Jelly Belly's & Religion: Both Offer Many Flavors
The other day I decided to enjoy the weather by hiking the three miles into town to pick up our car from the mechanic. When I hike a long distance without my MP3 to entertain me I rely on the sounds of God’s creation, listen for His whisper and sometimes the rambling thoughts that run through my head. As I made my way into town I noticed something I’ve never given thought to before…the number of churches within those three miles. I had some errands to run after picking up our car and as I made my way to my next stop I continued to count the number of churches during my drive.
Some questions kept coming to mind as I conducted my little research. With so many churches why are there so many lost people in our community? I wondered why the attendance at our local flea markets out number the attendance at our churches on Sunday mornings. I wondered why churches that can seat a thousand only seat hundreds. I wondered why the skaters hung out at the local convenience store parking lot instead of attending their local youth ministry. By the time I had returned home I had traveled within a fifteen mile radius and counted over twenty churches of all different denominations. It was like walking down the Jelly Belly isle in our local grocery store where there are many different flavors to chose from. And it seems more flavors (churches) are being added all the time. To confuse the matter even more some have resorted to drawing people in with promises of a free gift, and I’m not talking about the free gift of salvation given from the TRUTH of the Gospel. And like Jelly Belly, religion offers many different flavors.
With such a variety of religions it can be very confusing to someone who’s never been to church. And it’s very dangerous for a new believer attending a church that teaches a “different gospel”, a false teaching. Some religions teach that Jesus was a very good man, but not God in the flesh. But the Bible teaches He is God. (John 1:1-3) Others teach we need to do good things and be a good person. But the Bible teaches that eternal life is a free gift which is given to us by grace through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Still some believe the Bible is God’s Word but shouldn’t be taken literally. But…the Bible teaches that every word is inspired by God and should be taken seriously. (2 Timothy 3:16) And others believe that by following the Law they receive salvation. BUT…the Bible teaches that the Law was designed to help us see our need for salvation by grace through faith. (Galatians 3:10-14)
So many religions are offering every flavor possible and sometimes a free gift (iPods, mugs) just for showing up. Isn’t it time we get out of the church building and go out into our communities and take the TRUE gospel to our neighbors, the girl at the checkout counter, our mechanic, the skaters at our local convenience store, etc. and tell them about the greatest free gift ever? I love the phrase I saw at one church where evangelism is emphasized. The sign read; “The church has left the building!” We should be steering people toward a relationship with Jesus Christ through faith alone and then plug them into a doctrinally solid Bible teaching church a church that teaches the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
When picking out Jelly Bellies or a religion some tend to lean toward their favorite flavors. When it comes to eternal life there is only one clear choice…faith in Jesus Christ alone. So what flavor are you peddling religion or a relationship?
Now……what did I do with that bag of jelly beans?
My name is Brian Ford. I'm a husband to my beautiful wife Kim, a speaker, a writer & youth pastor. Looking for a speaker for your next retreat, camp or youth event? Check out my Contact & Schedule pages for more information - www.xposed2jesus.com