stripped of everything

do you have an agenda?

with one comment

agenda-1
The other day I was writing and was thinking about a book that changed my life.
One of the first books that came to mind was FEEL by Matthew Elliott. It’s an incredible read that challenges a lot of the beliefs pushed by church’s that have mentored and helped develop my faith.
However, looking deeper I remember a book that not only challenged me and pushed me, but I remember in that book there was one page that completely transformed me as a person, a christian, a sinner, etc.

If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody.

And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the “un” and “non”, they work against Jesus’ teachings and how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favortism.” So we don’t either.

Oftentimes the Christian community has sent the message that we love people and build relationship in order to convert them to the Christian faith. So there is an agenda. And when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love, is it? It’s something else. We have to rediscover love, period. Love that loves because it is what Jesus teaches us to do. We have to surrender our agendas. Because some people aren’t going to become Christians like us no mater how hard we push. They just aren’t. And at some point we have to commit them to God, trusting that God loves them more than we ever could. I obviously love to talk to people about Jesus and my faith. I’ll take every opportunity I can get. But I have learned that when I toss out my agenda and simply love as Jesus teaches me to, I often end up learning more about God then I could have imagined.

Wow.
Powerful stuff.
That is page 167 in the book Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.
It completely changed the way I lived as a missionary in my every day life.
The line that really did it for me was this one:

when there is an agenda, it isn’t really love

So simple, yet every-time I read it, it’s just as gut-wrenching as the first time.
This line still finds ways to run through my head at least a hand full times daily.
In 2009 I hope to not suck so bad.
To put away my agenda even more-so than I did in 2008, and push to be more like Jesus.
To quit being superficial and arrogant to what I want for everyone, and just love them with the core definition of love defined in 1John; “God is Love”.
Just a little bit of that in 2009 and everyone will benefit.

It’s just too bad I’ll still suck.

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Written by vagabondrunn

January 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. this has stuck with me since you shared just a portion of the quote during a conversation we had while you were here.

    i thought about it again tonight as i considered a conversation we had with michael about surrendering control of his life to Christ. did i lose something in that discussion by having the agenda of persuading him to make a commitment? perhaps…but only michael can answer that.

    loving without condition/agenda is a really good goal, and something else i want to strive toward this year. thanks for the challenge…

    jenn

    January 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm


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