5 Immediately Applicable Ways to Keep You from Becoming an Inward-Focused “Christian”
June 16, 2015
I taught out of Jonah 4, urging those present to join me in striving not to grow older to become an inward-focused "Christian." Below are the five ways I encouraged those at KAIROS to immediately apply to their lives:
#1. Read your Bible with a Global lens.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a story of God rescuing all of humanity from every nation on the planet from eternal damnation. Yes, the Bible talks about God's love for you. But it doesn't stop there. That's only half of it. God loves you AND He loves the nations. His love for you includes using you to help as many as possible hear the reality that "God loves sinners." Begin reading the Bible - NOW - with a lens over your eyes, looking for how God's heart is for the nations of the world to know of His love and worship Him.
#2. Engage in a Church that Makes you Nervous.
Be actively involved in a church that scares you to death. Go to a church and be involved in a church and be a voice in a church that is always threatening your comfort. Asking you to give more for the Gospel advance. Calling you to go on a mission trip over and over and over and over. Calling your children to graduate college and go overseas for the rest of their lives, or at least a good season of their lives. Asking you to be evangelistically intentional with your neighbors and coworkers and friends and family. Don't go to the church that makes it easy on you. Be active in one that has a missions and evangelistic edge to it.
#3. Chase Mission - Not Money, Marriage, or Missing Out.
Go and plant and live where the mission is greatest, not where the money is the most. Those two might be related. They might not. Just make sure that the first question you ask yourself when you get a job offer is not, "Can I be rich there?" Or, "Can my family be comfortable there?" Yes, those are questions you might need to consider. But the first ones you must ask are, "Can me and my family be an effective Gospel witness there?" Likewise, don't chase a happy marriage. Chase a marriage that exists to display the fact that God loves sinners. Find and pursue a spouse that is in it to help the world know that God loves sinners. And chase the mission, rather than chasing the fear that you and your kids are going to miss out on something. So many parents are scared that if their kids are involved in every little thing that the world offers they will miss out. Instead, fear they will miss out on understanding what life is all about! Fear that they will win the World Series and think that's it!
#4. Love the Man and His Message. . . Like the Means and Methods.
Love Jesus. Love the Gospel. Only like how He is communicated and how He is sung about and how He is articulated. The means and methods will change. They have before and they will again. Don't love the methods more than you love the message. Check out what the music says about Jesus before you knock it. Check out what the church believes and teaches about Jesus before you write them off. Check out what is being said about the Person and Work of Christ. If you love Jesus and the message - your preferences will be affected - but when you don't get what you want, you won't be devasted.
#5. Get off your Rear and Go Overseas.
Go on a mission trip. Go overseas. Or go to downtown Nashville where there are tons of Internationals. The opportunities Brentwood puts in front of you day in and day out are endless. Stop making excuses and go overseas as fast and as soon as you can. Go ahead, email Scott Harris right now - firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you want to go on a mission trip. Make sure you tell him I sent you!
What are some other ways you can think of to help us fight against the drift of becoming inward?