Oct 31, 2008


I don't want to be impressed any more.  I don't want to be blown away, have my senses stirred, see something incredible.   I am not looking for a jolt or a charge or a kick.  I guess I have finally crossed the point in my life to where I am beyond being entertained and where I want to be challenged.  If you want to get me talking, don't have a huge production with lights and sounds.  Don't bring a real live elephant into the auditorium.  Don't try to get me hooked on the cult of celebrity pastors.  

If you want to get my heart pumping, share something new I haven't heard before.  Don't recycle someone else's point of view.  Find a new way to present the Gospel.  Preach with power.  I'm not going to be impressed by your shows and spectacles.  My heart won't be stirred by amazing contrived music by professional warblers.  I want genuine worship.

You want to know what moves me now?  Mark Driscoll's sermon series on Ruth - something I have never ever heard anyone address in such a powerful way.  Or, let me listen to Tommy Nelson's first sermon after missing eight months with clinical depression - the fact he even admitted it in today's "the pastor is a gleaming statue" world is shocking enough.  Give me a book like John MacArthur's Tale of Two Sons - a unique approach to the Prodigal Son story complete with a shocking finale.  Let me hear Chris Sligh's CD and hear songs about redemption.  Or, better yet, let me worship with Exodus International and experience what people who truly understand salvation do when they praise God.

I want fresh bread.  I want people who come up with a new way to make filling and nutritious food.  Jim Henry, in his last sermon as pastor of First Baptist Orlando, said how in his career spanning decades he only preached the same sermon twice.  Twice!  He said he saw it as his job to always bring fresh bread to the congregation.  That picture stuck with me.  When I finish sermons and books like the ones I mentioned, it is almost like finishing my ravioli lasagna or my wife's blueberry pie.  It is satisfying and filling.  It was good to the taste and good for the body.  THAT is what I want now.  The problem with most of what passes for "Christianity" - especially the "cutting edge" stuff - is that it actually isn't producing bread at all.  It is just making fancy packaging.

As we know, most people in a store can be fooled by fancy packages.  I fall for it all the time.  But a true connoisseur knows better.  He knows that what is inside makes it special.  Unfortunately, most people that are exposed to stores/churches don't know that.  So they fall for whatever looks and sounds and packages itself best.  "Look this bag has a hologram on it!"  They don't realize the bread inside is flat and crushed and void of nutrition.  "This package is water-proof."  What does that matter?  Are you going to be floating your bread?

It is like when someone comes back from these big conferences.  "They had five DJs spinning albums at the same time!"  Uh, ok.  Did you learn anything useful?  "They had a live elephant and a live donkey in the auditorium!"  Why?  What was the point, except to prove just how "radical" that group is?  Where is the nutrition?  Where is the quality?  I know, writing this I run the risk of being labelled out of touch.  That is usually what happens to someone who gets upset with DJs and elephants.  They don't know what the people want.  They aren't in touch with culture.  They can't have an impact on society.  Really?  Would Jesus have been impressed by the elephant?  If he had wandered into the Temple that fateful day and seen five dueling DJs, would He have been in awe?  My guess?  He would knocked over those five turntables AND the microphones.  

That is the thing about Jesus - He knew how to make sure people got fed.  He gave out bread.  And it was hearty and filling and wonderful.  It wasn't packaged in some fancy color changing wrapper.  It was just awesome.  And that is what I want to serve and eat in my house, my church, my job.  I'm tired of the trapping.  Give me some bread.