Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lite-Brite and Salty!

Despite the play on words (and spelling) that's the kind of world we should be leaving behind as Christians, especially as next Christians... one that has been lit up and salted.

I've always thought that if we could boil God's occupational responsibilities down to two requirements, they would be to 1) Redeem His creation and 2) Restore His creation. Seems He is always doing one or the other ... even if not always obvious at times.

In "The Next Christians", author Gabe Lyons makes note of the passage in Luke 4 where Jesus is quoting ancient texts that proclaim His annointing to proclaim good news to the poor, fredom for the prisoners, to set the oppressed free and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Lyons says "In other words, Jesus is saying, 'Enough of what is; I see things in terms of how they ought to be, and I'm here to do something about it'. Conclusion? So are the next Christians.

Next Christians are provoked to do something about changing their world, and not always with a religious slogan or identity posted somewhere. Next Christians serve for the common good, they join together in community to make a difference instead of isolating themselves. They don't work at jobs, they serve in vocations which they see as "occupational placement" for God's "greater mission." They are embarrassed by false representations of the Gospel and communicate "something authentic and true through their lives that gives pause to those who encounter them." They "create culture that promotes beauty" giving others a glimpse of the beauty of God.

Basically, true Christianity means we choose to be part of the world we are in and become part of the solution to make the world what it ought to be through being the salt and light that Jesus spoke of.

Lyons is great at giving many examples of people who have made very specific, sacrificial decisions to be part of this surge that is under way, but is careful to point out that first things must be first. Jesus Himself said to "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added." Lyons feels we must first and foremost relearn the Gospel story, "recovering the theme of restoration that runs throughout the whole of Scripture." The Gospel is: beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God's love.

We must first be restored before we can help to restore our friends, neighbors or community.

This book will stir you, convict you, encourage you, challenge and inspire you. I dare you to read it. Just be careful though, because if you do, you may get a little too salty and make others around you a bit thirsty!