Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reflection of Something

Sometimes, in the hustle and flow of life, as I strive to know God, I wonder how I can use my vertical relationship with him to affect my horizontal relationships with others? I see a bumper sticker nearly every day that says "What difference do you make?" and I ask myself the same question, "what difference am I making?"

There are precious few things that will have eternal consequences in this life. But, I know one of them is how we reach out to one lost person whom God is calling. Reaching out to them and telling them the simple gospel of Christ.

But instead, I smile politely and side step the issue, not wishing to offend.


LJ said...

Accepting that other people may believe widely different things and respecting that is not a bad thing. I don't recall anything Jesus saying anything about having to convert others. After all, the parable of the Good Samaritan was not about converting the Samaritan, but recognizing the good in others regardless of difference of beliefs.

Chuck said...

The Christian faith boils down to who you think Jesus to be.
If Jesus is just another religious character then he is nothing different. But, if Jesus is who he claimed to be, then you have excluded alternate possibilites of knowing God. Outside of Jesus, any image that we have of God is a graven idol that we have created.

Personally, I do think one person can convert another. History proves this out. There is principal for spreading the gospel, but, acceptance is purely God's calling on the individual, and the individual responding.

Rick said...

"The Christian faith boils down to who you think Jesus to be." - hmm. Do you think the "conversion problem" or "evangelism ideal" hinges around mental ascent? I don't know that I can flow with that one.

Good luck with that :)

Chuck said...

And why wouldn't it?

Look at the audience of Hebrews. They had to make a mental ascent in the first two chapters of the book.
They had to be told that God had a Son who was better than the Angels, and Better than Moses. This Son of God, heir to the throne of Heaven, was none other than Jesus. And then, they had to determine in their minds who Jesus was.

I had to make a decision about who Jesus was and so did you. Was it only a heart decision, or did we think about it at all?


Perhaps you are coming from this angle.

God does not depend on what I think. He is God, Jesus is still Jesus. God will quicken the spirit of who he will quicken. For those he did foreknow he did predestinate? Conversion/Evangelism then does not hang on anything that I do, but everything that He does.

And I agree with you there, too.

Rick said...

Crikey, I think I got the wrong word in there. I typed "assent" and then changed it to "ascent", but that second one is about rising up, isn't it? Oh well.

No, I'm not on either of those tacks. For me, "mental assent" is very much in the realm of what James was writing against, since a decision and a conversion mentally make no different in the way someone acts or works or behaves. And I'm just averse to saying anything "boils down" to something smaller, since I'm usually finding I was wrong when I nailed that jello to the wall :)

Who you think Jesus is, how that impacts you, how that changes and grows today to be better than your perspective yesterday, what that does to how you interact with others, how others then respond and live in relationship with you, how that changes and grows positively over time, too - all of that summed together great than the parts might be better for me right now.

Chuck said...

I definitely understand jello on walls (careful of the stains around here).

And I have been perplexed over this posting today, and have been really praying over this.

I actually like the word assent better. For what one must first assent to is not who I say Christ is, but who Christ said he is.

I still see that as the starting point. I just chose the words "boils down to."

Rick said...

Watch out for stains. Gotcha.

The problem I have with what we've called evangelism is that it focuses on the mental assent without properly balancing the discipleship and repentance-to-better-life aspect of following Jesus. There's a, "whew, at least he's saved", reaction to things that falls short of what salvation in the truest sense might be. That's all.

Let go, Luke. Feel the force.

Chuck said...

Isn't that the truth. Sometimes I felt that I was "fire insured" when I look back. But, that might be me trying to impose what I know now back on a teenage mind. Also, I chose to go off on my own for a while. During that time, there was no growth (but a gnawing feeling in the back of my mind). But I digress.

Really looking forward to our coffee and bagel.

Rick said...

Coffee is good - and I need to get off the PC :). One of the things I'm chewing on right now is the "perfect plan of God" idea. In your "off on my own for awhile", I think you were probably still smack dab in the middle of where God wanted you, or at least where He sovereignly allowed you to go, and that who you've become and how you've gotten to this point is a part of whatever comes next.

Chuck said...

Something I had not considered!! Thanks.