Monday, June 9, 2014

For God so Loved the World

What was your Sunday morning takeaway?

The visiting pastor shared incredible stories of how God is bringing other people groups around the world to faith in Jesus Christ. What is happening now seems to be an accelerated move of our sovereign God. Perhaps the most challenging thing to me was a reality check of how my evangelical mindset will respond.  Those working with other cultures have learned that God doesn't stay within denominational boxes or theology boxes. Just as God wowed brother Peter's thinking on the rooftop of Joppa with a vision of  animals Peter considered unclean, so God asks us not to call impure what God has made clean.

The speaker said we are all culturally compromised by the good and the bad things that make up the culture world that we know best.  So what does contextualization look like, at least among the people he was focusing on today.
1. To be a follower of Jesus may mean that we don't expect believers to leave the culture they are familiar with. In fact, if they leave they will become alienated from their own people group and have no opportunity to share their new found faith.

2. Evangelism is best accomplished through bridge-building rather than confrontation. We start with our commonalities, learn from each other, become better listeners than debaters, and believe God to open up doors to share the truth of who Jesus is, in his way and time.

3. Allow a process for conversion. It may take some time to change a mindset, to trust and prove God's truth, and to let go of traditions.

4. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead. If God is sovereignly drawing people to himself by visions, dreams, revelation from the written Word, he can be counted on to guide our words and actions when sharing his love and the salvation he offers through his son.

So what about the different cultures I encounter closer to home?  People who don't have the privileges I have or who experience life from a different perspective than me. Do I judge and jump to conclusions about their decisions? Do I allow God to reveal himself, or do I think I have all his answers?

I have questions and much to learn, but maybe an answer to a prayer of mine was being applied to my heart today to the degree of change that God knows he can use to move me closer to his love-heart for the whole world.  ...I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, that I may know the hope to which he called me, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great love for us who believe...

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Thanks for sharing your response!