Take A Moment for a Lifetime
Sometimes, everywhere you go all you can see are purple flowers. Maybe it’s getting towards summer and you need some new flip flops or you wonder if you should investigate electric cars, or even just notice a gloriously coloured purple flower in your garden. For the rest of the day all you can see are flip flops, electric cars or purple flowers. These things were there before, but now they are highlighted in our vision. Our brains are extraordinary like that.
The Christian faith doesn’t get many positive headlines these days, we find ourselves in an increasingly difficult environment. This is especially true if you actually believe that Jesus is God and wants to partner with you in transforming the world. The story that some parts of our culture would like us to believe is that it is only ok to be a Christian if it has no effect on what you do. Therefore it is increasingly unpopular. While it is true that the Christian faith is currently in decline in the UK, that is not the case around the world. Many churches are growing in the UK - they are the ones that believe that Jesus is God and take his great co-mission seriously. Worldwide there are 2.18 billion of us (2010 figures) and the average age of a Christian around the world is 28. The projected number of Christians by 2050 is expected to be over 3 billion. But like the purple flowers or the flip flops, how do you spot them?
Being a Christian is not about attending a building. It is about being part of a community who gather in the name of Jesus and live to make a difference in the world. Jesus calls these people disciples. They don’t just have classroom knowledge but are choosing to be apprenticed to Jesus - working out together how to live for him in the world. Jesus says there are two key ways to spot his followers. First by how they love each other and second by their fruit. We are supposed to make a difference to the world around us.
J. John tells the story of how he describes his work as a pastor to people he meets for the first time. In response to the question, “What do you do?” He replies: “I work for a global enterprise, we have outlets in nearly every country of the world, we have hospitals and hospices and homeless shelters, we do marriage work, we have orphanages, feeding programs, educational programs, we do justice and reconciliation. Basically we look after people from birth to death and we deal in the area of behavioural alteration... it’s called the church... have you heard of it.”
Watch J. John tell the story below:
Recently at All Saints we gathered together to say farewell to Rob Stone whose life was cut short. His wife Rachael had come to faith over thirty years ago, but for Rob he had never been able to take that step. He was funny, faithful, loving and stood by Rachael with great integrity. At the end of 2018 he joined the Alpha Course and in his own words, “was the only person who failed Alpha”. In 2019 he did Alpha again, this time it was different. He had a moment when even with the many questions he decided to follow Jesus. But the key moment had taken place before that. Towards the end of the course I asked Rob what he was going to do differently as a result of Alpha. He replied, “I am going to come to church with Rachael and we are going to start a Homegroup”. You see, Rob had already started to follow Jesus, he had more than a moment, he was taking the first steps of a lifetime.
Jesus has his followers everywhere, I hope you start to see them everywhere. Whether you a following him or not, why not take a moment now to pray, it could change your life and transform the world.