Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No more dullards and self consumed saints

I began this blog series quoting Paul Tournier on the adventure of living in God. The closing of his book, The Adventure of Living, speaks to the vibrant, thriving, adventurous life God calls all Christians to embrace. Read along with me...."This is what makes the Bible so concrete. It does not deal in general tells stories. The adventure of God, the tremendous adventure of God, is at work in every adventure of every man, and in every episode, even in the smallest. Why then do the lives of many Christians, members of all sorts of churches, seem so dull, so inward-looking, so void of any spirit of adventure? Why do they seem so monotonous and stuffy? Why do they seem so often to be lived in a world apart, abstact and distant? They would like to convert the whole world, but they make no contact with the world because they speak a different language and no longer understand the world's language. They have no laughter, no jokes." The Adventure of Living, by Paul Tournier, p.199-200.

Oh, sorry to say but I have been the dullard looking only at things from my view point. Years ago, I was so focused on myself that I probably was the boring, stuffy, condenscending "church lady." As I look back, I overlooked people who were desparate for more meaning in their lives. I'm sure some were curious about God. From my low self image complex I wanted to look good; sound right and be the best. I regretfully confess, it never occured to me that I might have developed an "inside" language that only church folks understood. My communication goals were about me looking great to the key church leaders and important people in my life. I never worried about others outside not "getting it" when I spoke conversationally or as a public speaker. The fact that they had no church experience or had never read a Bible was not my main concern. My casual mindset of those days grieves me as I look back at me.

In brokenness, God got my attention many years ago. Now, my desire is to honor anyone I engage in conversations with my undivided and full attention. Listening attentively with openness is a primary emphasis in all my communications. In prayer, I am learning that God wants all that I speak to be clear, simple and plain.

As an older woman I enjoy technology and this helps me to have meaningful dialogue with younger people. I invest time to stay culturally and colloquially relevant with people who never participate in church.

True evangelism only occurs when our attraction factor is strong. When I read Scriptures telling of Jesus Christ moving among the unbelievers; they were drawn to Him. He was approachable to everyone. I am drawn to genuine, transparent, humble, fun-loving, trustworthy folks. I pray to be what I am drawn to; so that hopefully, someone will be drawn to me. The highlight of my life is when someone asks me what makes me tick. That is an open door to share the greatness of Jesus Christ in my life.

Recently an EConnect Greenville networking meeting had a great speaker, David Martin. He is an engineer that intentionally uses his golf and other hobbies as ways to develop friendships with people who are not Christians. Over time in his friendships, he has had men, one on one, come to him through their trustworthy relationships to inquire about Jesus. Tournier's book echoes David's stories; both call me to embrace my adventure of life in Christ.

Tournier's book was written in 1963. Seems there are fewer of us committed to Christianity today than I recall in the sixties. Church membership and statistics support there is a falling away from church culturally in America. I see irrelevant Christians could be more of an evangelism issue today than back in Tournier's day. Recently a business associate told me about his dealings with professed Christians in his profession. He said, "They tend to be more close-minded, and sometimes it difficult to get them to discuss where we can work together. Most of all, they don't seem to be enjoying life on any level." The fact that he and I were having this discussion let me know he didn't put all Christians in one box. He knows my hope is for Christians to live up to our Master.

The Bible says this about THAT: I Peter 3:14 "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

The unbelievers will never ask us for "the reason for our hope" if they never detect any joy or vibrancy in our lives. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, may we all "Get a life!!!" Yes, grasp this great life of joy and delight and risk that God has mapped out for us. Live it passionately.

"Kay, where's the laugh you led me to believe I'd get on your blog?" you ask. Consider this the balancing post between the funny ones. Thrive Christians ... again Apostle Peter proclaims, "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."

The wisdom of Tournier's book has sobered me up to something wonderful and real that I desire greatly: My own Adventure of Living by listening and obeying God at all times.


Elaine said...

Kay-I finally figured this out!! This was great as well as all the others. I'm so glad you are doing this. Apparently it is blessing many with your "words" and that is wonderful..Keep it up!By the way this sounds as if we were conversing on the phone, it is so you and so naturally one of the wonderful sides of you!! Love, Elaine

Kay Martin said...

Thanks Elaine. When I get a response like yours, I get fired up again.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.