God, Forgive Me, the Drunken Street Evangelist.
Good News is your news. Help us live a life that points to good news. Let our lives be good news to a broken world.
These words have baggage. They have been abused. They have been used to abuse.
But I'm not one to just let things slide. I'm not lazy enough to let a word that means so much be abused and used to abuse. So, in the subversive way of Jesus I plan on taking it back.
The origin of these words is the Greek word "Evangelion" (transliterated)... it simply means "Good News".
Here's the fun fact about that... it wasn't a new idea. It was well established. "Good News", prior to Jesus, generally referred to the Roman empire. It was propaganda used to spread the news of how great the empire was. The "good news" of a military victory or of a new emperor. It was serious business to the Roman Empire, this "good news".
So, Jesus busts on the scene and has a new message of a new kingdom, that has no military... no emperor... no palace... no real structure. His followers adopt the language of the empire and begin to use the words that the empire used to keep people attached to the earthly things to point people to an unseen kingdom.
A kingdom within us.
A Kingdom that was self-sacrificing and has no military.
A Kingdom that, by all earthly wisdom, should fall but is now 2000 years old.
So when we talk about evangelion, evangelism, evangelical, or gospel... we are talking about a word that has a VERY subversive history.
Yes the Good News is that Jesus loves you... that is really good news when it receives life.
But, the word has been abused...
About 10 years ago (maybe more I don't remember the year) Crystal and I were in Downtown Fort Worth celebrating our anniversary. We had a plan of getting appetizers and drinks at one place and dinner and drinks at another and dessert and drinks at another. We started with drinks at the hotel...
So, we are walking down the road. We are having a great time. Sometime after dinner and drinks we heard yelling. It was coming from a street corner. There was a bullhorn and tracts. You know the scene. They were telling everyone they were going to Hell. That God hates them.
This is not Good News.
This is not how you reach people.
This hurts people.
This is not how you love people.
Telling people that God hates them, which BTW is way harder to prove in scripture than He loves them, is actually one of the most counter productive things you can do. Scripture is clear that "God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4) and we won't even dive into the context there and that Paul is addressing judgemental people when he says it.
So 3 Margarita Bobby is walking down the street with 3 Margarita Crystal. I hear this going on and tell Crystal, "Let's go check it out." We walk over. It's even worse up close... 3 Margs into the night. So, I ask the Lord to give me grace and I engage the guy handing out tracts. I ask him about God's love and we begin talking. We talked about Jesus saying whatever you do for the "Least of These" you do for him, clothing, feeding and visiting in prison. The guys heart just melted, he explained to me that he was a felon out of prison. God used His stories of love to open a door to the street evangelist that we all HYPOCRITICALLY love to hate.
By the end of the conversation I was holding him in my arms as he wept, praying God's love over his life. Speaking identity into the dark places of his heart. Reminding him that the good news is that God loves him and every other person walking down the street. That God loves me 3 margaritas deep into my anniversary.
That night I was a drunken street evangelist.
I don't suggest that anyone attempt drunken evangelism. I don't condone it. I will try not to do it anymore; but no promises ;)
An evangelist delivers good news. It's just that simple. The good news of a kingdom that stands in opposition to the merit based kingdom of this world.
I don't mind being that kind of evangelist.
I am evangelical. I know the republicans have hijacked the word for political gain, and I'm OK with that, because the subversive nature of this kingdom is all about restoration. If the world wants to use a word for votes, let em. I will still be evangelical in nature. I believe in good news. I believe in sharing that news. I believe that even those who hijacked the word "evangelical" are capable of being a part of the good news.
How do we live evangelical lives?
Well, we have to make sure that our lives point to good news. Good news that there is a kingdom that is here and now that is in opposition to the earthly kingdom that seeks to place a value on us. The good news is that this unseen kingdom has already established your value and that value far exceeds anything that you can even comprehend.
The good news is that the creator of HEAVEN & EARTH calls you his. He sees you worthy. And He wants you to walk in that new role.
When we grab hold of that Good News of the subversive kingdom our lives begin to become good news to the world. Sometimes God uses our good deeds to break the ice for the good news of the kingdom and it's humble leader. Sometimes God allows us to be the ones that step in with actions of good news and no words. At the heart of this Good News Kingdom is love. When we are operating in that we become good news. We become the hands and feet of Jesus himself. When the Body of Christ is operating kingdom minded it is good news to the world.
Today, there are people hurting. Today there are people that need good news. They need to experience good news. They need to see good news.
God doesn't punish doubt, he reveals the hole in his side and asks us to feel it. He rewards doubt with certainty when we seek it. So to those that doubt the good news, maybe you are the answer to point them to the greatest news. If you are the one doubting, maybe the good news is one act of love away.
I would encourage anyone doubting now to get involved in something kingdom. Do something out of love. Give this kingdom minded thing a try. Maybe sometimes to understand "Good News" we need to be "Good News".
So help someone.
Talk to someone.
Be the kingdom. Be Good News.