Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Expect (07/11/13)
By Tim Pickl
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Saturday May 18
Craving for something spiritual to satisfy my empty soul, I searched and re-searched for a church well after midnight on my tablet. Some church websites were dismal, obviously suffering from years of neglect. Those sites simply did not catch my eye, or were just window dressings for dreadfully disorganized Facebook pages.
Finally! I landed on a website that popped—it had my attention within the first few seconds. I clicked on the “Here for the first time?” image/link on the site and looked around the New Visitors page. Immediately I noticed the church emphasized that they provided a Casual atmosphere and a pop-up window NO EXPECTATIONS! COME AS YOU ARE!
I decided to check it out.
Sunday May 19
I showed up at the 11:00 Sunday service this morning. The greeters who met me at the door were gracious and friendly enough. They strongly encouraged me to partake of some coffee, tea, water or pastry. They also had me scan a QR (Quick Response barcode) with my smart phone, where I downloaded the latest church app.
“Our app includes our church calendar with all our upcoming events and ministries. We encourage everyone to get involved!”
Surprisingly, they let me take my donuts and coffee into the church sanctuary. I was amazed because I could never imagine my former church/pastor allowing either. This church seemed to expect nothing from visitors, and as I glanced around and observed the members, it seemed that same lack-of-expectations applied to them, too. This was vividly confirmed to me when one of the young men walked past my pew dressed in pajama bottoms that looked like a pair of ripped blue jeans.
Unreal, I thought.
Sunday June 9
In spite of the lack of expectations, I attended for several consecutive Sundays, to give the church a fair assessment. Upon my fourth visit today, I apparently crossed a line.
“Go ahead and use our church app to sign up to donate money for the coffee and donut fund.”
Finally! They expected something from me. In front of the grinning greeters, I donated some money using their church app on my smart phone. Their gleeful reaction was both childlike and annoying. When the Pastor picked up his iPad and announced the new members of the church—including me—I almost got up and left.
Sunday June 16
I left that casual church with the sloppy attitude today; I just could not deal with their lukewarm attitude toward God. I started attending one of the churches that had an outdated website. What a difference! While the church was much smaller in numbers than the other church, these people loved Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. Their smiles and embraces were genuine. I could sense in their attitude toward each other and me that they actually cared about me.
During the sermon, the pastor preached about “What is my response to Calvary’s love?” We should not serve God out of fear or obligation but we should serve Him because we love him. Our motive should be love, just as His was—and still is—toward us, His bride. What does Jesus expect from us? He patiently waits for us to choose to love him. He’s given us so much—take the gift time for example. Spend as much time as you can with Him. Jesus loves you so much, friend. There are so many distractions in this world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Do not love the world, instead love Jesus.
“Do you remember many years ago the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) movement? I would like to change that just a little bit: WWPJ. What Would Please Jesus? If it passes the Please Jesus test, go for it—enjoy yourselves. Finally, it’s not what this church organization or this church or our Pastors expect of you, what matters is What does God expect of you?
Let’s turn to Micah 6:8 - Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Mankind, He has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Pastor Rick set the pages down.
“So, what do you think?”
“This is wonderful, because He is Wonderful.”
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