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Thursday, May 17, 2007

What To Believe In

I've written in the past about "Christians behaving badly," so you know it's an issue I think a lot about. I read the Bible and take it literally. I try to apply it practically and live it morally. I fail and that disturbs me greatly. I see others fail and it disturbs me even more --- to know that I'm not the exception. I hate to think of failure being the norm. But often with Christianity it looks that way.

We don't get to see many Christians "walk the talk," or if they are succeeding we don't get to realize that. I wonder what impact that has on evangelism. Jesus gave us the Great Commission, to spread the good news. How believable is it if the messengers are so unbelievable?

A couple weeks ago I went out front to get my morning paper. It was raining and somehow there must have been a hole in the bag because the paper was soaked. It wasn't just damp. I took it out of the bag and water was dripping off of it. I held it over the sink and wrung it out. Of course, this paper was chock full of news and information. Absolutely none of it had any impact or value to me. I was too distracted by the condition of the medium. After having a good laugh, I threw the paper away --- without reading a single word of it.

I wonder if it is that way with non-Christians who meet Christians, live with Christians or encounter Christians. Are they so distracted by the condition of the medium that the message is absolutely lost on them?

Arthur Burns was a Washington power broker who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve, as ambassador to West Germany, and in other prominent positions from the 1960s through the 1980s. He was a counselor and confidant to a number of U.S. presidents during his career. Arthur Burns was also Jewish.

That is why his regular attendance at a weekly Bible study and prayer meeting at the White House in the 1970s was a surprise to many. Although he was warmly welcomed, different members of the group who took turns leading the meetings never called on him to pray.

One week, however, a newcomer leading the group asked Arthur Burns to close in prayer. The other members shot a glance at one another, wondering how Burns would respond to this awkward situation. Burns never hesitated. Instead, he joined hands with the others in the group, bowed his head, and prayed, “Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen.”

You know, I think Mr. Burns had it right. He saw the truth of the situation. He seemed to have realized that Christians need Jesus every bit as much (if not more) as non-Christians.

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