By Gabriele Laub
Since moving to the Flathead 18 months ago, my bank card has been affected by security breaches 4 times — compare that to ‘never’ in the last 10 years or so that e-commerce has been around! Now-a-days we have to be so careful about someone stealing our financial data or our whole identity — including health and social security records. Our online records can be accessed and copied (stolen) or changed. Our emails and our online shopping transactions can be intercepted during transmission, read, altered, or never delivered. It’s sad, but we need to be eternally vigilant about securing our identity and privacy.
There is another way that our identity can be stolen. In the war between good and evil, our innermost identity is at risk. But what is that identity? Do we perceive our identity to be the same as the roles we play or the positions we hold? Is it directly tied to our bank account, our connections, or our educational achievements? Who would we be if all these outward accoutrements were stripped away from us? Are we truly convicted that we are a child of God, created in His image, the apple of His eye?
Our ‘enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8) — including to steal and destroy our real identity, if we are not vigilant. He will try to steal our joy, our peace, our hope, our sense of identity as created in God’s image. He wants to erode our hope and confidence in God’s grace and forget that we are really children of the Most High God. But remember, ‘He [the devil] has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies from the beginning’ (John 8:44).
Let us be vigilant in remembering that our true identity lies in the fact that we are God’s children and therefore heirs of the kingdom (Gal. 4:7) and ‘friends’ of Jesus (John 15:15). ‘But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.’ (1 Thess. 5:8).
By Matthew Hohnberger
Have you ever found that we have a tendency to complicate things more then necessary? I have lately in a whole new way. And no, it was not because I didn’t read the instructions first. It was because something stood out to me in a whole new way that I had read many times before. Here it is. See if it stands out to you.
“The example of Christ in linking Himself with the interests of humanity should be followed by all who preach His word, and by all who have received the gospel of His grace. We are not to renounce social communion. We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are. They will seldom seek us of their own accord. Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly, and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board, and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment.” DA page 152
Did you catch it? Ministry, evangelism, outreach is meeting and touching the lives of others in their homes! It is in being hospitable, loving people where they are and helping them. It is in meeting them, getting to know them, spending time with them in “gatherings of innocent social enjoyment.” Really? Could our evangelism be that simple?!
I do not want to throw out Daniel and Revelation seminars or health classes. But maybe, just maybe, evangelism or outreach is more simple— through personal interaction during fun, social activities? I wonder how many people would attend a Bean Auction (for example) that wouldn’t attend an evangelistic seminar. We are each evangelists for Jesus through our lives, love, and interest in others. We can do this in ways that open their hearts through personal contact, prayer and time. The Holy Spirit is far more effective then we are in reaching the heart. Maybe we just need to start forming relationships with people while living for Christ.
One of Jesus’ first places of ministry was at a marriage feast. (John 2:1-11) Notice I did not say wedding. At least not like today where the wedding service is 5 to 30 minutes long. It was a feast! It was a place where he could talk, meet and socialize with people. A place where He could touch their lives. I wonder how many lives he touched by just talking with them in addition to turning water into wine?
Lets be a new kind of evangelist, one that loves and cares for people where they are. Showing them a little glimpse of God through us. It may sound simple, but perhaps it is a missing link?