A few months ago, I was out with friends and we were having a great time chatting, laughing and basically being ourselves. One of the guys referred to me as Padre and the conversation stuttered for a moment. Most of the guys know what I do but it was the new guy who took a stutter step at the mention of religious affiliation. I smiled and waited for the shift and it didn’t take long for his behaviour to change. Every time someone cracked a joke, it seemed he nervously looked over to see my reaction. What you need to understand is this, I am used to it, in fact, I have come to expect it. Later in the evening, I got up to order more wings and he got up to come with me. He wanted me to know that he went to church as well and told me that his preacher was nothing like me. I braced myself for a lecture on how my demeanor was not representative of the clergy or the friends around the table were not all fine Christians. The conversation did not go that way however. He wanted to know how I could be so open with my faith in the setting we were in surrounded by people who, by his assuming, were not all Christian. Simple response, God uses us all in different ways and gifts us with the talents needed to be relevant in our community. We all have the ability to affect lives but we do not always do it in the same way. Some of us are able to go into certain environments and boldly proclaim God’s message without pounding a pulpit and we do so through the strength of the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Matthew 9:9-12 NLT
Jesus showed the way to getting His message out there. Sunday church is only a small part of the plan. We need to live boldly in our communities, living our faith each moment of the day and “preach” the gospel as God has gifted us. None of us can be Billy Graham but we can all be followers of Christ in our own special way. Yes, I will sit down with friends in a pub and share in their lives. Jesus went to where the people lived and affected the lives of thousands. He sent the disciples into the world to deliver the Good News. He did not tell them to go build a church building but rather build relationships, build a family.
We returned to the table and the conversation took on a whole new life and through it all, my friend came to realize that all at the table were brothers in Christ. For those of faith, be bold and hold fast to the strength He provides. Honestly, it takes more courage to not believe.
This week, we continue with a look at the story of Lazarus where we will explore Lazarus the bound. We would love for you to join us either in person or online Sunday at 10:30 AM MST.
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We look forward to seeing you this Sunday.
Our Mission “To live the love of Christ”