In God's plan, He sometimes uses zeroes, sometimes heroes.
The world needs fewer religious nuts and more dedicated followers of Jesus Christ.
The church should never be responsible for striking fear into people.
It is not to be the judge, the jury, the executioner.
The church is to be known by how we love.
Read Saul's story in The Book of Acts, chapters seven through eleven.
Saul is going around breathing threats to the new Christians evangelizing and growing in numbers.
Saul believes in God. He is willing to die for the Law. He sees Christians as a threat to the "true faith."
Saul's personal project: to rid the world of Christians.
On the road to Damascus Saul is blinded by the light, hears "Saul, why are you persecuting me?" to which Saul replies, "Who are you?" "I am Jesus whom you persecute." And thus Saul finds that the heretics are doing something right.
Ananias was told by God to anoint Saul as he is God's chosen messenger. The old Saul knew the law, the rules, the regulations, but he did not know Jesus.
To draw the line between religious nut-jobs and true followers.
- A nut-job attacks those called to love. A radical follower of Christ will go to dangerous places to show love.
- A nut-job is known for what he is against. A radical follower of Christ is not about himself. What matters is Christ's agenda.
- A nut-job plays the role of victim. A radical follower of Christ is a victor.
- A nut-job is devoted to an organization, rules. Radical followers of Christ are the Church.
Search me, Oh, God, that I not be a nut-job. I want to be a radical follower of Christ. I want people who meet me to encounter the love of Christ.
I want the religious nut-jobs to think I am crazy for loving people so much.
Saul went from persecutor of Christians to joiner with Christians. Saul the Zero to Paul the Hero.
Taking the Christ to the hurting cannot be done by bringing or teaching rules.
One whose prayer is "Jesus, whatever you ask," is no longer a religious nut-job.
Pastor Johnnie Blair delivers the sermon in the Park