For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilised world, and the rest of the world, to the educated and the uneducated alike – Paul, Romans 1
Some of the women in our gathering have met up with, and are bringing to Christ, a woman they met on the street. This lady is past middle aged, but has grabbed the Gospel with both hands and is coming to an understanding of faith. They have all started meeting regularly in a Discovery Group, and I suspect, she is likely a person of peace, a hub in a community. It is wonderful to see. Recently she thanked my wife from the bottom of her heart, for taking the time to share with her on the street, for introducing her to a Gospel that is life changing.
There are more stories I could tell as well. This blog was started primarily to encourage a few believers who were either new to the faith, or wanted to make themselves useful for God, or simply wanted to do something different with their lives, other than turn up to church each week and go through the motions. It was also a journal for us, a reminder as to what the Lord was doing in one corner of his world.
The day I think it becomes, “look at us” is the day we stop writing. We never wanted it to be about anyone other than Jesus; we are invited to join him in his work, not the other way around.
We have been trying to do things differently for more or less a decade. Doing things differently principally means, trying to be a Disciple Maker for Christ, drawing those who don’t yet know into a relationship with Christ, and then encouraging and working with them to do the same to those in their ‘oikos’. A new, genuine, church is born.
There was quite a response to the post a few weeks ago, questioning whether we should all be out on the streets or not. Some – well, maybe most, see this as very threatening, sharing the Gospel with complete strangers. Is that what it’s really about? In some senses, yes it is, I believe.
But, there is a single, simple word that seems to describe the great difference between the work of those in the Scriptures, and the lack of work of the vast majority of believers in our churches today. It is the word ‘intentional’. Whether you choose to go out on the streets, into the shopping mall, or just invite people into your home to run a discovery Bible study, there has to be some intent in what we do for God. From Jesus in the Gospels, through to the Apostles, then Paul and on through the ages, He has asked us to be very intentional in the way we live for him.
This means for each of us, that we should live with an attitude similar to Paul’s above, that I have an obligation to live in a way befitting the God that I serve. Further, that like him, I should be on the lookout continually, for opportunities that the Spirit of Christ will present to me on a moment by moment, day by day basis to introduce Jesus into someone’s life. Taking that a step further, I could even be intentional in moving out into my community, praying, prayer walking, knocking on people’s doors, talking to another in a coffee shop – the list is endless. If I was to spend a lifetime doing that, and saw just a single person come to Christ, it would be a life well lived.
This stands in direct contrast to the many, who see their obligation framed in a single sitting. Is it any wonder that the devotion of so many seems so cold, and that the world has such a low opinion.
Imagine just for a moment, that the church as we know it in the West, was completely taken away. Buildings, pastors, Sunday services – all gone. What would you, what would I have left, how would my service to Jesus look like then?
One of the things we are learning, is the vital importance of the community of Christ in and around us. We could have written as easily as much about that. But, it seems that the local community of Christ frequently dies, unless there is some intent to live obediently in this area of disciple making.
The good news is this though. Around the world today, thousands, most likely tens of thousands of ordinary people, are living out their lives intentionally for Christ. They are stepping out, looking for opportunities, quietly sharing their faith and leading others into faith. They will never make the front page of Charisma magazine.
But they should be an encouragement to each of us, that we too can do something simply for Christ. This week and going forward, like Paul, like others, let us live an intentional life for our Lord. Surely he is worth it, surely it is what he asks us to do.