Just recently, I had the joy of meeting with a young adult, a former member of my youth group who had just returned from a DTS with YWAM (Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission — www.ywam.org). She had spent several months learning and studying what missions is all about, and then spent the next few months in the mission field, in India, practicing what she had learned.
It was an incredible, life-changing experience for her. In India, she saw a hunger and thirst for the truth, grace, and mercy from the Lord, and she was blessed to see people respond to salvation messages wherever they went.
She shared with me that she was talking with a friend’s father who mentioned that the same desire people in India had for the Lord would never be seen here, in North America. Why? I think it might be because we are a very unspiritual people.
In our North American culture, we do not necessarily see the need for God or even for having a faith in him. Our lives are plagued with so much ‘stuff’ that every hole and void are filled — so much that we have to make an effort just to find the time to open up God’s word to read a few verses, never mind reflecting on them.
This young adult, lent me a book, called The Coming Revolution by Mark Baxter (Tate Publishing & Enterprises, 2007), the tagline on the cover reads, “Because status quo missions won’t finish the job.” In other words, the way we are doing things just isn’t good enough, and we need to figure out a better way to do it. After reading the first couple pages, my mind was racing.
It is easy to think that mission is just about going to the slums in India where this young adult went, or to the tribes in Africa that don’t have Bibles in their own language. If we think like this, we don’t have to think about the spiritual condition of those directly around us or even ourselves for that matter.
Join me in asking and answering a few questions:
- Does it ever feel weird in your own home with your own family to talk about your personal faith?
- Does it ever feel weird to talk about your own faith with other Christians in your church?
- Does it ever feel weird to talk about your own faith with those who are not Christians?
- When you hear people talking about their faith do you…
- Want to join in on the conversation?
- Feel that you have something valuable to share?
- Want to get out of there? If someone were to ask you to pray for them, would you get all nervous because ‘you don’t know what words to say’?
- If someone who you don’t know were to ask you about your faith, could you properly explain it?
- Do you know if your neighbours/colleagues/extended family are Christians?
- Would they know if you are?
Did some of your answers shock or surprise you?
When times are tough we see an immediate need for God in our lives. 9/11 is a great example, where we all heard about in the weeks following the tragic event that churches and religious meeting areas experienced increased attendance, because times were tough, and people sought out answers where they knew they could find them.
When a team of North American young adults goes into a slum in India — offering a better way, an answer to the tough questions — people then saw God as the way to fill their emptiness and brokenness.
Acts of terrorism and living in slums are tough times.
What about the days when nothing goes wrong, those seemingly perfect days? When you wake up in the morning, the sun is shining, the kids have let you sleep in, the house is clean, you and your family are healthy, the bills are paid, and cars are all running smoothly, and it seems as though everything is perfect?
(Gently now make a fist, aim your knuckles down, a knock on the nearest wooden object.)
What then do you do? Do you survey your kingdom and then smile in your own accomplishments?
Or do you then turn to God in prayer, listening for his voice, for his commands for you in that day? Maybe He has given you that day as a blessing, in order for you to be a blessing to someone else.
I think part of this unspiritualness that we North Americans are guilty of, is our lack in giving time of quietness to the Lord, to listen to His voice, to hear His promptings — and the follow through with obedience.
So may you, as a North American Christian (the primary audience of this blog), be able to set aside time to hear the Lord’s voice and then to follow through with the words He gives you —
- so that you may become more spiritual,
- so that your spiritualness may induce growth in the kingdom of God,
- so that you can reflect the need for God –
- so that when salvation messages are delivered here in North America, people will hear them, and respond to them.
Jesus himself said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12).
And we are very sick.