Friday, August 26, 2016

Getting Involved

I remember growing up, being in church, attending Vacation Bible School or even just Sunday school. We would have visitor contests all the time, which our family would undoubtedly lose because all of our friends were in church--this one or another one. As I grew older and my kids arrived in the same situation I began thinking about what was wrong with this picture.

I think we try to separate ourselves from the "world" because it is evil and scary, but the truth is we are actually isolating ourselves and our children. God wants us to "come apart and be ye separate," but he still has us in the world to make a difference.

I think we need to find ways to be involved in the community to make new friends and meet interesting different people. We need to learn how to communicate and interact with people that are different than we are, people that believe differently than we do, and people that think differently than we do. Now that we live in a country where people are either Hindu or Buddhist we have no choice but to make friends with them if we want to reach them.

Have you ever heard this question, "If you home-school your child, how will they ever learn to socialize with other kids?" While this statement is usually laughed at by home-schoolers all around, (I was home schooled my entire life.) it isn't entirely false.

If we keep our kids so sheltered from the real world, how will they ever learn to interact with people that are different than we are. We, as adults, have a difficult time with that, how can we expect our kids not to stare and ask rude questions of people at the grocery store if they never see us interacting with someone who is different than us. They learn how to treat people by watching us. And don't think they aren't watching--my 1.5 year old found a white plastic crochet needle and with a great big smile stuck it in her ear just like Daddy cleaning his with a Q-tip. They see everything.

Another thing to think about is this. If you never meet anyone outside of your church and build a relationship with them, how will you ever fulfill the great commission in your own neighborhood? If you never talk to your neighbor because they have a tattoo or because "you have nothing in common," how will they ever have a chance to hear about Jesus?

While finding people and randomly asking, "If you died today where would you spend eternity?" has worked, it is not the norm. Most people are saved because they saw a difference in someone else's life and started asking questions. It's through building relationships that we see people's lives changed. But how can we do this if we don't get out into our community and meet people.

So what are some ways we can do that?

Here in Nepal, people just go outside and sit and chat. They sit outside and drink tea and watch the world go by. One of the best things we can do is go sit next to them. Let the kids play in the street, while we sit and chat with the shop keeper. It's not easy to make time to "do nothing". But you have to remember that although these things are seemingly meaningless in the big picture of life or in light of eternity, the truth is this is how we show that we care and build relationships--simply doing what our neighbors do.

1. Join a secular sports team. But don't just drop off your kids. Doing that is like throwing them into the deep end. They need to see you interacting to know how to interact themselves. If you are around, you can supervise to make sure nothing gets out of hand, and you are showing your kids how to talk to people, how to be kind, how to be friendly to someone who is different than you are.

2. Join a 4-H club.

3. Find a group of moms that meet at the playground.

4. Story-hour at the library

5. Red-hat society

6. Community Theater

7. Join a gym

8. Play on an adult sports team

The key is finding something that meets regularly so you can build relationships with people on common ground. It gives you something to talk about and a reason to be there with them. Then friendships can happen naturally, and you will get a chance to eventually share the gospel or invite them to your church.

It's time we stop hiding from this world and get out in it. A light is only helpful if it stands in the dark.

Missing Photos

If you try to read some of the past articles I have written, you will find that most pictures have been deleted. I don't have any clue why. I have read about it in several places, but no one really has a reason, but it has happened to a lot of people. So I guess you'll have to use your imagination.