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Monday, June 27, 2011

Beyond the Walls

"On hearing this, Jesus said to them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners'" (Mark 2:17).

Recently, I spent some time  in the UK with a great team of people that attend the church that I pastor.  We were there partnering with another great church in reaching out and loving the community "beyond the walls" of their church building.  What became so incredible for the those that accompanied me from our hometown, was the awakening that began to happen in their hearts.  How easy it is, at times, to become so familiar with what has become the "norm" of "everyday church."  We can get so used to coming to the same building, seeing the same people, singing the same songs, eating the same chicken at the same church picnics, and become satisfied.  But, there IS a world beyond the walls of what has become familiar.  Jesus addresses the same need for awareness.

This was the response of Jesus when He overheard the "church people" of the day questioning His disciples about hanging out with the sinners and the outcasts.  Jesus came for people like this.  And, it would be people "like this" that He would use to change the world.  He showed an example, that we are not to isolate ourselves from the ones He came to reach.  They will be ones, too, that He will use to reflect the life changing power of the love of God.

If we isolate myself in our spiritual "refuge," we forfeit the opportunity to be used of God and to effect change in the lives of others just as Jesus did.  We must be open to seeing past the exteriors, the pasts, the mistakes, the sins and the struggles, and see a heart that God longs to hold, and realize that we could be the one God desires to use.

It's not that we should forgo being a part of the local church.  On the contrary, the local church should be the hub, the center, of where a heart for reaching all people is birthed, developed, mentored, and then commissioned.  What are you doing to reach beyond the walls?  What are you allowing God to do that might, as it should, be stretching you beyond what is both comfortable and familiar?  Ask God to give you a heart that beats passionately for the people He loves, even though they might not yet know it.

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