I got a number of responses to my sermon about our need to learn to reach out to our Judea: our neighborhoods and networks. We live in a time that Christians are suspect to many, and are seen as being the very definition of hypocrisy. One of our members reflected on what we need to stop, if we are serious about connecting with our world. I thought it worth passing on:
…But before [outreach] can happen, we first have to stop.
WE HAVE TO STOP.
We have to stop giving the devil so much ammo with which to discredit the Gospel.
We have to stop presenting this false caricature of Christ to the world where Christianity is identified more with political parties and accumulating power than it is with loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.
We have to stop loving riches and fame.
We have to stop being afraid of embracing those whose stories, cultures and skin color differ from our own.
We have to stop engaging in vain and empty arguments
We have to stop demonizing those whose views differ from our own.
We have to stop living secret, unaccountable lives.
We have to stop driving/walking by and ignoring those in need.
We have to stop letting the world and culture shape us.
We have to stop judging others for the very things for which we ourselves are guilty.
We have to stop treating the resources God has given us as our own.
We have to stop gossiping and tearing others down.
We have to stop thinking that we have earned or can earn God’s approval.
We have to stop comparing ourselves to others.
We have to stop being afraid of mere man and his opinions.
We have to stop our coarse joking.
We have to stop flirting with and indulging in sexual immorality.
We have to stop taking in entertainment that poisons our mind and dulls our conscience.
We have to stop. NOW.
We have to stop acting like our time on this planet is not fleeting and we have endless days before us. That’s not only delusional but it’s just plain dumb.
We have to stop thinking we can live by the Spirit without having our minds, our hearts renewed every day by the Word of God.
We have to stop living as though we are our own and denying the reality we have bought and paid for with a great price.
And as we stop, we also have to START.
We have to start seeking the Lord with all of our strength, all of our heart, all of our mind; all that we got.
We have to start humbling ourselves before God.
We have to start asking God to give us a heart for the things for which His heart is inclined.
We have to start loving our neighbors as well as we love ourselves.
We have to start being thankful and generous with all God has given us: our time, our resources, and our very lives.
We have to start walking by faith and not by sight.
We have to start welcoming the stranger living among us.
Start seeking justice and loving mercy.
Start building bridges.
Start to stand in the gap and intercede for the broken, the lost, the lonely, the imprisoned, the widow, the orphan, the sick, and the poor.
We have to start being salt and light in a world that is lost and wanders around in darkness, bumping its collective heads on vain and empty philosophies.
And together, as we collectively fall on our knees before God, repent and seek Him with everything we got, and as we start stopping and start starting, we will see revival. We will see, as Tim Keller says, sleepy Christians wake up, nominal ‘Christians’ get converted, and large numbers of people, once hostile to the Gospel, come to Christ.