Austin: “Hey, what’s that you’re listening to?”
Michael: “Oh, it’s nothing really.”
Austin: “C’mon, what is it?”
Michael: “My family and I were out of town over the weekend, so I’m just listening to the weekend message from our church. It’s quite fascinating really, it’s about…”
Austin: “I don’t know why you bother with that stuff. I mean, all that stuff about God, and Jesus and…. I mean C’mon, you really believe there’s some magic man in the sky that watches over us?”
Michael: “Well, I don’t believe he’s magic. But yes, I do believe in God.”
Austin: “And what was the message about this weekend?”
Michael: “I’m only a little ways into it. But it’s about being weird.”
Austin: “Well going to church is weird.”
Michael: “Some may think so. But the pastor defined weird as being different, but different in a good way. It’s living life in a way that other people respect, and admire, and appreciate, and …”
Austin: “Well, we obviously have disagreements about some things. But I can say that I generally do respect and appreciate you as a person. But ‘Christians’ in general, they leave a pretty sour taste in my mouth. They never get along – just look at how many different denominations there are. And they bicker about things politically more than anybody else I know. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Austin: “Well yeah. They’re just as judgmental as others. They’re just as temperamental as others. The divorce rate among Christians is about the same as the rest of culture. There’s not much that’s different-in-a-good-way about Christians from what I can see.”
Michael: “Fair enough. But of all the Christians you DO know, do you see much that is different about them – different in a good way?”
Austin: “Like I said, I really appreciate and respect you. How you conduct yourself here in the office is quite admirable. But when I think about most other Christians I know, I would have to say, no.”
In Matthew 7, Jesus invites us to live in a way that would be considered ‘Weird’ by many. He says things such as, “Don’t judge others. Don’t view yourself and your actions as better than others. Always want the best for others. Do for others what you would want them to do for you. And those who follow these words are wise.”
But there’s more to it than that. Much more.
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) says, 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Questions to consider:
Do you have any friends or family who have similar thoughts as Austin?
Is there anything else about God and/or Christianity they dislike that Austin didn’t mention?
Where do you think Christianity is failing the most? In other words, why do you think Christ-followers are not seen as being different in a good way?
Read Matthew 7. Are you currently experiencing a life challenge that makes it difficult for you to live differently, in a good way?
Does Jesus teach anything in Matthew 7 that describes how you can respond to this challenge in a way that leads to life, and not destruction?
God, as we begin this new series, I pray that You will clearly show me how I can better stand out among those I know. Provide me wisdom to stand out to my family. My friends. And all of my co-workers, classmates, or teachers. Lead and guide me to live out the principles Jesus teaches in Matthew 7. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.