“T-minus soon” or “The time has come to go therefore”

I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but enough is enough and the time has come to get off my butt and start doing something for Christ. I’m stuck in the bottle-necking cycle of church attendance and modern Christianity and all the passion-stifling, heart-hardening, intensity-dulling baggage that comes with it. Sitting in church and hearing messages twice a week and not doing anything with it has become far too prevalent in my life and the life of many church-goers.

I’m praying for an evangelist’s heart–something I never thought I would do.

This has all come forth in the wake of Porn Weekend at my home church: Westwinds Community Church. I had planned on blogging about this whole thing as the mess was unfolding, but I didn’t take the time. Now that it’s all said and done and the dust has settled, I’ll catch you up.

In summary, Westwinds brought Craig Gross, one of the co-founders of the ministry xxxchurch.com, to speak on the topic of pornography as the kick-off to a 4-week series on addictions and spiritual bondage. Knowing how taboo the topic is, Westwinds took the liberty of creating a community buzz via three billboards around the city of Jackson that simply read "Porn Weekend; April 2-3; westwinds.org". This promptly created a stir across the county and beyond, drawing the attention of news media state-wide and even the nation. "A Current Affair"–the tabloid news broadcast–was at church Saturday night and will be airing coverage of the controversy sometime in the next week or two.

Here are some links to what the press has had to say about it. Many other papers picked up the same AP story that the Free Press ran:

As you can tell from the articles, people are really torn about what Westwinds did. A lot of it had to do with how they promoted the event: with a giant in-your-face billboard. At first I wasn’t sure about that approach. And maybe it wasn’t the best approach (though I haven’t come up with anything better). Some didn’t like the sensationalism of it; some didn’t like the affiliation between church and porn; some didn’t like being "forced" to answer questions their kids were asking about it. Attacks came from both in and outside the local church community.

Whatever, whatever. Get mad about what Westwinds did. I don’t care. People got mad at Jesus all the time. You think proclaiming he could forgive sins or busting up stuff in the temple wasn’t "sensational" in the eyes of some? What about calling one of his friends "Satan"? Was Peter literally the devil? What about letting Lazarus die and then raising him from the dead? Doing it that way had more of a faith-building impact than healing him before he croaked. That’s kinda sensational, isn’t it?

Sensation for the sake of sensation is wrong in my opinion. But sensation for the sake of drawing attention to a bigger issue is what Westwinds, xxxchurch.com and Jesus did and do. Craig Gross shared both at church and then at today’s Spring Arbor University chapel service about the resistance xxxchurch.com’s ministry has received. It’s crazy because the world is practically accepting their approach more than the church. That ticks me off–majorly. My disgust for "church" is growing daily, if not hourly. And that’s what has stirred the evangelist spirit within me.

For some crazy reason, I desire that resistance. I desire to be up against something. I desire to be in the mix. I was sharing with a friend a bit ago that one of the main things I feel missing in my life right now are those non-Christian friends I had in high school. The guys on the football and basketball team, the friends in economics and history and multi-media class. I desire just spending time with them and hearing their stories and showing them love. I don’t have that anymore. The seven years since I’ve spent in a "Christian" environment has not helped me bear more evangelical fruit. Feels more like it’s caused it to wither.

I can’t blame the environment. It’s people who create an environment. And I’m one of the crowd who’ve gone with the flow and kept the status quo for the most part. But I’m sick of the status quo and that’s why I have the itch to leave–to go and do something that’s going to stretch and challenge me and hopefully stretch and challenge those around me to engage God in new, relevant ways.

Traditionally I haven’t been good at up and making new friends on the spot. I need time for friendships to grow and develop. So, I don’t expect to be sharing the good news in creative ways with a new crop of friends next week. But I need to start on that path; I need to get the ball rolling. I need to start praying and seeking God’s guidance on what my next steps are.

Join me in this, seeking God’s will for me and yourself. You’re called to go as well.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

3 Comments

shAf

about 12 years ago

Love you man! Just remember - blogtalk is cheap. But I'm beaming that you're passion is boiling. Now listen closely for the nudges. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. His Spirit pulses in your chest - waiting... Patience my friend... The fire grows hotter... You were born for this... sssshhhh... listen... for you are never alone.

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Steve Cook

about 12 years ago

Joel, Yes! You've got it! Please run to your nearest bookstore, or go to amazon.com and get John Fischer's book "Fearless Faith." He also has a blog at fischtank.com. Everything you're talking about - having non-Christian friends like you did in high school - is addressed in his book. The problem is that Christians have been hiding in the protective bubble of the Christian sub-culture and have missed the opportunity to be part of the larger culture of our society. I've done the same thing since high school, but am starting to recognize the incredible value in just hanging with non-believers and not allowing myself to be offended by their lifestyle. It may take several years, but I believe we can regain our "saltiness" and begin to have an impact on our country. But, as you say, it has to be done in love. No more crusades of trying to take the names of those we've led in the "sinner's prayer" after 15 minutes of shoving scripture down their throat in an attempt to convince them of their need for a Savior. They know as well as we do that they need something - but we have to show them with our lives rather than preach it to them. It's a lifelong commitment. I admire you for seeing the need and acting on it.

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Joel

about 12 years ago

Steve and Randy -- Thanks for being great brothers in Christ. And thanks for the feedback / challenge. This whole revelation is actually more a confirmation now that I think about it. I've had the itch to get on with stuff for a month or two now and finally put it to action this past Friday by telling my supervisor that I was going to start looking for a new job--in the secular workpalce. I knew if I didn't lay it out there, I'd leave it on the backburner indefinately. Then Craig comes along to WW and chapel and I'm just BURNING to leave work that day and get out of the bubble. So, I say this for two reasons: continue praying for guidance and direction; and let me know if you have any leads for a talented designer/writer/photographer/tech guru... I'll be mass-mailing my resume and job aspirations to you and other contacts tomorrow...

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