Dear Friends,

There has been a new poll on Jesus and the church by a prominent polling company, Ipsos, commissioned by the Episcopal Church. More than 3,000 Americans over the age of 18 were surveyed. The results are interesting.

For example, 26% of everyone surveyed said Christians are hypocritical and judgmental, 23% think they are self-righteous, and 13% said they are arrogant. That's the bad news.

On the plus side, 47% of those surveyed said Christians are giving and 44% said they are loving. The poll further showed that people who were surveyed think that the most important thing Jesus did was forgiving sins (35%), followed by his teaching (26%), saving souls (14%), advocating for the poor (6%), healing (4%), and seeking justice (4%).

There were other results, but this perhaps gives us enough to think about. If we pretty much agree with the survey results that the most important things that Jesus did were to forgive and teach and save and heal, then those are probably the most important things that we ought to be doing as well, as we try to bring his message to our own generation.

And we have to be careful how we, as modern-day messengers, try to share that message with others. If we Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, self-righteous or arrogant, as a lot of people apparently think we are, the message of forgiveness and healing is never going to get through. But if we are willing to give of ourselves and love others, that message may be received by someone who really needs to hear it and have it take hold in his or her life.

So there are things in this poll that should give us pause, to remind us that we need to keep trying to curb our ability to be so flawed and self-centered. We are only human, I know, but our hypocrisy and judgmentalism may have a negative and eternal effect on someone else.

But this poll also gives us indications of hope and opportunity. People seem to have a generally favorable view of Jesus and the things he did and stood for, even if they have not yet given their lives to him. They just need a loving and caring person to share the gospel message with them and invite them.

Our tent revival, coming up on September 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon, gives us the perfect opportunity to put this into practice. Have you thought about who you might invite? Have you prayed about it? Have you summoned up the courage to ask that one whose life could be so turned around by a relationship with Jesus?

I heard someone say years ago, "The only Bible most people ever read is the daily life of the Christian." What are people reading about Jesus through your daily life, and mine? What ways are we giving and loving to get that message of Jesus through to other people in a way that may change someone's life?

Grace and Hope to you,

Pastor Duane