BY PAUL DUNK
Do you remember way back in May 2007, Charlie and his brother Harry were sitting on a chair when Charlie bit Harry's finger? The little guys broke the internet.
Do you remember the double rainbow of 2010?
Here we are now - entertain us. ~ Kurt Cobain
Like myself, you probably laughed at Charlie, the double rainbow and the innumerable amount of funny videos that went viral since.
Needless to say, these two videos are old news and the next big thing is being uploaded as I type this.
We love the next big thing.
The next innovative thing.
The next money making thing.
The next fashionable thing.
The next technological thing.
The next entertaining thing.
The next fitness thing.
The next dietary thing.
The next funny thing.
Here we are now. entertain us.
As preachers, we have to deliver a message every seven days. As worshippers, you are on the receiving end those messages - every seven days. We all come to worship - every seven days.
Now, according to Jesus and the New Testament, He's supposed to be smack dab in the centre of our worship - every seven days. Gathering around the same thing seems like a pretty tall order for people who are always in search of the next big thing.
Now, if us preachers present the gospel repeatedly in anticipated ways, with predictable phrases and pithy go-to sayings, we are inviting you to nod off.
Here's the challenge. If, for fear of your impending boredom, we don't preach about Jesus - every seven days, we've abandoned our call.
Preaching is, quite literally, proclaiming Christ and Him crucified. It's supposed to be our jam. So if we aren't speaking about Him, there's someone more qualified to speak to you about the topic we decided to speak to you about.
Full disclosure here: if us pastors get off the Christ Alone bus, we're of very little value to you. We're not as inspiring as Margaret Thatcher, we don't have the business acumen of Ken Blanchard and we're not nearly as entertaining as Jimmy Fallon.
As Jared Wilson states in his book Gospel Wakefulness, "We must routinely present the unchanging gospel in a way that does justice to its earthshaking announcement. This doesn’t mean we need to set it up with a power ballad or dress it up. It means we present it like life or death stuff."
If it's not important to us as worshippers that Christ is presented weekly from the scriptures, or that our children grow up learning God's law and God's gospel, we will come into our churches like viral video junkies, tired of yesterdays-news-Jesus, looking for the preacher to give us our next double rainbow.
If Christ doesn't need to be central, then any talk that inspires us to be better people is cool beans. Jesus got airtime in the last series, so this next series is about me? Perfect. Hearing about Jesus every seven days seems like overkill anyhow. Besides, I don't care if my kids are taught the actual bible, so long as the teaching helps them develop good morals and ethics. Plus they like the roller coaster in the world class children's program.
Here we are now. Entertain us.
Over in the other ditch, our ears can itch in a different way. In that ditch we're so bored with the Lord, we assume Christ, bypass His grace and go straight to intellectual stimulus via academic lectures that are so theologically nuanced, Christ ends up playing the background to the finer points of theology. While our airtight doctrine is presented with a level of accuracy that would rival the church fathers who crafted the Westminster Catechism, the power of Christ and His grace can still be conspicuously missing from those types of sermons.
We can puff our chests out because our children memorized the catechisms, but if Jesus isn't front and centre, they can grow up to be like mechanics who know where all the bolts go but have never experienced the joy of driving with the wind in their hair. They're bored with the Lord too.
Here we are now. Entertai... meh. Intellectually stimulate us............................