Up Close & Personal

Howard Hendricks, the longtime professor at Dallas Seminary once said, “You can impress people at a distance; you can only impact them up close”.

People usually don’t trust those they don’t know. Add to that, in our day and our culture there is a general mistrust of organized religion. So how do you get the message of the gospel out? Put yourself in the shoes of the unchurched. What would make you change your mind about Christ and His church? Certainly not what they see on TV. Or what they hear in the news.

The only way is through a personal relationship with a Christ-follower. Think about Jesus. He left the comforts of His heavenly home and entered into our world. He didn’t rent a large stadium and hold large meetings.

Instead, He became known as a “friend of sinners”. He was continually pursing relationships with those who were far from God, in order to bring them to God. Instead of ignoring him or dismissing him, Jesus called Zacchaeus, the unpopular, unethical little tax collector, down from that tree and asked to have dinner with him at his house. He cared for him and showed it by his eagerness to spend time with him (Luke 19:5).

Jesus stopped by a well and struck up a conversation with an adulterous Samaritan woman.  He displayed interest in her life and it resulted in an opportunity to share with her that He was the long awaited Messiah.

Jesus had time to enjoy a party at Matthew’s home with many of Matthew’s tax collector friends. He found an open spot in his busy calendar go to Jarius’ home to raise his daughter from the dead. Jesus touched lepers and healed the blind. He got up close to people—even those who were outcasts and undesirable.

Jesus’ ministry, from the very beginning was intentionally relational. Why? For the purpose of bringing those who didn’t know God into a relationship with God.

We must learn from Jesus’ example.

With that in mind, we have set as a goal that in the next school year (2016-2017) 50% of our church family will spend one meal (breakfast, lunch, supper) a month with someone far from God, for intentional relationship building.

Who do you know that is far from God? Why not text that person right now and invite them out for a lunch? or set up a dinner date? Begin praying for them. How might you help them take the next step towards Jesus?

After all, you can only impact them for Christ, when you get up close and personal.