Part of one of my assignments was to study a verse found in Peter's first letter. I had to study a couple of the original Greek words to determine the true meaning of the verse... the assignment is finished and handed in... but the verse is just going over and over and over in my mind and in my heart. This is the verse:
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doingThis verse is just really hitting home, especially after attending a seminar last week with author Hugh Halter and now reading his book, The Tangible Kingdom. The verse, and many others in the New Testament, tell us to be living out good lives so that other people outside of the faith will notice. The truth of the matter is, most of don't really have all that much to do with people outside the faith. We go to church on Sundays, we do our small groups, we send our kids to mid-week programs, we go to Christian concerts and seminars, we play on Christian sports teams. We do all this stuff... but does any of it look like the stuff that Jesus did???
wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)
In his book, Halter mentions that it takes the equivalent dollar value of 85 full time pastors to lead just one adult to faith in Jesus Christ in the United States. During the seminar he mentioned that most of our kids will leave the faith and never come back to church, even though we spend more money on children and youth ministry then any other time in the history of the church. What is all this money doing? It doesn't appear to be making joyful, reproducing followers of Jesus. All that money appears to be just drawing in a crowd... a crowd that loves it and will fund it, but wouldn't really give their live up for it.
But that's what Jesus called us to do. In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus is recorded as saying:
Maybe the problem is not the fact that our church services and programs are not good enough to reach people far from God, but rather that we haven't been living our lives good enough to reach people far from God! If we are truly living life the way that Jesus commanded us to then, even when a non-believing world mocks and ridicules us, God will use our lives to touch their hearts and he will do the work of calling them to him.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny
themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants
to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save
it. What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or
forfeit your very self?
So how am I living properly? How am I living a life that looks more and more like Jesus each and every day? How am I helping the poor, the lonely, the hurting, the hungry, the sick, the oppressed, and everyone else that Jesus loved while he was here on earth?
I want to live like Jesus! Even though I'm not all that sure what that means! (this really reminding me of the song My Jesus by Todd Agnew. Here's the video... incredibly powerful lyrics!)