The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/16

Posted on | May 16, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/16

Your Best Life Now?

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,

but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)

 

Katy and I were sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for our flight when we saw her coming. Bleached hair flipped out and a plaid mini-skirt and boots set her apart from the crowd. But it was the little dog in the pink suede vest that really caught our attention. As she came closer, we could hear her talking, “Is my little pumpkin ready for the big, scary airplane? Don’t worry, Mommy’s gonna take good care of you.”

Taking our seats on the plane, we discovered that skirt-lady and poochie-woochie were sitting in the row directly in front of us. Next to dog-lady was a businessman from West Virginia. He had the window seat. It took only a few blinks of her eyes, flips of her hair and adjustments of her skirt to have this helpless victim in the palm of her hand. What the woman really wanted from this man was, of course, the window. Little pumpkin wanted to look outside. We watched in amazement as this apparently intelligent executive let doggie stand in his lap and look down on all of Indiana and Illinois.

Although Katy and I had wanted to read during the flight, the show in the seats ahead was just too good to miss. Our proximity meant that we were able to over- hear all manner of important information: Doggie had taken valium to help with the stress of the flight, the man from West Virginia was an authority (?) on both valium and dogs, little pumpkin was fascinated by the corn and soybeans 36,000 feet below, dog-lady was on her way to (why am I not surprised?) Las Vegas to meet her boyfriend, ad nauseum.

Our plane finally landed in Kansas City and we all stood to gather our things. Skirt-lady was coddling doggie, now in a drug-induced stupor. It was only then that we noticed the book she was carrying: Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential by Pastor Joel Osteen. Not only could dog-lady read but apparently she loved God, too!

I know you should not judge a book by those who read it and I mean no disrespect to Pastor Osteen. His book was a best-seller for many months and he pastors perhaps the largest church in America. But this comedy in the air has caused me to wonder. “What Gospel are we really preaching in America today? And in what kind of Gospel are people putting their trust? Did Jesus die on a cross so that his followers could do Vegas with their boyfriend (and doggie-woggie)? Was dog-lady an eccentric aberration or was she perhaps a living illustration of the Gospel she had heard from Pastor Osteen?”

At the risk of passing judgement on someone I don’t even know, I will instead ask a question. Is this woman putting her faith in a Gospel without a cross? Jesus came to pour out his life for others, and he calls us to follow his example. The only way to find our “best life now” is to die as he died . . . forsaking self. If the cross is not central, then the Gospel we believe is no Gospel at all.

For many . . . walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18–19).

 

When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

point to ponder A Gospel without the cross is not the Gospel of Jesus.

prayer focus That your pastor’s focus would remain on preaching God’s Word.

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