Tell Me About Jesus

It was a hectic morning. I’d overslept, our sixteen-month-old daughter had awakened early, and our small family was grasping for order amid the chaos of what promised to be another busy day. Trying to occupy her attention, I said,  “Why don’t we read a book?” She pointed at the bookcase, said “Book!” and proceeded to grab a copy of the Jesus Storybook BibleI opened the pages and started reading aloud. Most of the language was still far above her head, but it went straight to my heart. With a sigh of relief I thought, It’s refreshing to simply be told a story about Jesus.

Then I had a flashback. Ten years ago, I was working in a cafe in Boulder, CO. One weeknight during my closing shift, I was sweeping the floor and preparing to clean the sparsely filled cafe when I overheard a conversation between three customers. They were college-age women having a Bible study. One, who appeared to be the leader, was talking to the others who both listened attentively. As I tried to hear more, I noticed that all she was doing was telling them stories about Jesus. And the women she was speaking to kept asking questions curiously. They wanted to hear more about Him. It was beautiful. I could have continued sweeping for hours while eavesdropping on that conversation.

These two experiences stand in contrast with most of the conversations I overhear in the Church at large. We talk about a lot about things related to our life together, but it’s been a long time since I heard (or sadly, preached) a sermon that was only about how magnificent Jesus is. We have lots of good theological conversations at the seminary, but we constantly run the risk of reducing Jesus to a distant historical figure or a moral principle, instead of the compassionate divine lover of humankind that He is. This distancing of our conversation from Jesus seems to happen even more in the higher levels of the bureaucracy of denominations.

This weekend I’ll go to Detroit for the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I’m not a delegate; I’ll be there to represent and promote Pittsburgh Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. There will be a lot of talk at General Assembly, good and bad, about a lot of different issues. I’ll even engage in some of those conversations. But I think we’ll all be better off – our hearts will be more joyful, the Church will be edified, our decisions will be more faithful – if we take moments this week to set aside those debates and instead focus upon Jesus. So here’s my suggestion:

If you’re attending General Assembly, try speaking about Jesus more than yourself and more than your agenda. I want to hear you tell me about Jesus. If you’re using Twitter or Facebook throughout the Assembly, hashtag your posts with #TellMeAboutJesus. For one example of a possible tweet, a member of my congregation whom I recently asked to simply tell me about Jesus responded with, “He’s the sort of person who, when he speaks, you want to hear more.” I’m thinking that if we at GA share such holy thoughts with one another, we’ll find ourselves caught up in surprisingly beautiful conversations. Perhaps we’ll even recognize Jesus’ presence with us more clearly. I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire our words, and guard us against any blasphemy.

So here we go . . . Tell me about Jesus.  

  1. Jim Kitchens said:

    Wise words, Chris. Hope to see you at GA.

  2. Tom Pappalardo said:

    1 I love to tell the story
    Of unseen things above,
    Of Jesus and His glory,
    Of Jesus and his love.
    I love to tell the story,
    Because I know its true;
    It satisfies my longings
    As nothing else would do.
    I love to tell the story,
    ‘Twill be my theme in glory
    To tell the old, old story
    Of Jesus and His love.

    2 I love to tell the story;
    More wonderful it seems
    Than all the golden fancies
    Of all our golden dreams.
    I love to tell the story,
    It did so much for me;
    And that is just the reason
    I tell it now to thee.
    I love to tell the story,
    ‘Twill be my theme in glory
    To tell the old, old story
    Of Jesus and His love.

    3 I love to tell the story;
    ‘Tis pleasant to repeat
    What seems, each time I tell it,
    More wonderfully sweet.
    I love to tell the story,
    For some have never heard
    The message of salvation
    From God’s own holy word.
    I love to tell the story,
    ‘Twill be my theme in glory
    To tell the old, old story
    Of Jesus and His love.

    4 I love to tell the story;
    For those who know it best
    Seem hungering and thirsting
    To hear it, like the rest,
    And when, in scenes of glory,
    I sing the new, new song,
    ‘Twill be the old, old story,
    That I have loved so long.
    I love to tell the story,
    ‘Twill be my theme in glory
    To tell the old, old story
    Of Jesus and His love.

  3. Reblogged this on Abounding in Hope and commented:
    Here’s something to try while we’re in Detroit and when we’re at home .. doing church work or just getting our groceries …

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