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Following Jesus to the poor



Christians experience an inspirational conference, but what next? What does it mean to encounter Jesus? By Michael Shaw 




Worship



When I venture onto social media through the church account, my timeline is currently full of people who are at a big Easter-based conference, telling the world how great their experience is.

Whether it is the mind-blowing worship, the inspirational teaching or the great atmosphere, my timeline is full. It is great that people are experiencing something amazing, but what will it achieve? What will change as a result?

In the midst of these tweets I saw this:
 



It suddenly made me think that we are in some way the richest Christians that have ever lived (I am not talking purely about money: we have more books than we can possibly ever read, more conferences to tell us more ways that we should be doing things, access to thousands of sermons online or on numerous "Christian" satellite TV stations) and yet we have somehow completely missed the point! 

We have forgotten about the Galilean carpenter who wandered around Judea, dying the death of a common thief and who was buried in a borrowed tomb. We have forgotten what it means to follow that man. Instead, we have followed a completely different path.

The church in the UK is the home for the suburban middle class. Jesus said you will always be "among" (µet?) the poor, but the church has forgotten the poor, because we have made it all about me and my salvation. We have made it about going to heaven, not bringing heaven to earth.

It is great that people have had a great time in a big tent and "met" with God, but my Bible tells me that when people meet with God, their lives get turned around. From Abraham to Moses, to Peter and Paul, when you meet God, your life, your ambitions, your future are radically altered. Too often when we meet God, we experience it, then go back to our humdrum lives and wonder why they remain humdrum!

So if you have experienced God this week, why go back to where you were? Why not find a way to follow Jesus to move towards the poorest in society (and I am not just talking economics). Maybe then your encounter will truly mean something for more than just yourself?  

 


Image | Freely



Michael Shaw is minister of Devonport Community Baptist Church in Plymouth

 



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Baptist Times, 16/04/2019
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