Friday, November 20, 2009

Be There, Be Light

As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "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?  Romans 10:12-14

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:8-9

I am far, far from where I think God wants to take me in the area of speaking the gospel of Jesus Christ to those around me. However, He is and has been transforming my heart so that more and more I think of myself as a missionary, a servant to be used by Him. Maybe you have heard it pointed out that when Jesus gave the Great Commission, He mentioned geographic locations starting right close to where the disciples were and fanned out, as it were - Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (see the Acts passage above). If we follow this idea, it means we start at home, in our own homes and neighborhoods.

For a while now, BB and I have made a conscious choice to get us and our kids out in our front yard as often as possible. We live in a neighborhood with lots of little children and families, and this is how we get face time with the children and parents - by just being out there. This is how to build relationship. This is how, by God's grace, we can shine for Christ, so that people may see Him in us and desire Him.

So, what I've been feeling burdened to do is challenge you in regard to your neighbors - or to your nearest sphere of influence. It might be the park where you take your kids to play or the Starbucks where you have coffee each week, or perhaps the library, where you go for weekly storytime. Your sphere might be your cube-mate at work, maybe the person you see regularly at the gym. The challenge has several sides. First, pray that God will give you a hunger - soul hunger - a craving to see those around you come to Jesus. Be seeking Him wholeheartedly, and if you are not, ask Him for the desire to know Him better!

Next, ask the Lord for ideas: How can you be more there in your sphere? Pray for the Spirit's power, for boldness, for obedience. Ask the Spirit to prepare the hearts and minds of those around you for salvation.

Lastly, just be available, be visible. Our world is so rampantly impersonal, so shut behind closed doors...real relating is dying. God relates. I know Him because He's drawn me into relationship with Himself. Helping others come to Him inevitably involves - you know it - relationships. Being a light for Christ cannot happen if I do not do some of my living around other people!

In the not-so-distant past this all would've been a very checklist-y thing for me, but as God grows me, the urgency to obey Him grows, too. Before, I have been more nervous and forced in the efforts I made at "being a good witness." Now, I am astonished to hear the things that come out of my mouth (from the Spirit!) about the Lord and my/our life with Him, as I talk with people...just everyday stuff about my life with Jesus.

But it needs to be more, always. I'm praying earnestly for God to make us a family of evangelists, giving us power to speak the gospel boldly and opportunity to do so with our neighbors, with anyone God puts in our path with whom He wants us to speak His Good News. I am praying more and more radically. And God answers these kinds of prayers, because the salvation of souls is His will (He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9).

Lord, make us people zealous for the glory of your name and for the joy of the nations - joy they cannot know unless they know You.

1 comment:

  1. As Christians I think we (well, me) often thinks about being light, but honestly I'm not so consciously thinking about "being there" which is key. Reminds me of Jim Elliott's quote about wherever you are "be all there" so that we can, if you will, live to the hilt the calling of Christ, which no doubt involves spreading the gospel.