Broken and Poured.

In recent months I have had the following conversation more than any other, “Jon, you changed.” Here’s why…

A few months ago there was a story in the Detroit Free Press about another large mega church building another multi-million dollar facility. The cost would surpass several million dollars. On the same page was another story about poverty and homelessness in Detroit. There is a disconnect. Houston, we have a problem.

Christianity has become used to golden harps, cushy buildings and its’ traditions. We have become less about the message and more about the method. Over 1 in 5 in the Detroit area live in poverty, yet over 70% according to http://www.city-data.com in the greater Detroit area claim to be Christian. There is a huge disconnect between what we believe and how we behave. How can a city drive in hummers to grocery stores and pass homeless families along the way?

There is a pattern here. We see the same pattern in the Bible. People obey God, people disobey God, people into bongage, religion fails, people repent, revival comes, deliverance to the people. I know this will rub some feathers, but we need less religion and more Jesus. Now while that is easily said on a blog it is not understood and definitely not applied. So here is the disconnect:

Recently, I had several pastors email me a link of a sermon preached by a well-known pastor/evangelist. The theme and point of the sermon was that we need to get back to old time fashioned, saw dust trail preaching, red hot screaming, traditional hymn music, standards proclaiming, conservative living Christianity. In the first few minutes of the sermon the sermon railed on going to movies, watching tv, ladies wearing pants, the evils of calvinism, how alcohol will KILL you and the evil infiltration of Islam. For nearly 20 minutes there was hooting and hollering about the need for a return to more conservative living because of how wicked the world is out there.

While I am not surprised by this, it deeply saddens me. We don’t need saw dust trails. We don’t need traditional living. We don’t need to preach against movies & culture. We don’t need to proclaim how terrible women are for wearing pants instead of skirts and we surely don’t need to be yelling about nonsense. Where was Jesus is that sermon? Where is the Christ who was called a drunkard and a ladies man because He hung around sinners? Where is the real Christianity that makes a difference? If all we need is to be old fashioned how come we are not going back even further? Which old fashioned way is the right way then? Conservative is determined by dates and times? How come we don’t do things like in the real old times-1400’s? or the dark ages? If old fashioned is the answer…aren’t you implying that religion works better than what Jesus said?

At the center of the Christian life experience is a crying out in our slavery and being heard by God. It is recognizing that we are nothing, our traditions are nothing, our religion is nothing. Only trusting in Christ will save us. Only obeying Christ will help us. This premise is missing. Many will say we believe in Christ to save us, but the actions that follow say “only our religion will keep us clean from the wicked world.” This is wrong. It is not Biblical.

Back to me…

We live in a world where 840 million people will go to bed hungry tonight. We live in a world where right now there are 27 million people still in slavery. We live in a world where 1 million people committ suicide each year. We live in a world where 4500 people will die in Africa this year alone from AIDS. We need Jesus to save our churches from the exile of irrelevance. I pastor a church in the worst economic city in the US. Our jobless and unemployment percentages are terrible. Yet it is in this city where there once stood old fashioned churches, they are closed today. I can drive to abandoned buildings where preachers railed on being conservative and now the building is dead and that church is meeting in a library. Being old fashioned works…if your old fashioned. But the rest of the world passed that era decades ago. Get with it. Preach Jesus in your context.

When a missionary goes to the foreign field to start a church and help people we expect him to learn the language and learn the culture. We expect him to wear what they wear and eat what they eat and go where they go; to be them so that the people can see Jesus in Him. Jesus didn’t go into Jerusalem and preach against drunks, prostitutes, clothing, wicked music and worldly culture…he preached against the pharisees. Against Old Fashioned Religion.

  1. We need to be broken.
  2. We need to see where our traditions take us – if your so conservative and religious…you’ll never get dirty reaching people that are filthy. You’ll stay in your ivory tower and look down on others that really need Jesus. You’re a pharisee. You’re legalistic. You’re wrong.
  3. We need to be poured out.
  4. We must see that if we are not missional, if we are not proclaiming the gospel to everyone and not just people like us…we are being religious and not obedient.

