Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Walking into adventure
Our church just finished a four week series on friendship evangelism entitled "Just walk across the room" from a book by the same title written by Bill Hybels. Not only did we preach four sermons on various aspects of this topic, but many of our Pueblos (home Bible study groups) viewed related dvd's and discussed questions in the accompanying work-books. We've been through many series before, but I believe that this one seemed to strike a chord with many of our people. I know it was meaningful to me.
The encouragement was for us to get out of our own circle of comfort and to venture forth into the zone of the unknown while relying on nudges from the Holy Spirit to direct our steps into adventures God might set up for us. We were also spurred on to develop friendships with people who are not currently close to God, and to take the trouble to listen to their stories rather than just unloading our verbiage on them. Once again, we were admonished to determine what the Holy Spirit might want us to do next rather than just shooting gospel bullets from our hips. We learned how not to tell our own story in a way that might scare people off, but how to briefly share how we have been changed by our connection to Christ. We were also urged to develop friendships for the long haul rather than just looking for conversion scalps for our belts.
What I took away from all this was the fact that Jesus was often called a "friend of sinners" (Matt. 11:19, Luke 7:34-36) which was a derogatory slam coming from the religious leaders of his day, but I believe that was a title he gladly bore. He was a tremendous example of radical inclusiveness and the impact it can have on others. I believe that his example should inspire Christ followers to walk out of their cloistered circles of safety and comfort, and into an adventuresome world of sinners and seekers where we can finally flesh out Christ's call to be salt and light. Perhaps the best insult that could be leveled against us would be for some to call us "friends of sinners" as well. Now, that would be an abuse I would gladly endure for Christ any time! Just a thought!