I had missed the Gospel

Things bounce around in my head. Ideas that are chewed on, processed for many days, they ramble about in the dimly lit corridors of my mind. I'll be focused at work, I can hold a conversation, but in the quiet moments, on my lunch breaks, or during my walks these ideas are there grinding themselves out.

Let me start at the beginning - a few nights ago, my roommate Karl and I were talking. If you've had roommates and close friends than you've probably had talks like this - at least I hope you have been blessed in this way. It was late, around 1 or so in the morning, so I don't really remember how we got around to listening to Matt Chandler sermons, and I don't really remember what the focus of this particular sermon was about - we listened to several parts of several sermons that night - but one part of this sermon really stood out.

Matt was telling a story about single mom that he knew when he was at college, and how he and some friends had been babysitting for her - they invited her to some church thing, I forget - what it was is not important, the message and his response are what stuck with me. This woman had been having an affair with a married man, at the time this story takes place. It must have been some sort of regular college youth group, cause he said that he did not know what that weeks sermon was going to be about. It was a sex/relationship sermon. Chandler describes it as one of the worst sermons he has ever heard. The preacher started by taking out a rose

~I'll stop here and let you all do what I did when I heard this - go ahead - guess what he's going to do with that rose ~

He praises it's beauty, talks about it, he is speaking to a crowd of about 1000, tosses it into the crowd telling people to pass it around, to smell it, touch it, and look at it.

Now right now, if you've grown up in the church - you know how this sermon will end. You know. You've probably seen it. You may have delivered a very similar sermon yourself. Hearing this story I knew how it would end, how it had to end.

So I sit there, listening to Chandler tell his story, about how the preacher yelled about syphilis, bellowed about clap, and when he was done - asked for his rose back, then holding up this broken, beaten flower, with the petals crushed and falling off. Holding up this rose, yell's at them - "Who would want a rose like this? WHO!?!?"

And up until this point -I had guessed right and was rather proud of myself for being so smart.

But the story, was not, is not over, there is more, and now Chandler is sounding a little passionate, and soon kinda ticked - you can hear that this story still gets under his skin - "It was all I could do" he says, "to stop myself from yelling "JESUS!!! JESUS WANTS THE ROSE!""

Jesus wants the rose.

I had missed the Gospel.

Jesus wants the rose, that has been trampled, Jesus loves the rose, not because of what it had been, not of what because of what it could be. He loves the rose as it is.

As it is.


So all that has been in my head.

Then tonight I had a run in with a young man that I know. You may know the type. Yellow teeth, smells like he has not showered in weeks - trust me I've worked at a Bible Camp for two summers - I know that smell. Rude, loud, abrasive, socially backward - shunned by his peers, angry. A few years ago, I saw this kid, this smelly kid with bad teeth, and a chip on his shoulder, and I thought - he needs a big brother. We played chess, he'd be all cocky, talking smack, and then manfully try really hard not to cry when his mistakes would cost him the game. I'd start with half the pieces, let him win a good portion of the games. He'd make a bad move, and we would talk about it, work the game out in reverse. At 17 he was rash, rude, and needed a lot of healthy attention, and hang out time. I realized just how much, when he got me to come over and work on a bike that he had obliviously broken just to get me to fix it. The more time I spent with him the more I realized that he needed it, and the more time and attention he wanted. I never saw his folks, but I could see that he needed love and tough love at that. The kid was rude. Just rude, in your face rude. I mean close rude talker with his bad BO and fuzzy teeth. It was weird, just weird - how he would want to hang out, act like he hated me, then call me again to hang out. It started to get old. He'd call - I'd be "to busy" - slowly he stopped calling.

Tonight I bumped into him at Starbucks. Quick talk - did not let him know my sister works there - did not want him bothering her. And as I got into my car and drove home - I'm thinking . . .

Jesus wants the rose.

Jesus wants the rose. He wants the broken roses I see. The yellow teeth, the rude, selfish, and smelly kid. Then as I drove down Main Street, I thought of all the people that loved a young, rude, selfish, smelly kid some 20 years ago, all those people that loved me, and it went one step further - it went from me seeing certain people around me as broken roses, broken roses that I need to love as Christ loves. It went further - I saw myself.

I saw and see my pride, my fear, my lack of trust. My self pity, envy, lust and greed. This broken rose has learned to hide his scars well - but there is One that sees all. He knows my heart, knows it far better than I.

and still - Jesus wants the rose.


  1. WOW... well said my friend
    Very powerful
    Thank you for sharing

    Thank you for the rose Christ loves.

  2. Awesome post. I haven't been stopping by lately and now I regret it. Great reminder to us all.