Thinking Out Loud

April 11, 2013

Jesus Applies for a Church Job Opening

Filed under: Church, Jesus — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:33 am

Today we’re honored to feature the writing of David Murrow author of Why Men Hate Going to Church (now revised and updated), The Map, and What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You.  Heck, we even got written permission to use this. (Hope everybody else doesn’t think we’re setting a precedent.) This appeared at David’s website Church for Men and we encourage you to read it there — honest, take a field trip day — where you can visit the rest of the site.  This appeared under the title Jesus Christ, Job Applicant.


[CHURCH OFFICE SETTING. TWO MEN SEATED ACROSS A DESK FROM ONE ANOTHER.]

Jesus InterviewINTERVIEWER: Your name, sir?

JESUS: Jesus.

INTERVIEWER: Your full name?

JESUS: Jesus of Nazareth.

INTERVIEWER: Jesus F. Nazareth. All right Mr. Nazareth. Tell me, why do you want to work at First Church?

JESUS: I’m here to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom for the captive and sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

INTERVIEWER: Well, that’s a rather ambitious agenda. But at First Church we like employees who think big! So how to you plan to accomplish these lofty goals?

JESUS: I’ll recruit a dozen men and lead them through a series of challenges over the course of three years. I’ll show them how to minister to others. I’ll test them at every turn, to see whether they have true faith.

INTERVIEWER: That’s it?

JESUS: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And then what?

JESUS: They’ll change the world.

INTERVIEWER: I’m sorry Mr. Nazareth, but I’m having a hard time seeing where that kind of ministry fits into our church’s strategic plan.

JESUS: Strategic plan?

INTERVIEWER: First Church adopted a strategic plan two years ago. We’re targeting young families with children as a key growth demographic. Parents and kids are under such pressures today and we want to help them be healthier.

JESUS: An admirable goal. How do you hope to achieve it?

INTERVIEWER: We’re rapidly expanding our offerings for children. We’ve hired two new youth staff and recently broken ground on a new youth building.

JESUS: Why are you doing this?

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, don’t be naïve. If we don’t offer quality children’s and youth programs, women will choose another church. As you know, women are the religious decision makers in the home. And if we lose women we also lose our volunteer base.

JESUS: What about your men? Are they being actively discipled?

INTERVIEWER: We have a men’s ministry. They meet for a monthly pancake breakfast in the church basement.

JESUS: That’s not what I asked.

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, I believe I’m conducting the interview here. Now let’s say we hired you to challenge twelve men for a few years. What about all the other men? Won’t they feel left out?

JESUS: Some will.

INTERVIEWER: You see, that just won’t fly around here. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible. Our slogan is, “There’s a place for you at First Church.” We don’t exclude anyone – and we don’t put any limits on God.

JESUS: If you never single a man out and call him to greatness, he will never become great.

INTERVIEWER: Excuse me?

JESUS: I tell you the truth: every man secretly dreams of being called into an elite group and molded into something extraordinary. That’s what I intend to do with a limited number of men.

INTERVIEWER: Elite group? You make it sound like the Navy Seals. What if your challenges are so tough that men drop out of your group? Won’t these men feel alienated from our church? They might go around and spread lies about us, accuse us of being a cult, that sort of thing.

JESUS: Many are called but few are chosen. One cannot be faithful to God’s call without incurring criticism. Yet I tell you the truth: if you call and train a handful of faithful men you can change the world. In a generation, you will have the healthy families you seek.

INTERVIEWER: Mr. Nazareth, we are totally down with your good news to the poor message, but I can’t see how you get from A to B. How does working with one small group of men result in the outcomes you’ve described? How can we lavish limited church resources on such a tiny number of members, who quite frankly, being men, just don’t offer the R.O.I.?

JESUS: As these men change, the church will change, and your city will change. And at the risk of appealing to your flesh, your church will double in size over the next five years if you do the things I’ve told you.

INTERVIEWER: Well, Mr. Nazareth, I need to be at a planning meeting for the upcoming youth retreat in a few minutes. It’s been very nice to meet you and we’ll be in touch. [REACHES OUT TO SHAKE HANDS] Ooooh, that’s a wicked scar. How did you get that?

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March 22, 2011

Crazy Love: The Last Review

I must be the last person in the Christian blogosphere to get around to reading Crazy Love.  I promised myself to write a review — probably the last review — of the book when I finished it this week, but I’m sure my words would be lost in the sea of reviews out there; and I really don’t have anything unique to add, other than Crazy Love is certainly worthy of the numbers of people who have read, and are continuing to read the book.

So instead, I’ll post here a profile of the author that appeared a few days ago at my other blog, Christianity 201.

If you keep an eye on bestseller lists, and if there’s an author who has resonated with a whole lot of people at once, for whatever reason, you ought to check out what that author has to say.

It definitely applies to Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love and the more recent Forgotten God. Though published in 2008, it’s at the top of many lists for 2010.  A lot of people still don’t know him however, and I think another dimension to an author’s popularity — without embracing celebrity culture, something Chan himself would despise — is to check out other resources that help you to get to know the heart of the author.

Especially if you can see and hear that author speak. What a difference to then be able to read the author’s printed works and hear the author’s voice inside your head as you read or imagine their smile or the spark of passion you see in their eyes. But — and this is important — to also know more background as to where the author is coming from.

If you want to play this out with reference to Francis Chan, there’s a little 4-minute video that really says it all.  Again, I’m probably the last person in the Christian blogosphere to refer to this, but in case you haven’t seen it…

Sometimes certain natural giftedness plays out and certain authors and music artists simply work their way up the “success” ladder of Christian influence. However, there are other times that I believe people are justified — even if it can be a little cliché — to say that God has “raised up” certain people with a unique message for our particular place in history.  The message of Crazy Love is a message that can never be repeated enough; and Chan brings a fresh treatment that 21st Century readers — along with people who have heard him speak at live events — can connect with.

If you’ve got 55 minutes to invest, here’s a recent message where Francis returned to Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California after seven months away. (If you’re on dial-up or have a slow connection, scroll down to the second link, which is audio only.)

If your time is very limited, after an intimate time of getting re-acquainted with his former congregation, the sermon begins at 16:47. Sort of.  But then you’d be missing what it looks like when a pastor is truly in love with his congregation.  Maybe you’d do better to only watch the first 17 minutes! Please remember, I’m not posting this because it’s the best Francis Chan sermon out there — though I do think it’s good — I’m posting this because it reveals his heart.

This link below is for people who get frustrated with slower connections and lagging video; it’s simply the audio of the same sermon. Enjoy.

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