Thursday, October 4, 2007
This past Sunday evening at church our pastor was talking about our mission as a body of Christ and a new missional church planting in the tri-cities. Our mission is to free people to embrace Jesus...to go to the people instead of waiting for them to come to us. In this area this is huge. There is not one place in this town that you can go without the presence of at least 20 churches in a 1 mile radius. We live in the Bible Belt. Every Sunday churches are full but there is something missing. It has been more about going to church than having a relationship with Jesus. It is more religion than relationship. If you ask someone if they're saved you'll get (1) I go to church and 2 (I am a Methodist, Baptist, etc...) . The one answer I'm looking for I usually never hear. After leaving church that Sunday evening my mind kept coming back to how I can be a light to others. I'm no longer in the work force, and I'm not in school right now. I'm a wife and mother of 4 children and caregiver to 2 others. Time is spent with my family all day. But God gave me my answer Tuesday, October 2.
Just about everyday I take my son Riley, and the 2 young brothers that I babysit during the week to the playground that is pictured above. This Playground is the cream of the crop! People come from all over to visit the state park just for its playground. This playground was specifically built for the handicapped and goes all the way back past the shelter in the picture. I will take some pictures and post later the entire playground so you can see for yourself.
On this particular day, as I watched the children play in the sand area (can't see in this picture) I shared a bench with a wonderful lady. It started with a simple "hello, how are you". We had a wonderful conversation and I learned a lot about this precious woman. She grew up in Connecticut, former Air Force, has lived in this area about 10 years, husband traded her in for a younger woman (her words not mine) grew up Roman Catholic and is now attending a Methodist Church, First marriage ended in divorce because husband was an alcoholic, was raised in a home where the mother was an alcoholic.
This is a lot of information, considering that I just met her. However, strangers will divulge information freely to people they don't know because its just easier. Of the many things that we discussed there was one issue that struck a chord with me. While in the Air Force she was invited to a black church by one of her friends. And if you don't know, it doesn't matter what black church you go to we are not a reserved people when it comes to church. She went on to tell me how scared she was in the midst of people who freely shouted praises, sang with soul, clapped and swayed as they worshipped, amened and waved their handkerchiefs throughout the service. But in the midst of feeling out of place she marveled at these people in this church freely worshiping God. She envied that because all her life had been, as she put it, living the typical Catholic life of hail Mary's and chanting. For the first time she had witnessed freedom in Christ!
As we continued to talk I was able to share some things. As my good friend Kristina said today as we talked on the phone, "all of our lives we have been told to never talk to strangers, which was for our own safety and is a good thing, however, that has spilled over in our adult lives and has become a hindrance in our ability to witnessing to others." Even if the subject of Christ, God never comes up, we are still witnessing to Christ. That old adage "build it and they will come" just isn't effective and isn't what Christ done. Christ went out and we are to do the same. You can be a witness to anyone, anywhere.
People are so imprisoned with religion that they've totally missed Christ, and some have never been properly introduced to Him. Have you talked to any strangers lately?