Posts Tagged ‘Motivation to Evangelize’



March 12, 2013

“In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.  And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”  But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”  And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”  Acts 10:12-15

There is a new church coming to your town.  I wonder if you will attend.

It is a church where:

Children run up and down the aisles;

Your race is the minority;

People talk at inappropriate times during the service;

Some are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction;

An ashtray is outside for the smokers;

The worship service has some hip-hop;

A few believe that deodorant is optional;

The police are aware of a few of the attendees;

The guys have longer hair than the girls;

Some are struggling with pornography addiction;

Some unwed teens are pregnant;

Not all have homes to return to;

A few effeminate men and masculine women attend;

Occasionally, feet are placed on the furniture;

The underwear of several young men can be seen;

Some, struggling with cursing, fail here;

The local tattoo artist references many attendees in his portfolio;

There is no doxology.

Church HDRIs this the type of church that you seek?  I know the reasons why these are not the attributes that appeal to my family and me.  I don’t see these attributes in the vision statements of most churches.  I wonder how much of our religious Church culture creates the same results as the Jewish culture of Peter’s time.

And he (Peter) said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” Acts 10:28

Our Christian doctrines don’t have specific laws about who we can associate with or visit like the Jews did.  However, consider the end results.  Isn’t the typical church on a Sunday morning almost as homogenous as any Synagogue in Jerusalem during Peter’s time?

Mine is.

It is as if the welcome mats at our Sunday gatherings have an unwritten expectation of what we consider clean and acceptable.  The unclean don’t seem to get past it.

Are there folks out in your community who you would prefer not to associate with on Sunday morning? 

Are there some who you consider too rough? 

Are there some who are simply uncouth? 

Are there some who you have determined are unclean and should not be associated with?

Peter was sent to the very people he believed he should not associate with.  God showed him that he should not call any person common or unclean.  I have never heard anyone in the mainstream of Christian community call any group of people unclean.  However, do our actions confess to a heart that has judged another person as unfit to be associated with?

To my shame, I think that my actions do.  I don’t think that I have actively pursued a course of pious dissociation but I look at the reality of my life.  I rarely associate with anyone who does not look like me.  I wonder what a disinterested third-party would infer of my beliefs based on an evaluation of the people with whom I associate.

I think that we all need to be very careful about letting our social preferences creep into our definitions of acceptable.  In Galatians 1:11-14, we are told that Peter stumbled due to this mindset.  He withdrew from the Gentiles.  Those same people whom God had said were clean he withdrew from because of social pressures. We don’t have any written rules or laws about who we can associate.  However, we sure seem to withdraw from those who make us uncomfortable.

Brothers and sisters, let’s evaluate our hearts to make sure that the reason for the uniformity of our associates is not due to some attitude of withdrawal that has the effect of keeping the uncomfortable away.  Remember, those who make us uncomfortable need a Savior just as much as you and I.  I am not sure how to immediately apply this to my life.  Maybe, we are to be like Peter, when the Lord sent the unclean to him.  Peter opened the door and was welcoming.  Maybe, we should prepare our hearts and make sure we display a welcoming attitude for all those who expect to be rejected.

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t know if the reason for the similarity of all my friends is due to an inappropriate attitude or simply due to where you have me.  Either way, examine my heart, Lord.  Don’t allow me to be unwelcoming to those whom you bring into my life.  Lord, I want to be like Peter and go to those who you send to me regardless of social pressures or personal preference.  Father, may your Church be the most welcoming place in the world for those who are truly seeking you.  Amen


COME ON, LICK ME – Dec. 1st

December 1, 2012

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile.” Luke 14:34-35

I live in cattle country. In cattle country, you can drive from one destination to another, passing pastures and corrals filled with cattle. There is a commonality between the enclosures that is easy to overlook. It is a tiny little block that looks of no consequence but is very important. It is called a salt lick.

A salt lick contains all the essential minerals that a healthy bovine needs, compressed into one rock-like block. Cattle that are deprived of these essential minerals will suffer all sorts of health problems and can even die. A good cattleman will avert all of those negative consequences with the use of a salt lick.  All that has to be done is to drop one of these blocks inside the pasture and let the cattle do the rest. They are instinctively drawn to this strange block and will start licking to their hearts content. After a season, cattle will turn a salt lick into a respectable modern art sculpture. However, there are two things necessary for the creation of this art form – saltiness and proximity.Salt lick

A salt lick that is not salty will be neglected to dissolve in the weather. Cattle will not be drawn to it since there is nothing that differentiates that rock-like block from a rock. A salt-less salt lick is of no use.

The other necessity of a salt lick is accessibility. A salt lick has to be within tongue length. It has to be close enough to be licked. There is no other way for those essential minerals to get from block to animal but through the contact of a long abrasive tongue. Therefore, the salt lick has to be in the same enclosure as the animal. Otherwise, the salt lick cannot serve its purpose. A negligent salt block is easy to spot. It retains its pristine geometric shape, which betrays that it is of no use.

It is not an illustration that my pride appreciates but we are God’s salt licks in this world. We are the essential salt that this world needs.  Just like a real salt lick, we need to meet the two essential characteristics of an effective salt lick – saltiness and proximity.

It is our saltiness that differentiates us from the world around us. So often, we try to fit into this world. The fact that people can tell that there is something different about a Christian is evidence of saltiness. It is the Spirit that makes us salt. One has to question what is going on, if you can just blend in.  There should be some salt to your life. Our saltiness is at the essence of God being able to use us for his purpose.  We have no use unless we are salty.

The other characteristic of a good salt lick is that you are close enough to be tasted. That requires allowing people, who desperately need Christ, to get close enough to you to sense that there is something different about you.  We Christians are very good at building morally pristine hedgerows around our lives that protect us from the world. We can have these pristine facades that the world thinks are fine examples of our piousness.  All the while, that facade is a testament to our uselessness.

Refusing to interact with the world outside our Church walls is like placing a salt lick in an abandoned pasture.  You will never be of any use unless you allow those who need your saltiness to get close to you.  The downside is that it may get a little unsanitary.  It may be a little abrasive. You might get a little dirty. It may be a little out of control and you might be formed into something that you had not anticpated.

large_cowtongueHowever, consider what you are doing. You are the mechanism that God is using to provide what is necessary to save another person’s life. That is an amazing work to be used in. That is worth all the unsavory aspects of getting licked. We need to realize that as we are being useful to God, He is creating a work of art out of us.

Are you ready to be licked or are you content with being useless?

PRAYER: Lord, Thank you for changing me into new person.  Thank you for freeing me from my bondage to sin. Thank you for making me salt.  Forgive me for all of those times when I have shunned the very people that you have drawn to me. Lord, continue your work in me – help me to see people as you do. Amen

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