I got busted on Sunday. We spent The Gathering focusing on the letter from John of Patmos to the church in Thyatira, a continuation of the “What Does Revelation Reveal?” series. The letter challenges the church to stop listening to a leader who allows them to accommodate to the religious and social pressures of the Roman Empire. That sort of accommodation is false worship, John states, and he urges them to re-focus on Christ.
I asked the congregation to imagine what John might say to us. What actions and attitudes do we adopt to “fit in” to our culture, and how might those actions and attitudes pull us away from God? I urged the congregation to think about this and to consider ways that they might put Christ back in the center of their lives.
That’s where I got busted. After the message, one of our congregation came up and asked, “So, will next week actually give us examples of what it looks like to live with Christ at the center?” Meaning, Lance, you told us to do something without explaining what it is. I committed one of the worst mistakes of preaching: I used Christian-ese. I used jargon, those words that get thrown around in church without being explained or expounded. I just assumed everyone understood that phrase the same way I did, and in doing so, I probably left a lot of people behind.
The idea of living with “Christ at the center” is a key component to understanding Revelation. John uses images, metaphor, and conventions of the apocalyptic genre to highlight the differences between the evil that dominates his culture and the good news of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. John reveals the dangers of living with anything other than Christ at the center of your life, which begs the question: What does that look like?
So that’s what we’re going to focus on this Sunday. See you then.