Our pastor said something I really enjoyed this morning when we were looking over all the sermon series that we had done this year. Hands down my favorite was off a book written by Kyle Idelman called “AHA” which goes into the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke. I obviouosly enjoyed it so much I named my pubishing company after the parable; Prodigal Panda. I definately was a prodigal child. AHA stands for Awakening, Honesty, and Action. I was going through a very difficult time in my life and I was just back in the church for a few months. It really struck a cord with me.
This morning our pastor said we needed to get people home and then they can be convicted and change behavior to bring it in line with the Bible. I feel like I just typed a blog on a similar topic just last year (ha ha right). We as Christians have to be unshockable to the things people are telling us they do or have done. It may help to remember that God sees all sin equally bad. We have to look past the sin to the person and love them the way Jesus does. It is your love for a person, building a relationship with a person, and showing them your light that will draw them to the church services. What will drive them away is judging them, rejecting them, not valuing them, and looking down at them like you are better.
I want to challenge you this year to look for one person in your life that is not a Christ follower and to get to know them. REALLY get to know them. Become their friend and value their friendship. Don’t preach to them, but let them see your light. Don’t get into a debate about Christian values or point out what is wrong in their life. Earn the right to speak into their life. Let them see your faith so that they ask YOU about coming to YOUR church. There are people who need that debate to be won over…some people like Shelton Cooper who will need to have a heady argument. Be ready for it if it happens, but the goal here is to learn to love unconditionally the way Jesus does and to see as you become Christ to someone that you don’t have to judge them you only have to love them to bring them to Jesus. I think you will find it a life changing experience. Just as your life is being changed, you’ll see that their life is also being changed.
I can tell you my friend Beth got me back into church by stopping to pray with me one afternoon. She only mentioned where she went to church, but she never invited me. I saw Jesus in her by her actions and wanted to find out about this church where people were jumping out of cars to pray with people. Remember, you have the Holy Spirit to guide you in this task as well. He will give you the words and actions needed if you will be open to it.
I wish you all many blessings and much joy in 2017!