It is early....and I've been up since about 3:00 a.m. It started with our son calling out, then later, our daughter, then the boy again, then the daughter. Once it became quiet we heard something scurry down inside our wall. Then it was quiet again....then the dog became sick. After watching him eat grass outside and realizing I may be well advised to stay up with him, I made coffee and decided to start my morning.
So I went to my notes for the 20x class I'll be teaching in about five, my gosh can that be right, 5 hours. I previewed the Rob Bell Nooma video "You" last night and pulled a few questions from the material that we'll be using in class. I rarely journal anymore, at least pen on paper. The blog seems to fill this need I have to get thoughts out of my head. But, I picked up an old journal to make some notes in concerning the video and lesson and found some entries from 2001 from a winter retreat we took our youth group on. They dove-tailed nicely with the lesson.
One of the lesson questions was "do you, as a Christian, feel like you are part of a movement that's putting a broken world back together?" No. Not at all. Honestly, I feel like I am all alone out there with no moral support. In fact, it often feels like the biggest hindrance in putting the world back together are the people in the church. There is too much hate that is spewed out in the name of righteousness when it really is seeded in bigotry, pride and a desire to control. If we are the ambassadors of restoration for a broken world I can't see that we're being effective at all.
How about this one "do people generally see Christians as people who serve or who forcefully try to rule?" Well, except for small pockets being the exception to the "rule" I think this answer is obvious given the unfortunate public face of Christianity today. Would you use the term "servant of others" to describe the face of your church....how about outside the church? Let me ask this of you non-church goers....would you use that term to describe the church on the corner? Where did we go wrong?
The last question I plan to use this morning is this..."if others could watch how you spend your time, money, what you love and who you love would they see that Jesus has risen from the dead?" Let me set the stage for this question.
In Acts 1 Christ says just before He ascends to heaven that we would be His witnesses to the world. The disciples gathered there, staring into the sky, were indeed witnesses to His resurrection. For a period of forty days this teacher they followed and watched crucified, walked and ate with them teaching them about the kingdom.
So, are you a witness? You see anyone, whether a Christian or not, can tell you that you need Jesus. They can throw all kinds of scripture at you and maybe even be a bit of a Bible scholar. They can try to get you "saved" and maybe even hope that the Holy Spirit will bring you to conviction because of it. Anyone can evangelize, but that doesn't make them a witness.
A witness is someone who exemplifies by their life and word that Jesus is raised from the dead because He is real and living in their life. Christ has created effective change that causes them to display servanthood. A witness can't help but be a witness.....he is because of what he has seen in his life.
So, I'll go back to the last question I posed from the lesson. Based on your life, would people understand that you are a witness of Jesus being raised from the dead? I scratched out percentages based on different areas of my life and using the law of averages I came up with 50% of the time. That's terrible.
God, make us a people that by our lives give witness to your sacrificial act because you desire restoration to this broken world. Truly all of creation begs desperately for the hope that You have already provided. Change your church to be witnesses of that hope through sacrificial acts of service to bring healing to all creation.