Most of my life I have I sort of gotten a kick out of confusing people. I know, that sounds strange, but it’s true. I hate being put into a box, I am uncomfortable with titles, and I love to change assumptions every chance I get.
about 6 yeas ago, while we were in the early stages of starting Finding Life Church, I was waiting tables at a local place here in Omaha called Wheatfields. When I started working their, I was determined to keep my, “Other job,” a secret from my fellow co-workers for the purpose of allowing them to get to know me before they found out I was a pastor, and wanted nothing to do with me. I made it about 6 months without anyone finding out. I went to parties in their homes, stayed out late with them in local pubs, and they just became my friends. To this day, many of them are still my friends. I have had the honor of officiating the wedding of 7 of my Wheatfields friends. So many beautiful people.
I remember the day I was outed like it was yesterday.
One of the other servers had mutual friend of mine that had another friend who shared the link to one of my sermons on Facebook, and somehow the pieces were put together, and she came to work that day, primed to collapse my house of cards. It was so interesting to hear the different responses from the people I had worked with every day for 6 months. Most people just thought it was funny, but one girl in particular had a different response. She came into the kitchen and yelled at the top of her lungs… I seriously think the entire restaurant heard it….
“Jake, how could you not tell us that your are a pastor!”
And then she stormed out.
I caught up with her a few minutes later and said,
“Come on, you aren’t really mad at me right?”
To which she responded…
“Yes I am mad, if I would have known that, I would have acted completely different around you!”
I turned to her and I said,
“I know, and that’s exactly why I didn’t tell you. I knew that your assumptions about who a pastor is, would have kept you from ever being willing to get to know me.”
She agreed, and said, I will never forget it…
“Well, you aren’t like any pastor I have ever known.”
I had the honor of officiating her wedding 5 years later. Tara, if you read this, thanks for the inspiration, and thanks for being an awesome friend who taught me so much.
I learned something about myself from this interaction. I love changing assumptions.
Jesus, loved to change assumptions too. I think He loved it so much that He often times did things just for the sake of confusing people. I could give examples, but this thing would get really long. He loved keeping people on their toes. Why? Because changing things is at the very center of the heart of God. In fact, the very purpose Jesus came to this earth for, was to flip, or reverse, everything about it. To turn things upside down, to alter the social contract, to change assumptions, to reverse the course of human history, beginning with what it valued.
Advent Gift #19… The gift of reversal.
The heart of God for turning things upside down is seen in the Christmas story itself right?
King born in a stable? It’s not normal… it’s not what you assume. But the details of the story, are only the beginning. It’s Jesus’ intended purpose for coming to earth that reveals the value of reversal in the heart of God.
The Bible, throughout, is littered with reversal imagery…
The Blind will see.
The lame will walk.
The deaf will hear.
Rivers will run in dry wastelands.
Slaves go free.
Not only did God use language to convey this value, but then Jesus came to the earth, and started living it.
He touched the untouchable.
He called the little children to himself.
He sat and ate with prostitutes.
He made more wine for drunk people, so that they could keep drinking. (Amazing story)
God, made into human flesh, is a reversal in and of itself.
But the greatest reversal of all, that was made possible by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is found in what He longed to reverse in the human heart.
He wanted to take broken, selfish, rotten, ugly, messed up, dying people, and change them into,
Mended, Beautiful, reconciled, life-giving, righteous, even holy…
Not because you and I are actually capable of being holy, in our own strength we are not, but because in Him, we can be. He invited us to put on His righteousness in exchange for our mess. Because of Christmas, I get to cloth myself in the holiness, in the righteousness, in the perfection of Jesus.
Now, I am perfect. I am holy.
Don’t believe me? Check it out…
And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness
This is what God does. This is what Jesus came to accomplish.
This means that right now… in Christ…
If you are hopeless, He wants to restore your hope.
If you are enslaved, He wants to set you free.
If you are broken, He wants to heal, and restore.
If you are humiliated, He wants to raise you up.
If you are insecure, He wants to fill you with confidence
Not matter what you are feeling, walking through, or sitting in, Jesus wants to take it, and turn it upside down. He wants to do a reversal in your heart and life. Today, even now.
Believe it today. Believe it for he rest of your life.