The story is told of a church that hung a picture of Christ in the back of the pulpit. When the preacher got up to speak one Sunday, a little boy asked his mom, “Who is that man standing so we can’t see Jesus?” That’s a great question.
There are strange winds blowing these days. Across the evangelical landscape we are seeing much that, in my humble and accurate opinion which I highly respect, keeps us from seeing Jesus. We are in awe of our stuff, but we’re not so impressed with our Savior. We have lights, but do we have the Light of the world? We have sound systems to blow out the back walls, but is it just tinkling brass to the ears of God? We have applause, but is it for the Lord or for the performance? Is it directed to the Person worthy of worship or the person on the stage?
As I listen and watch what is happening, I am amazed by how much discussion there is about relevance when most of the congregation (who have been Christians for years) wouldn’t pass a basic test on God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture. We have seminars, conferences, discussions, debates, symposiums, break-out sessions, dialogues, and streaming videos, but where’s the power? Where’s the evidence of God’s grace, mercy, holiness, and power in our midst. Where are the people of God who stand in awe of God and God alone?
Vance Havner used to speak of the old Dutchman who said, “I sure would like to get into a good old Jesus meeting.” Havner went on to say, “I’m not longing for the good old days because some of the good old days weren’t so good.” Are you aware that preachers and people across generational and denominational lines are crying out for something more? We’ve got glitter, but no God. We are parading brass shields around because we’ve settled for substitutes.
God help us if we don’t know the difference between a flashlight and the Light of glory. God forgive us if we enjoy singing the newest praise chorus without a melody in our hearts. God help us if we carry the Word in our hands, but refuse to let it take root in our hearts.
Mostly I pray God will help us to long for a good dose of Jesus. We need to see Jesus Himself, not stuff about Jesus or things that promote Jesus. We need, first and foremost, an awareness of the Divine. Lay the rest of the stuff aside. Though I like it, I can do without it. Just give me Jesus.