Sunday, May 07, 2006

In Search of Jesus part 2 (Redux)

This morning we attended the 9am service of a popular Pentecostal church in East Ottawa. Just as I did last Sunday at the WCA church, I wanted to see this church from the eyes and ears of someone who did not know Christ. It was a bit difficult since I did know most of the people on staff at this church and several of the members who attend. But laying aside those factors, the following is what I observed:

1. The music was culturally relevant but the sound levels were so low that it was difficult to really appreciate and allow the music to inspire us. The music and musicians were great. But the level at which they were set was uninspiring.

2. There was a strong family feel in the atmosphere which included the recognition of one of the staff members retiring and the person who would replace her.

3. I was greeted by about half a dozen people before and after the service. This would have been great if this is what a visitor would experience. Sadly, this church has a reputation for not being that friendly.

4. Jesus was barely mentioned during the sermon. This was disappointing since there were some really good opportunities to bring Jesus into the talk. For example, when the preacher said that the perfect example of obedience was Jonah, I thought that he could have brought Jesus in as the Perfect example. This could have been tied in to say that even though we are inconsistent with our own obedience, Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died. His complete obedience makes up for our disobedience. And through Christ, we can receive God's blessings.

I guess I'm really sensitive to the lack of Jesus being the center of our messages these days. I saw it in the WCA church last week. And I saw it again in this Pentecostal church.

Again, the Bible was the central figure in this church not Jesus. And the more I see this happening, the more I am convinced that there is a HUGE difference between being Bible-centered and being Jesus-centered. They are NOT the same thing.

So thus far, I have been able to observe 2 kinds of churches in Orleans. One was a seeker-sensitive type of church and the other a Pentecostal church. One was a small church of less than 100 and the other a large church with about 1000 or so people. Both have been around for over 10 years. And both did not seem to preach Jesus as the central figure. Both did preach the Bible. But what they communicated was a "try harder and do more" kind of message which isn't really good news at all, is it?

(I have deleted certain sections of this post in the interest of sincere love for those who may have been personally hurt by my comments in those earlier sections. I believe in freedom of speech. And I believe in the necessity of the Church to critique itself even though it may be painful to hear. None of my comments in the In Search of Jesus thread on this blog were meant to hurt anyone nor name specific names. I call them as I see them from my POV. However, in the interest of sensitivity and to maintain honor and respect to individuals who are sensitive to those previous comments, I have edited some content here. -MAJ)

No comments: