Lately I have been pondering - things like how to use my time well, how to love well, how to reach out to people with needs and reach out well. My ponderings need to take on hands and feet! I'm pondering how to do that well, too!
The ancient prophet Micah wrote: "He (God) has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8) Those words have to walk off the page and jump deeply into my heart before I can act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with my God!
At A Restoration Church we are gathering people from the South Hills of Pittsburgh who also want to act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with God. Our passion is for that acting and loving and walking to come from deep in our "being restored" hearts.
It is amazing to ride or walk down a street - any street - and think about the closed doors I pass wondering what goes on inside - wondering what pain that closed door hides! That's really the heart of church planting is to find ways to connect inside people's lives - behind those closed doors - to connect with people's hearts and build a bridge to Jesus!
Bridge building for Jesus is hard work getting down into the grime of life representing the Savior Who showed us the way! Take a read through the Gospel of Luke to see how Jesus went about building a bridge to God with the people He met. Sometimes He was so exhausted that He had to sneak away to recharge His batteries by spending time with His Father! It is interesting that Jesus didn't do His "sneak aways" in the day - they were always night journeys while others slept so He could be back "on the job" when the "multitudes" who followed Him woke up in the morning. That's pretty counter to our culture's idea of "time for self" if we follow the steps of our Master Jesus!
The world of 2008 is a scary place. It's filled with people who are far from the church and very far from the Good News of the Gospel! Most people didn't grow up in a church. If they go to church at all, they belong to the "holly and lilies crowd" (Easter and Christmas)! Yesterday I saw a park filled with people just hanging out, having as much fun as they could, listening to music, eating junk food and wandering around. Some - including me - even had their dogs with them. Yesterday was an example of "taking the church" where people are. It was an act of worship and work in church planting to go where people were gathering and be a presence there to do some initial surveying work toward bridge building.
It is not true that people aren't interested in spiritual things. They are. They are seeking. They have a hole deep in their hearts that only God can fill. The "church" they know by experience or reputation has failed to do justice, show mercy and walk humbly with God. The people they meet who carry the name "Christian" for the most part don't do justice, show mercy and walk humbly with God either.
We are missing a huge opportunity! We have the BEST news there ever was! We have all the tools and materials to build that bridge to Jesus. BUT we have to get out of our comfort zones and walk into worlds where we may not be particularly comfortable because that's where people are who need to know Jesus. They are hungry for Him! They just don't know it! They need a bridge to Him! He calls us to be that bridge!