Outside Our Walls

One of my most rewarding (and frustrating) experiences is inviting people to live in the bigger story of God's kingdom. My life easily becomes so small - trusting God to lead (and sustain) me into the more expansive space of His heart and purposes is both challenging and rewarding. But it's where I feel the most alive!

This fall we're continuing this conversation with our church family - a reminder that the place we're called to live as followers of Jesus is not within the safe confines of our church but 'outside our walls' in our community. What follows is the invitation I shared yesterday. While it's primarly for those of our church family who weren't with us - it's an invitation I would like to share with all my 'friends'.

We learn a lot about Jesus' heart from the ‘spontaneous moments’ we read about in the Gospels.

One of those moments occurred outside the village of Nain – as Jesus and his followers approached the village they were met by a small funeral procession – a woman (a total stranger to Jesus) - who recently buried her husband was burying her only son. Jesus was so moved by compassion by the painful reality of her life that he stepped toward her, spoke to her, touched her son, raised him and gave him back to this grieiving mother.

Unguarded compassion…

There were lots of reasons for Jesus to not step into this woman’s story. With his gesture Jesus was stepping outside the religious culture that said it was inappropriate to touch a dead body. But as was so often the case Jesus’ compassion would not be restricted by the religious culture of His day.

For these weeks leading into Thanksgiving I have a special invitation to you – step toward our community with the compassion we see so clearly in Jesus – I'm asking each of us to serve 10 hours somewhere in our community…

We’ve been learning about ‘defining moments’ in our faith journey in recent weeks – times we say ‘yes’ in choosing to follow God's prompting. We express such faith as individuals. We also express it as a church family. Maybe this will become a ‘defining moment’ for our church family…a moment we all say ‘yes’.

We too have lot’s of reasons we may choose to not take this step…

  • Feels too risky
  • Fear
  • Apathy or indifference
  • Busyness
  • Boredom – little passion or compassion
  • Some may even disagree with our vision of serving our community with compassion – I find it sad that Christlike compassion sometimes asks us to step outside a religious culture which has grown way too comfortable and isolated inside our walls.

Let’s ‘move beyond’ and ‘move through’ whatever the barrier is for us…let’s give Christ the opportunity to shape our lives (and the lives we're led to 'touch') by giving our lives away.

Jesus reminds us over and over that we find our life only when we give it away – when we die to ourselves - give our life to Christ and to others.

We’re not suggestion ‘where’ you give your life away – only that you give it away – 10 hours over the next 6 weeks (We’ve given you some suggestions if you need them).

Be creative - follow God’s direction…follow your heart.

But we are asking you to step outside the more comfortable space of serving believers you already know to step into the lives of people in your neighborhoods or in our community -people who are hurting – who may not know or feel the compassion Jesus has for them – who need the touch of someone who does.

At the end of the 6 weeks we’re planning a special moment in a worship service the Sunday before Thanksgiving when we’ll give to God the hours we’ve given away – ask Him to use them as He desires in the lives of those we’ve served.

Join us “Outside These Walls’ – its where we’re called to live and love as followers of Christ.

Fighting for your hearts,