Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Dear Colleagues,


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 Studies indicate that within two to three years after conversion, most believers loose their network of relationships with their lost friends and associates. What a tragedy!  By default, we find ourselves gravitating toward the more comfortable and safe world of believers at the expense of continued involvement with the lost. Today, it is possible through home schooling, Christian schools, church involvement, etc. to almost totally disengage from people outside the pale of Christian influence.  By default, we become part of the Christian ghetto!

 If you are looking to remedy this unfortunate situation, take out a sheet of paper and map all your relationships by name.  Categorize them on the paper as relatives, friends, and associates/acquaintances. Most will be the people where you live, work, and play.  List everyone by name. Then ask, With whom among these people is God working?  Tag them. Then make a commitment to pray daily for them. Ask God to continue to draw them to Himself.  Also ask God to give you a heart of compassion for them. Then ask the Lord if, how, and when you should become more involved in their lives to influence them spiritually.

 To significantly affect the lost among consider this:

  Intentionally become engaged in the lives of the lost. While in line at the supermarket, for example, choose to converse with the person next to you.  Get their name or card. Begin praying for them. A week or two later when you run into them again, call them by name.  In time this acquaintance could lead to coffee together, and so on.

  View evangelism (and discipleship) not as an event, but as a process.  Think of everyone you meet as living at some point on a continuum.  Our desire is to be used of God to help move them on the continuum toward +10:

 -10 —————————————————— 0 ——————————————————— +10

(No interest in Christ)  (Neutral)  (Total commitment to Christ)

  Rather than preach at the lost, allow them access to your life so they can observe the effect of the Gospel as to how you treat your spouse, handle your money, and deal with issues such as ethics, personal purity, pride, etc. In other words, live out Matthew 5:3-9 in such a manner that they can see the salt and light of your life. (Matt. 5:13,16)

   In your social relationships, generally opt for more involvement with the lost than with the saved. (See Lk. 14:12-14) Develop a mindset that allows you to move naturally among the lost.  Jesus was accused of being glutton and drunkard because of his natural engagement among the lost. (Matt. 11:19)

Later, when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff-raff?" Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." (Matt. 9:10-13 Msg.)

Ultimately it boils down to a question as to whom we choose to offend: God, for our failing to obey his injunction to fish for men (Matt. 4:19), or our Christian friends who may not understand our involvement among the lost. Given the choice, Ill choose to offend the latter.  How about you?

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