what’s happened to us? fear of engaging

gambar-1-27      Fear of engaging. Maybe it goes back to some fear in our childhood? Or to the Silent Generation, who could barely say anything after witnessing the horrors of the Second World War.

      One of the reasons our evangelical world first developed four-point gospel outlines (1949) was literally to put words into the mouths of those who could barely speak, or just simply didn’t want to talk anymore. It was truly a silent time in our land. [Coincidentally, the phrase daily quiet time also emerged at this time.] Or our silence could have been a result of the McCarthy investigations into possible Communist sympathizers. This laid the groundwork for the Cold War of the 50s–60s.

      Today, in 2020, Christians in the West still have difficulty, if not blatant fear, of engaging the world around us. We might not know what to say. We might not know the answers to their questions. We don’t know how to lead them to Christ. Worse yet, we may not know even one normal person (read non-Christian) to engage. We just have no point of contact with normal people in a religious way.

      So we unconsciously huddle within our Christian cultures fearing any significant contact with the World. We are afraid of being tainted, tempted, or taunted. But we do not find any of this in the New Testament.

      Instead, we find Jesus’ disciples transformed by the renewing of the Holy Spirit, bold to declare His deity and saving grace in the face of severe opposition, even unto death.

      What’s happened to us? Too many of the Christians I know are clueless when is comes to engaging anyone with the gospel of Christ. We steer clear of those conversations at all costs. Allow me to offer five ideas on how you can follow our Lord into people’s lives.

  1. Relax. Let the Spirit open doors for His witness. No need to tense up.
  2. Remember God is in control. You do not have to be. Nor do you have to get thru some pre-scribed gospel outline. Respond naturally using your heart and your mind.
  3. Place yourself in the midst where normal people gather. This may take some creativity while we’re in this COVID19 self-isolation period.
  4. Fall in love with people. The command to love hasn’t seemed to sink in. I find more meaning if we connect with people as if we’re in love with them, looking forward to our next meeting.
  5. Give God some room to work. Our job is to show up, be there, and love creatively.

      Our God is so full of surprises. Enjoy yourself and watch Him work.

Honor God, honor people…, make a difference.
Gary

Dr. Gary Davis, President

Nobody


When I walk into a room no one notices. Standing among a group of people maybe one of them asks me a courteous, inconsequential question. If I sit down I melt into oblivion. No one notices. When I get up to leave no one stops me. I am gone. And no one notices my absence.

            I own a cell phone—but no one ever calls; sometimes, not even to return my call. I post a message on Facebook, or Twitter. No comments.

            Where I work I have reconstructed some of our procedures to be more efficient. Someone else took the credit and was never questioned. Of course, I never spoke up about it to anyone.

When it comes to deep relationships with men, or women…, well—same story. No one wants to know me. So I withdraw deeper into my isolation and tell myself this is normal for some people. I know I am lying.

            I am nobody.

Too many of us suffer from a form of isolationism that deepens with the years. Sometimes that self-seclusion is learned through the berating and rejection of others:  sometimes it is self-imposed. Throughout my own youth I was constantly told I wouldn’t amount to anything. For a time, I simply accepted it. When I grew up it was an astonishing revelation that I could actually accomplish some things of significance. People who knew me were surprised; so was I.

It is true, “Ships are safe within the harbor; but that’s not what ships are built for.” You have been created by God to make a difference during your time on this earth. Have you discovered what it is? I encourage you to try something new, anything; although, if you have bad luck, sky-diving should not be the first venture. Eat new foods, get lost on a country road (er, with a GPS device nearby), read outside your normal purview; try sports (maybe not Rugby). You have not been designed to hide your life under a soggy cloud.

Now get up, get out of bed, and try to make someone else’s day! You are not nobody. Live with it.

For what it’s worth,

Gary