In the last 3 years I have lost many friends. Many people & pastors that I thought were my friends… weren’t. I’ve lost support. I’ve lost help that I have desperately needed simply over the fact that I am reaching people that would never come to your traditional church. While it has hurt to have people say negative things about me, to hear sermons about me, to read letters and emails from well-known pastors telling me I am “leading people astray and away from God”…it is awesome to know that God is still God and He is still right. I don’t write all this to tell you what to do…but to tell you why I am different.

You ask why I have changed……Jesus.

“O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalms 51:15-17

 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

let the redeemed speak louder,

jon jackson

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26 Comments

Filed under Lessons from life

26 responses to “Broken and Poured.

  1. Sonia clouse

    Very well written and well said. If only more people actually lived by that…

  2. I rejoice that you are preaching the gospel.
    In the end, you stand before God for you. I stand before God for me.
    That thought is enough to keep me occupied with the fields rather than picking motes out of other people’s eyes.

  3. John,
    Not often but occasionally there is a moment when I am able to say to someone, “I know how you feel”. This is one of them. When you take away “man” from the preaching of the types you were listening to, it quickly becomes evident that they have nothing to preach. WHAT ABOUT JESUS CHRIST!!!! It isn’t what a man puts in (or “on”) that defiles him, but what comes out of his heart that defiles him. If all that comes out is “law” and “man-rules” it seems evident that the possibility is great that grace is absent in their lives. What skirt ever saved a woman from hell? What drum, or electric guitar ever damned a young person to hell? We have people in our towns who don’t know a thing about Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, or Jack Hyles. But they do know they hurt, they do know the opposite of forgiveness. They do not know the Creator-God. I would rather lose my (so-called) friends and family, then to have their approval and fellowship and fail to present the power of God for salvation…the Gospel. Not that I don’t believe “sound doctrine” is important. IT IS!!!! But let’s define “doctrine” as the Bible does. That will certainly explain somethings. Thank you for this piece. I shout a hearty, “Amen!”

    • Nathanael Lindqist

      Indeed you are right. I heard one pastor make this statement. “I wan’t to take one of these nights to go back through the statement of our church and begin editing out something…” Now for a second I was a bit dubious as to his intent but he went on to say. We have several things in our statement, that although they sound good and spiritual, they are NOT primary requirements for fellowship in the word of God.” He went to state that these do not help make better Christians but instead cause division in the body of Christ. We have implemented piles of additional requirements in attempt to… do what?! Cause a greater unification between the brothers and sisters in Christ? Hardly. I’ve noticed even things I have done in my own life that I thought were to make Christ look good were in fact nothing more but to make ME look good. You know what I seem to find more and more when I witness to people? People that then go straight on and finish up the plan of salvation for me and tell me their saved. Saved? Really? and a few minutes before they were talking about how premarital sex was somehow a good and acceptable thing!! Now the first thing that comes to mind is… “well, they must not be saved” to which my view is this. If that were the case, then confusion has passed so thoroughly through the United States that the dividing difference between being a Christian and the world can no longer be delineated. Why is this?? Because (if I had to speculated based on watching results) that Christianity has become so watered down and diluted. NOT through lack of rules and standards but because the belief that somehow the method of old time religion and tight standards would somehow make up for the “gross incompetence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Gods children!!!!!” What? that sounds horrid in my own mouth to say and even let alone think! Now people would jump out of their chairs and go red in the face and say, “that’s disgusting you would accuse us of supporting that notion!” But is it? The methods employed? the screaming out sermons, scaring people into submission… (to a spiritual leader when it comes down to it) Ever higher and higher standards preached on in hopes that all those fences will somehow compensate to keep a Christian in the way that is right and that he should go. And for heavens sakes, don’t anyone DARE say anything using the words Christian liberty! That will get you the evil eye faster than using uranium depleted rounds at the Geneva summit. When was the last time anyone heard preaching in Ecclesiastes? And the Song of Solomon… well if many Christian leaders could do so and not be called heretics, those books would vanish. Which all points to the several evident facts.
      1. Implementation of a set of acceptable standards that everyone should follow. These will keep Christians on the right path. (Really, the Holy Spirit lost his power to direct and keep his own?!)
      2. Selective scriptures. Lets preach on law but not grace. Life by the law and standards but not life in liberty. “because although Christ said were free, he really should have kept us under the law because freedom leads to licence”
      3. Mans doctrine. “Just in case the Holy Spirit can’t get through to believers WERE there to help him but laying down these rules”
      And on and on. These things aren’t verbally stated as such but are all so evident.
      The primary doctrines of the church are necessary and required by God and then after that, I believe is the freedom each person has in Christ… free to do whatever Christ wants him/her to do, regardless if someone else is doing it or not. So much of the church these days reminds me of the passage in John I believe where Peter asks Christ about John, and to which Jesus answered “what is that to thee?” Or, what difference is it to you how I work in Johns life, you do what I tell YOU to do and stop being a busy body.
      The truth is, God told us to keep ourselves unspotted of the world and to help the fatherless and widows. He told us to work hard. He told us to mind our own business. He told us “and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, loving one another.”
      He didn’t laud the pharisees for straining a gnat and swallowing a camel.
      In fact, with them the fact came up that all those minute stipulations were in fact used to further they goals on earth or lift themselves up in the eyes of men. If my appearance is such that someone says, wow! look at his amazing walk with God, then I have failed. If they instead say. Man, that guy is sure nothing special but wow, look at what God has done for him! God is amazing! then I hope I have done what a good servant should do and brought the eyes of people to my master.

