Right now I’m looking out the window of my study while preparing for Sunday morning. A beautiful blanket of snow covers the ground. It has been snowing for several hours. A change, however, is on its way. Local weather forecasters are announcing a winter “storm warning”. In the middle of it all is our senior high youth. They are away for a weekend Youth Retreat, aptly titled “Blizzard”.
The weather, the youth event and my own windowed vantage point are raising not only a question for my mind to grapple with but a wrestling point for my heart as well: Where in our lives, and in the life of the local church today, are the signs that faith in Jesus Christ is a living force confronting the world, a tangible reality and movement that, when taken seriously, changes the entire landscape of one’s life?
When does faith become, for all of us who claim Jesus Christ as our forgiver and leader, more than a “beautiful blanket” under which we cuddle for warmth and find comfort? When does my faith show itself visibly as an divine and active force upon human nature – a blizzard? Blizzards get noticed. Many churches are simply ignored or politely accepted within their neighbourhoods.
The church described in the New Testament book of Acts was never ignored! It interrupted, assaulted, and set about to dismantle the status quo of injustice, inequality, abuses of power and discrimination of every kind and on every level. The early church chose to proclaim their faith and pattern their lives after the ways of Jesus, rather than try to get by without mentioning it or others noticing it. The church was a force to be reckoned with in society.
Evangelism expert, George Hunter III, names the problem for what it is: “The crisis of our time is that at least eight out of ten churches have not yet decided whether they intend to compete for the minds and hearts of human beings.” Let me say to you reading this today, Markham Baptist exists to know Christ and make him known to others.
When does your faith and mine exhibit the kind of power and influence that causes those around us to pay attention to the changing patterns and priorities of our lives? I believe today is our next best opportunity!