I live in a city that is referred to as a “city of Churches” (Wikipedia) where most people beginning a conversation with another person will often ask “What church do you attend?” (Before or after asking where that person works.) Yet, it amazes me when I hear disturbing things like what I heard just the other day. I was in a conversation with a woman who is a Jehovah’s Witness. She essentially told me that as soon as she tells “Christians” that she is a Jehovah’s Witness, they immediately turn on her and try to “flip her” (as one person referred to the act of changing denominations). She has been verbally attacked and argued with by the very people who are supposed to be showing her God’s love and mercy!
I had the awesome opportunity to sit with her and share who God truly is, a God of love and mercy, who is patiently waiting for her to find out who He is first hand. A God who is calling out to her, drawing her and pursuing her as a lover would. I was blessed with the chance to direct her beyond the books, people and “religion” and go straight to the source, the way, the truth, and the life!
There are so many people out there trying to recruit members, attendees, and congregations. It breaks my heart to see that most people are missing the heart of God!
Matthew 4:18-20 says, “18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
In prayer, I knew God was showing me more of intimacy with Him. He was showing me that His way was not a tactic of attack. Attacking someone or something that has emotional attachment for someone is not a tactic of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). Instead of knocking the legs out from under them so they fall, we must draw them to take steps to the King of kings!
I am not a sales person, and I will not try to enhance, augment, or “talk up” the message of the Gospel of the kingdom. We are called to preach this gospel, just as Jesus did, and so much more.
Moving on in Matthew 4 (verses 23 & 24), we see what exactly Jesus did. It says, “23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” [Bold italics added for emphasis by author.]
One thing God showed me in prayer this weekend is, never once did He direct them to a synagogue, telling them to be circumcised and become Jews. Yes, I know most of them were Jews but the centurion was not, nor was the woman at the well. He pointed them to the way, the truth, and eternal life! It’s not about making ‘fishers of members’ but about growing and cultivating the Kingdom of God!
I was telling my husband of the awesome time I had in this teaching moment with the woman and her questions and explained that IF God’s word couldn’t stand, and IF God could not prove who He is through His promises and intimacy with Him, than she could turn back and “flip” me! God’s promises are Yes and AMEN! They will speak for themselves. I am simply a catalyst for this transformation! When I present the Gospel, I don’t have to plug in the ministries at my church. If they ask, I will tell them where I attend church, but I am not trying to make them members. True churches connected to the source (Jesus) don’t need the excessive recruiting because the truth being taught and preached within will draw the people. I love how Paul puts it in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”. God will finish what He starts and we can be confident in Him!
I challenge you this week to two different challenges.
First - If you want a relationship with God, (or if you know Him and want a deeper relationship with Him) throw out everything you think you know about God and let Him reveal Himself to you. Close the books, go to a quiet place, and, with sincerity, ask God, “God, speak to me. I am listening to hear anything you have to say. I want to hear your voice and I want to know without any doubt that you are speaking to me. Reveal your truth to me. I want to know, firsthand, who you are.” I am not telling you not to go to church. The Bible says it is important to get together with other believers and encourage each other. However, a relationship with God is not based on Church. The Church is based on a relationship with God!
Second – Do not be quick to set opinions about the same people that God loves. That is why He sent Jesus to us. To “seek and to save” those who are lost (Luke 19:10). We were once lost and saw Jesus as our savior for the first time. Have we forgotten that the grace that was extended to us is the same grace we are to extend to others? We don’t know where they have been or what they have been through. The woman I shared God’s love with was abused and is looking for an answer and truth for herself and her son. She doesn’t need another bitter lecture. She needs God’s love, and compassion. Pray for the heart of God in this area, that God would show you how He loves them. Then we can show them that love!
God bless you as you seek Him and follow His call!