more important to repeat simple gratitude.