Posted tagged ‘proclamation’

Yelping The Church

July 1, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    June 30, 2019

 

My wife is a “yelpster”! She uses Yelp to see what people have said about restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, and businesses. On vacation we choose the eating establishment on the basis of what the Yelp reviews tell us. Sometimes we’ve been thankful for what the review has said and we’ve experienced. Other times we’ve wondered if the reviewer was at a different restaurant than the one we went to.

It’s amazing how one customer can talk about a restaurant in such glowing terms and another person can give a review that makes it less appealing than the school cafeteria. One gives it five stars and the other one star. Amazing the difference!

I noticed that people can now give church reviews on Yelp. The Bible refers to the followers of Jesus being “the salt of the earth”, but a person needs to take the Yelp church reviews with a grain of salt. One review talks about how friendly and welcoming a church is and that they have coffee and snacks available. Another talks about the biblical application to everyday living that the sermon emphasized. Still another talked about how great the music was, almost like being at a concert.

OR there were reviews that criticized the music, trashed the sermon, made fun of the pastor, lambasted the greeters for not greeting. And these were reviews of the same churches where reviewers had experienced almost divine encounters. 

Yelp is the new proclaimer! So when you invite your new neighbors to come to Sunday worship with you they may very well say that they will talk it over and get back to you…and then bring your church up on Yelp for the decision. (Church strategy: Have its members flood Yelp with great reviews!)

Here’s the thing! Yelp is all about the customer…where she can get the best service, where the best steak is served, where a trustworthy mechanic is located…it’s all about the buyer, the customer. How many times can I write that word…customer?

The church is all about the Christ. For many of us our “custom” has been to worship on Sunday morning as a part of a congregation where the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and worshiped. That’s our custom, but we aren’t customers.

It’s a sign of how the proclamation of the gospel has been altered when we get the idea that we’re looking for the best deal, the best music, the greatest preacher.

I get murmurings and open admissions from so many people- followers of Jesus, mind you- who talk about swapping churches, changing churches, trying a different church, as if they are changing their bed linens. There’s no connecting commitment, no sense of being a part of a spiritual community. In fact, “community” is seen more and more as existing in other places and other groups- the school they teach at, their softball team, the Starbucks they hang out at, the folks they watch the football game with. 

Perhaps Yelp is just another analyzing method for showing what the church no longer is. 

Verily, Verily!

November 25, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        November 25, 2017

                                              

“Not in my house! Not in my house!” bellowed the basketball player to the camera after blocking the shot of an opponent.

“That’s how you do it! That’s how you do it!” screams the wide receiver who has just made a touchdown catch.

“Go back to Michigan! Go back to Michigan!” trash talks the Ohio State defensive tackle after he has sacked the quarterback.

I’ve noticed a growing trend in college and professional sports. Players have to repeat themselves as they trash an opponent, or immediately after making a good play. Saying a statement once isn’t enough. Saying it twice let’s the audience know that the player thinks he is all that! Saying it three times in a row means he believes he should be on ESPN Sportscenter that night.

In each situation, however, the focus of the repetitive language is the player. It is an indication of the arrogance of athleticism. In the old days before trash talking became “a thing” we used to get psyched for a game, pumped up, and motivated to win. There was no strutting for the cameras…maybe because there usually weren’t any cameras! Nowadays making a great play isn’t enough. There is the verbiage and performance that follows the play that seeks to convince the viewer that the player is the next football messiah.

Jesus was a bit different. In the Gospel of John he often began a statement with the words “Verily, verily…” (King James Version) or “Truly, truly…” (RSV). It was an indication that what he was about to say was the truth. Saying verily twice indicated that what was about to be said was important for the listener to hear. In John 5:24 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

In the Upper Room Jesus said, “When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21) And then when Peter felt that he had to profess his devotion, Jesus said “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times.” (John 13:38)

When Jesus repeated himself it was to state a spiritual truth, or to foretell what was to come. It wasn’t to boast, but rather to guide.

Today and tomorrow as athletes bluster in front of the cameras I think I will speak back to them and say “So? So?” In fact, their performance is just “so-so” when compared to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. After all, scripture tells us that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and tongue confess.

That is something to proclaim loudly and often!

Seeing Your Child’s Future

December 2, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         December 2, 2013

 

“Words from WW” will be doing a series of blog posts during Advent. Please feel free to share then with others.

 

                                    

 

How would it effect us as parents if we were able to see what our child’s life will be focused on in the future…but we will see it now? How might the hopes of our hearts for our children blossom if someone told us the future impact of the little one that is crawling around on the floor around our feet?

Advent is about hope and promise. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple of the Lord as Zechariah was burning incense and going through the duties of the priest, he shared the future of Zechariah’s son, who had not yet even been conceived.

“Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)

     It was an angelic proclamation of what was to be. It left Zechariah dumbfounded. He had resolved himself to being a father to no one. His wife was far past the age of childbearing. His future was simply a picture of the two of them growing old together, never enjoying the sounds of infant laughter and conversations of discovery with a child who asked endless questions of “why?”

And then he’s confronted with the news not only of a pregnancy that will start soon, but also of what his offspring will do with his life, the coming again of another Elijah.

Most parents worry about their children. First there is getting them through adolescence and orthodontics; then comes paying for college, followed by the anxiety of finding a job after college. Parents worry that their children will never reach their potential, that the dynamics of out times weigh against twentysomethings.

So, what would it mean for a parent to know that his child will have a life of impact and purpose?

But, in essence, God does have that in his plan! He desires that each one of us live a life of fulfilled promises. Sometimes we just have a hard time believing it.