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Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't just believe...Be.

This is a current ad for the cell phone company US Cellular and it's always stuck in my mind since I first saw it.

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.



BUT...



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.

Love you.



~Many Blessings~



Tomorrow, April 14th...chapter 4 of the current YES to GOD study of Micca Campbell's book

An Untroubled Heart.

17 comments:

Runner Mom said...

I loved this! Believe in something better! May our actions speak louder than our words.


Love you!
Susan

tiggerdaisy said...

Sweet Jesus! You are so on point!

Prayers and blessings as you minister to your daughter,

Rebecca

Lisa Cheney said...

wow! very well said. thanks for this....we all need this reminder to just LOVE!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Some convicting words, Lelia. I hope your Easter was blessed. We sure didn't dress up. Jeans. Which would be a heresy in some places. Still, I had one of the least spiritually-inclined Easters ever, all totally my fault. I may post about. Thanks for the thoughts here.

Rachel said...

WOW.

I think you managed to describe one of my husband's biggest issues with some churches.

It's true - it happens - and it hurts.

The worst part is that our treatment of others can drive them AWAY from, instead of TOWARD the Savior's arms.

Thank you for posting this.

Blessings.

Sharon said...

Amen Sister, very well said! This is a great reminder towards myself and for others as well.
Sad to say but I didn't go to church yesterday only because it was all about the easter hunt and it being so commercialized, BUTTTT
Saturday night we did go to this play called "Story of Jesus" from the beginning to end and how emotional it was, I could not of asked for a better Easter service, the truth, the real truth. It was awesomeeeee if you go to my blog I have pictures and you can check out there site, maybe if you are in Florida you can check it out, It was soooo worth it!
Thanks for posting a thought provoking post!
Have a Blessed Day :)

Samantha said...

Thanks for a great post Lelia :)
Blessings,
Sam

Yolanda said...

Hit the nail on the head...and perhaps your hearing an ouch from me. Perhaps an ouch from you or others as well? Ouch.

Yolanda

Gail W. said...

Lelia, this is magnificent! I was talking to a friend yesterday who felt too embarrassed to go to church on Easter because she did not have the "appropriate" attire. It made me think of how harshly Jesus spoke of the Pharisees. I agree with you 1000% - we need to be vigilant to be more than white-washed tombs that are dead on the inside! God bless you and your beautiful family.

Pat said...

Wow, Lelia. So well said. Such a good reminder of who we need to be!
Thank you for speaking the truth in love!
Pat

Carol said...

Lelia, Amen sister. Isn't that so true. I know I could find pieces of me in what you wrote, and that's been my prayer these past 2 years, let my life be a life that they can see the difference of loving Jesus, and being a follower can make.

Thank you for being bold enough to speak it out.

Love ya girlfriend.
Carol

Gina Morgan said...

After attemtping to "fit in" and find my place at church for years, I have finally realized "church," as most folks know it, is basically a support group/a club.I am discovering true worship for me is often outside the walls of the church building...being His hands and feet. God Bless You for posting this and sharing your heart. Powerful, truthful writing!
Keep it up!

HisPrincess said...

Incredible. I want to print that out and stick it on my fridge.

Kim said...

oooohhhhh Ms Lelia~~YOU ARE PREACHING IT GIRL!!! THIS IS A MOST EXCELLENT POST!!

Being the "same" person ALL the time is the biggest quality that my teenage boys have talked about in their youth leaders. And I so struggle with it too!

This post is printed and in my bible!!

love ya,
Kim

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Keep writing from your heart Lelia.
God shows me something nearly every time I visit here. ;)

LisaShaw said...

Amen dear sister!

I was all over what you said under the thoughts of a non believer and I agree with what you wrote but not just from the aspect of a non believer but also for Christians toward one another. Many of those same things we are guilty of behaving that way toward each other! Not walking in love, judging rather than bring Christ centered correction with love and a desire to help and not hurt and so on.

What a powerful message because it hits the heart of where we are as PEOPLE (unsaved and saved). Our lives have to be a LIVING TESTIMONY that we are FOLLOWERS OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST in order to draw the unsaved, help grow the weaker Christian in the faith and help one another to keep with the Spirit of God (trusting and obeying HIM).

I love your heart Lelia. Keep speaking for the sake of the Gospel!

Love you.

Nicole said...

Lelia - This is one of the most important blog posts I think I've seen out in cyber space. It moved and touched me. I passed it on to many people. This is huge! Thank you! It is tough stuff, but so true. You are a blessing! God speaks through you! Amen!