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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jesus Makes Me Uncomfortable

Sometimes Jesus makes me uncomfortable. There are some things Jesus says that I really like. Take, for instance, what Jesus says that is recorded in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”"

I like that. That is really attractive to me and I can get behind that (even though I have a hard time actually living it out!). But some of the other things he says, they just aren’t as easy to swallow and even more difficult to live out.

Beginning Wednesday, January 20th CSCC is going to be opening up the Worship Café to give the homeless in our community a dry, safe and warm place to sleep for the night. Each Wednesday night we will do this and, the hope is, other churches will fill in the other nights of the week. A number of groups in our community have been wrestling with the issue of homelessness and what our response should be. There have been a number of efforts to create a permanent shelter in the county that have failed to be executed. But, the bottom line is, there are still people who are cold, hungry and exposed to the elements in our community.

While we clearly understand that one night of warmth is not a long-term solution, we are compelled by our belief and obedience to Jesus to seek, as best we can, to love those in need around us.

The mission of CSCC is: “We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ from our community.” As I have thought about sheltering the homeless, I started out thinking that we were doing a great service to them. And, in fulfilling our mission, we long to see the men and women who come to spend the night be introduced to Jesus and be transformed by his love. But as I have thought more about this and looked at the words of Jesus in the Bible, I’m coming to realize that this really could be more about us than about the people we are trying to serve.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about the final judgment and what will happen. He says some will be sheep (righteous people) and some will be goats (cursed people). The criterion Jesus uses to separate the people into the two groups contains some of those words Jesus says that make me uncomfortable. The criterion used is how the people treated “the least of these.” And he is very clear about what he means by this: people who are hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick and in prison. The righteous were commended for their righteousness because they took care of these people. Even more, Jesus says whenever care was given to these people, they were really doing it to Jesus.

The thing that pleases God the most is when we are living like he intended, living as disciples of Jesus. The opening of our facilities for a night is not the opportunity to serve needy people, it is our chance to be disciples of Jesus. The funny thing is, as we serve others, we are really benefiting ourselves – we are being who God wants us to be.

A disciple is a transformed life who is abiding in Jesus such that they love God and love people. Loving those in need is loving Jesus, thus we become disciples of Jesus.

Frank Gates is the one who is really making this all come together. You should thank him for helping us be the people God wants us to be. Even better, you can help him help us be disciples by being involved. There are a number of ways you can help. Let us know if you are interested by emailing the church (csccoffice@pacbell.net) or give us a call. (530-622-2171) If you would like to see the guidelines and structure of what we are doing, let us know. We will email or send you a copy.

As well, pray for CSCC – that we could be disciples of Jesus. And as we do that, some other people would become disciples too.

Peace and grace,
David

1 comment:

Andy Abramson said...

Good stuff my friend!! Giving the Gospel legs is an important thing!! Keep pressing forward!!