Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vision For Catalyst France (pt 4)

. . . to plant churches where French people have an opportunity to see the Gospel lived out in the lives of transformed believers, hear the message of Christ clearly communicated in an exciting and relevant way, and experience lasting life-change through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hearing It

In college I had to check out 2 disks from the computer lab front desk because computers back in the day didn't have hard drives. We printed on 9 pin dot matrix printers. I didn't grow up chatting with my friends on IM programs. I have a friend who feels dumb sometimes when people use those little initials in their emails even though he worked in the IT industry for 10 years. You know IMHO, HT, LOL, 411 BC, BTW, OMG etc.

Imagine how an unchurched person feels when they hear words like salvation, sanctified, the blood, sanctuary, discipleship, Sunday School or pulpit. Imagine what may go through their head when singing a song from the hymnal with lyrics like "come thou fount of every blessing" or the second stanza, "here I raise mine Ebenezer, Hither by thine help I come."

Even if we use a newer Bible version like the NIV, we can't assume that they know what we mean when we talk about the exodus, the garden, the passion, pentecost, the upper room, or the exile. We have to recognize that if we have been Christ Followers for more than a few years we speak a language that the unchurched person doesn't get, or worse, makes them feel like an outsider.

But not only must we speak the language of the culture, we have to help the unchurched understand how Christ impacts their life today. When asked "the diagnostic questions" many French people would say "who cares." We must enter into a conversation about issues in their culture. Jesus did not talk to the woman at the well about dietary laws or the Jubilee year. He talked to her about about water that gives life and acknowledged her current situation.

Finally, we must quit being so gloomy about Jesus. I don't know about you but Jesus changed me and made me a happier, more exciting person. Jesus didn't just say "let him who is without sin throw the first stone;" he also said "don't talk about the splinter in your neighbor's eye while you have a beam in your own eye." That is funny. It communicated a truth in a fun humorous way.

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