I grew up in a Christian home. I went to a Christian school. My dad made sure I was at every church event every time the church opened its doors. So how come if I died when I was 15, I would have gone to hell not knowing Jesus? How is it possible to grow up in church and not be in a life transforming relationship with Jesus?
I don’t know about you, but I heard the Gospel a lot. I heard a lot of sermons and I have hear a lot of preaching. I heard that if you give, you will be blessed. I heard that if you go to church, you will always have friends. I heard if you follow Christ you will be happy.
What I experienced was pretty different. I saw my dad give faithfully while we struggled financially as a family. I went to church and I was still lonely. And the church goers around me were far from happy, many of them were some of the most miserable human beings you would meet.
What I heard from the pulpit and what I experienced, did not line up. I heard the Gospel but I didn’t see it work until I was 16. In high school, I got to know Caleb Schafer and I saw how prayer and seeking Scripture kept him from making the mistakes most of his peers were making. I saw James and Tiffany Dewhurst who loved Jesus and loved people. They were genuinely happy about the life God called them to.
I heard a lot about Jesus, but seeing Him in the lives of Caleb, James, Dwight, Millie, Mr. Gibson and so many more influential people was life transforming. We can talk about God all we want and we can debate theology all day… I say we but I mean anyone else but me. Just saying, it is possible to debate Biblical interpretation all day. But what really changes lives? When we act upon the words of God found in Scripture and revealed in prayer.
It’s one thing to talk about the teachings of Jesus, it’s another thing to see them in how someone parents, or work at their job. That is when you see if the Gospel works. That is why we are called Canvas Church, because we want our lives to be a canvas that displays God’s transforming love.
That is also the first core value of Canvas I want to share with you, We value an actionable gospel over debatable theology. There are so many things Christians argue over and my response is, “who cares?” "When is Jesus coming back?" Who cares?! But we can act on the fact that Jesus is coming back and share His love with everyone we meet!
What action does God want us to take after hearing the word? James 1:22 reads, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Think about that. When we hear but do not do, we deceive ourselves. Reading the Bible can actually deceive us! How? When we read the Bible before we go to bed and check off the fact that we did our devotion but our heart is not more connected to God and our behavior towards people is not conformed to the standards of Scripture, we have deceived ourselves. I do not want to deceive myself, instead I want my life to be a canvas that displays God’s love. That is why Canvas values an Actionable Gospel.