I (Richard) had an awesome opportunity to lead a group doing some disaster relief in Tuscaloosa, Al. I had been with this particular church before and had been impressed with their servant’s attitude and heart. As a matter of fact, the first time we worked together, I was in charge of leading their team of 42 jr. high students – anyone who has ever spent a week with that many jr. high students can understand what I was thinking I was getting myself into- I was amazed at the maturity that each student showed. We spent one whole day picking up trash in a housing community……oh yeah, and the heat index was 111 degrees with NO shade. I didn’t want to be there, but I never heard one complaint from these kids.
Fast forward and one year later we are going back to the heat of Alabama but this time with an adult team. The trip was great and God used them in many ways. Everybody was included on this trip, BRAND new Christians that were still really trying to figure out the whole God thing to lifetime churchgoers.
There was one person in particular that really encouraged me. She had been saved for just a few months and took it upon herself to find a church to start attending. She was an adult with no real religious background but she said she got to the point where she knew there had to be something more in life (that’s Jesus drawing her to him but that is an entirely different blog post). She accepted Christ and has since started her own ministry working with the homeless (all in the past 5 months). Wait, what?? She can’t do that! She barely knows about Christ herself! She has never been to seminary! She isn’t equipped to run a ministry sharing the gospel and Christ’s love with others! – Really? She’s not? I’ll just be honest with you; she taught me more in her attitude and love for the Bible that week than I have ever learned from a sermon. How is it that someone who has known Christ for less than 6 months has a grasp on the deep relationship that she does? –It is all about Christ. She’ll tell you right now that it is nothing she has done, she has a past but God is now using that for His glory! She doesn’t need to regret or be ashamed of the things that she has been involved in in the past, you want to know why? “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life has set you free from the law of sin and death!” Rom. 8:1-2
We are now slaves to Christ and in HIM we find life, no longer are we subject to the law of sin and death!
Here is my favorite part, that church that I worked with. It’s not the same denomination I was taught and grew up in (let me put in a quick bit here, their fundamental core beliefs are the same, I do not think it is right to work or encourage the work of those that don’t teach Christ as the Gospel (2 John 9,10) but that is certainly not the issue here) yep, we actually had true unity and spirit as we worked and served Christ. They allowed me the privilege to lead their devotions. I, a Baptist, worked with them, Methodists, to serve Jesus and be his hands and feet. Yeah, we may come to different conclusions on certain (non-Gospel) topics of the scripture, but here is a tidbit of information. Christ was neither!
I was encouraged as we were brought to unity under Christ and served him. New believers, youth pastors, people struggling with addiction and difficulties, and missionaries all came together and presented the body of Christ to those who needed it most.
I am convinced that if we could quit bickering and work together with those who truly bring Christ Gospel, we can reach the world! Jesus teaches us in Luke 9:49/50 a very important lesson. “John responded, Master, we saw someone driving demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he does not follow us. DON’T stop him, Jesus told him, because whoever is not against you is for you!”
Let’s get over ourselves and our self-righteousness and work with those who are “not against us” to share Christ with the world!
(Sorry, for those of you expecting another awesome post by my wife, you were undoubtedly let down by this one but thank you for reading what was on my heart! : )