Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In or Out? Yes.

"I want to stop it, but its the only life I know how to live..."

Dylan had another show this last weekend, in Tulsa.  He plays in interesting venues.  This particular one was the least scary, the least smoke-filled of any so far.  He does not like the term "Christian artist".  He is an artist that follows Christ.  His songs come out of what he is feeling, or has felt at moments in his life.  They are certainly not anti-Christian, but they won't play on Christian radio stations, so this gets him into some interesting venues - and I like that.  At least apart from the fact that my clothes have to be fumigated afterwards from all the cigarette smoke. :)

I love to watch him interact with the world, and still continue to reflect the Christ that lives in him.  He is very comfortable in that - and, again, I am glad.  It is a little scary, as a mom, to think about the things he will ultimately have to stand against if he continues to pursue this life.  But I believe this is what God has called all of us to.

How will they know if we don't go to them?  How will they ever even care if they don't see us?  If we spend all of our time cloistered with people just like us, how will they know?  How will they know if the only times we are around them, we appear so self-righteous that we just reinforce their beliefs that they want nothing to do with us?  It is scary - but it is necessary.

The quote at the top of this post is from a song that the headline artist sang last Friday night.  It was, basically, (if my 48-year-old brain got it) about living the same life that we've lived forever, never truly changing, or growing - not because we're not sick of it, but because we just don't know anything else.  I don't know the guy, other than meeting him that night (and he was one of the nicest guys we've met at Dylan's shows - very encouraging to Dylan - just plain nice), but I'm guessing he is on a search for truth.  I hope he saw that Truth in us last Friday - at least for the few hours we were with him.  I hope we gave him a glimpse of a different way to live...

What does Jesus think?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience..."

What the world sees, is often not gentleness and respect - and we should feel shame, not a clear conscience when we claim to reflect Christ and speak in such hateful, callous ways...

"Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world."

Even if they never agree - will they respect us for our honorable behavior?

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

A candle in the middle of a room full of candles has little effect.  But a few candles, or even a single candle, carried into a dark room, makes a huge impact...

"The Pharisees asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'   On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."

It's what He's called us to...

How are we showing our kids that we have to get out there?  Am I modeling it?  I'm afraid I've spent a lot of time content to be cloistered away.  I'm thankful that He is changing me, and that God is giving us the courage to get out there and shine our lights.

A couple of disclaimers:  

1.  I don't think we should throw our kids to the wolves.  One of the many reasons we've homeschooled is because we believe they need to develop the character and fortitude to stand against temptation before they go out - but go out, they must - that is the ultimate goal, even in our years of "sheltering", that is still the goal.  In our years of going out with him, the goal is, that one day, he will go out without us, and stand.  So, our prayer is, that we will raise them to know what they believe, why they believe it, and then take it out - out to people that need to know.

2.  This in no way takes away from how important I believe it is to be among those we are like-minded with - with other Christ-followers.  We need that - even more so when we are going out.  We need the encouragement, the teaching, the friendship, the love, that comes in that place.  So circle the wagons, love each other, encourage one another, teach one another, and then - then let's get out there and live what He's called us to live!

It's scary to go out - they might not like us (many won't), we might fail (probably will at times), we might look stupid or crazy (we will) - but if we don't, how else will they know there's another way?  

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