Following the Vesper's Service Sunday night our congregation provided a chili supper for those who attended. Since I normally make my chili too hot for most people in New Jersey, I decided to make a "toned down" version. The goal was to keep the flavor and reduce the heat. I think I did a pretty good job of accomplishing that goal. I did, however, still warn the people that it would be hotter than most chili they usually have.
What was the result? Some thought is was just the right heat, some thought is was way too hot, and some felt that it wasn't hot enough! For me, that meant I accomplished what I set out to do--middle of the road heat. While this was an appropriate way to fix chili, it is not an appropriate way for the Church to behave!
For too long, too many churches have tried to be "just right" in how they appear to those who come to services. We have to make sure we are not too liberal or too conservative. we have to make sure we are not too filled with the Spirit or too lacking in the Spirit. I think that it is high time we quit trying to reach people by watering down Christianity. It is time for us to take a stand. We need to teach that there are absolutes. Jesus told us that there is no way to the Father except through Him. That is absolute. There is no other way.
Will this be a popular stand? For some yes, but for others, no. The question is, are we trying to please people or God? If we are trying to please people, we will always be changing our beliefs. If we try to please God, our beliefs will remain constant, but our methods may change (After all, Paul did say "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." 1 Corinthians 9:22).
As we continue in Advent, let us remember the Reason for the season. Let Christ be first in CHRISTmas. May the spice of Christ fill you this year!