Open Letter to Myself and My Sisters and Brothers at Abundant Life

Pastor Jeff and Friends,

I became aware of your ministry last night while watching Channel 8 news.  Click on this sentence to go to the link where you can watch the news story.

In the interest of fairness, I did review your website. I thank God for the wonderful ministry you offer to our community. I commend the way you have crossed usual boundaries created in many of our homogeneous congregations. I hear a clear call for serious discipleship in all you and in Pastor Jeff’s sermons. I can imagine how lives are changed in your Connect groups.My stomach sickened as I watched a reporter  paint the Christian faith in ways that was in-congruent to my sensibilities. (More about that later.) I regret I was unable to access the entire text of the message  or the whole of the service. Perhaps you felt the same as you saw the televised report.

However, the way it was reported how you emphasized the support the Rangers and Mavericks by wearing World Series gear and praying for our hometown teams is what spurred this response. What I saw reduces the Christian faith to a popular theology that has little kinship to the way I understand New Testament Christianity. I imagine a nomadic rabbi named Jesus challenging the success model of professional sports. I can envision the man from Galilee weeping over the stadium as resources are so ridiculously wasted, while many suffer within a few miles of the revelry. My mind’s eye captures Jesus saying, “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

I too am a huge sports fan. I too have forgotten the principles of my faith in the midst of my fan mania. I am not casting the first stone. I have to speak because my soul was awakened after watching the the feature last night.  I kept asking the question, “What is the difference between the faith portrayed by the package on WFAA and a religious leader standing in the middle of frenzied members who are clutching their amulets in hopes their God’s would smile on them?” I realize this oversimplifies all you do, but it still raised the question.

I pray the spirit of my letter is not misunderstood. I simply want to essence of our Christian faith to be recaptured. Our world needs to see disciples of Christ offering themselves freely and sacrificially to others without concern for self, because they are people who trust that God knows what to with a life lived like their Savior. May we all portray more clearly the call of our faith that takes up our cross to follow the man of a cross, grave and new life? 

Serving together with you in Christ,

Russell Floyd

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