A week ago, as I was driving down the highway and witnessed an unusual scene. Within a mile of each other, two billboards were strategically designed to advertise their religion.  The billboards had vastly different messages, but appeared to have similar target audiences. 

The first billboard had in large words, "Jesus in the Quran." 

I immediately pointed it out to my wife, "Did you notice that sign? They're advertising to Christians." Perhaps they weren't intending on targeting Christians, but they certainly got my attention. If I wanted to learn more about Jesus, one of the places I could do it was at the local mosque.

The next billboard had words, but it didn't need them. The picture spoke for itself. In classic, cheesy fashion - the billboard attacked evolution with none other than the Jesus fish eating the darwin fish. I imagine that sign converted a lot of Darwinists on their drive.  

Notice the difference in advertising. The signs were a short distance apart but miles apart in their approach. The first ad said, "Here's a place to learn about Jesus," and the other said, "Our understanding of the world will eat yours." Which message is closer to the heart and soul of Christianity? 

Did the mosque get closer to the Christian message than the Christian church did? 

I was recently listening to some sermons online, as I often do. But in this particular case, I was heart-broken listening to the words being preached in this bible-teaching, growing congregation. I listened to the first message and after being discouraged with the lack of grace in the message, I tried one more. 

And instead of people being reminded of the grace, the mercy, and love of Jesus - instead of people being pointed to the only one who keeps them standing in the storm - people were pointed to their own obedience. Instead of people hearing grace after being crushed by the burden of the Law, they were left hanging with "be better." 

As I listened to the sermon and it's exhortations (all of which I'd suggest were important and biblical exhortations), I couldn't help but wonder, "What would the people who made the 'Jesus in the Quran' sign think about this sermon?"

I'm not sure they would've had any tensions with the sermon.  

@@If a sermon could work in a mosque or a mormon temple, it's not preaching the Gospel.@@ And if you're church isn't preaching the Gospel, it's missing the point. 

The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

As Christians, we are very good at missing the point. We preach sermons that demand obedience but offer no comfort. We promote particular doctrines and ignore Jesus.  And then we get surprised when people want nothing to do with Christianity.

If somebody is looking for a self-help program, they aren't going to come to your church - the world will offer a better one. If somebody is looking for the demands of a religious life, they have thousands of religions to choose from.  In fact, the demands of secular life are difficult enough that most people don't need religion to add to it. 

But if somebody is looking for hope? Peace? Grace? 

If somebody is looking for grace for the undeserving,the Church is their place of refuge. @@There is no place but the Church that absolves the sinner no questions asked.@@ If somebody is looking for peace, forgiveness quiets the tormented conscience. If somebody is a rebel, an outcast, or on the verge of death, the Church of Jesus specializes in the one who comes for the rebels, welcomes in the outcasts, and raises the dead.  The death and ressurection sets the Church a part from the world, no one else can offer that to the world.

Let's not forget it.