November 7th – Turning the World Right-Side Up

Yesterday, I was recalling just one and a half hours I spent on the streets of Fort Lauderdale in Florida, in company with another minister (a Lutheran), and our leader, a young typist girl who had been trained to speak sensitively to the strangers she met in the street and eventually, if it worked out, unforced and naturally, to share her faith with them.
At first we felt foolish standing around, trying not to look like a trio, or a team, because there’s few things the world-at-large hates more than the pushy religious types trying to convert them to the Moonies, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or The Mormons. Nevertheless we learned two or three things that night.
One was about leadership. The girl in charge of our outing was not theologically trained as were we two ministers, but she had the quiet confidence of knowing that she was about her heavenly Father’s business, and leadership in unassuming trust is a superb gift of God, and so effective. Another thing we learned, that ministers have to learn to keep quiet occasionally. They don’t know everything, and sometimes it is not their ignorance, but their very knowledge which becomes a huge barrier. It’s not so much wisdom as their professional pride that gets in the way.
Another thing I learned that night was that out there, in every street, there are millions of hurting and lost people whose greatest need is to be reached by the love of Jesus. We talk about this but we don’t do it. Why? Because we are afraid of trying and being rejected or accused of being a religious nut case, or sneered at as fanatics. We sing hymns about following Jesus and taking up our cross, but what we mean is, providing it doesn’t cause us any bother or embarrassment. Our fear of failing means that all over the country there are millions of people who need Christ’s compassionate understanding and care, going unhelped.
I’m not saying that going out on the streets of a big city is the best way to evangelise the world. But perhaps we Christians have forgotten that making and developing friendships is the greatest opportunity we have of touching the lives of millions of the unchurched.I am saying that when we begin, no matter how nervously, no matter how inexpertly and inexperienced, humbly and willingly to listen to God and do what he says, it’s simply amazing the things which God does when in faith we step out.
Listen to the charge made against the early Christian preachers:
These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus. Acts 17: 6-7.
A Prayer: Lord, prevent me, and all Christ’s followers from being like the Hudson River – frozen at the mouth.
Now read I Timothy Chapter 4.

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What ever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God. (Martin Luther)

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