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There are weekends where I give my wife extra time to unwind (a round of applause for me please). I stay in with the kiddos and I re-discover my absolute need for Jesus (and the honor I need to continue bestowing on their mother).[/dropcap][spacer]

Having kids changes your life in every way imaginable. It’s a beautiful captivity that stands no chance of success without God.

Matthew McConaughey had a similar revelation.

A few weeks ago there was an article that was being shared on social media titled: They Told McConaughey “Keep Jesus To Yourself”, His Response Silenced The Stadium. 

Unfortunately, if you go through the whole transcript of what he shared on his speech at the University of Houston, there is zero mention of Jesus. So I decided to dig in and find out more about his faith.

Last year GQ magazine interview the Oscar-winning actor and this is what he said:

Does your family go to church every Sunday?
Yeah. In Texas. It’s non-denominational. It’s based in the faith that Jesus is the son of God, that he died for our sins, but many different denominations come in.

Was that a return for you, or had you been going all along?
As soon as we had children, I was like, “You know what? That was important to my childhood.” Even if it was just for the ritual of giving an hour and a half on Sunday to yourself, to pray and to think about others, even if you’re tired or whatever. I noticed how much I missed it and needed it. It’s a time for me to take inventory of my last week, to look at what’s in the future and say my thank-you’s and think about what I can work on to do better.

When you talk about God, do you imagine him as…
The Prrime Moovah! The Waave Maker!

But it’s an identifiable presence? Someone who can hear what you’re saying?
Yes. And somebody who can help answer my questions. Someone who has a hand in all of this miracle we call life, which I believe is a miracle. But, see, at the same time, I completely believe in evolution.

Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
[long pause] Well, it’s a heaven of a story, ain’t it?

I am a pastor in the South; deep in the Bible Belt of these United States. Raleigh has a lot of trees, a lot of slow drivers, a lot of churches and a lot of Christians. And so many of them remind me of McConaughey.

Yes, he has the hipster “I’m a Christian but not like my parents” edge about him. But he’s as clear as day when he shares that he is part of a community that believes that, “Jesus is the son of God, and he died for our sins.”

He’s said this publicly a few times.

And is that not all it takes to be saved?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Yes, McConaughey is cool with the theory of evolution. He also married a catholic girl who he used to live with. And he uses swear words in acting and real life.

So according to some of my southern Christian friends, he’s not really saved.

Because sometimes we preach a Gospel of Salvation (with Jesus being the only way) but then we add a hundred other components. We share about God’s love to get people inside the church doors, yet once they are in, we load them with rules (and sometimes hate).

And then we complain when they run away.

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love. – Just As I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham

If Matthew McConaughey was not a famous actor, he would probably be in some kind of leadership role in a congregation like mine. I know this because he sounds like most of my friends in church. He loves football (huge Redskins fan). He works out a lot (Christians here talk more about their beach-body-workouts than they talk about the Gospel). He loves to eat burgers and bacon (It’s the official Christian diet). And he goes to church on Sundays (at least twice a month).

The Classic Southern Christian Man.

And for the multiple Christians in the south who are more cultural believers than actual ones, there is nothing like having kids to make us aware of our need for the ultimate Father. To stir up a hunger for the one who is love and compassion and fire and joy. The one we are all desperately searching for whether we recognise it or not. You know, The Prrime Moovah! The Waave Maker!

Because God the Father is the destination. Yes, we can know God’s law, follow Christian ethics and accommodate our lives to Biblical culture, but that’s not enough. Our hearts are desperately seeking a Daddy who is kind and loving and pursuing.

[bctt tweet=”We are good at sinning, but God is better at forgiving.”]

Knowing the story of Jesus is not enough… because if you read the story right, Jesus was all about us knowing his Dad. And not the knowing that comes from attending church or going through a devotional. Neither the knowing that comes through the eyes of religious people who see Him as an angry Father (who is always disappointed and annoyed).

But the knowing of relationship; so we can see Him and experience Him exactly as Jesus sees Him and experiences Him: fun, powerful and sweet.

As I wrote in my book Designed for Inheritance, “Jesus died because He had a Father too extraordinary to keep for Himself, and His death was the only vehicle that could provide our reunion. We are now able to respond to the Father who runs, kisses, hugs, ignores religion and puts on us His best garments (according to Luke 15). He is the one who will never deny us the return of our inheritance. So the party in heaven has been pre-planned for whenever you decide to come home. Your acceptance, your belonging, and your sonship were always the plan.”

I’m glad Matthew McConaughey has come home.

And when he won the Oscar for his performance on the Dallas Buyers Club, he said, “First off I want to thank God, because he’s the one I look up to, he’s graced my life with opportunities which I know are not of my hand or any other human kind.”

So let’s join Matthew and be thankful for the grace and opportunities given. Let’s admit that we need the church family and walk humbly with the body of Christ. Let us embrace the Father who gave his Son in order to make us all family. And let’s not add-on any other condition but, “Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart: Jesus is Lord and God the Father is very, very good.”



+ Other articles of Jesus in Hollywood:

– When God Speaks to Katy Perry

– Shia LaBeouf gets Born Again

– How God Made Bruce Jenner