January 21

Written by Bill Grandi on January 21st, 2019

FYI: It says it is 3 degrees out right now here in Indiana. Yeah…that’s cold. Just mildly. 🙂 After a mild winter, this past week or so has been brutal and reminds me I live in a cold state. Now to my regularly scheduled journaling:

For years I have been saying (and have said this to Ryan, our youth pastor, since before he started), “People over programs.” “People over buildings.” The latter is, for example, why we passed on a $600+k building project about 4-5 years ago and built the youth addition we could afford instead (and pay cash). To have built the big building would have put us in the place of being unable to help people, to give money to missions. Unacceptable.

I believe that was Jesus’ philosophy as well. Jesus was interested in people not whether their thinking about Him was all in order. Did the deaf, the lame, the blind, the prostitute, the tax-collector, the centurion (a Gentile), the synagogue ruler (Jairus), the leper, and others have their thinking of Jesus and who He was tucked away safely in a box? The answer, of course, is a big fat NO.  He knew their need and met it. They didn’t have to quote off what they believed about Him before He would act. No creed had to be recited. No creedal confession memorized and repeated.  Modern day: a member of the alphabet community wants to speak to me or to visit the church for worship, do they need to have what and how they feel about Jesus all neat and tidy? Obviously not. How can I turn away?

G. Campbell Morgan had some great insight on this. He wrote:

Jesus Christ formulated no creed…He did not promise to any man an entrance into His kingdom if His doctrines were orthodox. I am not saying a word about having our truths right and our doctrines pure; but sometimes I’m afraid we put them out of order…He lived amongst men and taught men, and died for men, to put lives right, not their beliefs.” (p.36)

I’m thinking of Nicodemus whom I wrote about on January 19. Jesus did not say he had to leave his Pharisaical teachings and endorse His. He didn’t even tell him to straighten up. He did tell him “You must be born again.” His new life was more important to Jesus than to spend unnecessary time correcting his doctrine. Not that having a correct view of Jesus isn’t important, but it wasn’t the most important at the moment.

My first response to those whose beliefs don’t stack up to the Scripture should not be to turn away or run roughshod over them (unless it is a cult trying to undermine my faith), but to love them and point them to Christ.

“Father, help me to put people before programs. Help me not to evaluate people on their beliefs and lifestyle but on their need and desire for You. Let me reach out to people because you did…right or wrong beliefs about You. Lifestyles skewed or not (think the woman caught in adultery). Let me show you to people.”

Sorry this is so long. I guess you could say I am passionate about this?


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Good post this morning Bill, I find it troublesome that the expectation of Christians at times is that non-Christians behave as if they were. The other troublesome thing is that Christians don’t behave as they should while telling non-Christians they should be behave as they should. Jesus didn’t approach the behavior first… Unless it was the pharisees… Jesus approached the need. Jesus approached with compassion. Then, he approached the behavior. My life is a process… at over 20 years as a Christian… I am still a process. Many of my behaviors have changed… but there is still work in me to be done.

    Side note… I think it is important to attempt to understand all that God has placed in the Bible… That is the authority in my life. However, keep the essential thing the essential thing: Jesus died for me and my sin, my option is to accept or not. Choosing to accept allows me to enter his family and His kingdom.
    Everything else I may get from the Bible is bonus and may come with some level of interpretation. Don’t make laws where God did not intend.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      i agree with you Ryan. I would hope my post would not give anyone the idea the Bible is not important. On the contrary: I believe it is the rule for faith and practice. But even then it is not a club.

      • Ryan S. says:

        Couldn’t agree more on the comment… and I did not take your post that way at all. As usual, well said!

  2. Pam says:

    As Dick always says, our job is just to catch the fish; Jesus will do the cleaning.

  3. Yes, simply point people lovingly and with encouragement in Jesus’ direction, and He will take care of the rest.
    Blessings, Bill!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That should be the approach Martha. But “I” get in the way and often have a point to prove. Thanks again for the sage advice.

  4. floyd samons says:

    The passion speaks volumes and that is what our Father uses to attract others to Himself.