August 2, 2014
READ: John 1:1-14
[Jesus] came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognise him (v.10).
A pastor wanted to break his church out of their formal traditions and nudge them in a fresh direction. He sensed that the congregation’s formality was discouraging the local community from walking through the church’s doors. So he began to take small steps to help them change.
One Sunday morning he replaced the lectern with a small, café-style table. Cup of coffee in hand, he walked to the platform and sat at the table to begin his sermon. He didn’t wear his customary jacket and tie.
“Christianity isn’t cleaning ourselves up to come to God,” he said. “It’s coming to God just as we are, in appreciation for what He has done for us. It’s being ourselves before a holy God. That will get people’s attention.”
John, Jesus’ close friend, wrote, “So the Word [Jesus] became human and made his home among us” (John 1:14). But what did His humanity look like?
Jesus was radically inclusive when it came to relationships. In John 2 we see Him enjoying a wedding feast and turning water into wine (vv.1-12). Later He threw merchants out of the temple and challenged the religious hierarchy (vv.13-22). In John 3 He met with an elite religious leader and redefined reality for him (v.3). In John 4 He talked to a woman with a bad reputation and the ‘wrong’ bloodline (see v.9), fearless of what others would think of Him. He may have even been provoking them intentionally (v.27).
The Christian life isn’t just going to church. It’s living an authentic life before our friends and acquaintances. Just as Jesus didn’t place Himself above us when He walked this planet, we should never distance ourselves from others. Everywhere Jesus went, He built relationships. That’s real church! —Tim Gustafson
365-day plan› Luke 11:1-13
Compare how Jesus dealt with the educated religious leader in John 3 and the ‘bad girl’ in John 4.
Do you attend a church? What’s its style? How does your church make people feel welcome? What can you do personally to help others feel welcome?