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Jesus In the Bar

Jesus In The Bar

Have you ever pictured Jesus in the bar? How about talking with people in a barstool next to Him, maybe singing karaoke, or possibly even having a little drink?

It’s kind of mind boggling to try and do. It breaks all conventional religion to even think about this. Why would Jesus go to the bar? Certainly the people in the bar can go to church, but why would Jesus go to join them there?

Well… it’s simple. Jesus flips all religion upside down. In fact, He usually does the opposite of what we expect or would think is “right.” He meets people where they are, even if that is in a bar.

I went home to West Virginia to visit my family for one my favorite holidays of the year, Thanksgiving. My parents divorced when I was young and that puts half of my family in West Virginia and the other half in Ohio. My family is definitely spread out, and, as I live in MD, the holidays are spent traveling to and fro, spending precious time with my family.

After all the Thanksgiving festivities, my family and I went to eat at Applebee's on Friday night. We had a nice hearty meal together and then went to this little old rugged, middle of nowhere bar near our house called “The Log Cabin.” Upon first glance, I would never in a million years stop here. But on this night, we stopped and went in. We sat at a high top table and ordered drinks.

Most people there were talking with their friends, singing karaoke, dancing, drinking, laughing, having a good ol’ time. Except there were a few who did not look too happy, or, at least, seemed saddened by something.

One such man was Ernie. Ernie was an older gentleman who had a sad demeanor about him. I had the opportunity to meet Ernie after my brother introduced me. Ernie asked me to sing Karaoke with him, specifically the song, “Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer.” I respectfully declined and walked back to my seat; even though I could see the disappointment on his face.

As I sat at my table I scanned the room and could suddenly sense Jesus walking through the bar. I could feel His presence and His love for His people.

There He was in a smile, then next in a pat on the back. He was in the conversations and even dancing to the music. Jesus was in the midst of this dark and dingy, old West Virginia bar.

And as Ernie sang his song, I suddenly realized, I should have sang with him. It hit me in that very moment that Jesus, of all people, Jesus would have gotten up and sang with him.

You see, Jesus isn’t afraid of a little bar or even a little karaoke. He’s not afraid of having a conversation with someone who is lonely or hurt, sad or depressed. As matter of fact, He walks in and amongst the bar scene. He is in the middle of the business culture, the drug world, and most importantly, the everyday life.

Any atmosphere or scene you could possibly imagine, Jesus is right there, pursuing the ones He loves. Jesus does not stop just outside the bar entrance. He goes in; wildy, compassionately, ready to be Love - in such a way that changes lives.

We need to catch on to what Jesus brings to the table. We need to lock onto the scent of His wild ways.

Would it really have killed me to sing karaoke with Ernie? I bet singing that ridiculous song would have made his night. Yet, I was too full of my own pride because I don’t think I sing well, let alone sing in front of people.

Jesus throws pride down and walks right over it. He humbles himself to a level so He can love on people, not with them. It’s simply beautiful. It is also what we are called to do (Matthew 28:18-20 - The Great Commission, Mark 12:30-31 - The Greatest Commandment).”

As I watched Ernie sing his song, I felt that I missed out on an opportunity to be love to him, to be Jesus to him. And part of me wanted to go back and say, “Hey Ernie, let’s go sing together!” But, gosh darnit, my pride would not allow me to get out of my own way.

Why exactly does my pride have more control over me? More than the still small whisper of God or nudge of Holy Spirit, leading me act?

Because my pride says “no”, I say “no”. No to singing, no to giving money to the man on the corner, no to giving a hug or a smile, no to letting that person pass us on the street, and so much more. I say no to saying “yes” to Jesus because I don’t want to be embarrassed or rejected.

Here’s where Jesus is the best: As I say no, Jesus still calls to me. Jesus is still calling you!

As we look at Jesus in the Bible, He has a yes in His heart and goes to people. He bends down on his knees and tells the woman caught in sin to “Go and Sin No More (John 8:1-12).” His love is genuine. He crushes all pride with His love.

What causes Him to crush His own pride? Why does He walk humbly and exhibit love in an unordinary and extraordinary fashion?

Because He sees you as worth it. He sees me as worth it. We are worth His love. We are worth His dying on the cross, and we are most certainly worth His Yes!

Despite being rejected; despite being hated, He continues to say yes and He continues to love people. He will bust down walls, go to the bars, go to the streets, to the highest mountains if need be. He’ll crush all religion and conventional wisdom just so we know we are loved by Him.

If only I could catch just a glimpse of the love Jesus has for me, then I’ll catch a glimpse of the love Jesus has for Ernie.

I wouldn’t be able to do anything else but say “yes” to Jesus and “yes’ to loving Ernie. Even if that means singing karaoke with him.

I’m sick of missing opportunities to love on people like Jesus loves them. I don’t want to miss opportunities to be Jesus to those I come in contact with because of my pride. And I don’t want you to miss out either.

Follow the example of Jesus. He goes so willingly to the people who are near and far.

Think about where you were in life when you met Jesus? Isn’t it beautiful that He came to you? He wooed you in. He pursued you! May we do the same. May we crush our pride by saying “Yes” to Jesus. Saying “Yes” to Jesus is the best decision we can ever make.

This Holiday Season, I encourage you to listen to Holy Spirit and follow His lead, feel His nudge. Maybe He’ll call you to stop and have a conversation with someone, or to give money to a family in need. Maybe it will be to buy a drink for someone. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll be in a bar, and you’ll have the opportunity to love on someone by singing karaoke with them.

It’s possible for someone to meet Jesus at a bar, or at the mall, or at work, through you.

No one is too far from meeting Jesus; just like you and I were not too far from meeting Jesus. And, Perhaps you’ll get rejected or turned down - but that’s okay. Just so long as you say yes. Whatever may come about, say Yes to Jesus.

Let’s crush our pride and have a continual yes in our hearts. Jesus said yes to you and I, and humbly had to take on the whole brunt of earth. May we now say yes to Him!

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