Church planting Simple Church

Ways to see a greater harvest #2

 Are we willing to sit in the smoking section? (Neil Cole)

 smoking cigarette

Many of us believers are so busy with our Christian friends or with church related activities that we have no time to make friends with other people. Not only that, some have an inbuilt fear that we will somehow be contaminated by rubbing shoulders too closely with "the world."  (Love not world, neither the things that are in the world.) Or maybe we are concerned that we will not be able to resist temptation if confronted with it.  Perhaps we feel guilty for enjoying "worldly pleasures"  (I am not talking sinful situations here but the normal everyday pleasures of life.)  How sad!  The result is that we live isolated, legalistic lives, irrelevant to much of society.

Jesus himself related very well with the ordinary people of his day. Sinners loved him! Luke 15:1 says, "Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach." Jesus was not scared to be in a compromising situation with the woman at the well  (think Jewish man alone with  Samaritan women of doubtful reputation); he did not mind when a prostitute washed his feet with her tears and then anointed them with perfume. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners (Matthew 11:19). Jesus preferred to risk being identified with sinners than with the religious.

We will ony see the world won for Christ when we are willing to leave our church pews or our sofas. Jesus said that the sick are the ones who need a physician. The challenge is to get out into a world that so desperately needs him, to get into the trenches in the dirt and guts of life. As Romans 10: 14 says, "But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?"

How do you make friends with someone? It takes time! People instinctively sense insincerity if we make them projects rather than having a genuine friendship with them. They rightly run away from this.

So where does that leave us?  Are we willing to risk our "good Christian" reputations to befriend the outcasts and marginalized of our communities? How do we form genuine friendships with not-yet-believers? 

What ideas do you have?

5 replies on “Ways to see a greater harvest #2”

Where Were You When Jesus Called You?
February 26, 2010
Some things that the Lord showed me.
1Co 7:17 Only, let each one [seek to conduct himself and regulate his affairs so as to] lead the life which the Lord has allotted and imparted to him and to which God has invited and summoned him. This is my order in all the churches.
1Co 7:20 Everyone should remain after God calls him in the station or condition of life in which the summons found him.
1Co 7:24 So, brethren, in whatever station or state or condition of life each one was when he was called, there let him continue with and close to God.
I believe that Christians have an escapism mentality. And it is the church where they run to be “separate and holy” from the world. We act more like political prisoners who have escaped our captors and are seeking asylum than we do Ambassadors for Christ spreading the good news of the kingdom. We, with good intentions, want to rescue people from the world in which they live in. Yet, if this were God’s will ,wouldn’t we be raptured the moment we became Christians. But then who would tell the prostitute, the drug addict, the gang banger, about Jesus if we take the very ones with whom they could relate to out of their “world”? We are to be in the world, but not of it. God’s call on Moses life came while he was in Egypt and although he fled for his life from Pharaoh, God sent him back from whence he was called to rescue a nation.
Joh 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth. [Isa. 40:5.]
For we Christians to regain credibility with the world, we who have “The Word” dwelling within us must be in turn willing to become flesh and dwell in the “world” God has placed us in . We should be a reflection of the Lord’s Glory just as a mirror reflects light 2Co 3:18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit..Php 2:15 so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Among these you shine as lights in the world, We are the light of the world, the city set on a hill. It was never God’s intention that we remain hidden and unseen.Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
It is not Jesus’ will that we should be removed from the world in which we live in as much as we would sometimes wish , Joh 17:15 I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. But it is His desire that His Father protect us from the evil one.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world.
The Lord showed me a vision in September of 2009 of 2 brides one was the church , very beautifully dressed and one who came from the streets very shabbily dressed . The ,”church” bride looked down upon and made fun of the bride who was from the streets because she did not possess the wealth to be able to adorn herself ,”properly” for the bridegroom . However , when the bridegroom passed by , he paid absolutely no attention to the ,”chuch”, bride but instead welcomed the street bride to be his .
The “church” bride gains her ability to adorn herself so lavishly from the wealth she accumulated from playing the whore with the world.
The bride that comes from the streets ,does not pretend to be something she is not. She fully realizes who she is .
There is no ,”religion” or falsehood in here. While she may be a whore, and a sinner , she gladly accepts the invitation from the bridegroom

This series “ways to a greater harvest” is wonderful!
As a group we are discussing Wayne Jacobsen’s “Authentic Relationships”, becoming a “safe place for people to land” is key to genuine relationships. It is a place where one just loved, not judged.
Thank you so much taking the time to write these!

Despite often feeling like I “don’t have the time” I have been hanging out with some of the moms from my youngest daughter’s dance class. From what I gather, one of them is an atheist and the other doesn’t attend church anywhere. In fact, just this morning I did some emergency babysitting for one of them when the sitter she had planned canceled.
My husband plays soccer every Sunday morning with a bunch of guys from Turkey. He’s pretty sure none of them are Christians. He invited them over last weekend for the US v England World Cup match. None of them came. But, I’m sure he’ll try again before the World Cup is done.
We’re not doing anything crazy. Just hanging out with people we have things in common with. In our case it’s little girls in dance class and husbands who like to play soccer.

I just want to add, I genuinely like both of the women I mention. If I didn’t, and I felt like they were just a “project” it would be harder to connect with them. The point you made about being genuine is key.

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