Confession #1: Until Luke and Sarah got engaged I’d never heard of The Village Church or Matt Chandler. When people asked about my future daughter-in-law, and I told them she’s the children’s minister at the VC Northway campus, they’d often say, “Oh, that’s Matt Chandler’s church, right?” The first few times this happened I said something like, “Um . . . I don’t know. Is it?” Then I checked online, and sure enough, it was. That’s when it began to dawn on me that this Matt Chandler person must be rather well known.
Confession #2: I don’t mean to be, but I’m automatically suspicious of Christian “celebrities.” Maybe it’s a throw back to the televangelist scandals of the 80s and 90s. And then there’s that blinky guy that so many people watch on TV. I’m still hoping someday someone will jump out from behind a curtain and admit it’s all a parody.
So, yeah. Even though I was predisposed to expect the best of The Village Church (simply because Sarah is as solid as anyone I’ve ever known), I was predisposed to distrust Matt Chandler’s motives (simply because lots of people knew his name). I never said my cynicism was fair. Or even logical.
Then, on November 26, the Christian corner of the internet started to buzz with news and prayer requests. Matt Chandler had suffered a seizure. Diagnostic tests revealed a mass on his frontal lobe. Today he’s in surgery, and thousands of people all over the world are praying.
There are qualities that draw us to people–charisma, sense of humor, intelligence, style. With all the Christian-loser stereotypes out there, it’s kind of nice (even for suspicious cynics like me) when Christian celebrities come across as hip and cool. But hip and cool don’t set us apart from the world.
Today I followed posted links to blogs written by Matt and his wife, Lauren. As I read their words, I worshiped. I’ve lived in that place–where brokenness meets grace and the world sees Jesus. You can’t fake that. And you can’t hide it either. One city may look like any other in broad daylight. When night falls, only the one with a real power source will shine. Matt and Lauren are blazing in their hour of darkness, and all my suspicions have burned to ashes and blown away on the wind.
Right now Matt’s twitter status says, “Jesus you are my great reward…your Kingdom come your will be done.” Amen.
Please pray. May our glorious, almighty Lord restore this godly man to his wife, his three young children, and a world that needs to see the real deal. That’s my request. And yet, I know whatever God chooses to do will be good. Anyone can see that the Chandlers know it, too.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Especially at night.