After reading all of David McCullough’s history books I decided I needed a change. I went to my library and pulled out The Shack, Ragamuffin Gospel, and Crazy Love. With these books as background I started on, How to be a Christian Without Being Religious. This is a study of the book of Romans.
The author used the Apostle Paul (Saul) as an example of religious thinking. Saul had spent his whole life becoming a zealot. He knew the Jewish law forward and backward. He used his knowledge to hunt down the followers of Jesus and persecute them. He believed he was doing what the Law told him to do. By following the Law he was doing what he thought would make him right with God and get him into heaven. What he was really doing was being religious.
On the road to Damascas Jesus stopped Saul (Paul) and asked him, “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) As we know, three days later his eyes were opened and he saw his true calling. He realized that he should be helping people and leading them to God. In other words, being a Christian.
Can we all see our lives in Paul’s life? Do we ever ask the Holy Spirit to take the scales from our eyes to see what we have really been worshiping? Would we see money, status, home, car, job, and family? Would the Holy Spirit remind us of Jesus’ words to us to…”Love God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29) Would the Holy Spirit remind us that our lives are to be a response to God’s unending love?
As I look back on the Cursillo* teams I was on, whether we were ministering in schools, churches or prisons, I was not trying to make more Lutherans, I was sharing God’s love.
I also made six trips to Guatemala. The groups I traveled with were made up of medical people, construction people and people like me. We were there to feed and clothe them and show them the power of God’s love from other countries. Many times I was the only Lutheran in the group. It didn’t matter, since I wasn’t trying to convert anyone to being a Lutheran. My response to God’s love was to bring a smile to the face and love to the heart of a small child with a balloon animal.
The whole premise of my writing is that our response to God’s love for us is to show that love to our neighbor and not be worried about where they worship.
*Cursillo – Cursillo is a movement within the church that proclaims that God, in Christ, loves us.
Your brother and servant in Christ,
p.s. Some truths I have heard though the years:
God loves you: always has, does now and always will and there is nothing you can do about it.
What ever talents you have are a gift from God.
Your life is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God.
Be aware you may be the only god someone may see today.
If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Love it!!
Church office email: StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies: 605-351-0867
Church office phone: 515-462-4270