I've done a lot of witnessing this last week - and I've watched a lot of pretend "witnessing".
I've talked a lot about Jesus this week - and I've listened to a lot of people pretend to talk about "Jesus".
What's pretty amazing is that literally any believer who knows the basics of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He will yet do could (and should) have done what I did.
But it takes a seminary-level education to pretend.
We as human beings get SO proud of what WE can do, and it shouldn't surprise us that our pride would also tempt us to idolize what WE can do for God or God's Kingdom.
Just like the Pharisees of old, we build "God's house" and put on our church clothes and give each other assigned positions ("pastor", "priest", "lay leader", yes, but also "congregant" and "worshipper" and so on). We use special language to signal to ourselves and each other that we're part of this Jesus in-group, and to define what we "can" and "cant" do.
And then we write and read books that justify spending all our time, energy, and money resources on all this for "God's" glory - when the bible itself says God actually gave us totally different orders.
So we maybe do 20 seconds a year at what Jesus REALLY said to do.
This week I met a guy who was struggling to understand if Jesus would forgive him for the really horrible things he'd done (and the horrible things he's done would make your skin crawl - really).
The EVIL thing to have done would be to tell him he needed to go to or join a church, or direct him to say the so-called "Sinner's Prayer", or to have invited him to talk to Pastor or go to Confession - because every one of those things is only a fake of who Jesus really is to any of us, and a fake of the Truth and strength God's Spirit offers us. To have done any of these things would have been like sending someone with cancer to a really nice doctor with a fake medical degree who works in a filthy hospital.
What this guy really needed was to hear what Jesus require for forgiveness: repentance. Gods real work here was for me to get myself out of the way and simply share with this guy - in normal everyday language, as one sinner to another - that God loves him beyond his ability to comprehend it and that Jesus stands ready to forgive, but that forgiveness comes AFTER repentance. "So, trust Jesus, guy, and turn your heart away from wanting to do these horrible things anymore, and you ARE forgiven."
What I did in a grocery store parking lot that day ANY believer could have done, and every believer SHOULD have done, right then and there.
It didn't take a several week course on the requirements of church membership, or a seminary degree, or an approval from some church to do ministry, to help this guy find his path to Jesus again.
All it required was five minutes, knowing the basics that Jesus taught us in the bible about who He is and what He wants, and caring even a little about God's intention to call to Himself every single person who will come to Him.
And, of course, it required being willing to be a real Christian, one who does God's real work when and as HE presents it.
When and where are you willing to do God's real work in your daily life? Who are the people God puts in your life to tend to for Him, even if just for five minutes?
What are the basics of Jesus you still need to learn - not only so you can share them, but also so you can live in the peace, strength, and Truth Jesus offers through them?
God's got work for you to do. Are you ready to stop wasting time in church so you can do it?
In His love,