Friday, August 17, 2007

Religious Conversion Code of Conduct: Part 4 – Breaking the Holy Huddle.

Dahlia of the day: Nanekazi. I have over 50 different varieties of dahlias in my garden. I am sharing a different dahlia each day until the season ends or I run out of dahlias.

The August 7th edition of Presbyweb carried a link called, “Progress Seen Towards a Christian Code of Conduct on Religious Conversion.” Yesterday I talked about “sheep stealing.” Today I am going to continue looking at ways Christians can be respectful of a person’s beliefs and still seek to introduce them to Jesus Christ.

I am getting more and more convinced that most non-Christians do not have any good friends that are Christ-followers. Christ’s followers are to blame—not the people who do not know Christ!

Christians tend to form into holy huddles. The longer that a person knows Christ the less non-Christian friends they have. Let’s face it; everyone likes to hang out with people who are like them. We talk the same language, read the same Book, like the same Christian music and go to the same concerts, etc. Before you know it the Christian has few if any non-Christian friends—they have holy huddles.

In last Sunday’s sermon I mentioned that most Christ-followers have few if any non-Christian friends. The looks I received were very interesting. I know… I know… I can’t read minds. It is just that I have had conversations with several people at our church on this very subject. Many, if not most, of the looks I received seemed to be say, “What’s wrong with that?” I honestly believe that most Christians see nothing wrong with having ZERO friends who aren’t Christians.

There are legitimate (seemingly) reasons for not having non-Christian friends:

  • Not enough time—There are only so many hours in the day and I can’t even spend enough time with my family and Christian friends. I heard a T.V. preacher tell his flock to only spend time with their brothers and sisters in Christ because there was so little time on earth to prepare ourselves for heaven. Give me a break!! We all waste lots of time during any given week. We spend time doing things that are a priority to us. We have time to watch sporting events on T.V., go golfing or hunting, work on cars, work in the garden, go to a coffee shop, do scrapbooking, read a book, play an instrument, etc. We make time for the things that we value. We would make time to spend with a non-Christian friend if we put a high value on it!
  • I don’t have anything in common with those who aren’t Christians. Bull!!! Jesus is the only thing that we don’t have in common. Christians and non-Christians enjoy doing many of the same things. One reader of this blog enjoys fly fishing—he caught a salmon last week. There are lots of non-Christians who enjoy fly fishing. I know a Christian that plays basketball every Monday night during the school year. There are lots of non-Christians who enjoy playing basketball. I know a lady that enjoys knitting. There are lots of non-Christians who enjoy knitting. We can do the things we enjoy doing with people who do not know Christ. Bill Hybels (of Willow Creek) loves to race sailboats. Intentionally, many of those who crew on his boat are not Christians. Many years ago while serving as the Associate Pastor at a different church I got to know Doug. Doug went to our church and loved to hunt. He had over 100 goose decoys. During the long goose season he would hunt every Saturday. People from his work (who were not Christians) would practically beg him to take them hunting. Almost every week he would take guys out who weren’t Christians. If you had asked those guys what they had done on Saturday morning they would have said, “I was hunting geese with Doug.” I you had asked Doug what he had done on Saturday morning he would have said, “I spent Saturday morning sitting in a goose blind talking to a non-Christian friend about Jesus and my church.” Christians have a lot of things in common with non-Christians.
  • I don’t like the language that non-Christians use. True, there are many non-Christians who cuss; there are also a lot of Christians who cuss. Get over it. I helped pay for my college education by working as a logger. I worked for the same logging company for four summers. The crew I worked with found out that I was a Christian within a few weeks of starting the job. By the end of that first summer there were some changes that had taken place on the crew. I was a choker setter on a skyline system. When the landing was 500’ or 600’ feet away we would split the crew into two “sides” as pre-set the chokers (we could work much faster that way). There would be two of us working on one side of the skyline and two on the other side of the skyline. The one or two guys working with me would stop cussing when they were working with me. I never asked them to stop cussing. They would talk to me about troubles in their relationships and their dreams for the future. We would laugh together. We would tackle serious subjects. Not a cuss word or dirty joke would come out of their month. Using the “language” excuse is lame!

At my first call as a pastor I made friends with a guy that wasn’t a Christian. His wife wasn’t a Christian either. As individuals this couple had some “baggage” in that community. Many of the people at the church were openly displeased that the pastor and his family was spending time with this couple. They both became Christians. They came to church—you would have thought that the antichrist had come through the door. They never came back to that church.

The most effective method of “evangelism” that leads to “religious conversion” is spending time with a Christian. Live your Christian life in their presence. Talk about the wife you love, the kids you love, the God you love. Be there for their question. Love them. Pour your life into them. That’s the ethical and moral way to be about evangelism.


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