Don’t let a church invite or an awkward gospel presentation keep you from seeking something better.

I am a Christian who has followed God for twenty years.  I have served the church, local nonprofits, done biblical counseling, and even got a Master’s in Christian counseling just to put a cherry on top of it all.  I want you to know this before you read on.

A few years after I started following God I went with a group of church members to a stranger’s house.  He knew we were coming to visit, but it was still a cold call type of thing.  There we stood in this man’s living room while he watched a ball game.  Only the group leader knew his name or anything about his family.  I didn’t know how in the world we got connected with this guy and he didn’t know any of us, but in a few minutes it suddenly became time to tell this man about Jesus.

The entire thing was awkward and embarrassing.  I left with my tail between my legs vowing to never be a part of something like that and not because I don’t want people to know about Jesus, but because I think there is a better way to connect with people and share about something that is infinitely better than anything they have ever known.

This good news doesn’t look or smell so good.  That poor man was enjoying a good ball game after a hard days work on a cold winter night so what in the world did Jesus and these church people have to do with anything.  Even I couldn’t see that.  I felt like screaming leave him alone!  Let’s all watch the game.

Church

If you haven’t been bombarded by evangelistic presentations than perhaps you have been invited to church more times than you care to admit.  Come to this group, come to church on Sunday, what about Easter, and oh we have a great youth group.  When you see that churchey co-worker coming down the hall you want to fling them across the room to prevent another invite.  I can’t blame you.  I am trying to get to the bathroom  not change my life.

If the constant invites aren’t enough to make you sick then there are the church signs in peoples yards.  I often wonder if they are competing.  Whoever has the most signs will win the most attendees or votes or something.  I have been going to church all my life and have never understood the need to advertise church on the front lawn.  If anything it makes you a target.  We are all watching to see if you live up to what you say you are.  I don’t need that kind of pressure so you won’t find church signs in my yard and I can honestly say I have never been to a church that I felt was so great it warranted a sign in my yard.

Let’s be real.

We have some real crap going on in our lives.  We are busy at jobs we hate, with kids we often don’t like and in marriages we can’t stand.  We just put down our beer to stir the hamburger burning in the pan and noticed the dog crapped all over the floor so tell me what in the world does your cute and happy church have to do with that?  Good question.

People have real life stories of pain and suffering.  They have difficult lives and are super busy trying to keep up.  We are dealing with divorce, abuse, pornography, addiction, grief, depression, and a long list of problems.  How does your church help me?  I am so hurt that I can’t hear your story about how I need saved.  I do need saved from this hard life, but spare me the eternity talk.  I just want to get through today.

Something better

I was cleaning the house one day about 19 years ago and came across a hotel receipt.  I looked at the date on it and knew that was for a weekend I was away with my mom.  The receipt was for a local hotel.  I knew that at that moment that my husband had left it for me to find.  It was his way of telling me that he had, had an affair.  That moment started the worst seven years of my life where we would split up, get back together, and then try to work things out.

Please stay with me for this next part.  I am not going to invite you to my church.  

I called my husband and asked him if he had done this thing.  He said yes let’s talk about it when I get home.  I waited all afternoon on the back porch for him.  It was like having an out of body experience.  I was posed, collected, and strong.  When he got home we talked calmly.  I had four small children running around as we talked.  When our conversation was over so was our marriage, for the time being.

A year before this day all the church junk and all the hearing about Jesus somehow clicked.  Trust me when I say it wasn’t me!  I was happy with my life.  I had no desire or need for it to change, but it did.  I went from a wild clubbing drinking girl to a woman with new desires.  I suddenly wanted to know all about what the bible had to say.

There was something better than church and those Christians words that I heard all those years.  There was something better than the wild nights of sex with strangers, the dance clubs, the meth, the beach parties, and whatever my heart desired.

That something better was God and His Son Jesus.  They satisfied me and I no longer wanted to live according to Marcy, but according to them.  It wasn’t me!  I was happy as I was.  It was them.  Forget what you have seen and heard about church programs.  A relationship with God is way better than anything man can build.

During our seven year relationship mess of pain, grief, and torture I was whole.  I had the strength of 100 men and I was able to withstand lying, neglect, the sneaking around, and the absence of a husbands love.  I was able to withstand loveless sex with my husband, raising four kids on my own, and trying to trust that he would somehow come back home at the end of the day.

My relationship with God and His Son is the sweetest thing I have ever known.  There is so much more to Him than any human being can describe.  What I want to tell that man on the couch watching the game is that there is something better for him.  Something that will give him hope, give his life new direction, and give him strength when the walls of his life go caving in.

The presentations and church invites have good intentions, but they don’t do justice to what they are trying to get at.  It’s simply difficult to describe the relationship you can have with God.  Nothing compares.  Nothing.  We figure if you get into church you might figure it out, but even that has its challenges.  There is something better.

We do need Jesus.  He does save us for eternity.  Church is where we end up to learn more about Him and to help us stay on track with our new life, but it’s that peace and love inside that He brings that is so sweet and is so amazing to savor.  When I am weak He is strong and it is that I hope you will find.

Marcy Pedersen

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