Youth News - March 2009
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Today in chapel at St. Paul’s Christian School we discussed missions and looked at the way that Paul sought to reach others with the Gospel message. A missionary, simply put, is a person to goes out to reach lost people with this message about Jesus in the love and power and Spirit of Jesus. One of the first things that we discussed was that missions is an opportunity for every believer to step out of their comfort zones and to grow by becoming stretched in their faith. Whether it is academically, athletically, or spiritually, people will not grow past a certain point unless they are given a challenge and an opportunity to take risks. Approaching faith with an attitude that wants to remain within familiar and comfortable boundaries only produces a sterile and stagnant faith. Following Jesus is far from familiar and comfortable.

When we read of Paul going into synagogues and other places of worship to share the Gospel, we also notice that Paul approaches the subject by beginning with things that are familiar to the audience that he is speaking to. Paul sought to meet people where they are at. Whenever Paul was in a synagogue, he would speak starting with the Old Testament – scriptures that the Jewish worshippers believed in and agreed with. The Old Testament was a shared common ground that he had with his fellow Jews. When in Athens, Paul would point out the fact that there is an altar “To An Unknown God” and use that as his starting point in sharing God’s truth with them. As a matter of fact, Paul was so familiar with their culture that he even quoted one of their own poets as a reference point to the truth he was speaking about (see Acts 17.22-31). We too, share things in common with the unbelievers in our lives. Many of my friends that don’t know the Lord share my interest in music, and music has been a great bridge in being able to share my faith with them.

We tend to think of missionaries as people who go great distances to bring Jesus to people that don’t have Him, but I want to change that perception a bit. First, we are all missionaries in the sense that God desires for every one of His people to be a means for others to hear His Word and know His love. I pray that the Lord would use you as a missionary, wherever you are, in the lives of those that don’t know Him yet. Second, while we are bringing the Gospel message to people, we are not necessarily bringing God to them. Paul’s example shows that we can actually point out where God is already at work in the lives of unbelievers. We can point out glimpses of His grace and kindness in such a way that leads them to understand and receive the salvation they need in trusting Jesus as their Savior. Jesus said that God “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5.45).” And Paul said to unbelievers, “We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made haven and earth… He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy (see Acts 14.15-17).” Paul showed unbelievers that God’s kindness was already at work in their lives, and we can use that as a starting point to show them the greatest act of kindness that God did in sending His only begotten Son.

May you be a missionary today, stepping out of your comfort zone, meeting people where they are at, pointing out God’s kindness in their lives, and being used of God to share the wonderful message of the Gospel to those who need to hear it.

Grace & Peace from Him to you,

Matt

 

 
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