Be Different for Jesus

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our Junior High youth are away this week with Vikki Luce and Steve Koerwitz. They are at the Youth Works ministry site in Rapid City, SD. The theme for their mission is the same as the Senior High group had last month in Chicago- “Be Different.” For many reasons, that theme is washing over me this summer with a transcendent promise of renewal.

A phrase I hear a lot is “I am not religious, but I am very spiritual.” I am not sure there is anything inherently wrong with that quote, but I have concerns about who some apply it to. People often use this quote in my presence. I am not completely sure why folks want me to hear it? I think for one thing they want validation or affirmation for their lack of church attendance. They view church as religious and not so much a spiritual activity.

The other thing my spiritual and irreligious friends seem to want to convey to me, is that they are part of some cutting edge minority that has found a way to be rebellious and faithful to God on a higher level. The truth is that these rebels are part of the growing majority, at least in the United States. If anything, they are merely following the crowd and in my opinion, anything but rebels for Jesus, or cutting edge Christians.

Historically and today, the ones who dare to “be different, “ gather in the midst of community to experience the risen Jesus. Our 5 youth and 2 adult leaders in SD have stepped into a community of 35 others to be the church this week. Each of the 7 who have gone, practice their faith in community. Those who are willing to “be different“ today, enter into the struggles and joys with brothers and sisters in Christ, to be the Body of Christ in the world. It‘s not always easy, but it is where we come closest to our risen Lord in the proclaiming of the Word, and the sharing of the meal (holy communion.)

This day, may you have faith that keeps brewing within you. May we each have some portion of faith in our role in the Kingdom, as God’s gift within the missional community called the church. Our faith need be no bigger than a “mustard seed” (Matthew 13:31,32) and big things will happen.

Be different and share a word with a brother or sister in Christ this week. “When storms come eagles don’t hide or hunker down, they soar higher…” Leonard Sweet. Together we can soar like eagles.

Be different for Jesus!

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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