So, you would like to get out of the boat? You have an interest in returning to the fork in the road, taking Jesus by the hand and walking that long and winding road with him. To get back to the fork in the road, you will need to walk against the traffic. Many people may tell you that you are walking the wrong way. Heaven is straight ahead. Some may make fun of you. You may be threatened and ostracized by some.
I have found that on that long and winding road with Jesus, Jesus shows me how to live so that I can share God’s message of love with at least some people. That allows me to make a difference. It allows me to help people to begin living in the kingdom of God now. Although we can only glimpse it at first, the farther we walk with Jesus, the easier it becomes and the better life becomes. There will still be plenty of problems. Tragedies, illness, and misbehaving people do not disappear. Walking with Jesus in the kingdom of heaven just makes it easier to find the good and navigate more effectively.
Returning to the Jesus Sermon and relying less upon the standardized sermon will be scary for many since all that most people have heard is the standardized sermon and related teachings. How is it done? Several topics can be included in sermons. All of them concentrate on the original message of Jesus and using it to make one’s life and the world around you a better place to be… the kingdom of heaven.
· When you have people who consider themselves saved, teach them more about Jesus.
· Accept that God really does love us, then teach, preach, and live so it shows.
· Teach that the way to love God is through loving yourself and loving creation.
· Loving creation includes loving other people.
· Teach what it means to love.
· Loving others has no caveats.
· Challenge people to love.
The goal is to make the church Jesus centered. That happens when the members of the church learn to live Jesus centered lives. My own church states “Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the world”. That mission statement is fine so long as the definition of disciples of Jesus Christ is much more than just to save people from hell and grow the membership.
To accomplish a conversion to a Jesus centered church will require a plan to move people gradually into the deeper practice of living God’s love as taught by Jesus. It will mean not just sermons, but small group studies and other supportive activity to encourage growing toward the model presented by Jesus. Jesus is God filled.
If you are a church member, support efforts to learn more about Jesus. If not, perhaps you can join a church and work toward that goal. It is not necessary to go to church to learn more about Jesus. Just look beyond the simple orthodoxies that have been taught for centuries.