Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison

As far as I know, there wasn’t one single person at our weekly gathering this past Sunday whose name was revealed through the Ashley Madison data hack.  And that’s a problem.  In fairness, if my name or one of our leaders names had been on the list, that would have been a bigger problem.  But I don’t want us to ignore the problem we do have.

It seems like people are responding to Ashely Madison in one of two ways: condemnation or amusement.  Condemnation seems more prevalent within the church and amusement in the broader society.  Both are deadly.

At it’s core, amusement says, “none of this really matters.”  Marriage isn’t that big of a deal, people cheat, the operators of the site made a fortune and it’s kind of fun to watch people get outed.  Of course, if it’s a high profile person being exposed, that makes it even more fun.  To be honest, I have trouble understanding how the destruction of marriages, family and trust can be sport for the rest of us.

Unfortunately, I do understand the temptation to condemn.  It’s so easy to take shots at a site so vile and at people who have done something so stupid.  God’s been using two passage of Scripture to help me fight my condemning spirit: 1 Corinthians 10:12 and Matthew 5:28.  The 1 Corinthians passage is a helpful reminder, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”  This whole mess should push each one of us deeper into community, into accountability and into establishing boundaries that protect our faithfulness and integrity.  We need to focus more on ourselves and less on casting stones at others.  By the way, in case you’re still tempted to fling a rock or two, let Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 sink in, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

People on the Ashley Madison list don’t need our jokes or our judgement.  They need Jesus.  Only in Jesus will they find a God who draws near to the broken.  Jesus doesn’t sweep sin under the carpet.  He carries it to the cross.  Jesus died for every single person on Ashely Madison’s list.  He offers hope, cleansing and restoration.  He offers a new day, a new life and a new way of living.  He breaks us free from the chains of sin and death and allows us to experience life and joy.

If that’s true, why wasn’t Restoration City filled with people looking for that kind of hope this weekend?

We should have been.  Churches all over this country should have been packed with outed adulterers who knew they would be welcomed, cared for and loved.  It seems like we still have some work to do in broadcasting the message of grace.

I’m not writing this to condemn the church.  I’m writing this to remind all of us that we are the church and you’re living your life this week as an ambassador of Christ.(2 Cor. 5:20) Stand for truth.  Don’t laugh at the jokes.  Show grace.  Broadcast hope.  Point to Jesus.  People don’t need to come to a church to hear the gospel.  They just need to meet you.  And if you know any one on the Ashley Madison list, tell them we would love to have them with us this Sunday.

On The Field

team

Sundays are my favorite day of the week.  Our church gathers to worship Jesus.  My family is there and I’m surrounded by people I love.  We sing, we celebrate, we hear from God, we invest in each other’s lives.  In a lot of ways, I wish every day could be Sunday.

But Monday comes every week.  The church scatters throughout our city.  Life starts happening.  Meetings, soccer practices, commutes and projects threaten to overwhelm us. It’s easy to leave the message of Sunday behind.

What if we learned to see Monday – Friday differently?  What if they become every bit as important as Sunday?  What if we believed the worship of God is carried out through the mission of God in a city desperate for the hope of God?

Here’s how I think of Monday – Friday.  I feel like a coach whose team is on the field while I’m on the sidelines preparing for our next huddle.  Sure, I try to get in the game in my own ways – developing relationships with neighbors and people at the coffeeshop.  But I spend a lot of my week with Christians.  You have the privilege of carrying the name of Jesus to people who know nothing of the gospel of Christ.  They’re in the cube next to you right now.  You had lunch with some of them.  You’ll go out with some of them after work today.  Maybe you’re in a meeting with some now.

Church – you’re in the game!  God has you at your job for reasons that go so much deeper than earning a paycheck and getting health insurance.  You’re an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  You’re there to work with excellence (Col. 3:23), to put others ahead of yourself (Phil. 2:3) and to be salt and light. (Matt. 5:13-14)  You get to carry the hope of Jesus to your world today.  That’s every bit as big a deal as singing songs and hearing a sermon on Sunday.  In many ways, that’s the point of the songs we sing and the message God speaks to us through His word.

So, as you’re on the field today, know this:

  • I’m thinking about you and praying for you.  I care how you’re doing on the field.  The stakes in the game of eternity are huge and I’m cheering you on every step of the way.
  • Don’t waste this gift.  Jesus has done so much to put you right where you are today.  He gave you an education, a job, the ability to get out of bed this morning and the gift of eternal life.  Don’t waste that by withdrawing from the very people He’s sent you to reach.
  • I want to be the best coach I can be but I can’t take the shot for you.  You are the one God has put in your office, not me.  But He’s given you the power of His Spirit.  That’s a billion times better than having me tag along to answer the tough theological questions people will fire at you if you start talking about Jesus.  You have the resurrection power of Christ in you.  He’ll make you adequate for the task at hand.

Play well today, team.  I love you.  I’m cheering for you and I’m praying for you!