Rip out the carpets

Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.

We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.
Matthew 5:14 (Msg)

white-cross-on-black

Every Christian we meet is a person in whom Jesus lives;
every lost soul we meet is a person for whom Jesus died.

- Warren Wiersbe

White on Black

They were desperate.
Their drugs were all that mattered.
They didn’t want to waste a single rock.

So the contrast had to be sharp. They ripped all the carpets out of the room. And painted the floor black.

When they dropped the white, it’d show up best on black.

bobby-hayden-jr.Bobby Hayden was telling his story yesterday in the chapel at the Rescue Mission.

...to men and women who understoodthe homeless, the hopeless, the drug addicts—the ones trying to break free.

...and to men and women who wanted to understand more—the sheltered, the filled, the employed—the ones wanting to live even more free.

What contrast?

I felt the outward contrast. Even though I was in blue jeans like many others, I knew I still stood out. My clothes weren’t dirty. My hair was washed. I drove up in a car; I would leave in one.

I didn’t know all that Bobby was talking about.

  • I’d never been a rock star in L.A.
  • I’d never looked for fresh veins to shoot heroine in. (Sugar is my self-medicating drug of choice, through the mouth.)
  • I’d never spent even one night in a cardboard box, and certainly not ten years.

There’s a depth of darkness I’ve never seen.

But I do know the light Bobby talked about. 

Dead or alive

I wondered if the man on the third pew knew.  I watched him as Bobby spoke. He was a stone statue. His head was shrouded in a black hoodie. His heart was covered in a dingy flannel shirt.

He didn’t sing “I’ll Fly Away” when the others did. He didn’t lift a hand in praise. He didn’t sit close to friends.

He seemed dead.

Yet he’s the one. One that Jesus died for, still lives for. Jesus wants this man to see the contrast between dark and light.

As we say, Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.

He came to turn corpses of stone into breathers of life.

Light on dark

I’ve spent the last 4 months living in Romans 8. Day after day I’ve noted the contrasts: Flesh and Spirit. Death and life. Debt and freedom. Slavery and adoption. Against us and for us.

I know which side I’m on. Yet I want to breathe deeper still. I don’t want to be another suit and tie on a Sunday morning pew, sitting quietly by another suit and tie.

I don’t want to settle comfortably between good and better.

I want to rip out the carpets so I’ll be a bright light to a dark world.

Alive. Not dead. That’s the biggest contrast. That’s the one Bobby discovered in Jesus. That’s the one he was testifying about.

That’s the one he was preaching to the man in the black hoodie. And to the woman in the silver necklace.

Jesus is the light on dark. Rip out the carpets and see.

* * *

As a baby cried in the back of the chapel, and a mother put in a pacifier, I wondered if it was one our girls gave months earlier. And so it goes...

When have you seen Jesus the brightest?

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