Reach & Rescue

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A few months ago I was introduced to a very special lady named Alita.  Alita had recently stepped into the new opportunity of leading Women of Faith.  One of the things that attracted me immediately to Alita’s vision for Women of Faith is that the heartbeat of the ministry is to reach the lost and connect them to the local church.  A core value of WOF is “Each One Reach One.”

Over the past four years I’ve had the opportunity to actively work to reach the lost as my husband and I planted a church in Lincoln, Nebraska. In that time God has significantly changed my view on what it means reach the lost. We are extremely fortunate to have a church full of new believers with fantastic stories of God’s grace and redemption.  Something the Lord has been showing me is that He calls us to reach EVERYONE.

“You have heard the Law says, Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”  Matthew 5:43-44

In this passage the word neighbor in the original Greek means “anyone you have a chance to meet”. In reality your enemy and your neighbor are one in the same. It is exciting to look around my city, and realize that every single person I have the opportunity to meet is my neighbor.  God places people directly in our paths whom he wants us to reach. I have the opportunity to extend an invitation of grace. It doesn’t matter what may be lurking in a person’s background, the neighbor requirement is simple, it is anyone I have the chance to meet.

I’m embarrassed to say, I used to be offended by lost people who acted lost.  Then I realized that these people would not have offended Jesus. Those who offended Jesus were the ones who refused to forgive, refused to show mercy and refused to love people.  Jesus chose to spend his time around the misfits, those who never really fit in.

This has challenged me as I began to look around the people that I was in relationship with.  The easy thing to do would be to hang around people who already know Jesus, the people who act like me, look like me, and talk like me.  I began looking to put myself in situations with the lost, the hurting and the broken, to find some new neighbors.

Thinking of ALL people as a someone God might be asking me to influence is a different way to approach relationship. This could be overwhelming in the broad sense, but the challenge that Women of Faith has presented for each one of us is to reach one person.  All we have to do is find one to love on, to influence, and to encourage.

Here’s my question for today,  who is your neighbor? Who are the people in your life that God has placed specifically in your path for you to influence?  If God connects you to someone He wants to use your story to help encourage them and lead them to him. Maybe as you look around your life everyone you know already knows Jesus, I would encourage you to make some new friends! It is an honor to introduce someone to the love and grace of Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to have people who don’t know Him in your life.

For my husband and I when we arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska to plant Mercy City Church we knew no one. It was not in our hearts to begin moving Christians from one church to another as a way fill the seats of our new church. We began meeting people in the store, at the coffee shop, and at our kids events who needed to know who Jesus was.  Slowly, God began using us and our story to reach the lost. It took me stepping out of my comfort zone when I was nervous and when I was intimidated to begin to show people who Jesus was through my life, the good and the bad, the mistakes and the successes.

I hope this is an encouragement to look around your life and ask God to open your eyes to new opportunities?  Who in your life today needs an encouragement, needs to be shown love, needs to be introduced to grace? That’s where it begins!   If each one of us were to reach one think of the impact that Jesus could have.

I hope you will continue joining me for the next few weeks as I share some stories from my own life in how to reach people right where you are.