When I came out of the baptistry waters at University Christian Church in East Lansing, Michigan, I was a changed man. It was the fulfillment of 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Armed with the Holy Spirit, I politely stormed the campus of Michigan State University with the intention of convincing everyone I encountered that they needed redemption from sin and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. What I soon discovered is there is a right way and a wrong way to approach college students with the Good News.
Forty plus years later, I am still trying to be an effective disciple of the Lord. I have learned that you cannot read a single verse in The Bible without considering the context. For example, if you read the verses surrounding 2 Corinthians 5:17, you discover:
- “(15) And he (Jesus Christ) died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (16) So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. (17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (18) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (19) that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
Now I admit that I have grown weary of reading books about evangelism or “finding my purpose.” I have taught classes and small groups using wonderful books like God’s Story, My Story by Max Lucado and The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. And though I am too old to be considered a Millenial, I share their desire to be an effective servant of the Lord in this world. The age of being just an observer is over!
So with much trepidation I accepted the challenge given to me by my minister, Mark McGilvrey of Memorial Church of Christ, to read Kerry and Chris Shook’s book Be the Message. He also gave me a DVD that contained videos that could be used in a small group setting. I watched the DVD before opening the book and I wasn’t impressed. I told Mark that I have seen better video presentations done by Lucado and Warren.
Then the Holy Spirit began nudging me to do something sensible. I sat down and began reading Being the Message. I found myself agreeing with the Shooks’ observations about 21st Century life and how people have created “informational and technical cocoons” for themselves. How can anyone believe in Christ if they do not see His work everyday?
When I finally stopped reading, I realized to quote a popular phrase that “I was all in.” So here is the challenge i am taking:
I commit for the next three weeks to do the following each and every day:
- Pray and meditate for 21 minutes with a particular emphasis on listening
- Read a chapter from the Gospel of John
- Spend at least 21 minutes doing something helpful for someone.
Why don’t you do it with me?
We start tomorrow on the 21st of October.
I will share what I learn through articles in the Examiner and I hope you’ll contact me with your experiences over the next 21 days..