(Originally posted on my blog Sept 2005)
How many times do we over-promise on church.
Over the years I have been to gatherings with 10,000 people where revival was promised (it never came), read books that promised me the ultimate marriage, the deepest possible relationship with God, the most superlative whatever. You name it, we've promised it.
I've also got memories of seeing dozens of people over the years being prophesied over, 'I see you changing a generation'. Given that maybe one or two people have that kind of influence historically, there are a lot of disappointed people out there, who that has not come true for.
So we move away from this stuff but what are we promising? I'm still reading, hearing, seeing promises of the newest and latest, it might now be called holistic, incarnational, missional, emerging, but in the enthusiasm of us involved, are we over promising again? We can now all be freed from the evils of the modern church to be 'authentic' and 'real', we can all be missional revolutionaries now.
But are most people going to reach this promised state of self-actualisation and revolutionary mission? I'm all for calling each other to radical discipleship, but if we over-promise, we'll leave people wondering what was that all about, it didn't happen for me.
How about some books on 'the half good marriage', 'the routine and slightly sustainable quite time', '10 possible, maybe thoughts, that could be wrong about leadership', 'limping through life and knowing christ', 'managing to finish, just'
The miracle of faith for me is that Christ comes to our messy broken lives, the common experience of humanity, our constant fears, failing, brokenness, and pain, and transforms them. Despite our struggles, our inability to cope at work, wishing we were someone else, carrying around the hurts from the past, marriages that are strained, identity issues that are crippling, finances that are stretched beyond control, doubts and questions that overwhelm us...He comes and transforms all those things, into life and living. Now that's something we can promise.