Friday, January 29, 2010

Stages: Multiplying

A few weeks ago on a TV news show, Britt Hume had the audacity to suggest that the best thing Tiger Woods could do is to become a Christian and find redemption. This created a firestorm of controversy. Some criticized Hume for suggesting that Christianity is better than Buddhism. Some sarcastically asked if he was saying Christianity is the perfect religion for adulterers, because you can cheat on your wife all you want and God has to forgive you. Some asked why Hume, a man who is himself divorced, thought he had the right to counsel Woods on his marriage. The entire issue reminded us that, in our very tolerant age, where almost nothing is taboo anymore, one commandment still holds: Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself. Don’t try to convince me, or anyone else, to believe like you do.

For most Christians today, it's very tempting to obey that command, isn’t it? After all, we don’t want to offend anyone. We’ve all known people who were obnoxious about evangelism; people who argued about religion and called it witnessing, or people who were pushy and judgmental. Why not just practice our own faith quietly, privately, and let God worry about the rest? As we talk about the stages in the Christian life, we’ve seen how God wants us to go from denying Him to seeking Him, to coming into His family and learning about what it means to follow Him, and then to the stage where we’re actually contributing to His work. But can we just stop there? Doesn't the Great Commission, and in fact the entire New Testament, teach us that God wants us to multiply? How can we share our faith authentically and effectively in a world that shuns absolute truth? This Sunday, we'll take a look at a man named Philip in Acts 8, and discover God's heart for people.

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