For those who don't follow me on Facebook, you might not know that after Day 19 in New Jersey (last Sunday), I began the two day trip home. After visiting with friends over night, I finally arrived home on Day 21 at 5pm (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving) and proceeded to prepare my home for my wonderful in-laws and the Thanksgiving holiday (along with squeezing in time with my wife and son). Now a week later, I have been able to snatch snippets of rest and to reflect on the time the Lord allowed me to have and the service He allowed me to be a part of in NJ. There are two things I would like to impart that I feel are relevant for us all.
First, I was entirely blessed by being a part of the efforts there, but more importantly- I was blessed by seeing God's faithfulness in action from beginning to end. Risk-taking, in part, is a great way to experience God's work in your life first hand. As Christians, we should be willing to jump into the unknown (within reason, and sometimes beyond reason) so we can give full testimony to those around us that God truly is in control of our lives and that we have relinquished our own selfish desires, foibles, and concerns in order to more fully trust Him and do what we feel the Holy Spirit is driving us to do.
Second is for all of us who tend to fall back on the "live out my faith to draw people into asking why I am doing what I do" concept of evangelism. Let me put it bluntly... we MUST be more than this school of thought. There are plenty of nice people out there (there are roughly 7.1 Billion people on the planet) many of whom do outstanding service to others, that look out for the emotional and physical needs of others, with no need for compensation or thanks, who also have no working knowledge of the gospel or even blatantly deny Christ. Those of us who think we can simply live a life of service that will draw people near to Christ... we are being lost amid the ever growing throng of people who do good because it is "the right thing to do", plain and simple. Don't get me wrong... Of the non-Christians, 0% will make it into heaven, even with all their great deeds. I just don't want us lumping non-Christians into some vilified category that makes them unpleasant to the people around them. Let's not fool ourselves, Christians do not have the patent on being nice, or being pleasing, or even being a "blessing" to others (though we are the only ones who can give the only true blessing).
We MUST be more in order to clearly glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ, in every situation we are in. There is no cookie cutter quick fix answer to how we should change so we can standout. We must be willing to get dirty, work hard, and look to every corner of our existence to figure out how we can take the next step to furthering God's fame in all aspects of our lives. Louie Giglio said it best when he said that the gospel can be offensive, but we don't have to be. This isn't going to be easy to figure out, but where in the Bible does Christ promise easy? However, once we have prayed, thought about, and have been directed by the Holy Spirit about what the next steps to take are, then we must TAKE THAT RISK to follow through with them. That's when we will have something to talk about.
Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ." (HCSB)
Serving through love and laughter is a great way to live.