Yesterday Jesus Christ being alive was celebrated all across the world.
Many dollars spent on the perfect outfits. Little girls in white dress shoes, gloves and hats and young men with ties around their necks.
Sunday best taken up a notch.
Lillies adorning the front of the churches.
Family members that don't go to church weekly made their holiday appearance.
Pastors trying to convince those family members to believe in something better.
Gatherings in many homes after service, breaking bread together out of tradition. Some hostesses serving spirits to celebrate, all the while missing the real meaning of the season.
So what was all the hype about yesterday?
If I wasn't a follower of Christ...an outsider looking in, I'd ask these questions...
*Why was this Sunday's celebration any different than any other Sunday?
*Why do "believers of Christ" spend a ton of money, some swiping over maxed credit cards, to make sure their family looks perfect on this day?
*Is there a verse in the Bible that says if you hunt for eggs and get an Easter basket you don't go to heaven? And if I celebrate both...Jesus being alive and I have fun with a pretend Easter bunny...will you judge me?
*You talk about the empty tomb and in the same breath you seem empty and shallow when you gossip...I don't get it.
*I come to church at Christmas and Easter and it's the same thing. Perfection sitting in the pews. At the end of the sermon the pastor asks us to bow our heads, close our eyes and raise our hands if what he just preached swayed me to be like you.
My hand stays down.
I'm not convinced that I want to be like this. I mean, I believe in Jesus, I believe He was a baby in a manger that came to save the world by dying on the cross, but I'm just not sure I want to be...like you.
Don't get me wrong, but I just don't see that the differences between us are huge.
I just don't see the way you live your life and the way I live mine as being worlds' apart.
The differences aren't enough to make me want this Jesus to be the Lord of my life or turn in my Sinner's Club card.
If I decide to raise my hand next time I come to church with you, do I get all those Jesus bumper stickers and t-shirts you display on your car and wear every time we go out?
You go to church every week...I go twice a year because you ask me to. Do you get a special award or something if you bring a visitor when your pastor is going to preach about Jesus' birth and His death?
I talk about my co-worker and how she acted last night...you do the same, but why do you call it a prayer request?
I steal office supplies from our place of work and you tell me I shouldn't do that, but you steal time from our boss when you blog, get on Facebook or check your e-mail at work...stealing is stealing isn't it?
Let's just be real....why should I join your Christian club?
Why should I become one of you?
I just don't see anything so different that would make me want to join you.
Not now and certainly not for eternity, because honestly I can't see myself pretending to be better than others every Sunday and especially forever. That's a long time.
Let me tell you, as a non-believer what may help your church family expand...
1.) mean what you say...just don't throw a bunch of verses at me.
2.) live out what you say....just don't throw a bunch of verses at me.
3.) don't judge me.
4.) you talk about grace, but you judge me...stop it.
5.) listen to me but then don't get on the phone and share what I told you via the prayer chain.
6.) just love me. Do you know how to do that? Love me no matter what mess I'm in. Just love me right where I'm at. Look at your bracelet....WWJD and just do it.
7.) invite me to come to church with you every week...not just twice a year so your pews or chairs are filled.
8.) sometimes keep your mouth shut and just let your life speak to me.
9.) notice me. Like faith is your shield, false confidence is mine. Do you know how hard it was for me to come into your church today? Notice me. Whether I'm a man struggling to stay drug free or a teenager lost in the shuffle of the world...just notice ME.
10.)you want me to "believe in something better"? Than be something better.
Everyday not just once a week.
Inside the walls of your church and outside those walls...be the same.
Behind the pulpit and in the foyer...be something better.
Don't tell me one thing then live out another.
Don't shun someone because you don't agree with how they're living their life, be better than that.
Be like your Jesus because I want Him to be my Jesus too.
But if it means being like you then forget it because you know what?
I'm watching how you're living when you think I'm just hearing what you're saying.
Let's just not believe in something better, let's be something...someone better.
Tomorrow, April 14th...chapter 4 of the current YES to GOD study of Micca Campbell's book
An Untroubled Heart.