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Reaching Out to the Lost

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When I was in High School, a Junior and Senior student to be precise, I was so active inviting my classmates for our youth services at church. I guess most of my classmates would remember me as that girl who keeps on bugging them every week to go to the youth service. It was one of the happiest moments of my life – seeing my classmates and batch mates (plus a few students from the lower batch) sing praises to God and humble themselves in His majestic presence was priceless. I cherished two of my classmates’ words one night after the service, “Naiyak talaga ako habang kumakanta. Ganun pala ako kamahal ni God.” (I cried while singing Him praises. I didn’t know that He loves me that much.) and “Dito na tayo mag-reunion sa College!” (Let us meet here for a reunion in College!)

But since I went to College, things changed. I stopped inviting my classmates to youth services (partly because I couldn’t attend the youth services near our school, so why should I invite if I myself couldn’t go there). I can give a lot of reasons why I really cannot attend services that time, but I was so busy I lost track of my walk with God. I became so distant. I didn’t notice I was already trapped within a deep chasm where, I think, God couldn’t hear me. It was the saddest and loneliest season of my life – living without depending on Him. I realized how hard it was to live without Him when He has become a part of your lifestyle.

Despite of all the dreadful things that happened to me, God is still gracious. He brought me back on track. He gave me opportunities to reach out to the lost. But I felt like I should not (not that I should NOT reach out to the lost people at all, but I have not been reaching out, really). I did not go back to inviting my classmates to youth services. Instead, what He let me see recently is this: there may be a lot of lost people out there that we need to reach out to, but we also have to take care of the flock that needs to stay on track with their walk with God. I heard testimonies about how they struggled to keep their faith and to keep their fire burning within them. I saw how they went so cold in their relationship with God. I heard their plight and agony with themselves and especially with God. It was a sad scene to see. I was so sad hearing these stories.

We may be busy reaching out to the lost, but are we also encouraging our co-believers with love? Do we give enough attention to the believers who are struggling with sin? Where is the grace that God poured out to His people when the same grace and forgiveness He has lavished upon us cannot be seen within and through us? An argument can be raised here, saying, “But it will be up to that person or believer to help himself/herself. I did my part. I encouraged him/her, but he/she is still like that.” The question is that have you persevered until you can’t bear it any longer? Have you endured walking with them through thorns and nails, through the pain they are carrying, through the burden they bring on their shoulders every day? How long were you there when you said that you will be there for them?

Going back to the basic, discipleship is relationship (not my original idea). How is your relationship with the lost people you once fished? With the people God entrusted you with? Once a leader in the congregation, I feel bad and guilty about this. But I am really amazed with what God has impressed to me. It’s not that I will totally stop reaching out to the lost. I must bear in mind that I should also remember the believers who are in dire need of help in their relationship with God. But as I help the believers, I should see to it that I must be the head, and not the tail that shall slip any time as I help them get back up.

Galatians 6:1 & 9 (ESV)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted… And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

*The picture used in this post is not mine. Credits belong to the owner.

Ignite 2013 Day 3 (Part 1)

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At last, the last day of Ignite 2013. I have to admit, I didn’t go to my two classes this day to attend, but thank God I was really at Ignite 2013 for a purpose (hashtag: Know Your Priorities “again”). The classes I missed didn’t have any quizzes or anything. I could catch up with the lessons missed, anyway.

On Day 3, since we were all fired up from Days 1 to 2, it focused more about going out there, and win souls for Christ. We were all equipped and prepared to go out of Cuneta Astrodome and to go to our respective schools (High School, College, and Universities everywhere)! Every Nation, Every Campus!

Pastor Dan Monterde was the first one to speak for Day 3. He talked about Ananias who’s also a “follower” of Christ. Ananias is a mere follower, a disciple who was called by God through a vision to talk to Saul and to place his hands on Saul because God had a plan (Acts 9:10-12). Ananias was called, and he responded to God’s calling in his life, even though he has some complaints that Saul did lots of terrible things to God’s followers in Jerusalem (Acts 9:13). God told Ananias instead to “Go!” (Acts 9:15). It may be really too scary to approach a man like Saul who persecuted the LORD’s followers before! But instead, Ananias heed God’s calling (“Go!”). As His followers, let us be ready to be used by God.

As what we’ve seen, Ananias was afraid about the terrible things that Saul did to God’s followers in Jerusalem. He looked at Saul’s present condition. He didn’t focus on what God will do to Saul. Well, after his cry and complaints about what the other people said about Saul, God assured him in Acts 9:15-16. When we reach out to the people, let us not look into their present condition (this is what Pastor Dan preached). Instead, let’s look at what God can do to this person once we shared the Gospel to him/her.

Pastor Dan preached, “To make disciples, you have to be a disciple.” Of course! How can you make one, if you’re not one? It’s like “How can you give food to someone who’s hungry when you don’t have food with you?” or whatever that is. I hope you got the point. In Acts 9:11, God told Ananias to go to a certain place where Saul was. Pastor Dan also said, “To make disciples, you need to go where the people are.” Wherever God has placed you, be confident that you were placed there for a reason. Take it as an opportunity, as what Ms. Liane Silla said, “Every situation is an opportunity to be used by God.”

And for his last words for that session on stage, “The motivation to make disciples is to honor God. It’s not because someone else told you (to do it), but because we want to honor God.” (I copied this quote from ignite.ph) True. Let this be our motivation: to Honor God.

“When you eat or drink or do anything else, always do it to honor God.”

-1 Corinthians 10:31 (CEV)