Are We Satisfied Enough With Jesus?
All I have to offer people is Bible preaching about Jesus, unvarnished and plain.
There is so much change afoot in the
Christian Church, especially here in the
“What do you mean?” I asked the
first time she said it.
“People sometimes get to a point
where they aren’t happy simply in knowing Jesus. They’re not content.
They want something more. So they go after something else, because
they’re not satisfied with Jesus.” Not given to flights of loquacity,
that’s what she said. So I sat and mulled her words and thought about
the ecclesiastical world around me.
The huge Southern Baptist Church
that moved from downtown to a vacant spot across the street a little over
fifteen years ago just went through a thirteen million dollar expansion.
They now have an upscale restaurant in their building. In their massive
children’s section is a huge, McDonald’s-type, piece of playground
equipment for children to climb in—it’s over two stories high and
built inside of what looks like a child’s version of Noah’s Ark,
complete with gigantic aquaria surrounding the entrances. I suppose that I
can’t condemn having something like that if you can afford it, but it
seems to be a parable for the programs of that church: different styles of
Sunday worship, surrounded by a plethora of self-help groups, “Divorce
Recovery” being a really effective one.
We recently lost a family to
them—at least they went to another evangelical church. The father told
me, “They’ve got a better children’s program.” Maybe they do, but
I honestly believe that he was simply dazzled by that
Across town from us is the largest
How can we “compete” with all
that? “How’re you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm after they’ve
All I have to offer people is Bible
preaching about Jesus, unvarnished and plain, trying faithfully to stick
to the biblical text—Jesus, the eternal Son of the eternal Father, truly
God and truly man, in one Person forever—Jesus, who lived a sinless life
and died on the cross for our sins, once for all time, securing our
salvation, taking away our sins and putting his own righteousness to our
account—Jesus, our only hero, who conquered death and hell and rose from
the dead—Jesus, whom we receive by faith alone as he’s offered in the
gospel—Jesus, who by his Holy Spirit gives us the desire and the power
to live for him.
People seem to want something more.
They want bigger barns; they want to feel good about themselves and their
circumstances. They want to go beyond Jesus.
Recently, I visited with the pastor
of a really successful church, and he told me that they had well over ten
thousand people attend at least one of their Easter weekend services. Talk
about dazzling me!
I told this pastor about a small,
two day pastors’ retreat that I had set up: it was going to be free, the
food cost taken care of by another person, and held on a
I asked the guru of success about
this, and he told me, “You had nothing value added.”
“Value added?” I asked.
“Yes, you should have offered
something extra, like chartering a large, deep sea fishing boat. Then
nobody would have canceled.”
I wandered off, mulling his comments
. . . if I’ve got to pay people to pray with me, I’d rather just pray
with folks in my church and the handful of Black pastors that I meet with
once a week. On a deep sea fishing trip, I’d be on my knees alright,
seasick with my head over the side of the boat.
I don’t have anything more to
offer than Jesus. People do come to Christ, and we’ve seen some
marriages put back together and people get victory over alcohol and sexual
problems . . . depression and bitterness, too . . . but many of those
people had already been baptized, made professions of faith and were
regular church attendees, even though a few came from outside the visible
church. So I’ve pretty much always been embarrassed when I see our
statistics compared with other churches.
I’m grateful for a college and
seminary education and the ability to read the Bible in the original
languages, but nobody is dazzled with my new insights and perspectives on
anything. Other preachers don’t flock to sit at my feet and drink from
my fountain of knowledge or learn the secrets of my success. I don’t
preach with wall charts of Bible prophecy and current events in the
I’m not into liturgics, nor am I a
movie critic; nobody invites me to lecture on history, and we don’t have
an annual ball to pine away about bygone days. We’re not the local
headquarters of the Christian Coalition. Our musicians are excellent, but
we don’t produce CDs of our services. I sometimes say something funny in
a sermon, but nobody is “slain” by laughter hysteria, and people
don’t get gold dust in their hair or cavities filled during our prayer
I think that I understand what my wife said.