A Jesus Fish on your Back

What would it be like to live life with a Jesus Fish on your back?


Good morning.  My name is David Sorn.  Pastor of Renovation Church
We are doing 1 more stand alone-message today
Next week:  To coincide with the re-launch of our house groups, we are starting a new series called, “Radical Grace.”  
Grace is something that I don’t think we understand very well on multiple different levels and at multiple different stages of our faith, so I think it’s going to be an exciting series

This morning though, I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while
And it’s related to something that’s deeply ingrained on my heart:  reaching other people with the good news of Jesus Christ
If you’ve been at Renovation Church for a month or two, I hope our 3 core values are starting to at least slightly pop out at you
1) Community (HGs)  2) Encountering God (authentic service), 3) Evangelism (reaching people)
These are 3 things that when people ask you:  “What’s this new church all about that you are going to…that you could list
And this morning…I want to talk about the third one:  Reaching people
Because I think if God has moved in your life…you’ve realized He’s real, and He’s been good to you…you probably have a desire for other people to know that goodness too
It would be weird if you didn’t
When we experience something that is good, it’s a natural reaction to want to tell someone else
For instance, how many of you saw the movie, “The Blind Side?”
I still haven’t seen it (gonna rent it), but when it came out, I hadn’t really even heard of it, but they say, it was one of the biggest “word of mouth” movies of the last couple of years
Seriously, 10+ different ppl have told me to go see the movie
Or, remember 10 years ago or so, when Krispy Kreme came to MN?  
One of the first one’s opened in Maple Grove, and I was at college in St. Cloud at the time, and you would hear about people who had them while home on break, and then all of a sudden all of these people were driving down there
For something not good for you, but good
Because when you experience anything that’s good we naturally have an inward desire to let other people know about it

But, when it comes to Jesus, it’s kind of a different situation right
Because if you told someone to go see “The Blind Side,” no one is going to say, “I’m so offended you told me to go see a feel-good movie!”
But w/ Jesus, it’s different.  
Just spoke to a woman this week who told me that she mentioned something to her sister about God being able to help her in her life and her sister didn’t speak to her for a month
But, if you tell someone to go try a donut with 1,000 calories, they’re not going to cut off all relations with you
It’s a whole different ball-game when it comes to talking about Jesus
So, we’ve come up with some different ideas on how to do it…and some of them are terrible
I heard a story once about a young boy whose grandma was a bit of a fundamentalist, but she really wanted people to know Jesus…so she made her grandson ride along w/ her while she did what she called, “Tract Bombing”
You know what a tract is?   (explain)
So they would take 100’s of these, and drive into crowded streets downtown and she would make her grandson throw hundreds of them at once out at the crowds and then they would speed off…tract bombs
Another interesting idea to me is the “Jesus Fish on the back of the car” to mark you are a Christian
(Show plain Jesus Fish picture)
I’m not saying it’s wrong, or even a bad idea, I just think it’s an interesting one
I don’t know if you know this or not, but the fish was a key symbol for Christians…
For multiple reasons,
Jesus was a “fisher of men”
He multiplied the fish and the loaves
And a big reason was the greek word for fish: was ichthus, which Christians made into an acronym for (it’s in greek) Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”
(Show Greek Jesus Fish)
But the Jesus fish on the car thing is interesting to me for two reasons
It’s not bad…but (maybe I’m a cynic), but idk if it does a whole lot
And I guess maybe there are situations where someone’s crying out for God and then they see a Jesus fish, and change their life…but I’m guessing it doesn’t happen a lot
But the more interesting thing to me is how many times I hear Christians say, “I would never put a Jesus fish on the back of my car”
Cuz you all drive crazy!!  Or at least you’re not perfect
You cut people off sometimes, maybe you ride their bumper, some of you drive too slow, you don’t use your blinker enough, sometimes you even get in accidents and hit other people’s cars
And we know we’re going to make people mad on the road, and the last thing we want is for them to get mad at Jesus too
So we forego the whole Jesus Fish emblem on our cars

And I think there’s something really telling about that
Not because the Jesus Fish is an amazingly effective evangelism tool, but because I think it’s a telling statement about us
We’re simply not interested in “always, 100% of the time” being a witness for Jesus Christ
Please don’t hear this wrong:  I’m NOT telling you to go buy a Jesus Fish (I don’t care if you have a Jesus fish.  This message has 0% to do w/ whether you should have a Jesus Fish on your car)
It’s just that I find it SO interesting that SO many of us wouldn’t want one (not because we think they’re dorky, or we think they’re ineffective)…we wouldn’t want one because then we would have to be a witness for Jesus Christ 100% of the time in the car.
And THAT’s what I find interesting…
I have a friend who bought a used car with a Jesus fish on the back, and he just said to me honestly, “I don’t know what to do because now I’m going to have to drive differently if there’s a Jesus fish on there, BUT on the flip side, I’m going to feel pretty bad chiseling Jesus’ fish off my car too
And that got me thinking about this whole thing…
What if, the Jesus fish (which on your car marks you are a Christian), what if it wasn’t just an emblem you could buy at some gas station for $5 and put on your car…
What if (and think about this) whenever a person became a Christian a symbol of the Jesus Fish automatically appeared and floated behind your back for the rest of your life?
You know those Arby’s commercials where the Arby’s logo floats above the person’s head?  (I’m thinking Arby’s)
Show Arby’s Picture
Just picture a Jesus Fish Symbol floating behind every Christian’s back for the rest of their lives
And now ask yourself…how would you live differently?

