I challenged all the “recruits” in attendance on Sunday to spend the next 40 days (until Good Friday) reading 1 chapter a day from their “field manual” (the Bible). Well I started in Mark and am noticing something that I’d like to see happen here – crowds are gathering to have an encounter with Jesus.
There’s one verse that I held on to before we ever launched and that was Mark 1:33 which says, “The whole town gathered at the door.” I want to see that here in Greenville – the whole town gathering at the doors of churches because they want to encounter Jesus. Then in Mark 2:2 says, “So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.” Again, the place is packed (even outside) and the word is preached. Today I was reading chapter 3 and in verse 20 I read, “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.” The whole plan Jesus and the disciples had was scrapped because so many people showed up.
Isn’t that great? Don’t try and tell me people don’t want to know more about who Jesus is and the difference he can make in their lives and others. It’s not true. There’s a new book out by Dan Kimball called They Like Jesus, But Not The Church that I admit I haven’t read, but think I would agree with on a lot of points. If what happened in Mark happened wherever Jesus went and whenever he showed up, is it a fair conclusion that it’s not happening in a lot of places today because we’re more interested in “church” than in “Jesus”? I’ve been guilty of thinking that way, particularly when I think of the fact that this is my “job” and if people don’t come to church, tithe to the church, serve in the church, then I won’t get paid by the church when my mission support runs out. But when I make it about the church, that puts Jesus in second place and may even keep him out of the very place we tell people they can find him. A scary and convicting thought. Time to make sure Jesus is allowed to work and get ready for the “whole town to gather at the door.”