Merging faith with Jesus by Pastor Ron


Coloring Outside the Lines

I must make a confession. I’ve never been able to color inside the lines. I know I’m supposed to. That’s what my teachers tried to teach me back in elementary school. Yet, I’ve always felt that there is more picture to be colored and experienced than just what is placed within the lines or even within the margins of the page for that matter.

I met a Lutheran pastor some time ago in a small town in Indiana who said it was impossible to grow his church because there weren’t many Lutherans living in the area. This pastor, God bless him, was stuck thinking that his church and ministry was confined by the rigid lines on the page. Instead, I believe that life is to be lived by coloring the part of the picture that has not yet been dreamed of or set in stone.

Coloring outside of the lines has been a constant in my life. I’m a pastor, but I have an earring and wear leather jeans from time to time. My best friend doesn’t live in a nice house amid a nice neighborhood, but is an inmate in prison learning how to start life over again. I love people living on the margins and I’ve been known to give up my last dollar so that a family in need can buy groceries. I passed up jobs pastoring big churches (with bigger salaries than what I’ve ever had before) to work part time at Meijer and launch a new Christian community in town for free. (Hey, you got to follow God’s voice when He speaks!) People think I’m crazy. I’ve been called too religious, and when I moved into town 10 years ago good church folk said I would never fit in.

Coloring outside of the lines can cause a lot of tension for good, proper folk. I’m not worried about what worries them. I’m more concerned about living my faith where Jesus is. Jesus dwells outside of the lines, outside of the boat, and calls us to come to him walking in faith where no one else goes.

It’s a faith that compels shepherd boys to stand up to giants (1 Samuel 17:40-47), widows to use the last bit of flour and oil in the cupboard to feed strangers (1 Kings 17:7-15), and fishermen to walk on water in the midst of a raging storm (Matthew 14:25-29). Like the Apostle Peter I find myself saying, “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” Let me join you in living faith outside of the box.

You see, our Savior does not intend for our lives or our faith to be constrained by man-made lines or margins. After all, he colored outside the lines himself, dining with tax collectors and sinners, touching lepers and refusing to let God’s love to be silenced by the rigid margins of death on a cross and being placed in a sealed, stone cold tomb. Living faith with Jesus is an outside of the box experience and Jesus wants you and me to color outside of the lines so others can experience a picture of life the way God intended it to look like.

Thus, I believe that God intends this new church start to be an out of the box, pioneering experience. It’s not about coloring in the same areas as other churches, it’s about touching people, crossing lines, drawing and coloring God’s dream for new life in families and neighborhoods that other churches see as being beyond their margins.

It’s about living the prayer that Jabez prayed in 1 Chronicles 4:10, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory” beyond the lines, out of the margins and off the page so that those who have yet to hear and experience the God who breaks open sealed, stone cold tombs might experience the life He has intended them to live in Jesus’ name.

Ever feel like coloring outside of the lines? You’ve got Jesus’ permission, and this just might be the right type of church for you. It’s all about living faith outside of the box!

It’s What’s Inside that Counts!


People always say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!” I’ve learned that to be so true! Too often people judge you by the way you look. If you’re well dressed, they think you’ve got money. If you’ve got tattoos and piercings, people think you’re a rebel without a cause. Yet, I’ve learned over and [...]

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