There’s an epidemic in Christianity today; a spiritual sickness that infected hoards of people to choose to follow a System of Religion instead of a Story of Redemption.

The religious system is all about rules, limits, behaviors and complications. It focuses on issues regarding church buildings, political agendas that don’t change hearts, and rules that often lead to unfair comparing, judging and jockeying for spiritual position.

But redemption’s story is resplendent with grace, truth, freedom and simplicity. The story leads people to engage a rhythm of life that restores God’s wonder in us and begins to give us purpose in this life that we’re living.

Like many of you, I grew up learning to follow a system instead of being immersed into a story. But this wasn’t God’s intention. Consider these words from the book of Hebrews:

But God found fault with the people and said:
“The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
9It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. (Hebrews 8:8-9)

God said, I’ll make something new with you, a new covenant, a new operating system, a new rhythm. I think it’s important to notice that, for God, this wasn’t a “new idea,” but something that was coming all along.

God never intended for us to be stuck following a system of religion. God always intended to usher in a new operating system that would establish a new rhythm in our lives.

The unmistakable problem with the old system was that we couldn’t remain faithful, no matter how hard we tried. They said, “try harder” and most of us did but we kept falling short. The “try harder” approach just left us exhausted and feeling defeated, full of shame and wondering if there was more.

And somehow this new system, this new story, would provide a provision for the times when our own strength fails us.

Listen I don’t have all the answers, I just know what I need these days…

I need a personal transformation that can only come from the real Jesus, not the one manufactured by organized religion.

I need to be surrounded by a group of culture-resisting, grace-addicted Jesus followers who create an environment where I can raise questions, confess my struggles, stumble and still be prayed for and truly loved.

I need to be drawn to something bigger, stronger, higher, and better than the boxed-in God that religion has created.

I need to find a true happiness and everlasting purpose that I can feel in my bones.

I need a peace in my life that only comes from being with the unedited, radical, Jesus—not the manipulated and misinterpreted Jesus that modern religion so often presents.

I’m tired of swimming in the mediocrity religion has produced and I need to break out.

I need Jesus. Without all the crap. I need something new. Something simple.