A thought by Larry Osborne, (2009-04-04) from his book, Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith (Kindle Location 841). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book)
Larry says, “He didn’t write them off, even though he knew their hearts and the inevitable endgame. He continued to give them undeserved chance after undeserved chance. Certainly, he thinned the herd a time or two, once to the point that so few were left that he asked the twelve disciples if they were going to leave too. But that was not his normal pattern. It was a onetime sermon.”
He goes on, “While Jesus wasn’t afraid to say hard things and draw lines in the sand, he didn’t hide out in the wilderness. He went toward the people. He made it easy for them to hear him. He did things designed to draw huge crowds. He even healed people before they made a commitment to follow him. His entire life and ministry had such a populist tone that the religious elite wrote him off as profane.”
As a church planter in Las Vegas we did all we could to make it convenient for people to gather together. We knew where we were. The top industry in Vegas was on the Strip and their weekend was Monday and Tuesday so we had church that met our culture. We had an Express gathering early on Sunday morning so people who were headed to work could stop and hear two songs and a message and who sat around tables. We also had church on Sunday morning, Monday night, Tuesday night or Wednesday night with the same message as Sunday. We met in parks, in schools, in leisure centers, in backyards. We served breakfast. Did it work? We won’t know until we get to heaven but we knew there were hurting people who needed to hear the good news of Jesus’ love and “of his burden-bearing grace” and we needed to make it convenient for them.
That is also why now in retirement I write this blog, why I spend time in coffee shops all over metro LA where I now live and why I spend so much time on Social Media. You see, Jesus continues to pursue the masses and he does it through us. Not in a pushy condemning way but in a friendly way.
Have you experience yet this good news of Jesus and his burden-bearing grace?