I’m in my study. It’s a beautiful day outside–I’m inside. I’m making phone calls, returning e-mails, ordering office supplies, and typing on my laptop a post for my blog. Right now I’m waiting on hold with the office supply people; part of an order was backordered and I’m curious to know how long I have to wait. In the meantime, I have a confession to make.
I just received an e-mail from a company who would very much like me to attend a leadership conference in Washington, Dallas or Orlando–cost is on $199.00, which sounds reasonable until you factor in fuel, food, lodging, and all the books I would undoubtedly need to purchase once I arrived for this three day conference. Oh, David Crowder Band will be playing; I’d go just for that. There’s other reasons I wouldn’t go.
One reason, the only reason I’ll expound on here, is that I watched the trailer. The trailer began by showing a clip of JFK, then moved on to MLK, and then to Ronald Reagan–all stalwarts in their respective fields; leaders without peers. But I think that is the very reason I cannot go. The irony of this: I heard a lot of names dropped–impressive names. But I didn’t hear anything about Scripture or even Jesus for that matter. I watched a 2:02 video trailer (minutes, seconds) and here’s what happened.
I heard about choosing the go to the moon. I heard about someone having a dream. I heard about someone else demanding that someone else tear down a wall. I learned about ‘impacting culture,’ which in my judgement is a totally fallacious and meaningless enterprise; it cannot be done; it will not succeed. The fact is, with all the people in this nation who claim to be Christians, the impact should already be felt. I don’t mean at the polls, or in elections; those aren’t the real indicators of impact. Think of Star Wars episode IV when Luke Skywalker and the rest of the rebels are going up against the Empire’s weapon of Mass Destruction: The Death Star. One rebel made a pass, fired his proton torpedo, pulled out of the trench and lamented, “No, it only impacted on the surface.” When Luke Skywalker flew down through the trench, fired his proton torpedo, it entered the exhaust port, flew into the center of the ‘Star’ and destroyed it and all who were on it. For the rebels, there was no success in merely impacting the Death Star. I’m funny like that. I’m not interested in impacting the culture. Christ wasn’t either for that matter. He came and blew up the stereotypes and the status quo and, in a manner of speaking, he totally wrecked culture. Jesus did not come here and say, “OK, let’s see how this Christianity thing will fit into the prevailing culture.” He came and said, “I am the culture.” There’s a big difference that has been lost on a generation of Christians whose preachers and prophets are far less concerned with Scripture and Truth than they are with the size of their congregations and buildings.
Here was the accusation leveled against those Christians, “We gave you strict order not to teach in this name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood” (Acts 5:28). I don’t think we can be accused of this any more. The Church is far to welcoming to culture. The Church is far to concerned with having a good name among the pagans. The Church is far too accomodating to those who reject Christ, far too sensitive to their ‘felt’ needs, and far to willing to overlook the problem that Christ died for: Sin. The fact is, the world’s opinion of Christ and His Scripture doesn’t matter or change the veracity of it. It is true whether the world rejects it or accepts it.
Anyhow, this conference I mentioned. I watched 2 minutes and 2 seconds of worth of trailer. When they got around to mentioning who would be speaking or whatever, the video mentioned first a musician, second a musician, and then some other ‘leaders’ who have, no doubt, important things to say. It is about ‘unleashing 20-30 somethings to action.’ I heard zero calls to exalt Christ or to submit to Scripture or to repent from sin. I heard a lot about ‘impacting culture’; nothing about being profoundly counter-cultural. I heard a lot about serving the world; nothing about repenting of sin. I heard zero, count them, zero, calls to Scripture. And no mention of Jesus undoubtedly the greatest leader to ever lead.
Here’s my thing. I just don’t think I fit in anywhere. I feel, I’m very serious about my feelings, left behind, left out, out in left field somewhere because I find this sort of stuff seriously missing the mark, and irrelevant. I don’t see the point. Is this what is necessary to ‘unleash 20-30 somethings’? Isn’t this really beside the point? Wouldn’t the devil love for us to be sidetracked in such a way? I’m 36 and I don’t find it particularly necessary to be unleashed. Why should people need motivation to be unleashed to live what they supposedly believe? Has God ordained such things to promote His agenda? I feel like a 30 year old with no place to call home because I can’t understand those who are of the opinion that I need more motivation to believe, live, and do what is right. And how shall this be done for these folks? How shall we be the exact opposite of everything this culture says we should be? Yes, another leadership conference is what we need.
I’m sort of rambling on a bit. I feel that way today. Our motivation should be other, I think. I don’t need soul-stirring concerts, emotionally charged atmospheres, competition for my feelings, or exceptionally motivational speakers to energize or unleash my potential; and I don’t think anyone else does either.
I think what we need is a fresh look at the Cross. If the cross does not motivate us, unleash our energy and energize our potential, if the Cross does not stir in us a love for God, then I don’t want to be stirred, unleashed or energized. I don’t want what this world calls and offers up as motivation for service. In my estimation, it will be short lived and meaningless–no matter how exceptional the cast of speakers. What is needed is the Cross. “We love because He first loved us.” “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Look to the cross. And may God have mercy on those who think that more is necessary to motivate us than the Cross. And May God have mercy on those who think they need more than the Cross.