Monday, October 6, 2014


Tuesday, October 7, 2014
I drove past a church the other day, and the church’s sign had a wonderful scripture verse in the “Authorized” version (KJV):
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus Romans 8:1a (KJV)
I smiled…because I’m an insider.  I go to church all the time.  In fact, as a pastor, I’m a professional church insider!  I know that condemnation from God is gone from my life, because the cross of Christ paid for my sins and I’ve been set free; it’s a great message!

And then it hit me like the dawn’s early light – it was:  CHURCHSPEAK.  Insiders understand churchspeak; outsiders furrow their brows and think, Huh?

It’s true; 40 years ago 75% of everyone who drove past that sign would understand because they’d heard that verse in sermons and read it at home.  Today 95% would think, Huh?  Whazzat mean?  What language are they speaking?  Don’t they know condemnation is a hate crime?  You can’t condemn anybody these days.

And they’d also say, And what’s-up with that IN-Christ Jesus business?  I’ve been IN the mood for ice cream, and IN the park…IN the kitchen…and even IN-transit; but, IN Christ Jesus?  How can I climb INside somebody who lived back whenever?  Dumb!

Churchspeak is often a disconnect between insiders and outsiders.  And there is a whole generation (or three) of outsiders.

To communicate the Gospel – the Good….GREAT news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness means learning the language of those to whom you speak.  And language is fluid; it changes from generation to generation….and even from week to week in our fast-paced world. 

Now, it’s not a crime to be a few weeks behind, but when we’re decades off the mark sharing Jesus, it’s time to do some soul searching and word-changing.  Because, while God is unchanging in His character and nature, he always meets us where we are in a changing world.  

To refuse to change our churchspeak ways is to refuse to act like Christ, who always spoke clearly.  And to refuse that is to choose to die as a church.

So, I rolled it around in my mind how the real message of that Scripture could mean something to outsiders in 2014…here’s what I came up with:

Well…they’d still probably consider me pretty lame in high school…but at least they’d understand.

For You, Today

Watch your words today.  If you’re going to talk about Jesus to anyone – and I hope you will – make sure you act like Jesus did with the Samaritan Woman at the well.

Start simple – stay truthful – make sure your words count.

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