I was sitting in church this AM, the first real church service in the new Woodstock City Church, well real for volunteers only, but it was such a large crowd, it felt like this must really be a full service. And the reality is that God doesn’t care if it is for volunteers, or for everyone. When two or more gather… He is there.
So our campus pastor was preaching, Gavin Adams, and his topic gave me fuel for a Daily Sprout as he spoke. Whenever there is a topic that I want to write about that is more “religious” than health, I always look for the health consequence in the message. For this one, I decided to write the Sprout before I was given the health correlation, but since that time I have satisfied the health quotient as well. Point being, if you are an atheist, stay put, you’ll get value too.
The question that I came away with, was simply, “do people have a church problem, or do they have a Jesus problem?”
My initial answer was in complete opposition to how our pastor put it today. Reason being, I had an example playing through my head. A friend of mine, a woman, who had been on a trip with my wife a couple years ago, had said to her (my wife) “I don’t have an issue with God, but what is all this Jesus stuff all about?!? Why can’t they just leave Jesus out of it?”
Considering the sound of that, it makes you think there is a problem with Jesus. That perhaps the culture, or this person in particular thinks that something is up with Jesus. But the reality is that this is a Church issue. A “religion” issue. Now let me hold on a second and give you a quick “maybe this, perhaps that, but I am pretty positive this” scenario. Sure, if you are read in the Bible, I mean really caught up. You should either accept Christianity, or reject it. And if you reject it, it would surely make more sense that you would reject Christ completely. What I mean is, you accept what He said is true, that He is Messiah (Son of God). Or you would reject Him as a crazy person… I mean, who else walks around claiming to be the Son of God?
But in the absence of this thought, all we are left with is a guy walking around for 3 years preaching on Love. The guy was the epitome of love, in all places and all times. So when somebody is saying “let’s just leave Jesus out of it”… it is because they have been presented a view of Jesus that is not congruent with Him. He is too overbearing, or perhaps He asks for money too often, maybe He tells you that you are going straight to hell. Whatever it is, it isn’t the real Him, just the Him that people are perceiving from their interaction with a church or with religious people. Just like the pharisees, the problem has come back around.
So it made me think. If the church makes people uncomfortable, and they reject church; what makes people uncomfortable about health that they would reject health?
Hmmm… reject health? Yes. The idea seems odd that people would reject health, yet they do it all the time. Not with great conscious effort, much like the average person who rejects Christ would reject him quietly, without thought, or even without identifying that they do. They simply leave Him out of their life. No church, no prayer time, no Bible reading. It all adds up to rejection.
No healthy diet, no exercise, high stress, lack of consideration of how choices impact long term function. It all adds up to rejection. Funny, I use an Andy Stanley example every time I teach our stress workshop (at least twice a year). The cumulative impact of small deposits of time, will add up to much more than the individual deposits are worth. Such as working out over multiple years, vs any one workout. Or dating your spouse over years, vs. one date. Big difference. The value of this example is magnified when you consider the cumulative effect of neglect. Damage to cells, damage to your function, and leading to all sorts of potential diseases. Neglect is what happens most of the time, and it is THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in our country.
I hope this Daily Sprout finds you at a time when you are willing to make a positive health change. And if you are ready to make a step towards faith as well. I would love for you to join me at Woodstock City Church. It has been my church home for over ten years, since the first Sunday it opened, and I love it.
Be well and Be blessed! – Dr. E