Friday, March 28, 2008

A letter from Jesus

What if Jesus Christ wrote a personal letter to your local church? In Revelation 2-3, Jesus wrote to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. To those who were persevering in faith, He gave tender words of assurance. But to those who were compromising and disobeying, He offered a stern warning.

What would Jesus say if He wrote to your church? That's exactly what a friend of mine, Chips Ross, recently asked his congregation at Forest Ranch Baptist Church. And for two Sunday nights, they drafted a letter of what Jesus might say to them. (It's helpful to know Forest Ranch is a small community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, just north of Chico, California). Here's the letter...

To the messenger of the church in Forest Ranch:

The One who sees into the deepest woods1, who is faithful to even a few, and who reigns over the trees and hills, says this:

I know your deeds, that you have persevered, worked hard, and have been faithful as a tree remaining firm in the midst of storms.

But I have this against you: you have sat like an old tree with too much fill around you2 and you have each pursued your own trails3.

Therefore, repent, lest I close the yellow gate4 before you. Come alive as a poppy and be faithful as the sun that rises over the mountain.

To him who overcomes, I will make him to be a conifer, standing tall and straight, in the land of my God and to be red dirt5 that remains through all.

Let him who has ears hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

1 – Pictures that Jesus sees all and thus knows all
2 – Pictures complacency; become like the culture around and thus have begun to rot
3 – Being independent from God and from each other
4 – Yellow gates are put up to close mountain trails
5 – Red dirt of Forest Ranch that clings to your clothing and can never quite be washed out; once it’s on, it’s on.

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