Bringing the Text to Life

A-wake or A-live Galatians 2:15-21

We are called, less to follow in the wake of Christ than to make new waves for Christ, or more precisely, to allow Christ to make new waves through us.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Charles Sheldon, pastor of an average church in an average community in Topeka, Kansas, decided he needed to do something to perk up his Sunday evening services. Sheldon began preaching a kind of serial sermon, in which he told stories about average men and women and the kinds of situations and challenges they might find themselves facing in their ordinary lives.

The question Sheldon put on the lips of his fictional sermonic characters -- and the question he posed to his own parishioners -- was this: "What would Jesus do" in these same circumstances? This serial sermon or spiritual soap opera hit just the right note with his people. They were curious enough about the next "installment" to return week after week after week. They were so challenged by Sheldon's urging them to consider what Jesus would do if he were faced with the same issues as they, that a revival of sorts broke out in his church. It spread to the rest of the nation through the...

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