  4. Exactly why I changed. Jesus changes people not flaunting “Old Time Religion” and a denomination. Jesus plus nothing.

  5. Candace Ruth

    Very well stated. I wish more Christians had this mindset.

  6. Well put, from your heart, from the hip.

    I’m in.

  7. Todd Weaver

    Jon,
    You may have lost a few acquaintances, but you have gained a friend. You are spot on. Jesus did not come to please the right denomination or empire, but to give life. Keep building the kingdom!

  8. Brooke Saltsman

    Praise Jesus for what He is doing in your heart Jon. Hearing the kind of truth that you wrote here – Jesus’ truth – THAT is what makes me feel overwhelmed in His Spirit to make a difference. Thank God for truth that breaks the chains and sets us free to serve Him and others as He intended. Your ministry there is in my prayers!

  9. Danielle Surface

    SOOOO true…. I agree. You have changed.
    I am thankful to say that I have as well. The truth is powerful.
    Thanks for speaking it out, Jon. It’s all about Jesus, and He will keep revealing Himself!

  10. Nathanael Lindqist

    Your and encouragement and I mean that not in an off handed sort of way. I can’t say how lonely it feels. It seems like those that wish to be part of the world hit us on one side and those that wish to be the “devout to the letter, Bible preaching, Bible screaming etc…” are hitting is from the other. For years I have listened, I’ve heard these methods spoken of yet I have only one question to ask them. Not… “how many souls have you reached?” because Paul planted and Appollos watered but it was GOD that gave the increase. The Bible says that God’s word will not return to Him void. Souls are Christs fruit, not ours. Were delivering a message, that is it. But the fruit of the Christian, which would be the fruit of the the Spirit in our lives is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, TEMPERANCE. My question is, where is the fruit of the spirit being produced in the life of these “Methodists?” Because that is what so much has turned into. I’m not talking about the denomination Methodists, I’m talking about what so much of Christianity has become… a method. People are led to the Lord and then beaten and trampled by other Christians walking in outright obedience to the Word of God… yet because they do it in Christs name it is acceptable??? What has had be me pulling my hair out on top of it is the veneration given to these notorious “Christian” bullies. They’r abusive, cruel, backbiters, carrying around tales and false accusations (under the guise of “I heard it from a reliable source”) And yet somehow people, one after the other somehow believe they should build their churches on the advice of these men. So to find a preacher that has seen this, and is trying to make a difference, I praise God for.

    • Nathanael Lindqist

      Back up the page I meant outright disobedience to the Word of God. lol, Now if only this page had an edit button. Hope that clears it up though.

  11. Amen. If It hadn’t been for the RU ministry that reach out to me when I was a 112 pound meth addict I don’t know where I’d be. My IFB pastor who was a dear man thought it was most appropriate to send me to Hyles Anderson to get off dope. Thank God they weren’t preach rules but relationship at RU. Appreciated this post glad your reaching out. Welcome to the YR&R crowd my friend. -will

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