Yesterday in talking with one of the guys I work with, somehow the topic of beliefs came up. I have made it very clear that I am a follower of Christ and that I let that affect my whole life. I’m not even sure anymore how the subject came up, but this guy said that most people don’t want to hear about what he believes, so he doesn’t usually mention it. I asked him why, and what he believes, and he told me that he is wiccan.Oh…Okay…What do I say??

He had already said that he grew up in a Methodist church in his town. I ended up asking him how he got into wicca, what made him interested in it. Not just out of politeness. I really wanted to find out what on earth would make somebody turn from what they’d grown up with ~ a Methodist church, in this case ~ and go into wicca. I wanted to get a little bit of a glimpse into his mindset as to why he would even want to do this.

So we talked…

Guess what I found out.. He said most of the people in his church went there because that is just what you do on Sundays. Sunday rolls around and you go to church. He said, sure, there were some people who really meant it, and they were there a lot more and everything, but most of the people just came because going to church is what you do on Sunday. It was a routine. It was fake. I asked him, just to be sure that is what he meant.

In about 7th or 8th grade, this guy went through a major rebellion. He was miserable, and he made everybody he came in contact with miserable as well. He told me about this one night when he was in his room and he honestly debated on killing himself. He said he had a choice: “suicide or not,” as he put it. He chose “not,” and he said that with the choice he made came the necessity for something to change.

What he told me is pretty much that he researched a lot of religions and chose the one that he agreed with the most.

My point in telling this story is that we are in need of a change in such a major way. We are turning people off with our hypocrisy as a church. We cannot be fake. We can’t be into the ritualistic church-going or rule-following.

Real Christianity is not religion. It is having a relationship with our Creator. I know that is said so much it sounds cliched, but that does not make it any less true.

When I think of religion, I think of the Pharisees in the Bible. They knew all the rules and put the emphasis on that rather than on loving and following Jesus. They were legalistic in what they did.

Hypocrisy is not attractive.

Do you know the song “My Jesus” by Todd Agnew?

“which Jesus do you follow?
which Jesus do you serve?
if ephesians says to imitate Christ
then why do you look so much like the world?

’cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
so which one do you want to be?

blessed are the poor in spirit —
or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness —
or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

’cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
He loved the poor and accosted the rich
so which one do you want to be?

who is this that you follow
this picture of the american dream
if Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side —
or fall down and worship at His holy feet

pretty blue eyes and curly brown and a clear complexion
is how you see Him as He dies for your sins
but the Word says He was battered and scarred —
or did you miss that part?
sometimes i doubt we’d recognize Him

’cause my Jesus bled and died
He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
so which one do you want to be?

’cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
the blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
but He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud
i think He’d prefer beale street to the stained glass crowd
and i know that He can hear me if i cry out loud

i want to be like my Jesus

not a posterchild for american prosperity
but like my Jesus
you see i’m tired of living for success and popularity
i want to be like my Jesus but i’m not sure what that means
to be like You Jesus
’cause You said to live like You, love like You
but then You died for me
can i be like You Jesus?
i want to be like my Jesus”

(- Todd Agnew)

Make the effort with me… please. Reach out to others… even those in our churches need to be reached out to. People outside the church are not going to want to give their lives to Christ when we look the same as they do. We have to be different. We have to shine like the moon, reflecting Christ and His love to everyone we come in contact with. We’re turning people off and pushing them away with our fakeness and routine acts. We so need to put our heart into living for God. Make it real. Our world is so desperately needing us to be real.

“Be imitators of God, therefore,
as dearly loved children and live a life of love,
just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
– Ephesians 5:1-2

And… pray for me, please, as I continue to work with this guy I was talking with. Pray that I will be open to whatever God leads me to say to him and that I will listen and obey.

“Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.
And pray for us, too,
that God may open a door for our message,
so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ,
for which I am in chains.
Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity.
Let your conversation be always full of grace,
seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
– Colossians 4:2-6