Get serious!


I’m getting close to being mad, but then again, that would be against everything I’m about to say.

Still I have a question: how long have I been holding forth in this little corner of cyberspace — questioning, suggesting, sometimes venting, sometimes screaming — and how long have you been reading what I write, and how much has the world changed because of it? How much have you been able to change the world? Don’t worry, I’m talking to myself as much as I am talking to you. It’s just that it’s time to get serious about being who we are called to be and doing what we were called to do.

And just what would that be? you ask. What would that look like? That would look like this: Love, empathize, build bridges, lift up (not tear down), create respect for all, resist the temptation to find fault even when you’re among people who all agree, choose not to take part in criminalizing anyone, speak well of people who are not in your presence, give everyone a second chance — then a third, and a fourth — up to 7 X 70 (Matthew 18:22) in fact, be a catalyst, a peacemaker, a healer. Stand in the gap; resist taking sides. Live like this, and you will make a difference — better yet, you will be the difference.

Of course it goes without saying that at least some of this will be hard to do, but you have to remember, it’s not us doing it, it’s the Lord in us, through us, working in spite of our weakness and our fear.

I just read an article about how therapists around the country are faced with a huge dilemma right now. The last election and its results have so affected the mental health of their patients that they have to talk about it, which forces the therapists to stay neutral, something that is becoming harder and harder for them to do. Well … that would be true for us too.

Our hope and security does not rest in anything that can be won or lost at the polls. If it does, we have placed our hope in the wrong thing.

You are strategically placed right where you are for one reason: to bring the kingdom of God to your corner of the world. It matters not where that is; it matters that you are there and you are intentional about being a carrier of Christ and a spreader of the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward. And if you’re not sure what that is, you need to read the Catch — every Catch.

Reading one or two Catches a week isn’t enough. This is not my blog — my opinion to be weighed equally with all the other opinions out there on the vast Internet of personal expression. This is prophetic truth, and I am a pastor, not a blogger. I am speaking from 40 years of training, of studying scripture, and seeking God’s kingdom in the world. Most of what I present here is countercultural. It’s going to go against most of what you hear or read today, even from Christian sources. You need to refresh this thinking every day or you will not be able to counteract everything coming at you from all sides.

Do you go to church once every five weeks? Then you need to read the Catch every day and send it out to everyone you know. If you miss one or two — go back and catch up. Go to our website. <>  Every Catch I’ve ever created is there in reverse chronological order. This is necessary. This is not a nice-to-do.

We are touching people; we are putting our arms around the hopeless; we are praying for people where prayer is called for; we are creating something positive we can share with others. We are making a difference.

The current climate is so volatile that our faith has to make a difference in our behavior or one could rightfully question it. Divisiveness, polarization, demonization of the other side is the norm. This is such a mean-spirited age that simple kindnesses and courtesy are more than what they would be any other time. Any other time they would be what’s expected. Today a simple kindness is a candle in the darkness; it’s a reminder of some long distant memory — something good and hopeful — a reminder to everyone we meet of what is right about being human and of the value and reality that God’s grace brings to earth through us. That is grace turned outward — something that will change the world.


Church at the Catch
Where can you come to church in your pajamas? Where can you comment on the sermon or request prayer and get it immediately? Where can you sing along and nobody cares how you sound? Where can you worship with someone in Hong Kong and someone in Australia at the same time? At Church at the Catchthis Sunday night at 6pm Pacific. 
Don’t miss it!
Marti received this beautiful comment about her counseling from one of our members, proving that true counseling is a two-way street:
“In Marti-land there are these great gulfs which can, which must, be flown across – and I am flying as your wing man.  Don’t forget that I am there.”
Forward this Catch to your associates, friends and family by clicking here.
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3 Responses to Get serious!

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Amen to this: “We are touching people; we are putting our arms around the hopeless; we are praying for people where prayer is called for; we are creating something positive we can share with others. We are making a difference.”

  2. Markus says:

    How long have I been reading the Catch? I have no idea, but it is quite a while. But what has the Catch given me? It helped and still helps me to come to terms with my own faith. Sometimes that is more uncomfortable than one should think, but i prefer it that way.

  3. Sandie says:

    Don’t get mad John – that hints at a lack of control and respect….but to get angry? That carries the weight of The Holy Spirit if you are truly a vessel that God works through. And you are a vessel. You have moved me out of my comfort zone many times, and continue to do so. I know I cannot change the world, or even my own circle of existence…at least not in my own power. But I can determine to leave each place I’ve been a little better for me having been there. I’ve seen the power a genuine smile carries at the checkout counter; the smile that comes when a thank-you note I’ve sent is opened. I’ve seen the relief the smallest help I can offer brings; the encouragement that a spoken “thank-you” offers. “Be ye kind to one another”; kindness seems a forgotten commodity across society, including the church. I am so guilty sometimes, of not being true to the words I’ve taught others. But I thank Jesus, who keeps me from going so far away I can’t find my way back – who shows me the value and integrity of admitting my shortcoming(s); thereby giving hope to others that they too can be redeemed from whatever besets them. I have not been a regular churchgoer the past several years, but somehow have not fallen away from God – in fact have drawn closer to Him and touched others with His love. In many ways, you have been my pastor, and much of the wisdom I’ve gained has grown from your challenges. Kindness may be a very small candle in the darkness of our world today, but no matter how dark the darkness is – it will never extinguish or overcome the light of this world – our Jesus. Bless you John, and you too Marti, for keeping your candle lit, and for doing it in the midst of your own trials. Keep on keepin’ on!

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