Oh @#$%, this is real

I can sit across the table and talk theology with anyone. In fact, I love to. I can sit across the table and talk church planting with anyone. In fact, I have done so for quite sometime now. My friends know me as the bold guy who says what others don’t, and isn’t afraid to get passionate or emotional. Because of this I spent the first few months of church planting afraid to be this guy. I limited myself to urging, and trying to compel for fear that I would blow too many people out of the water. That didn’t stick.

The past two months have brought “Old Matt” back. The guy who isn’t timid to passionately say what he wanted the church to look like. The guy who is ballsy enough to cut off some pieces of an already small tree, so that even if growth is small and slow, it is healthy growth. The guy who asks people to change their life plans, and be a part of what God is doing in this church plant.

I did that last one last night.

After it was over I got this horrible feeling in my stomach. I thought to myself, “Matt, you literally just asked a grown man to change his plans and compelled him to follow you. Are you crazy?” This morning, one thought has permeated my mind:

This isn’t a make-believe talk across the table. Oh @#$%, this is real.

Still, I can’t help but think: isn’t this what church planting is all about? Real lives. Sin being dealt with. People meeting Jesus. Hungry being fed. Single moms getting husbands and fathers for their children. This isn’t an across the table endeavor. Lives are at stake, people will get hurt. People will get saved. People will sin against one another and forgiveness will be needed. This is going to get bloody.

So now a verse I have never understood is beginning to take shape in my life:

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.”

In order to best understand this verse I did a crazy thing: I read the whole chapter.

The best way to understand what Jesus meant by that we must look at who he compares “violent” men to:

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge and you did not mourn’”

So now it makes since. Still it forces me to think:

Oh @#$% this is real.