Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This past week I've had lunch and coffee with several church leaders from around the Phoenix area. I've also been in conversation with many of the organic church leaders in our network of churches. It appears that God is putting the idea of reaching people for Jesus on the heart of His Bride here in Phoenix and beyond. I just got off the phone with a young organic leader in Minnesota who asked me about the same topic. The question goes something like this; "I am encouraged by the Spirit to be with people who are not yet believers but I don't have any friends like that. I'm so busy with life and church things, that I'm not with people who don't go to church. How can I change this?" There is no right 'method' to tell these friends how to proceed, but there are some strong principles that need to be applied. It is my opinion that the question above is one of the most pressing questions on the church today and once that question is address in a broad scale way, the Bride of Jesus will begin to see more and more people streaming into the Kingdom. "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." 2 Cor. 5:14-15 We must begin with having/allowing the love of Christ to control us. If the love for anything else controls us, we will not be very concerned with others getting to know Jesus. When the love of Christ controls us, we then are able to no longer live for ourselves and our desires but we will begin to live for Jesus' desires which is certainly seeing people come into His Kingdom. "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as thought God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5:20 We should be clearing time in our lives to be able to hang out with folks and make new friends. We are to take seriously our appointment as an Ambassador of the Kingdom of God on earth. Earth is not our home. We belong to the Eternal King Jesus Christ and to His Kingdom. As long as we do reside on Earth, we are to be Ambassadors of Jesus. As Ambassadors, part of our job is to spend time with those who are unfamiliar with the Kingdom of Jesus and tell them about the wonderful things of that Kingdom and invite them to also become part it too. These two principles must take place if we are to become friends with people not yet in the Kingdom of God. We must allow the love of Christ to control us and we must take seriously the role of Ambassador that has been given to us by King Jesus Himself.