Tag Archives: transformation

What it Really Means to be a Contagious Christian

Last Sunday I attended a new church with my parents and family friend. They showed a video of a new study they are starting called “Becoming a Contagious Christian.” The video had about five individuals telling about their misconceptions of the meaning of “evangelism” and why it was so scary for them to practice.

Toward the end of the video the five people each told how this study on contagious Christianity had changed their view of evangelism and made them more attractive to those who are yet to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. After church my family had brunch together and discussed our thoughts on sharing our faith with others. Some of us were scared and intimidated and others felt they had found ways to share that were right for them.

As I pondered the topic, I thought of those in my life that practice contagious Christianity. I was reminded of a coworker who posts scriptures on her office bulletin board, a friend who writes heartfelt letters of love and encouragement, my dad who uses his talents to serve others and his church, my pastor who made it his mission to overwhelm our city with love through service, and a mentor that, even after retiring from teaching, invited former students over for tea parties.

The key to being contagious is radically loving, doing something so selfless that people ask why, and being the one that others look to for inspiration. Most of all, contagious Christianity pulls, it beckons, it draws others in to the love of Christ rather than the punishment of sin. Yes, hell is a very real thing, but the message of salvation is a much stronger conduit.

In a world full of failed relationships, broken families, abuse and violence, we cannot expect the message of eternal punishment to change lives. Many people feel they are already living in hell. The one thing people do respond to is transformation and hope for a pain-free eternity.

There’s a reason why Christmas stories like that of “A Christmas Carol” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” are still so widely popular. They are testaments of spiritual transformation. Your testimony, your faith story is the most powerful tool you hold in becoming contagious when you share it with a little TLC.

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The Down Pour

The last few days I have felt hit by the flood of rumors regarding a storm headed for the Bay Area. My gut reaction is to shrink the issue. ‘The weather report is never right. What do they know?!?!’
Sure the storm wasn’t hurricane status, but there were flash floods on freeways and local city streets. This reminds me of when I was much younger Christian, and I would hear people talk about the Holy Spirit. I thought to myself, ‘It couldn’t be as amazing as they say. What do they know?!?!’ Guess what. They knew! The Holy Spirit forecast is that of sweeping transformation in your life and overflowing joy.
There is a reason people refer to the Holy Spirit raining down, even flooding your soul. It’s because you feel soaked, you feel filled to the brim, you feel the skies have opened, and that you are experiencing a flash flood in your soul.

God, we thank you that you give us the sensory experience of a storm, a down pour, so that we can know how much more you give us through your Holy Spirit. Just as the rain nourishes the crops, so you nourish our souls. Amen.

Accepting that we are God-Gifted

A couple weeks ago I attended an open mic night where people shared songs, monologues, and poetry. It reminded me of a time when I wrote a lot of poetry, so I rushed home to read my old journals. I pulled the dusty container from the top shelf of the closet and opened it as if it was full of treasure. Unfortunately, as I opened each floral bound book it only revealed how lost I was at the time. All those years of writing poetry only to reflect how much I needed Jesus not as the big dictator in the sky but as a close friend and father.

Discouraged, for the next week I started thinking that maybe I’m not a writer, maybe I just like to rhyme all my hurtful memories. After days of doubting my God-given talent, God answered me with a poem, not to build me up, but to build up others and to glorify Him.

In Isaiah 61 God, through his prophet Isaiah, reassures the mourners that they will be comforted. He tells them they will wear a crown of beauty instead of ashes. The New Living Translation says “beauty for ashes.” Those words inspired my poem, but so did the life of my good friend and sister who’s name fits perfectly into the verse. For her protection I will not disclose her name or the title of the poem. I feel the poem is the words of the Holy Spirit written through me. What an honor.

They say she started as a seed. 
Funny how a sprout finds its way to the light,
Pushing through the surface, the barrier,
The very thing that protects it from the elements.
Its leaves appear to be carefully brushed with a fresh coat of paint.
What was once wrapped in a glossy shell, now reaches, 
Expanding toward the warmth of the sun.
Her days were spent leaning into the breeze,
Becoming stronger with every bend.
The tree saw many good days, 
Finding pleasure in many a passerby.
But winter came.
An icy layer coated her.
The tree, though, had learned to endure.
As summer came, much like this summer,
Her roots longed for the moisture they once had.
Not even a morning dew came to quench their thirst.
She had stood up to the harshest climates,
But nothing could prepare her for this.
Surrounded by dry brush, 
The tree’s leaves and bark built up a heavy wall of debris,
But the blaze could not be defeated.
Her rough exterior quickly bubbled under the scorching flame.
Her still-young limbs withered and became brittle.
When morning came there was only a heap of ash,
Smoldering and chalky, a cloud hung low over her.
No longer was the light to be seen.
The heat continued to fester beneath the surface of ash,
Until one day, just as the spark had been swept up,
The skies lit up and roared with thunder.
Not even the chalky ash, 
Blowing in the fury could escape this storm.
She remembered her resilience, her fortitude,
Slowly the smoldering ceased,
And the powdery mound transformed into clay.
As the winds spun over and around
The clay was molded into something extraordinary.
No longer could she be threatened by drought or by flame,
But the very thing that appeared to destroy her
Now brought restoration and strength,
For she was no longer an ordinary tree,
But a divine sculpture
Designed to overcome all hardship.
She did not always live a happily-ever-after life,
But she now knew she was mighty.

 

Sometimes when we doubt our God-given talents God gives us more to prove he was the giver, but we don’t always notice it ourselves. Maybe it’s time to step out in your spiritual gifts and see how people react. There’s no doubt that you will know right away which were God-given. When I wrote the above poem the words were pouring out of me. When I write in my own ability it doesn’t happen that way. As with all gifts we should not squander what God has given us, but show our gratitude through practicing our gift in order to grow it.

I know this is not my typical post, but I hope you enjoyed it, learned from it, and found comfort in it if you are like the tree in my poem. Please leave a comment by clicking “reply” at the top of this post or like my post on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. You may also follow my blog by clicking follow in the top right.