i talk to myself. a lot. and not just when i’m alone. if you sneak up on me in most any public place, you will probably hear me talking. grocery store. starbucks. in the car. doesn’t matter. being short on words is not something i’m usually accused of. i almost always have something to say. whether it’s worth listening to is another issue…
you may or may not be like me, but there are times when probably all of us are caught at a loss for words, when we don’t know what to say – and yet these are the very times when we ought to be most prepared to say something.
when are they?
well, hear it from peter, original follower of Jesus:
“if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 peter 3.15)
i’ve been thinking a lot lately about our DARE YOU TO MOVE focus – about how to most effectively and yet naturally invite others into a more vibrant relationship with Christ within the context of the church that we have all come to know and love. how do we get people to discover what we have discovered? how do we encourage and excite people to spend a few sundays with us so that they can see that not all churches are stuffy, legalistic or boring? how do we invite people to church on sunday? what do we say?
there are all kinds of ways to do this. marketing. ads. cool series. your kid is playing in the band…
and i’m cool with all of them. when the ultimate goal is seeing people eternally saved from their sins, as well as seeing them know meaning in this life, i believe in getting them connected to God in nearly any way imaginable. but i also firmly believe that one way far exceeds the others…
your EXPERIENCE of the real presence and power of God in your own life.
what is your story? what is your experience? if you had to write a one-page paper describing the reality of God in your life, could you do it? what would it say? and how animated would you be if you read it to someone out loud?
here’s the deal. i want to encourage and challenge you to invite people to THRESHOLD. but what is ultimately more important is that you act as a conduit between God and the person you are connecting with; that you understand that you are being used by God to bring about a real, positive, and eternal change in the life of another person. it’s not about putting more butts in our seats. it’s about saving more souls for eternity, and about helping more people in this world experience the reality of God in their lives.
so it starts with the reality of God in yours.
before you talk to another person about THRESHOLD, see if you can answer these questions about your own life:
1. am i saved? that is, have i turned over my life – both in this world and the next – to Jesus Christ? how and when did i do that? what was my experience like? (if the answer to this question is ‘no,’ i would strongly suggest that you deal with it before worrying about seeing anyone else come to THRESHOLD).
2. what real difference does God make in my life? what might i be like if i didn’t know God? what can i truly thank him for? what stories do i have to tell?
3. do i believe that salvation from sin is necessary, and that one only finds it in Jesus Christ? can this belief drive me to be more concerned about others, to the point that i am willing to risk ridicule in telling my story if it will see someone else come to Christ?
4. can i write that one-page paper describing the reality and necessity of having God in my life and of believing that Jesus died for my sins? would it be exciting and compelling enough to move someone to change?
these are questions that matter. they are questions that every one of us should focus on. our answers to these questions are what can and will bring about the salvation of souls and the betterment of the lives of real people and of our communities.
DARE YOU TO MOVE – the challenge before us is to see 600 people worshiping at THRESHOLD each sunday by Easter 2009. in six months, our God-sized dream is to double. but i can’t say this strongly enough: this is not about competing with other churches. it’s not about making a name for ourselves. it’s not about money!
it’s about getting serious about being the church that Jesus has in mind. it’s about seeing unsaved people become saved people. it’s about seeing spiritually dead people come to life. it’s about seeing aimless people find a purpose for living. it’s about helping hopeless people find hope. it’s about caring for people, because people matter to God.
the goal of doubling simply reminds us that we are all in this together. each of us is called in our salvation to be about reaching others. no one is exempt. we are all sent.
so you meet someone new. you learn that they don’t go to church or they are not experiencing life in Christ. you want to see that happen. you are having a conversation. the time seems right.
what are you gonna say?