Because really, that’s how we’re called to live
I want to take a look at important verse in the Bible
An important and challenging one
(Colossians 3:17) – NLT
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative
Those are tough words
The interesting reality is though:  A lot of people don’t know you’re a representative of Christ…because, just like everyone else, we can compartmentalize our life
We only have to be a representative at church, or with our Christian relatives or parents
But imagine with me a whole day or having the Jesus Fish symbol floating behind your back
You wake up, drive to work, stay at home, get to work, drive home (listen to), what you watch, what you do on the weekends (places you go)
Well in real life, we don’t have a Jesus fish on our back
And sadly, because we don’t have anything like that, we only live and speak as a representative of Jesus Christ…sometimes
But if we’re going to create change in this world…if we’re going to let other people know about how GOOD God is, then we better start living like there’s actually a Jesus Fish on our back
Because, for most of you, a lot of people DO know you are a Christian, (maybe even more than you want in some settings…if you were brutally honest), and if we as Christ-followers, if we as Renovation Church, are going to bring change to our friends and family, we are going to have to face up to the fact, that for a lot of people, you are the closest thing they know to Jesus
They don’t know Jesus, but they do know you, and they know you’re trying to follow him, so for them, YOU are the closest thing
Donald Miller says something really interesting in his book, “Blue Like Jazz.”  He basically says, “For most people, their image of Jesus is just a conglomeration/a combination of all the Christians they know put together, YET, a lot of non-Christians feel, when they think about their image of Jesus, that if they were to meet Him, that He wouldn’t like them. “
And that should break your heart
Because God is desperately in love with every human being and wants to rescue every single person.  
No matter where they’ve been.  No matter what they’ve done.

We have to be serious about living for Jesus Christ in EVERYTHING we say, in EVERYTHING we do.  
Life is short.  It’s a blink of an eye.  This is why you’re here. This is what you’re to train for.  This life is just a testing ground for the real thing.
We don’t have time to compartmentalize our faith and take months off at a time
But if you want to really stand out for Christ (and notice it’s not just in words…this is not talking about street evangelism here), it’s talking about your life…and if you want to really stand out…and you feel God pulling on your heart right now…saying, stand out…get serious about this…get going on this…
Then you better make sure your motivations are right
Because if it’s just about you trying harder, it’s gonna last all of about 2 days
This passage “Whatever you do or say, do so as a representative of Jesus Christ” (this verse is worthy of being on your door mantle, your screen saver, your phone), but it doesn’t come out of nowhere…it comes from a longer passage in the book of Colossians
Let’s look at the beginning of it
(Colossians 3:1-5) – NLT
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. 5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world
The list goes on, and then he mentions the positive things we should strive for as well
READ the rest of this tonight…or tomorrow
Start reading the Bible again in Colossians
And after Paul lists all of these things, he tops of the whole section with that great saying, “Whatever you do or say, do so as a representative of Jesus Christ
You’ve been forgiven by Jesus Christ!  You are loved by Jesus Christ!
If there’s one thing you pray about every day, let it be a prayer of thankfulness that Jesus died on the cross for you
Because if we let that slip from our memory, if we start to forget that this life is just a blink of an eye, and half of humanity will go its separate ways in eternity, if we start to forget that we’ve been “bought with a price,” then we’ll start to fool ourselves into thinking that our every word and every deed don’t really matter that much
But they do

So, as a start, maybe it is a helpful image for you to picture a Jesus Fish floating behind your back this week, this year
It’s a good way to start auditing yourself.  To start noticing where you are maybe missing out on being a representative of Christ
But let me offer you a last reminder from our reactions to not wanting a Jesus fish on our car
I personally have never wanted one because I know I’m not a perfect driver
Sometimes I’m really in a hurry, and I drive to fast
Just the other day, my car slid on the ice and I almost hit someone
So, in my thinking, I don’t want the world to know I’m a Christian while I’m driving because I know I’m not perfect.
But even that thinking is flawed
Because in similar fashion, we all too often delude ourselves into thinking, we better not let anyone know we are Christian in this particular setting because we are just going to mess it up and be a bad representative
So we decide in our heads to just keep quiet and therefore not having to worry about not living up to the right standards
But listen, let’s be different as a church…as a group of people…let’s do everything we can to live for Jesus Christ with our heart and every situation…
But let’s also be an authentic group of people…
A people willing to say, “Yeah, I’m trying my hardest to live for God, but you know what, I’m not perfect.  In fact, I’m kinda messed up.”
That’s why he came to die for me.  And came into my life
And he wants to come into yours too
Let’s live authentically…but also, let’s live passionately for our God!
Let’s pray.

If you look under your chair right now, you should see a connection card and a pen.  Go ahead and pick those up.
One of the things we do every week at Renovation Church, is fill out these connection cards.
It’s a way for you to connect with us and for us to connect with you.  
While you are filling them out, I want to let you know that our House Groups are re-launching starting next week
What’s a house group?  
They are our version of small groups, but the difference is we put 25 people in one house
(kind of like having 4 or 5 normal small groups together under one roof)
Half Large Group.  Half time in small group
Part of the idea of having them larger is helping you find people you feel comfortable with
We let you try different small groups in the house until you find the best fit
And in fact, if you want, you can even try different houses…
Meet once a week  in people’s houses from our church.  So we’re not asking to meet in your home or anything if you sign up
Try it for 4 weeks
Sign-Up in Hallway after the service
1 of our House Leaders will be in hallway
Ask Questions
Groups start next week (the week of the 10th)
And if you signed up this fall and were a part of our fall house groups, you don’t need to re-signup or anything

We are going to take an offering now as well
An act of worship for a God who has given us so much
If you’re a visitor, feel free to let the offering cans just pass you by
As the offering goes by, you can stick your connection card in there as well
Let me just pray for the offering quick
Let’s pray.  

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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