What’s your favorite pair of shoes?
When I was a high school kid I had several … for every occasion. I had work boots, cowboy boots, dirt bike boots, hiking boots. (Truthfully, it was probably one pair bought at Yellow Front that covered them all.) I had 3 pairs of cleats depending on the sport. I had bowling shoes, camping shoes, basketball shoes, shoes I wore for riding my skateboard (the more duct tape the better), and then … oh yeah baby … my hip hop dancing wingtips! Vanilla Ice had nothing on me!
BUT all these shoes were a DISTANT second to my all time favorite …
No that wasn’t a typo. Don’t get your eyes checked.
My favorite was definitely NOT a pair of Reeboks.
Meeboks. Meeboks are the shoes I put on in the morning most days without even thinking. It’s the pair I put on no matter what activity I’m doing. In fact, I put on Meeboks even when I’m physically wearing a different pair of shoes.
Get it yet?
Now, before you judge me … look down. You may be PHYSICALLY wearing Tom’s new flavors, some sweet Puma kicks or even some cross breed Chucks … BUT chances are you’re wearing my “go to” pair too – BUT they’re yours … How’s the Youboks feelin’?
See … Meeboks/Youboks take ME/YOU exactly where I/YOU want to go. They take YOU/ME AWAY from people I/YOU we'd like to avoid. They move ME/YOU wherever YOU/I prefer to go, despite our purpose. In fact, these shoes make it easy to avoid ANY place Jesus would go because when I wear them I'm not concerned with Him-I'm concerned with ME. The problem? Although God loves YOU and ME-His plan is unwhole until it's WE. Still confused?
Enough about the stupid shoes … let’s talk about our lives. Wait, I am. That’s my problem! I’m talking about MY life … not OUR life. It's not really OURS … not if you’re HIS. (Gal.2) His life 10 days out of 10 was always about OTHERS. Unfortunately, it’s about ME 9 days out of 10 … not WE. Whose WE? It's THEM-Everyone who's yet to recieve God's Mercy and Grace. It was Me before Jesus. It was you too.
The Gospel is never Just about YOU or ME-it’s always meant for those God is aiming at … everyone else in our lives along with us … God is aiming at US BUT-it’s much easier for me to take what I want FROM the Gospel without doing my part IN the Gospel which is ALLOWING Jesus to use me to reach OTHERS. Yes-I did say allowing Jesus. If the Gospel doesn't drive ALL THAT YOU DO as a follower of Christ, chances are you aren't following Christ-you're carving your own path. Me making the decision to follow where Jesus takes me, equipped and ready with the Gospel TODAY because it's not about me, is the issue.
Paul said this (2 Cor. 5)
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we (believers) persuade others (pre-believers) ….. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live (those who are now saved) might no longer live for themselves (Meeboks) but for him who for their sake died and was raised .…. All this is from God, who through Christ RECONCILED US (saved us) to himself and gave US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION (saving pre-believers); that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and ENTRUSTING TO US (You and me) the message of reconciliation. (HUGE-God has given us His ministry of winning the lost) THEREFORE (THIS IS ABOUT TO BE HUGE!), we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal (An earnest or urgent request) through us. We implore (Begging someone earnestly or desperately to do something) you (pre-believers) on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(Basically, God is appealing therefore we are imploring-literally to be begging-that those who are far from God would come to Jesus to be saved. God cares for the lost so much He’s trying to appeal almost beg through us. This is GOD by the way … imploring for the lost to get saved through me. Who am I to stand in His way of reaching OTHERS through me?)
I owe Jesus and everyone else who’s ever encountered me and survived an apology. Sorry when I've gotten in the way-I want to help, not hinder, your message Jesus.
OTHERS is the point. Jesus is consumed with them. I should be too. Now what do we do?
COC-did you know that Christmas Eve is the 3rd most attended church service of the year?
Christmas Eve at COC typically draws out the 1,100 or so people that call our church their home. Here's the problem ... mostly ALL of those people already call COC their home. AND-chances are they've heard the Christmas story AND the Gospel message before.
QUESTION - who is the Christmas Story and the Gospel aimed at?
Did you know that nearly 70% of non-Christian Americans and/or non-church attending Christians surveyed say they would come to a Christmas Church Service if invited.
The issue is ... WILL I INVITE?
You know, I've personally been changed by Jesus because someONE INVITED me a long time ago. For that I'm forever grateful for Sandra Armer.
She taught me the intent of the Gospel is to save those who are lost. I was. So were you. So are they. This Gospel that saved me SHOULD NEVER stop with me. If it does ... I stand in the way of someone encountering God. The Gospel is both FOR me and THROUGH me. One never comes without the other.
Read what Paul says in Romans 10
“… Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them. And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
The truth is we have FAILED if we choose not to share and have only a few outside the Gospel in attendance along with the 1,200 who already know the content of its message.
IMAGINE how excited Jesus would be if in the next month if all our Celebrators walked across the street and invited their neighbors or visiting relatives ... we have a 70+% chance of Yes.
Now, I know there may be some who would read this post and say ... Not all Others will be brothers. God is soveriegn. He'll save who He wants with or without me. Here's what I say about that. I'd prefer that God's soveriegnty doesn't include you or me being a total and epic failure at doing the one thing the believer was saved to do ... DUPLICATE. Buried treasure was only cool for the pirates NOT JESUS.
Join me in trading in my Meeboks in for Weeboks.