Jesus Deficit Disorder

What happens when the Church gets distracted and Jesus is no longer the focus? Is the result a watered-down witness to the world?

The cross and the masses

Author and speaker Frank Viola once said, “I don’t think the Church has ADD -- Attention Deficit Disorder. I think the Church has JDD -- Jesus Deficit Disorder.”

We go to church. We sing songs. We hear a sermon, and we go home. Sometimes Jesus doesn’t even come up. How does that happen?

The Church has this remarkable ability to get distracted, and when we get distracted, everyone else gets distracted with us. So when the Church is distracted, not only does the Church suffer, but everyone else in our culture suffers, too.

I was on a sailboat recently, and the guy who owned the boat asked me to steer. When I told him I didn’t know how, he assured me it was easy. I grabbed this big wheel. I was scared to death. Everything was coming from a million different directions. The waves were crashing against the side of the boat. I didn’t want to do something wrong and have someone fall off. I was so distracted by everything going on around me. I looked at him and said, “Help!”

And he said, “Pete, it’s so simple. Look across the lake. You see that water tower over there? Just aim for that water tower. Don’t take your eyes off it. And if you’ll do that, the sails will fill with wind, and we’ll be in good shape.”


As I followed his advice, people would try to talk to me, the wind would change direction, and the boat would start to shift, but I’d just get it going right at that water tower again. Each time, the sails filled with wind.

It’s my contention that if we’re distracted – and I know a lot of us are – that we need to figure out what the water tower is. Don’t take our eyes off it, and let all the distractions fade away.

The question is, of course, what is the water tower? Scripture is clear that there’s only one answer.

The Apostle Paul is a hero of mine because he never got distracted. He was laser-focused on his water tower. In the second chapter of his letter to the Colossians, Paul said very clearly what was important to him.

“I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

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Pastor Pete Briscoe
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