At the Heart of Evangelism

 

Kim Long, Pastor

Alvarado FUMC

North District

 

1 Corinthians 1: 1-3 

 

I don't know about you, but when I read the Bible there are pieces that I have a tendency to skim over or even not read at all. You know - those long lists of begets and the detailed directions in the Hebrew Bible on how to perform sacrifices at the altar and the salutations of the New Testament letters. Well, as I have continued to grow in my relationship with God's Word, I have come to discover the hidden secrets that can be found in the seemingly "unimportant" parts. Today's text is one of the texts that I often skimmed past to get to the meat of the matter. 

 

But as you know, Paul does not write anything by accident. He is a man of intention and thought. Therefore, his salutations deserve a closer look. This particular salutation is one that has been guiding me for some time. In this letter, Paul is writing to this little church in Corinth. As you read further into the letter, you will notice that they have lost their way a bit. Paul is writing to guide them and bring them into a more obedient and more abundant way of living out their faith. He begins this letter by reminding the people of this church who they are. They are "those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people." With these words, Paul is inviting them to remember their calling so that they might be renewed in the desire to live out that calling. 

 

As I have thought about their calling, which is our calling too, it has brought me to a question. What does it mean to be God's holy people? Of course, there are many ways to answer this question. Many deep thinking theologians and biblical scholars have much to say on this subject. But I have come to distill the call to holy like this: God's holy people are those who follow Jesus in such a way as to point people to Jesus. 

 

Friends, as we move toward the Evangelism Summit and ponder what evangelism is, I have another question. Isn't that what is at the core of evangelism? pointing others to Jesus so that they, too, might discover the heaven meets earth life of following Jesus? 

 

But how do we point others to Jesus? This is the rubber meets the road question of evangelism. So often we think pointing others to Jesus comes through big and grand efforts

or at least that is what comes to mind first. Images of going to exotic third world countries to give witness to Jesus come to mind. Plans for mission trips away from home or involved events at our churches to bring people in, fill our brainstorming sessions around evangelism. These things are good and there is a place for them. Yet, to me, they do not fully reflect the way Jesus drew people to himself. As we look at the life of Jesus, he drew people to himself as he lived his daily walking around life. He drew people to himself as he connected with people each and every day. The same is true for us. Pointing people to Jesus is more about what we do in our ordinary walking around lives than it is about those big and grand efforts. It is about the way we live day to day. The way we connect with others and enter into relationships with people each day. 

 

I first stumbled on this extraordinary, yet ordinary truth, when I was in high school. During my senior year, I was the president of a school club. That year, a girl, I'll call Kelly, was in the club. She was awkward, shy, and little challenging to get to know. She did not have friends in the club but she came faithfully to club meetings and events. I made sure that I always spoke to her. I didn't have lengthy conversations with her, but I acknowledged her presence. Often I gave her a ride home from school, but we never spent time together otherwise. At the end of the year banquet, her mother found me. With tears in her eyes, she thanked me for all I did for Kelly. She told me that this was the best school year Kelly had ever had because of my friendship. I was floored. All I did was be kind. Something so small, and effortless, brought love and acceptance to her. Can you imagine what might have happened if I just included her a bit more in my every day walking around life? or if sometime during those car rides I had shared my story of Jesus with her? 

 

This to me is the heart of evangelism. One person. One relationship. One life interacting with another life as we do life together. 

 

I would love to say that over the years I have gotten better at this. But I'm not sure that is exactly true. But what I can say - I am always aware that my every day walking around life has impact on each person I meet each day. That means I strive to be a person that follows Jesus when I pump my gas, when I go the grocery store, when I purchase my coffee at the local coffee shop, when I am just doing life. 

 

So, one more question for you... how might you be someone who follows Jesus in your every day ordinary walking around life in such a way that you point someone else to Jesus? 

 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your grace, which drew me to seek you, saved me, and is now transforming me into your image. Holy Spirit, mold me. Shape me. Guide me to be a person who follows Jesus in such a way that I point others to Jesus in my every day walking around life. Amen. 

 

February 19th, 2021 – Waco, TX – 9:00-3:30

REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT:

www.ctcumc.org/ES22-registration