I don’t know if you saw the movie or not, but it was quite an intriguing one. It’s based off a real guy named Frank Abagnale Jr., a con artist. The movie has a thrilling plot as it follows this guy, pretending to be all kinds of people, conning just about everyone he meets! Tom Hanks plays the FBI agent who pursues Frank (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and eventually catches him and turns him into a good guy. In the end, the movie leads us to basically “fall” for this con artist. As they say, “Only in the movies.” A con artist, who writes over $4,000,000 in bad checks, gets romanticized into someone we all respect.
In real life, the thought of someone conning us disgusts us. To say someone is a fake, a phony, a poser, a hypocrite, a charade is maybe the worst insult you could give someone. And unfortunately, many churches have that label placed on them and, if I’m being candid, rightly so. Churches say that God loves everyone. Yet, churches can be some of the most prejudiced places on the planet. Churches say they believe in truth; yet, they water down that truth to become more palatable. Churches claim to be following Jesus, but the paths of the lives of the people in the church are no different than the neighbor who doesn’t even believe in God. Churches claim to want to shine brightly for Jesus; however, the only place you can see their light is if you walk into their building. And that’s only a few disparities.
I am so thankful that does not describe Brooklife. We love people genuinely. We care for all people…really. We speak truth and love. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life. No other way works. We don’t offend for the sake of offending, but we also will not water down Jesus’ truth just because we don’t want to offend. We also do not pretend to be better than we are. We are all messed up. We have all failed badly. We have all tried to pretend we are our own gods. We all still struggle with sin, with living in ways we know are not healthy, life-giving and God-honoring. We admit that living the Jesus life is not easy. We admit that living the Jesus life does not result in no problems. In fact, we’ve got problems I didn’t even know about before Jesus came into my life! We are a bunch of sinners saved by Jesus’ grace and love. We haven’t forgotten that, and we must never forget that.
People do not need to be sold a bill of goods. People do not need to think we have everything figured out or think we are perfect. In fact, they need the exact opposite. They need us to be real, to be authentic. We are doing our darnedest to live the Jesus life. We messed it up quite often, but we love Jesus and are trying to love and honor Him more everyday. That’s why one of our Guiding Principles is
We Value Authenticity: Honest with ourselves, real with others.
I love how Jesus was always so real with people. He admits to being tired, hungry, frustrated and angry. If He can admit it, why can’t we. The appeal of the church should never be how awesome the people in the church are. It should always be how amazing Jesus and the work He has done in our hearts is.
We really have issues, and we really have a Savior Who loves us so much He walks with us through our issues. He leads us to life that only He knows how to get, a life of peace, joy, love and security.