The One about the "I love Jesus I hate religion" viral video.


If you are on facebook or any social media, you probably have heard of THIS video and how it has gone viral all over the web.
I saw this video a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. It highlights the GOSPEL as God’s master plan to bring sinful/messed up sinners into a relationship with Him. It shows that salvation it’s God’s doing and not our own. It even talks about sanctification and growth based on the gospel and that our efforts are “just behavior modification”.
However, as the video has continued to get more hits and more people keep watching and sharing it, something keeps screaming at me every time. Something that is dear to my heart and changed the way I see “my” relationship with Jesus. 
See, God did something crazy in my heart during the Summer of 1998.  For the first time (after years of translating for short-term missions teams and participating on religious activities) the Gospel grabbed my heart. My new faith was so real that it seemed so against everything I had experienced in “church”. I pushed as far as possible from any form of “organized” religion. The idea of “I love GOD but I don’t love the church” became my trademark phrase and something that I was proud off. Through years with touring, working with various Christian artists and ministries, I became the poster child of that movement that encouraged grouping any sort of organized religion as evil and anti-gospel/ anti-Jesus. Religion was evil!Jesus was good!! Religion and Jesus were on two completely opposite sides of the spectrum.
So, I really love the video yet I am cautious that the artist doesn’t really define practically what religion means. On a society in which individualism is encouraged and it's seen as a virtue, it's dangerous to not define what is religion or paint it as all bad. He does say... "don't get me wrong I love the church" but with the same statement he is equating "religion" with the Church (God's vehicle for His Glory, his bride, ..)
Now with the excuse of religion being bad, we continue to feed a so called Christianity that is missing KEY components such as real accountability, community, confession, discipline and like 40 one-anothers in the Bible that are meant to be experienced in that context.
This specially hits home and breaks my heart as time after time , I continue to see beloved friends that pushed this message (or pushed this message with me) walking away from the faith. They have cut themselves from any sort of anchor, accountability and safeguard and in the name of Jesus are walking against many things that He loves. Finally, I had to post something because that individualism has been exported through missions and it’s so present in my beloved city of Quito with lonely-ranger, maverick Christians that love Jesus, yet are missing God’s main ingredient for His Mission. 
Back to my story... A few years later, the Lord hit me with one of the biggest lessons I have ever learned. Right before going to college, God showed me how I had thrown the baby out with the bath water. By not defining the “religion” that I was against, I was hating and defaming one of the most powerful agents that God had designed for growth in my life and to accomplish what I wanted to see the most... To see people come to know HIM. I realized that if I loved Jesus.. I had to love what Jesus loved.
My prayer is for us to stop believing that false dichotomy. To stop fighting and focusing on NOT BEING RELIGIOUS, but to pursue wholeheartedly BEING THE CHURCH THAT CHRIST DIED FOR.  For us to continue to seek that organic, deep rich relationship with our Lord, yet not seeing it as antithetical with our responsibility with our covenant church family. May our love and commitment to Christ and to one-another ignite a passion for His Glory… may that passion lived out biblically and practically in community shine brightly the hope of the GOSPEL light on a dying world that is begging for something authentic. 

Now if you still want to watch more videos.. this should be the needed Extra Credit (and better rhymes too :)

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  1. Juan,

    Thought I would post part of an e-mail I sent to a young man just this AM (in the context of the weapons that God has provided to direct his children toward sanctification, the church being one and the Word of God, Teachers/Elders and Prayer being others) so here it is...

    2. The Church – We live in a country founded on rugged individualism and we live in a technological time when we can all hide behind the isolation and anonymity of the internet and get through life as “Lone Rangers”. But God doesn’t intend for the Christian life to be lived in isolation and that is why He has ordained that His children should worship (1 Corinthians 15:6), serve (1 Peter 4:10) and learn (1 Tim 3:15) in “a body” (1 Corinthians 12:27). In the church you will build relationships that will instill accountability (Proverbs 27:17) and encourage Godly living (Romans 1:12, Ephesians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) You will reinforce your faith with those who are like minded (Romans 15:5, Phillipians 2:2) and you will be built up by the corporate worship and service to other believers (Acts 2:44-47). In modern-day America you will hear some say things like “I can worship God on my own.” Or, I don’t need to go to church to be right with God. I would say “WRONG!”. Those who go it alone without the church are hurting other Christians who might well need their encouragement, edification, exhortation, etc. And they are robbing themselves of the blessing of serving and being served in the local body of Christ. Make every opportunity to make your presence known when the church meets for corporate worship. Make Hebrews 10:25 your motto!

    In Christ

    Mark Hampton

  2. Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for awhile... Just wanted you to know about a website i started It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless!