I have recently committed to being more ‘missional’ in my everyday ministry. Each Wednesday I spend my office time at a local coffee shop where I enjoy connecting with a few friends consistently, meeting new friends from my church, and also engaging with people in my community. This has been very rewarding and since I’ve made the decision to make this a priority in my weekly schedule I’m beginning to see the world around me through a new and different set of eyeglasses.
Recently my friend and I met a guy named Mike. He was looking for directions to the library and asked us for help as we sat at a table under the umbrella outside of the sandwich shop. He needed to use a cell phone to call for a ride so I let him use my iPhone…, “sure, no problem, use mine,” I said. Within 5 minutes he was sitting with us sharing part of his story. At age twenty he was working on his GED and struggling with ADHD. He said, “I’m tired of getting high, I want to get my life on the right track.” We had a few short minutes to share with him before his ride showed up, we let Mike know that he was welcome to join us at church on Sunday, and then I gave him my contact information so he could call or email anytime. He put my card in his folder and said, “maybe my girlfriend would be interested in talking too.” I don’t know where Mike is today but I do know that God had us there for a reason that day and I’m confident that our short conversation will someday have a positive result for the kingdom of God.
A week later I was sitting with two friends at our regular place and I said hello to a woman sitting next to us. In a few short minutes we shared with her that we meet every week to talk about how God is working in our lives. She was intrigued and said, “you really sit here and talk about that?” Interesting isn’t it? When you take “church” out into the public in a way that is real, people respond…usually in a kind and respectful manner. This new friend has been invited to join us each week…same time, same place…to talk about God – what a privilege.
So why is the blog titled “Be Careful…Really?” Over the years I have been surprised and frustrated at the responses I have received from individuals in the church when they learned that I was intentionally engaging in the world around me by becoming friends with people who are, well, not churched. Granted, I have friends who are wild musicians, retired bike gang members, substance abusers, people who swear and cuss, those who sleep around, and so on – but they are my friends and I love them because God first loved me. Remember who Jesus befriended? To my dismay, some of the people giving me advice to be careful have included my elders and other spiritual leaders to whom I have been accountable to in one way or another. I think their intentions are good and they probably don’t realize what they are saying. After all, they don’t want me to be in physical danger, they don’t want my family to be put in a dangerous position and so on.
This is not about me. This is not a blog to show that I’m not afraid of other people (usually I’m not). This is not about me telling you to start hanging out in the bad part of town because that’s the only way to share the gospel. No, this is about the call to “go” and make disciples. It’s about the prompting of the Holy Spirit to speak into the lives of people who are already in our paths…to not be afraid to become a new friend, to not be afraid to reach out and say ‘hello’, to not be afraid to show your neighbor that you care.
If you are wiling to let God use you today, he will. There are many areas in our lives where we have been blessed and I believe God will use those areas to allow us to share the Good News. The other side of the coin is that as Christ-followers we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do things in his power, not ours. There will be many times where you have to rely totally on God to help you through a situation – these are usually the most rewarding learning experiences. Many people have asked me how or why I’m spending more time in public or how I’m able to make friends with a stranger. They know I’m not a very outgoing person (I’m actually an off-the-charts introvert). My answer is, “I’m compelled by the Holy Spirit to do it.” You see, I can’t not do it and it’s becoming something that I must do in my everyday life. I’m excited to see how God will continue to open doors in this season of life.
So, be careful…God might use you today…really!
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Published on May 14, 2012 by VergeNetwork
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