The theme of the North American Christian Convention this year was “Beyond.” The central idea was that the Church must go beyond “business as usual” because “business as usual” is producing horrible results. Among those results are shallow Christians that behave exactly like non-Christians. We have to do better than how we have been doing or how we are currently doing; we have to go beyond ourselves and reach the lost in such a way that they will grow into a deep and ever-deepening relationship with Christ.
Let’s begin to dream. Let’s not dream about what we can do to show the world how great our church is, let’s dream about how to show the world how great Christ is!
We first of all need to come to grips with reality: We shouldn’t expect pagans to behave like Christians. Please don’t get me wrong! Our hope should always be that non-Christians will find Christ and be set free from sin and follow Christ’s better Way. But we shouldn’t be surprised when we see pagans acting like pagans. Please be gentle. There is usually a better way to get the love of Christ across to people before we instantly condemn them– remember, the world stands condemned already and doesn’t need our help to condemn it more! Echoing the words of the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 3), we should always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have –but we should be sure to give the answers in such a way that we extend gentleness and respect to people who might be open to hearing the life-saving Message of Jesus.
If sinful behavior causes you to sin, then you need to get away from it. However, if your faith in Christ is strong, don’t be afraid to “cross the lines” and take the Gospel to those who need it most. The average non-Christian, lost person today does not want to come to church for fear of how he will be treated. Somehow we need to change our mentality so that we are thrilled to see more “rough-around-the-edges” people in church. We need to send a message to the world around us: “WE LOVE PEOPLE, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE OR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.” Jesus is greater than any problem any person may have. Our challenge is to live our lives in such a way that people see the incredible hope that we have. If we feel overwhelmed by life and have lost our joy, then no one will be curious about who we are or why we’re here. But if we spend more time with the Lord in prayer, concentrating on the future He has for us, THEN THE WORLD WILL NOTICE. There is so much more to what we are than what we appear to be. We are already living in eternity-waiting-to-happen. Live the saved life. Represent the Savior as one who has been saved by Him. Overcome the world by letting the Overcomer of the world shine through you.
The time has come for us to go out into our community and make an impact. Let’s be a team that wants to change the world for Jesus.
Love in Jesus,