PHOTOSHOP IS REALITY
These days, I believe it is becoming more and more difficult for people to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t. Every now and then, my two oldest kids and I like to look at crazy and hilarious pictures on the internet. The first thing they’ll always ask is, “Are those Photoshopped?”. Outrageous special effects are today’s standard, and as you can imagine, it leaves my kids to snicker and poke at some of the movies and video games I used to enjoy at their age. According to what I observe with my 9 year old son, it doesn’t really matter if something is real or not, as long as it looks cool.
With the gospel being packaged in such a powerful format, it’s authenticity is hardly questioned. I might even be bold enough to say, we might not even care if the message we are hearing is true or not, as long it entertains us. Lets take a deeper look into why we’ve let man build such a flawless veneer to our faith, instead of thrusting ourselves upon the jagged cornerstone of truth.
Our fear of making a judgement call on a pastor’s body of work, especially before committing to his doctrine is daunting. Let’s remove the “thou shall not judge” card from the deck, so we can all ante up and move forward. We don’t have the right to condemn the world but we do have the right to judge a man by his fruits (Matthew 7:20 ESV), especially the ones who we allow to speak into the lives of our family. Then if you really want to split hairs, it states, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, FIRST take the log out of your own eye, and THEN you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42 ESV) This is beautiful because instead of condemning others with our pride, we approach them with much grace and impart our new heart of repentance.
Christ provides a resolution on how to check the authenticity of a man claiming to be who he says he is. When Jesus ascended down from heaven after his crucifixion, he knew his appearance was different and provided evidence to show the marks of his walk and sacrifice. “When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20 ESV) His hands displayed that he was the Christ they knew, and what an incredible way to display what his purpose was here on earth.
When searching for the pastor that will lead you through discipleship from week to week, one way to check the authenticity of his gospel is to look at his hands. Are they marked with a great burden? Do you see proof that he is not just leading from behind a desk? Is there evidence that he is doing more than “masterminding” a project and overlooking “his” people while “they” serve the community. Look at the life of Christ. He had the lowest position on earth, but we still seem to believe success in the ministry is graduating from youth pastor to senior pastor or from seminary to the ministry of Meetings & Coffee. The church of today doesn’t need another president of an organization, it needs field generals who are willing to die. The world doesn’t need more men that can communicate the gospel with just words and intellect, the world needs more men who can personally demonstrate the gospel by adopting the burdens of the needy. (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)
As you search your city for the right pastor and church, try to look pass the building or children’s program and find someone who’s hands are dirty with the scent of his community. Protect yourselves from being deceived by a vision which speaks of “what we should do”, and start looking for a visual of what a pastor is already doing on a personal level. Make sure your church is birthed from a mission, not an obligation to a group of missions that were voted on after the church was built. I know pastors will either love or hate this message because it exposes who they really are, but the church body has to be informed about the false gospels of America before we can be purified as His bride. (Galatians 1:6-10 ESV)
In Christ & In Triumph,