Some inspiring thoughts from a previous Journey attendee!
“For the past several years I have had the privilege of working along with several other young people to bring the gospel to unchurched families in my city. We have a bus ministry and Sunday School that focuses on evangelizing children from these families and helping them become disciples of Christ. During the summer we also host a mid-week club that teaches the Bible and character.
This spring Alice, my friend and co-laborer, was married. Her courtship was a testimony of God’s faithfulness to those who walk with Him. A few weeks after the wedding I was talking to two of the middle school aged girls from the bus ministry as we went out for ice cream. They were asking about Miss Alice, where she was and why she was not at Sunday School. I explained that she had moved to a different city now that she is married. “Do they live together?” was the surprised response. I was saddened to realize how much these kids have to learn about God’s plan for life. They had absolutely no concept of what marriage is. I took advantage of the opportunity to have a conversation with the girls about God’s design for marriage and sexual purity.
This week, two children who came to Sunday School for the first time did not know what sin is. Sadly this is quite common. These are just a couple of examples of how ignorant many people in our culture are about God and His ways.
How is it that in this nation in which 44.8%* of the population claims to be born-again Christians, much of the general public has no idea who God is or what His plan for people is?
I believe that we, the Christian community, are at fault. We spend too much time in our comfortable Christian circles focusing on petty differences of Bible interpretation rather than being faithful to God’s command to be ambassadors for Him among our neighbors and co-workers. We attend inspiring conferences, read challenging books, and listen to powerful sermons, but our communities are no better for it. For the most part we live in a bubble, interacting as much as possible with people who think and act like us. We are absorbed in ourselves, not the work of Him we call our Master.
Jesus did not live like this. He did not spend his life in a safe little bubble mingling with nice people. Rather he was known as a friend of publicans and sinners (Matthew 11:19). He did not come to live and work among “nice” people with “good” lives. He came to show us who God is (John 14:9-10) and to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13).
Shortly before he ascended to Heaven, Jesus came to his disciples and said “…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). This commission is for all disciples of Christ through the ages. To understand what Christ is sending us to do, let us examine what God the Father sent Christ to do.
Near the beginning of his ministry as Christ was teaching in the Synagogue of Nazareth He was given the book of Isaiah and read the following about himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). As Christ’s disciples we are to be engaged in the same things He was during his earthly ministry. We are to be declaring the gospel to the poor, bringing the brokenhearted to the Healer, preaching deliverance to the captives of sin, leading the blind to the Light of the World, helping those who are bruised find liberty in Christ, and proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord (Author’s paraphrase).
First Peter 2:9 says “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” What a wonderful truth: God has chosen us! But why has God chosen us? The rest of the verse answers this question: “…that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” God saved us to proclaim His goodness.
Dear Christians, let us burst free from our comfortable little bubbles and give ourselves fully to our Master and His work. Let us proclaim our Master and His goodness to those who do not know Him in our own cities and towns.”