Going Public

“ They were astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade(porch) . . . Peter saw his opportunity . . .” Acts 3

One of my favorite moments in the life of the early church was as Peter and John were on their way to Temple. If you recall, they walked by the man, lame from birth, who was begging for money. They stopped and looked at him intently and gave him what he really needed. Peter and John took him into the temple with them and everyone recognized that this was the man that they walked by everyday as they went to temple. He was not only walking but leaping with joy! They were astounded at what Peter and John, followers of this Jesus, had done. Where did they take it? They took it to out of the temple to a place where the public had seen Jesus with the Jews in tow. Peter seized the opportunity and spoke boldly of Jesus.

So here is my thought. Whenever we experience a redemption story in our church communities, our tendency is to have them share their story; to give testimony. Where do we do this? We have them share in church. We celebrate; as we should. We give testimony for many reasons, but the main reason being it gives witness to the redemptive power of Jesus. We do this in hopes that a changed life will speak to those hearing the story and that someone who doesn’t know Jesus will find him compelling. In a time when people who don’t know Jesus are less likely to come to church; are we seizing an opportunity when a life is changed or are we missing it?

My question is this: Why are we not sharing these stories with our friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family who don’t know Jesus? Why don’t we tell others with excitement and joy of a new life redeemed by Jesus? I believe we live in a time where our stories are being kept in the family. I believe that we are living in a time where our faith is looked at as religious institution and a belief system by the world around us. The next generations have less and less connection to church culture, but they do seek redemptive stories. A redeemed life speaks volumes and it will point to Jesus. So the next time you experience a redeemed life, take it public. You might be surprised by the response.

“Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” Psalm 96:2-3

People of “The Way”

The earliest followers of Jesus were called “followers of the way.” Followers of Jesus were not called Christians until later in the first century. According to some historians, it was somewhat of a mocking term given to them in the city of Antioch. “The Way” is not an insignificant term. The Hebrew people followed Torah. It was not just a set of rules to follow but a wholistic guide to Kingdom living. Thus, it was meant to be a way of life. So when Jesus said, “I am ‘The Way’, the truth and the life,” he was putting himself on equal terms with the Torah. Jesus made it clear that he was living and modeling “The Way” of kingdom living; a new way of life, the life God has always intended. What we see in the New Testament is Jesus showing us the way followed by people living into the ways of Jesus. What if we were to let go of all our Christian language and labels and lived into “The Way”? What if our way of life was compelling to the world around us? What revival might take place in our culture if we were seen more as people of “The Way”; a way that points to Jesus?