You know, I wrote only about a week ago about how we must get out there and engage our culture. I am basically sick and tired of sitting around and griping about this and that, whatever it is that I see that’s going wrong in our communities, our State, our Country, our World. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and angry all the time, and so I’ve started doing something. We all of us must get back to that reality that we are NOT powerless!
In many ways, I have my Pastor at our Church (Steve Sanchez, now Church-planting in Dripping Springs, TX) to thank for getting my keester into action. I’m not really one to sit around all the time and moan, it’s just that there is so much bad news all the time, that I think even us Christians get depressed by it. So, we wind up isolating, doing our own thing, trying to pretend everything is OK so we can just “Go along to get along.”
The trouble is, as I pointed out in my earlier blog article, that wasn’t at all what Jesus was about.
Since that time I’ve admitted my anger. I’ve done a ton of reflecting on what my values are, comparing those to what a good Christian’s values should be, and I’m not far off. I have my faults, and mostly what I need to do is just practice the disciplines I’ve learned since becoming a Christian. Those are relatively simple: Read the Bible every day, study it actually, try to pull out nuggets of God’s wisdom and will for our lives. Then, we should also pray and ask God to illuminate us and speak through us. We can ask him for these things because He delights to give them to us!
You also have to realize that we, and this applies to all of us, are not done! Becoming a Christian is not an “Event” but rather a process. Yes, it can be argued that you can be “Saved” at a particular point in time, and that is almost like saying that we were “Converted” at one point in our lives. But what really matters in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years following that is to try to follow Jesus with all your heart, mind, strength and soul!
With that in mind, I engage in the “Ministry of reminding” primarily to myself. But, in light of the fact that I feel it so important to engage the culture, talk to people about Pro-life issues, and about Jesus, I have been getting out there lately. I’ve gone to El Camino with our Evangelism team now the past 5 weeks and I have been blessed by being there! Yes, it’s tough, difficult to talk with young people about God, the Universe, Creation, whatever, but we learn just as much from talking about this stuff with them as they are likely to learn from us!
It stretches us and grows us, we become more immune to the enemy’s fiery darts, and we become more confident of the faith we have as we learn to listen to the questions the people will ask us and provide them answers based on what we know about the Bible. No, it’s probably true, that someone who has not read the Bible cannot answer those questions as effectively as someone who has read it, but even then can start to learn and grow from their encounters with others and simply telling them about what Jesus has done in their lives!
Take, e.g., the “Woman at the well” (John 4). She was amazed (as were most folks by Jesus) that first, He would talk to her, and second that He spoke with authority and as a Prophet. She was so blown away that she couldn’t help but go and tell everyone in her village to come and meet Jesus! Soon, the entire village was saved. That woman certainly knew no theology, she had no “Book learning” and she would not even have been considered a “Person” by the Pharisees and other leaders of Israel at that time. But that was why Jesus chose her as His example for that lesson.
My other favorite example is myself. Look at me now: I attend a Church that is housed in an old Bowling Alley. That Bowling Alley never made is as a place to bowl, unfortunately. They built the building on stilts (columns) with the effect that all the bowling balls would bounce all the way down the lanes. Sad. But, God saw fit to use that old derelict building (it sat unoccupied for several years) for His purposes. Then, he chose ordinary people, surfers, bikers, drug addicts, hippies, folks like me, to hear and share his message. Derelict people, derelict buildings, are you beginning to see a pattern here?
But Jesus Himself said “The healthy don’t need a doctor.” He came for us sick folks. We know we need God, and we aren’t too proud to say so. I need Him more and more every day. I blow it all the time, and I am certainly not a great person or anything like that. I’m just a saved sinner, living by God’s grace, trying to make a difference in the world around me. That’s about as good as any of us can do, eh?
Anyhow, what I was going to share is that Cheryl went with me out to El Camino yesterday. She was skeptical, and didn’t really want to go. She didn’t go to our Growth Group the night before, she’s still very depressed about the loss of her niece, but she went. Then, she thought she’d just watch, and listen and not say much. Pretty quickly though she got involved in some heavy conversations with the young people. We had a great crowd around us at one point. I looked over and saw her talking with 4 young men, one of whom was being very animated. He had leather, and spikes, and boots, and his face was pierced in many places, and get this, he had false fangs on, like someone out of that movie – Twilight? I didn’t see the movie, can’t watch those things these days, but anyhow, Cheryl told me: “I didn’t freak honey!”
I was so proud of her. Then, a few minutes after those young men left, that one came back and asked me specifically about a pregnancy, a “Hypothetical” pregnancy. Right! I could see right through it, so I handed him our flyer for the local Pregnancy Help Center where Cheryl volunteers. Praise God!
Then, Cheryl met two other young men, one African, I mean actually from Africa, and the other a young man from Calvary Chapel South Bay. The first stopped by and was just overjoyed that we were out there talking to folks about Pro-life issues. Actually, the other young man from Calvary Chapel, he talked long with us, we talked about Mission trips he had been on, that Cheryl had just been to Vietnam with someone from Calvary Chapel, and it turned out he knew her! But then, he stopped and asked if he could pray for us, and Cheryl was just so blessed by the whole day, it was truly a God thing.
God is good. All the time.