Vol. 7, No. 11 – March 20, 2022
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [they are] a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation –2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Why? Why are we expected to be ministers of reconciliation? Because (5:20-21) we are ambassadors for Christ. Every person named an ambassador is to say the same thing as the one who sends them.
At the close of each service in our church a benediction is spoken. That is not unique. However, a phrase is added: You are sent!
That is the biblical expectation, the expectation of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As ambassadors, we are sent into our world to say what Almighty God has said—so that those who hear might have the opportunity to accept the gift the Father has given to us in His Son.
It is not mandatory. Unacceptance has consequences. However, the response of accepting His gift is desired. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
In our many trips to the Reveille Café, Donna and I not only prayed over our servers, but we made sure we had something to leave with our servers. Not just a gratuity; no believer should leave a restaurant without giving that recognition to their server. No, we put something in their hand that was of greater value.
After writing that long dissertation, I began to think about how I could use my writing “skill” in “readable” books that would help the reader be confronted with the real issues of life, and how God has intentionally provided for their need. I wrote, Donna edited, and we spent considerable funds to have the books published. I found an exceptional publisher near Chicago (not everything in that area is a problem or associated with the criminal element). My publisher and I have similar hearts. We both do what we can to make sure others hear the Gospel.
His ministry spans the country of India. Tens upon tens of churches have been planted through his ministry. His profits from publishing Christian books largely go to support his ministry. While I knew that publishing would hit our budget, I also knew that God always knows our needs and is a provider. Interesting that regarding the second book, the check from the government (an administration that is negative toward evangelical Christianity), paid a considerable amount toward the publishing fees. 😊
When I was in seminary, an expectation of the school was that we would fully give a Gospel witness to at least two people each week, and be ready to share what occurred in the encounter in the next chapel meeting. As we came away from the seminary we were already in the “habit” of meeting people and sharing the Gospel.
At the Reveille Café, following our conversations with our servers, it was natural for us to leave a book with them. Both books, Under the Broom Tree: Contemplations on Life and Service, and Echoes from the Belly of a Whale: Thoughts for our own Conundrums of Life, are drenched in real-life experiences and finish with a plain chapter that helps someone with their need for salvation.
The response has been awesome. And it is easy to have further conversations with those receiving copies. Indeed, many have asked for additional books to give to their friends or family. God has used these books to bring change into lives. We are grateful.
Do you know Jonah? I certainly learned more about him as I wrote Echoes from the Belly of a Whale. Until we spend time with God and the characters of the Bible, we have to spend time with Him. Then spend time with those characters. Who do you spend time with?
It seems that Jonah crossed paths with some people he did not like. God liked them. In fact, He loved them enough that He sent His Son to die for them. God invests His life in others and He clearly loves them. It is intentional on His part. No one crosses His path without being met.
No one crosses our path by accident. God is very interested in how you converse with them; how you relate the greatest of all events in your life. How you share that God loves everyone and that His grace and mercy are always chasing the unbeliever.
How is that working out for you? If it is not a reality in your life, why? What changes do you need to make to fulfill 2 Corinthians 5:17f?