When I interned here, the church was very generous (and still is) as many people took me out for meals. I learned that not only is O’Hare a hub for airlines, but that Chicago is a hub for restaurants. Take a walk down to Roscoe and you can’t help but to smell a plethora of aromas. Just like food gives off various aromas, so does our community.
In 2 Corinthians 2:15 it says, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” Is Paul saying that Christians smell? In some sense, yes! He explains in verse 16 saying that to one side we are the smell of death but to the other we are the fragrance of life, hence a controversial community.
As we think about establishing redemptive presence here in our neighborhood we will face some opposition. First, let’s remember that the gospel is already offensive. Why? The gospel says that without Jesus, you deserve hell because you have rebelled against a holy and just God.
Second, Jesus faced much opposition while He was on earth. When Jesus came back to his hometown and began teaching in the synagogue, the people “took offense at him” (Matt 13:57). If those in his own hometown took offense at him and his teachings, why would we expect anything less? Jesus says that the reason people will treat us this way is because they do not know the One who sent him (John 17:21).
As ambassadors of Christ, we are called to proclaim the truth of the gospel. There is a temptation to shy away from the truth so that people can like us and come to our church. But what good is it to have people like us and lose their soul? Pray that God would give you courage to share the good news with your neighbors. Or maybe the first step is to pray for courage to talk to them! Also let us pray that for one another and ask each other how we are making Jesus famous.
Let us stand on the Word of God and be both a compelling and controversial community!