An Assignment - Discuss
Discuss what is important for children, students, young adults, young parents and beyond to know, feel and do as followers of Jesus Christ and beginning to assess how to get them there. With that, to also assess if there are areas where ministries overlap and where there are gaps between our areas of importance and areas of practice.
This meeting is tomorrow night?
The first thing anyone needs to know as a follower of Jesus Christ is that he loves them, just as they are. After that follows the basic outline of what it means to be a Christian. We've all sinned and that separates us from God. We are unable to earn our way into God's approval, so God sent his son to the earth to live, walk among and teach the gospel. He then died in our place. His death was the perfect sacrifice and allows God to see us through his blood that covers our sin. Our free will to obey him or not still exists, and once we've understood the sacrifice he made for us the expression of that is living our lives for him.
This is a little strange to me because who are any of us to say how people should feel? I guess a feeling of thankfulness for Christ's sacrifice would be one. Feelings of love for others is another. I guess a big one for me would be that you feel passionately. Be passionate about who he is and who he's created you to be. Be passionate about loving and worshipping him. Be passionate about sharing him with others. The best gifts to the world are born of a passionate soul created to love God.
Shall I get the book of Leviticus out? That will confuse everyone. To make it simple, do what Jesus says to do. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself."
How do we get them there?
This issue, I believe, is one of the core competencies of the church. It's one thing to know all "the facts", it's quite another to live it out. The struggle with this area of active Christianity needs to be a core competency the church leads with, but we also must recognize that we can't "make" people get to that point. Sounds weird (or just weirdly worded), but stick with me. I'll get there.
Living out the gospel first requires a change of mind. Then it requires a change of heart. And no one but God can change the heart. We can teach and talk until we are blue in the face, but two facts remain: 1.) People won't change their heart unless they want to 2.) God and only God will be the one to step in when they make that decision.
So I've struggled with what I can do to shape hearts of worship in the church. I don't believe we as leader are called to shout directions from the sideline like a football coach. (Come on, I had to get one football analogy in here - I'm from Nebraska!) I believe we are like the quarterback - in their with the team to lead them.
I also believe God meets us where we are. God met me in a disparaging state of heart because I was ready to give mine to him. I knew my way just wasn't working. Before that, I was given all the facts about being a child of God. Sure, those facts supported that decision, but if I didn't see the lives changed in the people who taught me those facts, I don't know that I would have understood what I needed to do without that example. And not just what I needed to "do" - but what to do to be happier.
But I think it's important to point out there are two elements to this decision. #1 Belief. #2 Faith. We can believe that God's way is better than our way, and that his way will ultimately make us happier. But what comes along with that is a faith he will carry it through. A faith through the dark times that God's has a plan that's better than the one we may want for the moment. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. says the proverbs. I don't think this means God is Santa Claus, planning to hand us the desires of our hearts because we made our bed each morning this year. I believe it means that God will reveal (i.e. give) what those desires are to us.
There is so much more to this topic, but I have to stop sometime.