Crazy for God
By Dr. Robert R. Kopp
Crazy for God
Not long before he died, Henri Nouwen wrote in Can You Drink the Cup? (1996), On that 21st day of July, 1957, when my life-long dream to become a priest was realized, I was a very naive twenty-five-year-old…I came out of it (seminary) all full of love for Jesus, and full of desire to bring the Gospel to the world, but without being fully aware that not everybody was waiting for me.
If youre like me, you can relate to that.
My first session meeting as pastor of Parkesburg, Pennsylvanias First Presbyterian Church comes to mind.
But before recounting that first pastoral sobriety check, let me tell you that there were two Presbyterian churches in Parkesburgthe alive and growing one and the one that called me fresh out of seminary to be their pastor.
Anyway, I was so psyched to get going for God that I brought a five-page, single-spaced, Roman-numeraled, church-growth manifesto to that meeting. With the precision and passion of an ecclesiastical rookie in the midst of women and men certified as elders, yet only coincidentally connected to Christology by sheeps skin, I jumped out of the boat and nearly drowned. As the last word came out of my mouth, a steely-eyed elder in his early fifties, which was but is no longer old for me, blurted out, Youre crazy if you think were going to do any of that!
So Ive learned to live with rejection over the years.
Im still crazy.
Most of us can relate to the late Erma Bombecks lament, If life is a bowl of cherries, why am I always in the pits?
The truth is, not every day is a hot fudge sundae.
Or as Jesus reminded, The rain falls on everybody (Matthew 5:45).
Some days really _____. You can fill in the blank according to your personal code of propriety.
But I have learned a few things in 50 years of life and 25 years of pastoral ministry; and if youd like a copy of Theses for Life and Ministry which are always evolving, send your e-mail address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearly, the most important experience of my life and ministry has been Gods grace.
I like how Paul experienced it: God proves His love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us (see Romans 5).
Certainly, Im not going to catalogue my sins for public consumption and spoil the hogwash of some in the shadows.
Besides, confession may be good for the soul, but it aint too hot for reputations.
So let me get to the point.
God loves you and me not because of who we are and what we do but in spite of who we are and what we do.
Thats the Gospel sealed by the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of God in Jesus.
Unless youre Gods other son, you know you dont deserve existential or eternal favor (see Romans 3:23).
Thats the bad news.
The good news is God loves us anyway.
And once we figure Him out, there wont be anything too crazy to do for Him.
Its hard to reject the One who accepts all.
Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.