“And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8b NLT)
Since I never know who will read these posts, I’m trying to cover a lot of bases, but with what I shared yesterday and what I’ll share today, I’m focusing on two groups of people. First: Those who have been hurt in some way by a church or by someone who professes faith in Jesus. Second: Those who are comfortably sitting in a seat at church biding their time until Jesus comes. While you may come at it from different angles, you both need essentially the same thing – a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led church body that will challenge you to give whatever you have left of your life, “all in for Jesus.” With that in mind:
- Find a church fellowship, whether it’s large or small, where you can get involved in 1. Ministry and 2. A Small Group. The Bible refers to whatever you do for the Lord as “Ministry.” It just means “service.” Find a place to serve. And notice I didn’t say “places.” Find “THE BEST” place to serve and give it all you’ve got. What might that look like? Find an area of service that enables you to maximize the use of your spiritual gifts and natural abilities. You may need to investigate a few options before you settle on what’s best for you, but find your place and serve to the glory of God. A small group can be age, gender, stage of life specific or center on something in which you have interest or need, but it should be an environment in which to find one or two people with whom you can grow a Christ-honoring, and close friendship. My closest friends are people with whom I’ve served the Lord. Interest may lead you to a small group that focuses on “Singles,” “Couples,” “Missions”, “Bible Study,” etc. Need may lead you to a “Grief Recovery” or “Divorce Recovery” or an AA type group that has a Christ-centered focus such as “Celebrate Recovery.” You’re looking for a few kindred spirits whose first love is Jesus.
- Find a fellowship that is outwardly focused. Find out why the church exists. What are they doing with the money they ask you to give? As important as “loving Jesus” and “loving each other” is, it’s not enough. If my love of Jesus and the people with whom I’m worshipping and serving don’t push me beyond the walls of the church and the confines of my own comfort to reach and bless people of my community and beyond with the love of Jesus, it isn’t helping us accomplish Christ’s Great Commission.
I read a startling statistic that said nearly 90% of people who don’t know Jesus, don’t know anyone who does. What does that mean? It means we who profess faith in Christ need to find as many people as we can who don’t know Him. We need to let them know someone who DOES know Jesus. As the Body of Christ, we MUST be about our Father’s Business of reaching those who are without a meaningful, personal relationship with Jesus and those who are hurting or feel trapped in lifestyles that are literally killing them.
- Find a fellowship of believers who are not all like you. My Pastor recently shared that we have more than 50 language groups represented in our church. My heart rejoiced! I thought I must be in heaven. What’s my point? Find a church where all the people aren’t like you. Share your story and let them share their story with you. God loves diversity. So should we. If you don’t like diversity, you’re probably not going to like heaven.
Our lives on earth are “practice” for our life in heaven. If you’ve been hurt by someone who professed to know Jesus, but wasn’t acting like it, or if you love Jesus, but are sitting idly watching opportunities to be useful pass you by, consider these words of Christine Caine: “Life is too short, the world is too big and God’s love is too great to live ordinary.” Or these words by Dr. David Jeremiah: “There is no restriction on race, age, class, or gender as to who can come to Christ. As the Holy Spirit said at the end of the book of Revelation, ‘Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.’”