We must never shy away from the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, “for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

Read: Matthew 9:35-38 & Matthew 25

Ask Yourself & Journal:

•  When was the last time that you introduced someone to Jesus and what He’s done for you?

I told myself when I started to do these blog entries for this Core Issues series that I needed to be as transparent and honest as possible if I expected anyone else to 1) get anything out of this process and 2) see that transparency within the body of Christ is OK.  So with that in mind I’ve got to answer this honestly.  I don’t know if I’ve ever personally introduced anyone to Jesus.  Yes, my life may say I’m a Christian: I work at a church, I talk about church, and I occasionally bring up spiritual issues in conversation, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a heart to heart with someone about who I believe Jesus to be and what I believe he can do for them.  He’s done A LOT for me.  I shouldn’t have a problem telling people about how awesome he is.  And I’m sorry… me teaching bible studies or leading discussions at Communitas does not count.  I think too many times we count our “safe” activities (i.e. things we do in a church environment) as part of “living” our Christian lives.  The purpose of gathering as the church is to be equipped to live my life outside of the four walls of church buildings as a credible witness for Christ.

•  In your life, list tangible examples of what it means to (1) preach the gospel to the poor, (2) heal the broken-hearted, (3) proclaim liberty to the captives, (4) restore the blind, and (5) set the oppressed free. (see Luke 4:18-19)

Out of these five things I believe the only one I’ve lived out is number two: healing the broken-hearted.  I believe since I’ve gone through my own share of heartbreak, having my heart broken and breaking the hearts of others, I have been able to relate and reach out to people in similar situations.  The other four I find lacking in my life.  Ministry to the poor has been absent in my life.  Proclaiming liberty to the captives, too.  Hopefully, some on number four and five, restoring the blind and setting the oppressed free has happened during conversations at Communitas when we discuss the beauty of what God’s truth can accomplish in our lives.

•  Have you made it your personal responsibility to live out these works of mercy in your own world? If not, how can you resolve to start living out the gospel of Christ?

I do not believe I have.  Maybe that’s why I have such a personal conviction to integrate social action into Communitas.  Because it’s absent in my own life.  Please, don’t think I’m beating myself up over this stuff.  I believe there’s a distinct difference between shame and conviction.  Perhaps, such I have such difficulty integrating “works of mercy” as part of my personal life, that creating opportunities to do so in a community environment will give me the courage to make it not only a responsibility, but a normal, everyday part of the life Jesus has gifted me with.

Listen & Pray:  JESUS my LORD, sometimes I’m caught in an embarrassing moment or awkward situation and wonder why my friends didn’t warn me.  There is a lost, broken and hurting world all around me, and I have the answer in You.  The eternities of those around me are at stake.  If I don’t take responsibility to tell them about you, will they in the end of all things ask me why I didn’t tell them about you?