We Are Good News Baptists!
We live in the greater Detroit area. The Cubs will win the World Series before there is any economic good news here. Here in our neck of the woods the economic news has been bad for a decade. In the last couple years it has been catastrophic. If you believe what you hear on the news, the polar ice caps are melting-threatening an environmental apocalypse, and we should feel real guilty for drinking our morning coffee since, unless it was obscenely expensive, it probably wasn’t “fair-traded.”
The economy isn’t the only thing in chaos. Troubles are hitting frighteningly close to home lately. You don’t have to watch the news to know that marriages are in trouble and families are fragmenting. Homelessness and poverty are growing. Education is in turmoil. Sporting events are a happy diversion until we remember our heroes are probably on steroids or on the take. There is a crisis of morality, ethics and character that reaches from the prison to the pulpit. Scandals are so commonplace that they don’t really shock us any more. Christians are nervous about unsympathetic people in the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. We haven’t had a national revival in over a century and we’ve never needed one worse. It’s not hard to find reasons to be pessimistic. Jesus wept and warned people of sin and of judgment. He grieved when people rejected the good news, but He lived and died and rose again for sinners and that is the best news there has ever been. God is still in His heaven. Leaders rise and fall. Companies come and go. Rulers rage, enemies threaten, and allies abandon us, but God is still in control. He is still working all things together for good for those who love him and-that is still very good news in the worst of times.
Gospel Means Good News!
Believers are evangels… “evangel” means, “messenger of good news.” Joyful, happy, hopeful, good news is built into our DNA as believers. It’s who we are. Our name means Good News.
Bad times are good times to remember how magnetic hopeful people and hopeful places can be. Let’s keep a clear perspective. We have good news. Our church is a good-news place. We are good-news people. That should make us very happy people. There always have been and there always will be things that can burden us or get us down. Sometimes life deals us big crushing blows. Other times it is the splinters and hangnails that put lines in our foreheads and makes us surly and touchy.
We are not here to tell what we are against. We are not here to tell people what we don’t like about them. We are not “Bad News Church” We are “Good News Church,” so our members are not the neighborhood police or morality squad. We are not the spiritual CIA on a covert operation to seek and destroy the enemy. We are not here to shout-down the opposition. We’re not here to beat up on atheists.
Why Are We Here?
We are here to faithfully tell a story-a good story. We have an angelic role – we are messengers with a message of good news. We are heralds of the King, criers for the King who have a message of unbelievably good news.
That should put a song in your heart, a spring in your step, and a smile on your face. Joyful people are magnetic – attractive people. And we want Evangel to continue to be a magnetic, attractive place.
According to the New Testament, it is vital that we treat one-another with special love and care. It is important how we treat outsiders who are not a part of Evangel-who may not even be Christians, but throughout the New Testament there is an emphasis on how we treat one another. People who are not in the family notice how we treat our brothers and sisters.
John 13:35 says, By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 17:21 says, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me
Have You Had A Bad Experience With a Bad-News Baptist?
I once was invited by my brother-in-law to a golf outing sponsored by another Baptist group. There were a good bunch of guys we will share heaven with, but here on earth we sort of sit on opposite sides of the Baptist aisle. These guys are in my circle, but I’m not sure I am in their circle. They think my circle is a little too big. I understand that. But one of the pastors was pretty sharp on ecclesiastical separation and a little dull on personal skill. As I stood there preparing to hit a few practice drives, he drove up in his golf cart and “warmly” greeted me with these words; “What are YOU doing HERE?”
I smiled and said, “Uh, just hitting golf balls with some dear pastor friends.”
He said, “I was surprised to see you here,” and drove away.
He left me with the distinct impression that he would be equally surprised to see me in heaven. Maybe my pastor friend was just having a bad bed-side manner day, but on that day he didn’t seem like a Good News Baptist, he seemed like a Bad News Baptist to me.
Good News people have a “there-you-are” spirit, not a “what-are-you-doing-here” spirit.
Good News people have a “how-can-I-help-you” spirit, not a “don’t-touch-that” spirit.
We should have a “do-you-need-this” spirit not a “do-you-have-permission-to-use-that-be here-say that-wear that-spirit.”
A good news spirit attracts people to Christ. A bad news spirit attracts only unhealthy people with a distorted idea of the gospel and a twisted view of what God is like. You don’t build a healthy, happy, joyful, good news center like that.
Joy is evidence to the world that Jesus can fully satisfy the human heart, and love for the brothers and sisters is evidence that you really know God.
Acts 4:32-35; 1 John 3:10-14; 1 John 4:20-21