A Preface Before Reading
1. If you are underage you should not drink. Period. Don’t use the excuse, “I was trying to let my friends know about Jesus that’s why I was there.” because even if that were true your underage and shouldn’t be at a party with adult beverages.
2. If you are 21 or over don’t go to a bar, get buzzed, tell dirty jokes and tell me that you are doing it to witness to people about Jesus. I don’t believe you and I don’t think you believe you either.
3. If you want to judge this post over the title you probably shouldn’t read the post. You aren’t going to be happy.
A Rare Opportunity
In life there are certain opportunities that come across your path that, if you don’t take advantage of them, may never happen again. One such opportunity presented itself last night. As part of the training I am apart of I have the opportunity to be around a large number of people that do not believe the same things as me. Though we hold many of the same background experiences and remember the same cultural events we are worlds apart when it comes to spirituality and religion. These underlying differences in belief lead us to differing ideas when it comes to entertainment and fun.
Case in point: getting drunk.
I don’t drink. In fact I have only had two alcoholic drinks my entire life and neither was that great. So when people drink I usually don’t get invited or am no where to be found so simply don’t even know its happening. However, as I stated above, last night was a rare moment. I didn’t have any plans and wanted to get out of the hotel for a few hours. So when I was invited to go out on a Saturday night with some of the people I have meet recently I was more than happy to say yes. I knew there would be lots of drinking, lots of smoking and a lot of cursing, but I didn’t care. I wanted out of the hotel. I wanted to be around people.
The Adventure Begins
Now don’t go getting all pharisee on me let me remind you of what I said above, I didn’t even drink. In fact I don’t drink, smoke or cuss. I say all of this not to state my moral high ground, non of which I could claim anyway mind you, but rather to show you just how out of place I thought I would be in the situation I was walking into.
As a pastor/speaker I spend a great deal of my time interacting with other Christians. This means that I rarely if ever get invited to places that Christians aren’t normally invited. You don’t normally walk into a bar and find a pastor or christian speaker sitting at a table with people playing a few rounds of circle of death. Yet this is where I found myself. Willingly I might add.
As we sat there into the early hours of the morning, them going through a variety of drinking games I have never heard of, something clicked for me.
“There is no other place I should be tonight than right here in this bar.”
A Needed Explanation
I can say that with confidence and with a clear consonance because I have no doubt that the bar is one place of many that Jesus would be if he where here today. He would be were those that were far from him were. He wouldn’t be getting wasted, he wouldn’t be making dirty jokes and he wouldn’t be cursing like a sailor but he would be at a table with those that were far from him.
If not there he would be at your place of employment, talking with your co-workers. He would be befriending them. Getting to know them, caring for them.
If not there he would be hanging out watching the game. Being just as happy when his team caught that touchdown pass. Building relationships with those around him.
We seem to have this idea that it was O.K. for Jesus to go to the dark and dirty places of this world and be with those that were far from him. However we have a hard time thinking that we, as his followers, should do the same. We get so concerned about what places are holy and what places are dirty we forget that its all Gods anyway. He owns it all. It all needs redeeming.
There is no difference between a church or a bar. You can call one holy and the other evil, but at the end of the day they are both buildings. Buildings being used for worship. One being used to worship the Creator, the other being used to worship the created.
The idea of secular and sacred is a lie.
Go Forth And Make Disciples
Do you think that telling people about Jesus in casual conversations and not living life with them is going to win them to Jesus? If your answer is yes then I will pray along side you that that will happen.
However if that is your thought process let me submit to you that you have misunderstood the last words Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 28:16-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Jesus tells the people he has lived life with too now go and do the same with others. He tells them to go baptize them, teach them and observe the commandments that he gave them.
One can not teach effectively and efficiently without first knowing someone. Only when you know how a person learns, what they have been through, who they are or what they want to be can you begin to teach them about Jesus. A few passing words isn’t going to cut it.
Living life with people is the most effective way to spread the great name of Jesus because it allows others into your life so they can see that your words match up with what you do. It enables a trust to be built that can only be built if they see what Jesus has done in your life.
Throughout the night I was repeatedly asked if I wanted a drink or wanted to participate in one of the many drinking games. I just said, “No.” Never once did I get told to leave. Not once did I get told to man up and drink. They were content with me just being there and adding to the conversation. We laughed, make jokes and had a good time. We all got to know each other a little better. Relationships were built.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that spending a few hours at a bar, at work, or in front of a T.V. with someone is going to save them. However don’t think that that bar stool, store or couch isn’t just as much Jesus’ territory as the churches we attend every Sunday.
Any place there is a Christian, Jesus is there too. Be discerning, be wise. Don’t put yourself in situations that could cause you to fall into sin. But also don’t avoid places just because there are people there that don’t love Jesus like you do, because He might just be using you to bring them to Him.
Two Resource For Your Consideration:
1. Destroying The Sacred Secular Divide (Online)
2. “Jesus Is Greater Than Religion” (Book)