Monday, July 9, 2012

On a mission from God...continued

I took last week off from writing since my family had a "staycation" in Austin and I kept remembering that I needed to write the blog around midnight each night. So, this week, I am going to sort of double up on the last two sermon topics revolving around our series on evangelism.

The whole premise of this series rests on you accepting that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are supposed to be missional. Part of being a disciple is that you agree to live under the authority of Scripture. In scripture, Jesus commanded us to go and "make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:20) This is for our benefit (because it helps us to live out our committment to the gospel and follow the commands of our savior) and the benefit of those who share this world with us and were also created by our God. The good news of redemption, salvation, and grace is what brings HOPE into this world. There is no other world religion that has this same HOPE.

That hope gives those of us who follow Christ a certain outlook on life and if we allow God to work through us, we can reflect His light to a world that is filled with brokeness. Simply having a different outlook on the painful things of life, making choices that quietly share your faith with your friends and family, and letting love rule your actions is the beginnings of being missional.

You don't have to insert "Jesus Saves" into every sentence you utter. You don't have to list the 5 main points of Christianity. You don't have to (and Definitely shouldn't) go around making judgements on the people around you. All of these are things that many non-Christians expect from those of us who are Christ-followers. All you have to do is work on you, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and be ready for the opportunities that God gives you.

He might give you an opportunity to talk about your faith in a dialogue with people you already know. He might give you an opportunity to show grace and mercy to someone who expects judgement and condemnation. He might give you the opportunity to show extreme patience with your own family.

Many  people think that being a Christian means you have to follow a check-list of rules - many of which Christians list out and then fail to follow themselves: it's why non-Christians think we are hypocrites. It is OK to agree with other people that Christians are broken and in need of grace, too - because we are and we do. It is definitely OK to have a conversation about what another person believes versus what you believe without leading them through the whole plan of salvation as laid out in scripture. It is OK to confess that being a disciple of Jesus is difficult...but so is anything else that is worthwhile in this world. Allowing our creator to mold us and re-make us into His image, rather than the image of a fallen world, can be painful but it is also one of the few things in this world that is truly joyful and hope-filled. It is that belief that we want to communicate - that being a disciple of Christ changes us for the better and gives us hope, joy, peace, love and strength to make it through each day. That is the real testimony that each of us can give to the world on an individual basis. We don't have to save the world - Jesus already did that. We just have to share through our own story, how he has met us as individuals.

Chesney Szaniszlo

'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'  - Romans 10:13-15