Jesus on my street
What holds you back from sharing Jesus with the people you meet? Do you ever feel like you just don’t know them well enough?
The gospel is powerful. So how can we can find natural ways to introduce our friends and aquaintances to Jesus?
- God marks out the times and places of His people to be bringers of hope.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. – Acts 17:26-27
God wants us where we are, and sometimes he wants us there so that others can find Him through us!
- God communicates his welcome through people like us.
Some of the students I used to work with once put out a rumour that I’d asked my wife to marry me by means of text message. Somehow this rumour caught on, and even people I’d never met before were asking me if it was true!
Just to be clear – that’s not how it happened. But why do we consider it so scandalous to propose over text?
God could have extended his gospel to us by means of writing it in the sky. But just as he drew near to us in the person of Jesus, he sends Spirit-filled people like us in his name into the world. The personal God sends his people to offer a personal welcome of peace and forgiveness in the name of Jesus.
Words matter, because we’re pointing to Jesus as the ultimate means of peace and not ourselves.
But it’s also why the Bible writers constantly say that our lifestyles and our demeanour towards other people matter. There should be a congruence between our manner and our words. Both should reflect something of the character of our gospel and – ultimately – our God.
It’s why using people’s names matter. It’s why pursuing real friendship, not just treating people as projects, matters.
When God demonstrated his love for us, he became like us. He reached all the way to us. He identified with us in the most radical way.
If we’re compelled by the love of Christ, as Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 5, then God has gripped our hearts in such a way that we want to engage people with that same love.
- God wants to transform the whole universe, in every detail
God doesn’t spilt His creation into unimportant, material things, and important spiritual things. Instead, the Bible’s vision is that God will renew all things. Our final hope is not that we’ll drift around in bodyless existence, but that we will have resurrected bodies on a resurrected earth. Indeed, when Jesus comes and renews the universe, and we finally know the experience of life we were made for in every dimension, our humanity will be fulfilled.
It means that all of life matters. There is no part of our human experience now that is irrelevant to God’s big story and our final hope of seeing Jesus face to face together in the physical, renewed creation. It’s that final destiny that sets the context for all of life today, in all its joys and sorrows. All of life is fascinating to Jesus.
So the conversations that we have about health, family, football, politics, movies – these things need not be a distraction from the gospel, but the context in which the gospel meets us. After all, the gospel makes sense of why we love sport and how goals can be genuinely beautiful and why politics can be so frustrating and why we feel the deep things we feel… and why the archetypal happy ending in the movies is something we long for, even on our most cynical days.
We live in Jesus’ universe, and so, the story of Jesus makes sense of all of our stories.
That means that, as we take genuine interest in the lives of those we know and ask genuine questions about what matters to them, we can do so not in spite of or ignoring the gospel, but as an expression of the gospel.
Who do you interact with week to week? How can we be genuinely interested in their lives and their stories?
Peter Dray is UCCF's Head of Creative Evangelism. He has a special love for small group outreach and evangelism to international students. In his spare time, Peter enjoys following sport, going for walks in the Lake District and entering pub quizzes (especially when he wins!).
This blog is part on of our 'Jesus on my street' series, based on a series of seminars at Word Alive 2019.
Read part two: The power of prayer.