much too much…

Wow…so I am all for choices and innovation, but I am a little over the whole, “how many different flavors can you fit into a bottle of soda” movement of the last several years. Yes, I know way back in the day a “soda jerk” could put just about whatever flavor you wanted into a soda, but that was back when mixing soda was an art form, and you had your local guy that would mix it exactly how you wanted it. Now, it just sounds ridiculous on commercials to hear something like “Diet Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Dr. Whatever now with a splash of Lime”. I mean seriously…seriously. I was going to call out a particular brand of soda, but when walk down the aisle at the local Publix I realize every company is in on this thing. The fact is if you want a chocolate, cherry, vanilla, lime-flavored drink the last thing you ought to do is buy a pre-farbricated drink that tells you that’s what is in it because in the end you can’t taste any of it. You ought to grab some chocalte and pour it in your favorite can of carbonated beverage. Or get some vanilla concentrate or actual cherries. Get what you want and throw it in there.

One of the big problems I see in churches today is that we try to say everything to everybody all the time and it just gets confusing. I’m guilty of this too. I try to say things in such a way that everyone will understand. I try to tie in the entire Bible into every lesson I teach. I try to tell people about the healing nature of Christ and how He convicts of sin in the same breath. Now, its good and right to teach the whole Bible. It’s fitting to talk about the love and the justice of God. But we, as Christians, can’t say it all in every moment that we say it.

My boy Paul was brilliant with this…

19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. (NLT)

Paul did say it all, but just not all at once, and he always presented the gospel differently to different people. The same gospel different ways of presenting it. Compare how he talks to the Jews in Acts 13:16-41 and what he does with the Greeks in Acts 17:16-31. I mean he’s brilliant at saying exactly what needs to be said how it needs to be said to whom it needs to be said. It’s precise. It’s powerful. It makes sense to those listening.

When children are 3 or 4 years old we tell them, “Don’t ever cross street alone.” When they are teenagers we tell them “Be careful crossing the street.” When they become adults we don’t say anything, though we think, “I hope they are safe.” Has the message changed? The words may have but the message hasn’t. The bottomline is “be safe no matter what” but a 3 or 4 year old doesn’t think the same way as a teenager or and a teenager doesn’t think the same way as a full grown adult. Paul understood that when it comes to understanding the message of Christ people get it differently.

The question is: are our churches becoming “Diet Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Dr. Soda with Lime” churches? Or do we know how to communicate the great Good News to all people in unique ways?


Add yours →

  1. Personally, I’m a cola fan…but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the taste of tea, milk, and various sodas of all sorts. It also means that I may have to acquire a taste for non-cola drinks that seem odd or unusual to me. I might even have to drink some flavored coffee beverage with others in order to hang-out with them, even if I’m not a coffee fan and cannot acquire a taste for coffee. The church has to work harder at communicating the Message in language that is clear and attractive to different demographic groups…texting, blogging, using today’s lingo, packaging in hip-hop style, multimedia presentation, etc, etc…doing whatever is necessary to reach people where they are…not where we expect them to be, want them to be, or hope they will be, but reaching them where they are. I can still be a cola fan.

  2. Sure, you can acquire a taste for things but, do you have to acquire a taste for other things? I don’t think so. In fact those tastes may not be acquired for sometime. When dealing in the gospel a person might come to faith with a “hell, fire and brimstone” message, but then later might really embrace the freedom and grace aspects of the gospel. While the two aspects are not in the least contradictory and should be included in a mature Christian’s belief system, what grabs hold of the unbeliever or ministers to a believer in a given situation may differ. I think churches need to do a better job of distinguishing the flavors in its delivery to given audiences instead of mashing everything together. But that might be totally off, just my opinion…

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