Today’s post is a pretend letter from the apostle Paul to the churches in America. As I crafted this letter, I paid close attention to Paul’s writing style and straightforwardness. In reality, this is aimed at my own heart. I needed some reminders to check my heart and attitude. Hopefully, you’ll find something that speaks to you too. Please take about 10 minutes to view Episode 1 of Perfection Road and let me know what you think.
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Transcript of letter:
Paul, an apostle to Christ Jesus, to the churches of America (perhaps):
You foolish Americans! How soon you have forgotten where your strength lies. You have relied far too long on your own strength and are nearly dead – it’s time for a resurrection!
You’ve splintered yourself into factions that are more concerned with religious correctness than advancing the gospel. Should I remind you that there is one supreme message that has the power to unite all of you? I shared it with the Corinthians when they began to doubt the reality of resurrection. It is the matter of first importance – Jesus died for all our sins and was raised on the third day. It is this grace that fuels my passion to consider others’ needs above my own.
You spend your days worrying about having more than you need. You grumble and complain over the condition of the government and the culture without lifting a finger to help. People who don’t dress like you, live like you, and worship like you threaten your comfort. Have you forgotten all God has saved you from? Have you stopped telling your stories of deliverance?
I keep getting reports that condemnation comes easier for you than love. Brothers and sisters, this should not be! God loved us enough to send Jesus to redeem us, and show us how to love. Christ loved us enough to die for us. He then sent His Spirit to lead and empower us. Christ came to save us, not to condemn us.
Let’s not forget the woman at the well and the one caught in adultery; the demon-possessed and the lepers; the greedy tax collectors and the prostitutes. Jesus didn’t shun them – He loved them. I’ll let you in on a secret that’s really no secret at all; the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love. When love is our motivation, obedience is just what we do.
There is much evil in this world, but never forget that Christ overcame the world, and as His representatives we are called to overcome evil with good. There are some of you whom God has placed in position to change your government’s laws and policies – so change them! Others of you have been placed in families, communities, and regions to be a light – be that light! Above all, pray every day. Since Isaiah was able to predict more than 100 years ahead of time about a man named Cyrus who returned captive Jews to their homeland, then rest assured that God knows the plans He has for America.
It’s time for the church to resurrect! You have the raising-the-dead, life-breathing, purpose-driven Holy Spirit living inside of you. As my friend Peter said, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who brought you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
It’s time for all of you who bear the name Christian to join hands against the powers of this dark world. There will always be differences, just as there are male and female; red, black, brown, yellow, and white; rich and poor. But Jesus is Lord of us all. In Him, we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved on the Last Great Day! Live like you know where you are going. Tell everyone what Jesus has done for you. Let others see your joy and peace especially in difficult times. That’s when living a Sprit-filled life will shine brightest.
Brothers and Sisters, the world needs hope and you are the ones who must proclaim it! Put aside all your foolishness – the world is watching. Love your family. Love each other. Remember the mercy you’ve received. Smile because of the grace you’ve received. Do good because you sincerely love other people enough to show them what Jesus is like.
I have high hopes for the churches of America. Return to your first love. Hold fast to what is most important – Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. He’s coming again, you know. It won’t be long now. All of us, who believe the message of the cross, will one day be free of every hint of evil. We are all children of the light and children of the day. Let us make every effort to share this light with those still in the dark. When the true Light of the World returns every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Dear friends, let us not grow weary in proclaiming our faith in that light!
Be confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it! Stand firm. Love God. Love others.
May we strive for unity rather than uniformity. May the God of peace resurrect our dry hearts with the oil of surrender. As we become more and more like Christ, may we become the evidence of the grace available to anyone who believes. Grace and peace to all whose passion is Christ.