Every opportunity that we get to speak to or serve others is an opportunity to heighten and extend our reach to others. Such opportunities equal open season for us to act as extensions of God’s grace and love, even His forgiveness and mercy. We could serve as instruments in the Master’s hands. We could simply reach someone else for Christ.
I say no to that.
It is not that simple. We have to expand our evangelism. We have to maximize our missions. We have to increase our impact.
Look in Acts. Barnabas mentored and partnered with Paul. They took John Mark along with them on their missionary journey. Later, Paul and Silas took along Timothy. Somewhere in there, Luke his way into the text, too.
What do I mean?
Add an element of engagement to your ministry. Engage youth in a mentoring and training program, even rites of passage. Prepare youth for college withal rigorous teaching based on sound biblical principles and include a summer intensive tied to. community outreach and service. Mandate scholarship recipients serve as summer interns with vacation Bible school or other church ministries, even working with the church administration.
Read Titus chapter 2 again. It’s about how we engage youth through our churches and communities. We, the pastor, the men, and the women, are to serve as a “pattern of good works.” We need to engage others in every effort that we make.
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If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. – John 15:18 (NLT)
Think about the Avengers or X-Men. Those guys were bitten by spiders, struck by gamma rays or born mutated, only to emerge with super powers that spanned the full range of strangeness. As much as we may love Professor Xavier, we certainly do not want anyone reading our minds or trying to control our thoughts.
We’re like these mutated brothers and sisters to a degree. The world does not understand us, so in turn, it despises us and seeks to destroy us. The world resists what we have to say, especially about Jesus. It will consider us weird because of how intensely we follow the steps of Jesus along with His words, almost in the same way that some follow Star Wars or Star Trek. For us, our church conventions and praise festivals are like our own version of Comic Con spread from town to town.
No one in this world will ever hate the follower or fan as much as they hate the original icon. We are not hated because Captain Kirk and Spock grew old or that someone got thrown off because Mr. Sulu came out of the closet and that viewers discovered somewhere around Babylon 5 that the same plots keep playing over and over. No, we’re hated because the world first hated Him.
Just like Professor X and the Uncanny X-men, we represent the world’s opposition to tolerance. We stand in outright defiance of all that seems so-called normal to the folks who cannot accept change. We live as the litmus test of the degree of openness such an “open society” really has for all of its people, even the ones who seem to be as weird as mutants.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. – John 7:7 (NIV)
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. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
– 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
“Let us long to be used in the conversion of sinners.” – Charles H. Spurgeon
God wants us in contact with others. God wants us actively making connections with the people who live in both doubt and darkness, the ones who live without hope. Jesus said that we should let our light shine
so brightly that others would see our good works and glorify the Father (Matthew 5:16
In order to connect with them, we have to make contact with them. We have to shop with them, play sports with them, and hang out with them. We have to interact with them. We have to hang out with and be around them. We have to show them our light as the light of the world.
I know you have heard some interpret Paul’s words of light having no fellowship with darkness as to mean that we should not have anything to do with so-called sinners, but that is an extreme interpretation of that biblical text. How can we impact a dying world without ever interacting with it? The onus is on us. We are to share the gospel with the hopeless and doubtful. It is up to us to reach those who do not know the love of Christ with a message of hope and a ministry of reconciliation.
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According to 2008 U.S. statistical data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)
, 34,169 people claimed “no religion.” That includes atheists and humanists. That is almost 5,000 more people than in 2001. In 2008, according to the same survey, over 173,000 people identified themselves as “Christian.” That’s over 13,000 more than in 2001.
Obviously, Christianity grew and expanded during this period. That sounds good. However, the adult population surveyed increased by approximately 20,000 during this period. We gained 13,000 and the “no religion” folks gained 5,000. That means 2,000 people became Muslims, Jews or some other religion. Or, the same 2,000 just did not dare claim any religion at all. Either that or it is some mix between the two of them.
The world has its own standard. It may not be one that we, as Christians, desire to follow but it exists. It is alive and well within the world. That’s suitable for those who do not know the Lord. It works for those who live in the darkness of unbelief.
It doesn’t work well for Christians.
For us, things are just a little different. We answer to a higher calling in Christ Jesus, seeking to mature in Christ as we walk with Christ. We are to live by a different standard than the world.
So what is this standard of living for Christians and where does it come from?
- The Lord sets the standard. He lays it out based upon His supreme reign over all things as the Creator, the Maker and Elohim. He answers to no one.
- The Lord shares the standard in the Scriptures. Christians have the upper hand because we have been provided the play book. We can read it. We can reference it. It is for our consumption. The Lord gave it to us.
- The Lord demonstrated the standard. The Word became flesh. He dwelt on earth and dealt with some serious troubles like being born to poor parents and living in a society where foreigners ruled over His people. He showed us the standard and expects us to live up to the standard.
Live it up. Live a life of influence that inspires others from interacting with you and your business. Live up to Christ’s standards as you work, as you play golf and as you go to and fro. Handle your business and live up the Lord’s standards.
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Posted in action, community, faith on March 9, 2012|
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“Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.”
– Mahalia Jackson
Faith is expected to be on display. In one way or another, believers are expected to somehow show that they truly believe what they profess and proclaim. We are supposed to walk and live by faith.
One way to show your faith is to show it with your appearance. T-shirts or buttons can show your faith in Jesus. Your accessories can have inspirational images or messages. Even your car or truck can display your faith with window decals, bumper stickers or personalized license plate frames.
This Easter season, Life Path Ministries spreads the Gospel message through our Spread the Love Campaign. Join the movement and get on board with your church or ministry, even your small group, and spread the love with other believers during the week leading into Easter Sunday. How could we expect people to show up on Easter Sunday if we never show, share or spread the love of Christ? Check out the Love Your Neighbor t-shirts and buttons that we sell on Zazzle through Life Path Ministries. These are examples of how you can get others to show it more than they say it.
Read more inspiring quotes: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_faith.html#ixzz1oelnL700
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