Our church is beginning a small group study on the book, Walk Across the Room. Bill Hybels, the author, shares his passion for reaching out to people we encounter with interest, looking for opportunities to build friendships with those who need the love and salvation of God. All it may take is leaving our comfortable social circles and walking across the room to meet someone new. It will be the Holy Spirit in us loving them, no 4 Spiritual Laws required. Here's the start of our adventures into what Bill calls the "zone of the unknown".
Our first meeting went well. Jim and Brenda live life this way on an ongoing basis so they have stories to tell that inspire and challenge us. Diane has a friend at work who is facing a crisis, and another member has been led to reach out to a neighbor who lost her husband several months ago. Bill shares stories on the DVD that comes along with the study, about the people he has befriended who have come to know Christ because of Bill's influence. Bill says he never tires of seeing someone's life changed by Jesus. His enthusiasm is infectuous.
One of my take-aways this week was a fresh look at how Jesus interacted with people and how his methods of showing love varied from person to person. A homework question matched 4 different people or situations with Christ's response.
Nicodemus- Direct-You must be born again.
Saul/Paul- Struck with blindness
Centurion's servant-Acknowledged and affirmed his master's faith publicly
Little children-Showed love by hugging and holding them
As I read through the gospel of Luke this week, I looked specifically for more of these Jesus encounters. How about the hide and seek story of Zaccheus? Jesus, led by the Spirit, exposes Z's cover and this man was ripe for repentance. This story reminds me of a meeting I attended this week where comedian Jeff Allen shared his testimony of becoming a Christian. He is certain that Jesus had a tailor made encounter for him at just the right time in his life. Catch his inspiring testimony in this video.
I'll try and do a wrap up for you later as the study progresses. I invite you to watch for the opportunities God gives you to share his love with someone. To recognize the Spirit's nudgings, to want to be more open to those nudgings and then to walk over, reach out and see what happens.
Do not be deterred by fear or busyness or even a lack of passion for others. Ask Him to change you. I am. Here's what happened with my first attempt at this walking business. I had a lunch date set up with This Someone and on my way to meet her I fell from a few steps and ended up nursing a bruised side for a few days, likely a fractured rib. Needless to say, the lunch date will need to be rescheduled. But I have all confidence that God is able to work all things out for good and nothing the enemy may try to use against us will prevail.
Anyone have a personal story to tell of how God has used you to share his love?