Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

A Feel Good Jesus and a Feel Good Church

February 7, 2021
Mark Chapman

Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus was coming near Jericho, there was a blind man sitting by the road, begging.  (36)  When he heard the crowd passing by, he asked, "What is this?"  (37)  "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by," they told him.  (38)  He cried out, "Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!"  (39)  The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David! Have mercy on me!"  (40)  So Jesus stopped and ordered the blindman to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,  (41) "What do you want me to do for you?" "Sir," he answered, "I want to see again."  (42)  Jesus said to him, "Then see! Your faith has made you well."  (43)  At once he was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving thanks to God. When the crowd saw it, they all praised God.


Luke 19:1-10 Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through.  (2)  There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich.  (3)  He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd.  (4)  So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way.  (5) When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today."  (6) Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.  (7)  All the people who saw it started grumbling, "This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!"  (8)  Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much."  (9) Jesus said to him, "Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham.  (10)  The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

A Feel Good Jesus and a Feel Good Church

February 7 2021

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts be acceptable in

your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.


Growing up I would read the stories of Jesus

and as a teenager I git excited about this Jesus!

He travels through the country and as he does

things change.

People feel light

burdens are lifted

children are welcomed

women are affirmed

men see a new way of living.


Judgement is replaced with mercy

people actually start to feel good.

And they come to Jesus in droves.


The blind see again

the lame walk


And I can imagine that the word would go around,

Jesus of Nazareth

is coming our way

and people would go out to meet him and welcome him in.

When the rejected heard that he was coming they would cry out to Him.


A centurion looks for his arrival;

the leader of a synagogue

whose child is dying

hopes He will come his house and touch his daughter;

a woman bleeding uncontrollably, rejected by others

finds in Him salvation;

a mother with her baby in her arms;

a Pharisee,

a fisherman,

a prostitute,

all manner of people

felt good when he was around.


A blind man by the road and they tell him

Jesus of Nazareth is passing by

and his life changes.


And then I imagine the stories that would flow from those encounters

as people went home from their day

and talked about this man Jesus they had met in the street

or out on the road.

Talked about the things he had said;

retold his stories;

talked about the people he had touched

and how their lives erupted in joy.

It was exciting when Jesus came around.

People felt good at the sound of his name.


And I read these things and began to wonder how so many churches,

groups of people representing this one

who rocked his world with joy

could become so religious and joyless

and condemning.


And I began to have a vision of a congregation that could live within a community

and bring all the hope and the joy

into the lives of people

that Jesus brought.


At church that would have a reputation as a Good News Church.


Someone once described the church I was at as for forty years

as a feel good church!

It was meant as a criticism.

I took it as a compliment.


I took it as a compliment because

Jesus made ordinary people feel good.
I wanted to make people who came through the doors of the church feel good.

He made them feel loved

feel welcomed.

I wanted to make people feel loved and welcome.

He asked them to believe that God loved them with a passion

and would go to any length to protect them.

I wanted to get that same message across.


People like you and me felt good when Jesus was around,

and the community about us should feel good

that we are around.

And I hope that they do and will do more and more

as we become established

as a mission station.


I know of many, many parents and children

who feel good

because of the ministry

that Sara and her team carry out in this place.


If we are to be a Church of Jesus Christ, then we must make people feel good.

We must lift the loads off of people

We must affirm

family and the Grace of God

and understand the genuine cries of the hopeless and helpless

the lonely and the afraid.


Jesus said, Matthew 11:28-30  "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  (29) Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. (30)  For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light."


Doesn’t that make you feel good?


And on Sunday mornings

people must feel good.

I must feel good

and you must feel good

because if Jesus is here, his goodness is here.

And where Jesus is there is grace and mercy.


We read where Moses asks God

Exodus33:18-19  "Show me your glory, I pray."  (19) And God replies, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, …and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.


You see I don’t need to be told that I fall short of the goodness the glory of God.

I know that – it’s not rocket science.

I do need to be reminded that yet I am loved.

That I am understood at the deepest level;

that God has done

is doing

will do all that needs to be done

has needed to be done

to restore that broken relationship with Him.

That God chooses to me be merciful to me.


That God’s love for me is there in spite of my terrible report card.

A report card by the way that God has never thrown up in my face.


That’s why I love to belong to a people of Grace and Mercy

and forgiveness.

Because in the church

I feel good.


In the light of Jesus I feel good

in the arms of God I feel good.


So my dream has ever been for a church

that is outrageously good news for the community.


A church that will say to the community

and all who come from near and far

we love you

we do these things

we provide help and care

not so that you come along on Sunday morning;

not so you will think

like whoever the preacher, with their limit knowledge and wisdom thinks,

not so we can put you into a box and label you

not so we can judge you and control you.


We do what we do, because you, like everyone, needs to be loved

no strings attached.

Your burdens need to be lifted!

We do it so you will feel good about being human

and being a parent or a child


because you were created by a good God

who created a good world

and came as a good Saviour to make you feelgood.

And because you are worth it. Amen?


Secondly I dreamed of a congregation that could be a place of refuge

for wounded Jesus followers.

There are too many Christian leaders

with a small God

too many who have a control freak mentality and attitude

and so there is needed a place of refuge

for wounded Christians from any and every denomination in the church

where there is spiritual abuse.


So I dreamt of a place for when it was getting too much for them

the wounded could come and not be shot! Right?

The church often has been found to shoot their wounded.


So we could be a place they come to

not to become what we are

but to be affirmed in what they are,

and God’s calling upon their lives.

And maybe stay for a week or two or a season

to return to where they came from

hopefully renewed

hopefully feeling a little closer to God

a little more loved

a little more at peace.


Or  maybe stay

as with some of you

because you want to be part of such a great healing community.

And so you begin to believe in the vision of this place

and want to be part of it

and become a feel good Christian for others.


Sure, not everybody felt good when Jesus came by –

but I think that without exception they were

men of power; or religious leaders.

They hated Him.

Religious people don’t like Jesus.


People like that come to hear this message from time to time

and after trying to show me the error of my ways

God moved them to join others like themselves

which is good. God is gracious!

Keep all the negative people in one place –can’t do any damage!


I have always believed that there needs to be a people

who will be an oasis for those on a journey to the heart of God

who perhaps need breathing space

and a place of rest.


A people who are a refuge and a place of welcome and safety

for mothers and children from wherever.

For fathers, for whomsoever may come.

And that will happen if each and everyone of us

is that kind of a people.


You here at Beachlands-Maraetai are such a wonderful body of people

and the glory of God

his splendour, his goodness

shines out of your faces.

My prayer is that we will ever be a place of refuge

a place of hope

and a place of healing.

God has blessed you and you are a blessing!


Let us Pray. Now unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, be all the honour and praise. Amen

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