She’s been hurting; teething times four; aching for more than some Anbesol; needing a healing touch from the One who watches over her; here in our foster home.
Her one and a half year-old self, shifts restless, angry, uncertain as to why pain resurrects in places she can’t see.
And as a parent, we learn fast, don’t we…no two children are the same.
So I pray, grab her tightly in my arms, and start rocking and singing, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…”
One verse leads to another, until almost magically, her hard look softens, body starts calming, and the windows to her soul, watch curiously, my face as I sing.
In hopes of savoring this peace I am seeing, I keep singing, “Jesus died for all the children…” leading to, “Jesus rose for all the children…” and finally “Jesus lives for all the children...”
But then I realize, Jesus death and resurrection, the entire gospel message was hidden right there in a toddler song.
And wouldn’t it have been funny if I would have given this newly walking child, the finer points of doctrine, theologically schooling her on Armenian vs. Calvinism?
Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?
Apostle Paul gave us a key to missional living, “to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to men under the Law, [I became] as one under the law…” And “To those without (outside) law I became as one without law, not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law.” (1 Cor 9:19-21 Amp)
Paul goes on to say, “to the weak, I become weak”, and for the sake of the good news, ”I have become all things to all men”. (verse 22)
Like Paul, if we are going to reach diverse cultures, places, people, age groups for the sake of Jesus, we must take from the wisdom Paul gave, using His model for conversion, instead of trying to strain people through some “one size fits all”, rules-based, Pharisaical legalistic system, demanding external laws, lives unflawed, and perfectionism void of any grace before others can find their place in the holy temple of God.
And just as Jesus death and resurrection tore open the veil and gave all of us the same access into the secret places of God; we can, no matter our history, past, or calling, like Paul, come freely and be one with a God who taught us, love weighs more than law.
A friend with a Master’s degree in theology sits in our home; another desperately seeking an Upper Room experience shares the same meal. Over our life-time, we have spent hours enthusiastically discussing apologetics with a friend we have met with for years.
Paul’s model challenging us; will we die to our mold of evangelism, freely and willingly becoming what is needed to advance the gospel as a response to God’s call to a missional life?
If we are going to lead the multitudes to Christ, shouldn't we first realize there is no formula to grow others in Christ? Might not the gospel come in the form of a song to an infant, a prayer with the prophetic, or a theological investigation with the highly trained and educated?
What matters is not how we point to Jesus, but that we are prepared to give an answer to everyone for the hope that it is in us (1 Peter 3:15), meeting people where they are at, personalizing the gospel so other might receive it, trusting emphatically His Spirit to lead us as we bring others to The Resurrected One, behind the torn veil.
Though born, raised, and still living only miles from where she grew up, Jen's heart lies in the nations. Jen loves the beautiful tapestry found in the wide diversity of people, different cultures, and all nations. Jen and her husband have been married twenty years, and have parented fifteen kids and counting; twelve foster, one adopted, and two bios. Her multi-racial family reflects her passion for unity, desire for faith without walls, and missional mindset to share both the gospel and the power of redemption to a world desperately needing the hope found in Jesus Christ. Jen and her husband have led in a variety of ministries; including prayer, small groups, children's, and women’s. Jen advocates for the orphan as a board member for the non-profit, A New Song; and loves doing missions work internationally, along with her family. You can find Jen writing about faith, while challenging her readers at her blog, Rich Faith Rising, as well as at tweeting faith-filled messages @Jen_Avellaneda . Jen is also on facebook.
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