The dreaded sermon…

I know you are all waiting with bated breath, so here goes….

First off I mostly want to make clear that while I was nervous about how tonight’s topic would be handled, I was mostly upset about the sign. I just felt it was more there for shock value, and wish that this series could have been done on a more quiet note instead of so in your face. I was very relieved when it was replaced this past week with our Harvest Party sign, even before the series was over.

With that said, I was very relieved after tonight’s sermon. I think I spent the whole night nodding my head. And I wanted to cry over what was taught, how it was exactly what I hoped would be said. The wall I placed between me and my church came crashing down. Love prevailed.

Thank you Jeremy, thank you Hope, and most of all, thank you Jesus!

Oh, P.S. I have to say that though I’ve been absent from church by busy-ness, and partly by stubborness, I have never been so spiritual and close to God. I’ve prayed more, I’ve been in the word more, and I’ve blogged more (which sounds silly, but it’s one of my ways to collect my thoughts and feelings, and get me even more in the word). Spiritually, I’ve had a very good month. So maybe my stubborness and busy-ness had a point, cuz I’m on fire!

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8 thoughts on “The dreaded sermon…

  1. Ya, it twas pretty cool that the church is willing to take a big risk and talk about a “touchy” (no pun intended) subject. It was more awesome at U-turn! We split the girls and the guys up-the guys talked about pornography and the girls talked about dressing appropraitely etc. It’s so cool to see them be interested in something. Who knows if it’ll ever change how they dress, but i think it definitely made an impact!

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  2. The Sign….Man who’d of thunk that a sign could cause so much contraversy. Personally I liked it (I did kind of make it and all). I thought it was about the best sign that we ever made at Hope. It was different, and catchy. I saw people look at it as they drove by. I think it filled its purpose. I understand your concern about it being too condemning, but I really think all condemnation is read into it. We got the idea from the national porn sunday campaign (pornsunday.com)and thought…sex sells, so we might as well use it too. I still see nothing wrong with that. I appreciate your honesty though crissi. Thanks for being who you are.

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  3. <>sex sells, so we might as well use it too<>And why do we have to “sell” Jesus and His word? I think when the church gets into commercialism and starts selling Jesus, it stops being real and starts feeling like a big gimmick. I don’t feel that morally it was correct to use “selling sex” as a means to get people into our church. I love ya, Thomas, but I hate this concept.

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  4. The bottom line is that the church sells everything. We have to sell our harvest party, our easter service, our home groups, our prayer team, and everything else that we do. But we don’t have to look at it as selling sex. We are simply trying to attract the lost. And I don’t see the moral rub with that. Jesus himself drew a following because of his unique take on sexual issues (namely his acceptance of those who practiced them). It is my belief that Jesus aimed to initiate controversy. Not all the time, but at strategic moments. This was one of our strategic moments. I assure you that this wasn’t somehting that the staff just threw together. We wanted it to shock people. We wanted Hope Chapel to get into the newspaper, because we would have a sign like this in front of our curch. But my question is what is the moral rub here? Did we cause someone to all into sexual sin? Not to my knowledge. So what is the moral hang up for you? just wondering –

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  5. LOL! I have been totally trying to not get into a debate with you on this one, Thomas, cuz you’re so strong in debating, and I hate debating in general because it reminds me of arguing. I had several people bring it to my attention that the only way I could ever resolve my feelings over this was to make them known to you or Dan, and hear what you guys had to say on it too. But I’d been avoiding that route like the plague, and instead just “voicing” it here in my blog to keep it comfortable for me.But I guess it’s time to creep out of my turtle shell and stand up for what I believe. In response to your comment, when it comes to morality as to whether that sign made people do anything of sinful nature, you’re right. It did not, I’m sure. What I mean is by using sex as a selling point in any form instead of promoting Jesus’ love on that sign is saying that Jesus isn’t enough. And I gotta say, seeing that sign had a bunch of scenarios running through my mind as to what was going to be preached. I almost didn’t come this past weekend, and I wonder how many people really didn’t come because of what was NOT said on that sign: Jesus loves as and wants us even if our walk isn’t perfect. And the best way to gain a lost soul is through love and open arms, not through shock value. If we’re going to start trying to win souls through initiating controversy, I think we are going to appear a lot like a used car lot, where the salespeople will say anything to get you to “buy”. And we’re going to end up doing a lot more damage than good. That sign had the words sex all over it. It had abortion, pornography, and homosexuality. It had a big R on it, signifying “rated R”. It did not have God’s love on it anywhere. It did not welcome people with open arms. It was a cold sign, and might as well have had a big finger on it pointing outward to everyone who saw it. It showed nowhere on it that Jesus loves, and that Jesus saves. I do not think shock value to save souls is right for the church, and it made me heated to think that our great church was stooping to such levels. Yes, I was relieved at what I heard on Saturday night, but I did not see our church as full as it usually was. I don’t think this tactic is a good one.

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  6. Thanks Crissi. The funny thing is that I tend to get a bit carried away in discussions (some call it debate) and lose sight of the ultimate goal. Frankly It shouldn’t matter to me personally what your thoughts on the sign are. It should matter to me as a pastor, but I get all riled up and feel this overwhelming urge to change your mind. Unfortunately it never has worked, this time included. So instead let me tell you where we agree. I like you think that Jesus is more than enough to change everybodies life. We shouldn’t need to add a little spice to his love in order to make it better. That is absolutly right. The difficulty is…how do you depict the Love of jesus to an entire county. We could put a giant picture of Jesus on a cross, or Jesus smiling on a banner, but would that be more effective? Or we could just have the words “Jesus loves you” on a sign outside. The question is one of what was the best way to communicate the love of God to every person who drives by our church. The goal of the sign was not for people to see it and be filled with the Holy Spirit on the spot and turn their lives over to God that night, but to draw them in, so that they would be intrigued, and keep comming back to the place where we can show them the love of God in a tangible way. I hate that Christianity and Marketing go hand in hand today, but they do. I better stop. Jimmy (my office mate) told me that I am starting to breath heavily and get excited. I love passionate discussion…a little too much

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