Monday, December 03, 2012

Is it Pride...or Jealousy?

I know that pride is one of the seven deadlies, but it is one that I sometimes struggle with. In this case, it's not self pride; it's that I am really proud of my church and church family. I love my pastor and I brag on my church family every chance I get. Last fall I asked a visiting evangelist what he thought of my church. He responded by saying, "Now I know why you always brag on your church!"

I bring this up today because of a post by Ed Stetzer, pastor, author, speaker, church planter and President of Life Way Research. The post deals with high praise for the friendly hospitality of a neighboring church. I know that Hopedale is far from a megachurch like our neighbors, but we are a great community of believers. And when it comes right down to it, there is nothing in the article that would suggest otherwise.

You can read his post here.

Maybe I'm just jealous (another of the seven deadly sins as envy) that a guy from the Southern Baptist denominational entity Life Way, would write such high praise for a neighboring church of another denomination. Is bigger really better. I know that church planting is Stetzer's thing, and I do wish that Hopedale was into planting churches because I see that as a good way to advance the Kingdom. But I also believe that Hopedale is reaching the lost and discipling believers. We are growing and we are expanding the Kingdom.

To be fair, I'm sure that Dr. Stetzer would accept an invitation to come to Hopedale. We have hosted other denominational leaders in the past. And Hopedale is still learning and adapting and getting better at receiving people and making them feel welcome. We could learn a few things from our neighbors. If it were in my power to invite him to Hopedale, I would. But I do believe that God is guiding our pastor and our church along a path that will bring glory and honor to Him through the working of the Holy Spirit in His people. I do applaud Dr. Stetzer's Kingdom vision as he works across denominational lines to advance the Gospel. It is a mindset that we all need to have.

If you are a follower of Jesus, then we are brothers and sisters in Him. Let's take advantage of the holiday season and ask somebody what role Jesus plays in their family celebration of Christmas. His birth is only the beginning of the story. His life, death and resurrection is the main body of the story. Each of us gets to write our own ending. Each of us get to choose to follow Him, to follow another or to go it on our own.

Who is the Jesus of Christmas to you?

John <><

No comments: