Here is tomorrow's column:
Earlier this week I was talking with a young family who started coming to The Water’s Edge about a year ago. They shared with me about all the changes in their life. They feel more closely connected to each other. They have met new friends. They are being more intentional in their relationship with God. They feel better equipped as parents. They reported there life isn’t perfect yet, but it is much different and much better.
One of the questions I asked them was how they started coming. They replied that a friend invited them. They politely declined. They said they thought church was for good people and they weren’t quite there yet. A few months later another friend invited them. After a little resistance on her part and a lot a resistance on his part, they decided to come.
I’ll stop the conversation there. Think about that. Lives have been changed because of two invitations. One invitation was declined, but it planted an important seed. The second invitation was accepted. The family came and report one year later that they are so grateful for the invitations.
As I look back on my life it was an invitation from an ordinary person that started my journey with Jesus. She simply invited me to a small group she was in with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I experienced community and grace. She graduated from college and I lost track of her. That was seventeen or eighteen years ago. Sometimes I wonder if she knows what I am doing today. Of all the people I am thankful for in life, she is near the top of the list.
These are illustrations of how ordinary people doing a simple task can make a huge difference through an extraordinary God. A simple invitation can make a world of difference.
Jesus was always walking around making invitations. “Come and listen.” “Come and follow me.” “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy leaden and I will give you rest.” “Go and make disciples.”
I want to encourage you and challenge you. Think about who you can invite to worship. Or maybe think about somebody you can invite to your small group. Sometimes you will get a big “no.” Know that you are planting a seed in their life. Sometimes you will get a “yes”. Do your best to bring them or meet them at worship. Introduce them to a few other people. I would love to meet your guest as well. I’m going to do my best to invite a few people by the end of the summer. I hope that you will join me.
I hope for all of us that we can partner with God and with each others in doing God’s work in the world. I also pray that we, as pretty ordinary people, can be part of somebody else’s testimony about an extraordinary God.