This is personal. It’s about that moment of truth that happens when you are totally unaware of its approach. You may have had glimpses of it, but dismissed it. Then suddenly there it is, staring you in the face and stabbing you in the heart.

This is what recently happened to me. I was coming home on the ferry, and saw the big screen that has video advertisements on it. An ad appeared for a seminar at my church, and then I remembered that something was said about there being an ad on the ferry for this event. But, I paled. I was suddenly glad that I was alone and no one knew I was connected to the church. Especially when my first reaction was an audible, “No way!” lost in the rumble of the boat’s engines.

Why, you might ask? Isn’t this a good thing? The answer for me is a loud and resounding, “No”! This is the second marriage/relationship seminar in less than a year. Everything in me wanted to scream, “I don’t want to be from a church known for seminars, but from one known for signs and wonders”.

It was bad enough when the bright red signs went up around town, for the first seminar. “Red Hot Marriage”, they read. And then every resident was mailed a bright red postcard advertising the seminar. It was held by a noted Christian author and counselor. When people asked if that was my church, I would just laugh and say I didn’t know much about it because I wasn’t married…..

Now we have this new seminar. It is given (but not free!) by a husband and wife team. They are Christian counselors, authors, and college instructors. They are highly renowned, and live in the area. The bottom of the screen on the ferry said they had appeared on many TV shows, including Oprah. I’m sure there will be a book table in the foyer. A smiling team of members are signed up to be hosts.

Did Jesus say to go and give relationship seminars, and therefore be happier, more spiritual, more dedicated to God, and spread the gospel and increase your membership? Did He say that books on spirituality tell of Him? Do we really need to learn to love, if we have the spirit of God, who is love, inside of us?

When I first believed, the people I fellowshipped with loved each other. We weren’t taught it. We did it because it was in us by grace, in our very hearts. It oozed out effortlessly. If it has to be taught, it isn’t grace!

What can be taught is who we are in Christ, and what we are called to do. Go, make disciples, baptize in Jesus’ name, announce the good news of the kingdom, heal the sick, liberate the spiritually oppressed, and raise the dead!

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