One of the truths proclaimed in this past Sunday's sermon was that God equips each of us to "connect every life to Jesus". Pastors Jim Chamberlin and Miguel Lara were demonstrating that truth in action by using their gifts of preaching and language as they taught their message by interpreting each others words between English and Spanish. They have obviously discovered they have a gift to communicate across what would be an insurmountable language barrier for many of us and have used that gift to connect people to Jesus across cultural barriers. Discovering our own gifts is an important part of our spiritual growth. When people ask where to begin in this discovery process, I often ask them what is it that you like to do, what gives you pleasure and gives you a sense of purpose? Sometimes people will be discouraged and say things like, well I'm only an office worker in cubical land, or I'm just an usher or greeter on one Sunday a month. Look, in God's Kingdom you are not just a...fill in the blanks. No matter what we do we are always surrounded by or in contact with people, people that need to know the God that loves them and has a purpose for their lives. You and I have been created to be relational beings, and just as our faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord has restored our relationship with our creator, God has given us along with our unique set of gifts and talents, the ability to communicate and build relationships with those around us.
So let's say you have a good grasp of your gifts and talents and are ready to take the next step but you're not sure how to get involved. Maybe you think that "I'm not Billy Graham and I'm just not very good at approaching people about faith". Well if we have to wait for the next Billy Graham to show up at our church and do all the work of reaching the lost, God's Kingdom isn't going to amount to much. How about an everyday example that doesn't require us to fill a stadium. Think about the contacts you have with people that serve you everyday. The check out cashier at the grocery, the teller at the bank, and all the others you chance to meet on a given day (and yes I never use self check out and I stand in line for a chance to say hello, just ask my wife!). Think what it would be like for the person behind the counter looking at face after face just passing by if you looked them in the eye, notice their name tag and greeted them with their name and sincerely asked them how their day was going with an attitude that gave the impression that you really cared. Here's a hint, turn off your cell phone as a starter. Nothing says that I could care less about you when you are answering your phone while someone is serving you. And while I'm on that subject, we are so wedded to our digital masters we don't even notice that the "marriage" has made us dysfunctional in our human relations. You can't have a relation and show you care in a text message or even by facetime. Engage people in a way that shows that you really care. Who knows, if you keep running into the same people over time that chance to witness about faith may open up. It could be as simple as inviting them to a special service at church, who knows where the road may take you if you extend yourself to others.
To help us in building relations God has given all of us who believe the greatest gift of all to help us in that mission, the gift of His Holy Spirit. The apostles of Jesus were just ordinary men who by the power, leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit were able to bring God's message of redemption and change nations. That same Spirit is in all of us today and we need to pray each and every day for the Holy Spirit to help us to reach those around us with the message of God's forgiveness and His incredible love. We are called, we are gifted and we are sent so let's continue this journey of faith together connecting every life to Jesus.