Does Jesus Belong To Me?

In his book The Call to Conversion, Jim Wallis points out that the most commonly asked question in evangelism today is, “What can Jesus do for me?”Potential converts are told that Jesus can make them happier, more self-satisfied, better adjusted, and more prosperous.  Jesus quickly becomes the supreme product, attractively packaged and aggressively sold to a consuming public.  Complete with billboards, buttons, and bumper stickers, modern evangelistic campaigns advertise Jesus in a competitive market.  Even better than Coca Cola, Jesus is ‘the Real Thing.’…Modern conversion attempts to bring Jesus into our lives rather than bringing us into his.


This approach to evangelism was personally illustrated for me by the Youth Evangelism Conferences I attended as a teenager.  Thousands of young people would gather in a large auditorium.  There they would experience a fast-paced, super-slick, and highly energized sales-pitch for Jesus. The high point for the gathering would always be the testimonials of satisfied customers—usually Joe Jock and Cherie Cheerleader.  These two attractive, articulate, and popular young people would talk about the struggles of being a teenager and how Jesus had helped them to be so incredibly successful.


Now I never was the most athletic kid on campus.  I never was the most articulate, best looking, or most popular kid on campus.  This being the case, sometimes I wondered what was wrong with me.  I had done what the preachers told me to do.  I had acquired the product.  I had made Jesus mine—but is wasn’t working.  I was neither successful nor satisfied.


Do you know what the problem was?  The problem was that some well-intentioned church leaders had accommodated the gospel to the prevailing wisdom of the world.  As a result I had been sold a worthless bill of goods. I had been told that the gospel was about making Jesus mine.  In reality the gospel is about Jesus making me His.


That’s grace!

What’s So Amazing About Grace? by: Philip Yancey publisher: Zondervan, published: 2002-02-01 ASIN: 0310245656 EAN: 9780310245650 sales rank: 4180 price: $2.93 (new), $0.01 (used)

In 1987, an IRA bomb buried Gordon Wilson and his twenty-year-old daughter beneath five feet of rubble. Gordon alone survived. And forgave. He said of the bombers, “I have lost my daughter, but I bear no grudge. . . . I shall pray, tonight and every night, that God will forgive them.” His words caught the media’s ear–and out of one man’s grief, the world got a glimpse of grace. Grace is the church’s great distinctive. It’s the one thing the world cannot duplicate, and the one thing it craves above all else–for only grace can bring hope and transformation to a jaded world.


In What’s So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God’s love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a world that knows far more of cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy?

Yancey sets grace in the midst of life’s stark images, tests its mettle against horrific “ungrace.” Can grace survive in the midst of such atrocities as the Nazi holocaust? Can it triumph over the brutality of the Ku Klux Klan? Should any grace at all be shown to the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and cannibalized seventeen young men? Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancey, but it treasures the sinner.


True grace is shocking, scandalous.


It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day. In his most personal and provocative book ever, Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of grace’s life-changing power. He searches for its presence in his own life and in the church. He asks, How can Christians contend graciously with moral issues that threaten all they hold dear? And he challenges us to become living answers to a world that desperately wants to know, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

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