Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Jesus' Freak Show

My wife and I recently made a trip to Southern California. As if SoCal’s already not wacky enough, we spent a lot of time in the bizarro belly of the beast…the legendary Venice Beach Boardwalk. What a CRAZY place! I’m tellin’ you, it’s the greatest people watching on the planet. Hippies, surfers, skaters, mimes, musicians, jugglers, break dancers, fortune tellers, tattoo artists…even medical marijuana “clinics.” 

If Venice Beach sounds a freak show, you would be right. There is even a real carnival freak show there! 

This is gentleman who goes by the name of Morgue. And yes, he’s shoved a meat hook into his nose and out his mouth. I told it was a crazy place! 

But is it really different than the church? Because I have a sneaking suspicion this is pretty much how Jesus sees us at Hope Community Church. Not buying it? Then check out what Paul wrote to a church he planted in the city of Corinth…

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived:  Neither will the sexually immoral, nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards, abusers nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1Cor 6:9-11 NIV).

Did you catch that? “And that is what some of you were!” The power of the Gospel radically changes the most jacked up, goofed up and messed up lives! You might think Paul is describing his trip to Venice Beach vacation. But he’s describing the Corinthian church! Before Jesus got His mitts on this crazy crew, they were and endless parade of sinners, goofballs and weirdos. While Christ comes to our rescue, He doesn’t make us “normal.” 

We’re still a freak show. We’re His freak show. Jesus’ freak show.

Ever think of your church as God’s freak show? If you hang out at Hope, there’s a darn good chance you’re spending time with a fair share of people on the list from 1st Corinthians. But then Jesus radically came to our rescue. 
He washed us. 
He sanctified us.
He justified us.
He didn’t make us any less weird. Christ specializes in doing God stuff through goofy people. Paul’s describing the crazy Corinthian church when he says, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1Cor 1:17).

As members of First Impressions, we need to remember these are the people God is bringing through our doors today. As we say, we’re broken people serving broken people. Or better yet, weird people serving weird people. Freaky people serving freaky people. Our mission here at Hope is to love people where they are and encourage them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. That includes the sinners, goofballs, and weirdos…just like you and me. 

We’re a freak show. His freak show. Jesus’ freak show.


Diwakar said...

Hello Jay Jenning. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. The post on Jesus' Freak Show. I liked the post and the last para of your post is shows who you are as Jesus's freak Show. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you through your profile on the blogger and the blog post.I love getting connected with the people of God aroung the world to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for ona another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 37 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great cotnrast where richest or rich and the oorest ofpoor live. We reach out to the poroest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. we also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. we would love to have you come with your friends towork with us during your vacation time. I am sure you will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar wAnkhede. Looking foward to hear from you very soon. God's blessings on you, your family and friends.

Joanie Mi said...

Hi Jay! I really enjoyed your blog on Venice Beach. As you probably know, I was born and raised in SoCal, until moving to Farmington at age 15. SoCal had a little bit of everything. I really enjoyed that, and I enjoyed the fact that it was so non-judgmental there. I always said that my favorite school was Columbus Jr. High in Canoga Park. To me, one race did not dominate. It was a great mixture of white, black, Mexican, American Indian, etc. I always thought that this is what heaven was like. So what type of "freak", race, whatever didn't matter. It's what's on the inside that counts. Thanks for sharing.