‘I Never Knew Jesus Could Be Like This.’

“I never knew Jesus could be like this.”

These are words that have lived with me for the past 24 hours. They are words that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

I have a pattern in my post-church-service conversations. Guests are my priority to talk to. I try to connect to as many as possible. By the end of that time, I’m finally seeing and talking to long-time attenders. It is here, I could see a young woman out of the corner of my eye who’s been waiting patiently to talk to me. And she deposits these eight words within me:

“I never knew Jesus could be like this.”

Honestly, I didn’t associate it with my preaching or the song choices of the worship set. It wasn’t about the style of the service nor the denomination of the church.

She experienced the presence of Jesus.

And it was the experience of the morning. The greeters. The friendliness of the people. The intercessors in the prayer room before the service. Those who serve “behind the scenes” that makes a Sunday at Kfirst happen. The congregation capturing the heart of worship. The gathering around the sacraments. The local church lifted up Jesus. And because of that, she got to see him (Which is good, because it’s all about him and for him.).

The local church becomes the church when we make much of Jesus and not a personality in a pulpit. We become the kingdom when we point everyone to the “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, [to whom] be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17). And it’s in that place we can unleash our passion for him in worship. It is there we can humble ourselves and seek his face. We get to be vulnerable with our humanity by being real about ourselves and being real about who Jesus is.

And the beautiful byproduct of a local church doing this is people can see what Jesus is supposed to look like:

He is the Friend of Sinners.
He is the Hope for the nations.
He is the Healer for those in pain.
He is the Freedom for the oppressed.
He is the Liberator of the prisoner.
He is the Comforter of the hurting.
He is the Filler for those who are empty.
He is the One who revives us.

These are the essence of the words from the woman that have lifted my heart and challenged my soul.

Why challenged? While I celebrate being able to do this as a congregation on Sunday, how can we do this Monday through Saturday? I am encouraged in my heart but I am compelled to examine my life outside of Sunday gatherings. How can those in our sphere of influence experience that? What do we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that the people we interact with every day can say …

“I never knew Jesus could be like this.”

My prayer today is the words of an old chorus,

“Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me
Melt me, mold me
Fill me, use me.”

Here I am. Start with me.