Good News and Better News … September 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2685)

Sugar river

Many years ago, I sensed a voice within me, encouraging me to go out and share my heart and abilities with the world. Some people would say it was the voice of God, while others would probably insist that it was just me, declaring my own bidding. I don’t care.

I heeded the call, and that decision has taken me on an exotic adventure.

Verona, Wisconsin has a small church called Sugar River. I had the pleasure of being the guest artist for that congregation yesterday morning.

There is much good news to proclaim about Sugar River. First of all, they have the unique distinction of meeting in a former bowling alley, which honestly, unleashed the “demon” of pun and wordplay I felt had been dormant in my soul, culminating with me referring to the gathered as “a bunch of Holy Rollers.”

What was good about Sugar River?

1. They seemed glad to be there.

That in itself is a bit unusual in this day and age, when many people arrive at church with the passion level of a fresh recruit assigned to guard duty.

2. They kind of liked each other.

I know that may seem to be a silly statement, but merely attending the same worship facility does not necessarily stimulate friendship any more than arriving at a political debate causes all the candidates to hug.

3. They are weary of “old church.”

I’m not so sure that “old church” was ever a church. The real old church we often refer to was filled with compassion, energy and social awareness, but the old church that exists today is the back-slidden version of that former gregarious gang. Either way, Sugar River is tired of the back-slidden body of Christ.

4. But they all seemed a little afraid of the change they know must come.

Matter of fact, it’s causing many churches to cement their spirits and become advocates of certain doctrines, so as to protect themselves from the perceived anarchy that just might happen if the religious system was exposed for being a charlatan.

So I was happy to bring them better news. Matter of fact, Jesus often began his discourses with “be not afraid.”

No, Sugar River, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

The church that will emerge from the existing malaise now exists will only require that you bring your heart.

  • Not your soul, so you can pore through the scriptures to find obscure interpretations.
  • Not merely your mind, so you can draw psychological parallels between theology and the latest Hollywood movie.
  • And not just your body, to plop down and go through the formalities of surviving an order of service.

You will be required to be emotionally involved with your heavenly Father and with those humans around you.

You also will be unleashed to “be of good cheer.”

The only true enemy of spirituality is the notion that we seriously can figure out God. Discovering that we can’t and having a good laugh about it is the abundant joy that Jesus promised us in following His path.

The world has tribulation.

Heaven is beyond our grasp.

So be of good cheer.

Relax in your skin, love your life, and don’t get too solemn.

And finally, the last piece of better news for Sugar River is: be prepared to simplify.

Everything is complicated. Matter of fact, we are almost prideful in the pursuit of complicating things further.

In a world of unsolved problems, the genius in the room is the person who walks away from the problems and finds a place to be productive.

Simplify.

Get your faith down to two or three solid ideas, and then chase them down with all your heart.

I enjoyed my time at Sugar River.

And I’m so glad that I went to the former bowling alley with my spare time…and made a strike.

 

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