Engage

 John tells us that if we don’t love the people we can see around us, then we don’t love God, whom we can’t see, (see 1 John 4:20). In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus says the two greatest commandments are to love God, love people. Then Jesus says to those who follow him, “If you love me, you will keep my commands” [to love him and to love people] (insert added, John 14:15].

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One evening I am all alone. I slip onto the floor, my knees hitting worn carpet. I pray for Jesus to come near. I tell Him I want to follow Him forever. Then I’m silent. I sit and soak and wonder. I try to pray again but my words jumble. One word seems to pierce the silence. One word filters in between cluttered thoughts: engage.  

Engage?

Growing up we were taught to share Christ with those around us: friends, family, people we saw daily.  You know, the folks in a five mile radius in and around your comfort zone ~ the “waiting for unbelievers to come to me” syndrome. I feel and have felt God tugging me away from this mindset.

In this on-my-knees-moment, Jesus reminds me He came as the sent and the sender (the engager).

“As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:31).

And now He is sending me, us, into our own Jerusalem (if I may be so bold) to proclaim His Gospel. I don’t hear “Wait aimlessly for others to come to me” I do hear “Go with intention and purpose.”

Living sent, engaging those around us, being mission-minded isn’t something God invites us into. It’s what we were saved for. It’s a purposeful, intentional initiation on our part to share Christ with those who have never been told.

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I love that God so deeply knows my heart that He gifts me with the loudness of his presence in the silence of my room. I stand up, knees wobbling, and scribble down several thoughts for this new year.  

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Questions for 2013

Whom should I be ministering to and how? How can I faithfully serve the people God has placed in my life? Paul explains in Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Maybe we aren’t all gifted to teach or lead a retreat but we all know people who struggle with sin. We know people who are carrying burdens. Our first steps toward ministry are easy… HELP THEM.

I’ve learned a lot this past year about getting involved in other people’s problems through our downtown ministry. Sometimes we think, “My life is messy enough, why complicate things by taking on other peoples junk?” The reason, however, is simple: God calls us to help other people. He created us to function this way. Will we function this way in the coming year?

Will I wait until my own problems are gone before helping someone else? I hope not, because this will never happen!

Finally, when we step outside ourselves and begin bearing the burdens of people around us, it is time consuming, messy, and often confusing. But it’s necessary. Helping people change and pointing them to Christ is what discipleship is all about. And most importantly, our sanctification happens as we do this, as we engage.

* Thanks Stuart Tatem for the beautiful photos from the Banquet (Dec. 2012)

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One Response

01.21.13

Engage… what a great word! It’s a perfect word for you… for all of us really that want to live out His purpose here! I love your heart and without a doubt He love it too and is most pleased with you! I love this…

“Living sent, engaging those around us, being mission-minded isn’t something God invites us into. It’s what we were saved for. It’s a purposeful, intentional initiation on our part to share Christ with those who have never been told.”

This night was wonderful… I’m so glad to be home and serving with you again. Love you!

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