A September Note from Pastor Tom

How many of your friends are “Heathens”? 

The third section of our Northwest Hills Community Church Vision Statement is:
“Reaching out to All People.”

The Mission of God through His church (All Followers of Jesus) is for All of us to Go andShare the Good News: that through Jesus we can be forgiven, freed from the bondage of sin, be transformed by the renewing of our minds to be like Jesus, like God, and to find purpose in our existence by joining part of something much bigger than ourselves.

So what’s stopping us?

Tyler Joseph of Twenty-One Pilots (a popular band with young people) just landed his latest single on the soundtrack of a new movie “Suicide Squad.” The song is titled “Heathens”. Here is part of the chorus:

"All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don't make any sudden moves
You don't know the half of the abuse”

When I heard these lyrics Wednesday night for the first time, one of my favorite scriptures came to mind. In fact, it’s the one that our Monday morning High School Prayer Breakfast memorized last fall:

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ… Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” —Colossians 4:3-6

This scripture instructs us to make the most of every opportunity, be ready to prayerfully proclaim Jesus’ name to outsiders as an answer to their questions in a way that communicates grace.

Later in his song “Heathens” Tyler Joseph says:

 “Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn't mean our brains will change from
hand grenades” and…

“We don't deal with outsiders very well
They say newcomers have a certain smell
Yeah, I have trust issues, not to mention
They say they can smell your intentions”

I believe he may be referring to the judgmental thoughts (in our brains) we sometimes have toward “heathens”; people that are not like we see ourselves, who can ‘smell’ our attitudes towards them, ‘blowing up’ our opportunity to share with them “who we know.”

If this is true we need to consider where we came from and understand where they currently are…

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” —Ephesians 2:3-5

Tyler’s next lyric reminds us who is around us, and how we find ourselves sitting next to them in everyday life without really knowing them…

“You're lovin' on the psychopath sitting next to you
You're lovin' on the murderer sitting next to you
You'll think, how'd I get here, sitting next to you?”

I’m reminded of Jesus words… “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” and “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

After all I've said, please don't forget where you came from, where Christ has placed you and what He has asked all of us to do in response to the words of one who Jesus saved: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” —1 Peter 3:15

Pastor Tom