One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary. – Francis Schaeffer
You have been strategically placed right where you are for one reason: to bring the kingdom of God to your corner of the world. It matters not where that is; it matters that you are there and you are intentional about being a carrier of Christ and a spreader of the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward — to everyone, everywhere. And if you’re not sure what that is, stick with us; we’re learning together.
But reading one or two Catches a week isn’t enough. This is not my blog — my opinion to be weighed equally with all the other opinions out there on the vast Internet of personal expression. This is prophetic truth, and I am a pastor, not a blogger. I am speaking from 40 years of training, of studying scripture, of using my prophetic gift, and seeking God’s kingdom in the world. Most of what I present here is countercultural. It’s going to go against much of what you hear or read today, even from Christian sources. You need to refresh this thinking every day or you will not be able to counteract everything coming at you from all sides.
Read the Catch every day and send it out to everyone you know. If you miss one or two — go back and catch up. Go to our website — www.catchjohnfischer.com — every Catch I’ve ever created is there in reverse chronological order. This is necessary. This is not a nice-to-do.
We are touching people; we are putting our arms around the hopeless; we are praying for people where prayer is called for; we are creating something positive we can share with others. We are making a difference.
How? By persisting with doing the following: Love, empathize, build bridges, lift up (not tear down), create respect for all, embrace those who are different, resist the temptation to find fault, choose not to take part in criminalizing anyone, speak well of people who are not in your presence, give everyone a second chance — then a third and a fourth — up to seven times seventy (Matthew 18:22). In fact, be a catalyst, a peacemaker, a healer. Stand in the gap; resist taking sides. Live like this, and you will make a difference — better yet, you will be the difference. You will be countercultural.
The current climate is so volatile that our faith has to make a difference in our behavior or one could rightfully question it. Divisiveness, polarization, and demonization of the other side is the norm. This is such a mean-spirited age that simple kindness and courtesy are more than what they would be any other time. Any other time they would be what’s expected. Today a simple kindness is a candle in the darkness. It’s a reminder of some long distant memory — something good and hopeful — a reminder to everyone we meet of what is right about being human, and of the value and reality that God’s grace brings to earth through us. That is grace turned outward — something that will change the world.
Yesssss. I’m currently in the middle of Francis Chan’s Letters to the Churches. Lots of reminders in there of who and whose we are. Very convicting. And very different from how most of us are living, worshiping, etc.
Most people watch very carefully to see whether your deeds fit to your words. They might even tolerate a slip up here and there, but it is important that your deeds are a display of your inner convictions. These deeds might not matter for your personal salvation, but when they match your inner conviction then they sure increase your credibility. But all this has to come naturally, preferably on a personal level.
Looking back to the Catch published last November 1st, John, you concluded with a quote from Mister Rogers:
“The older I get, the more I seem to be able to appreciate my “neighbor” (whomever I happen to be with at the moment). Oh, sure, I’ve always tried to love my neighbor as myself; however, the more experiences I’ve had, the more chances I’ve had to see the uniqueness of each person … as well as each tree, and plant, and shell, and cloud … the more I find myself delighting every day in the lavish gifts of God, whom I’ve come to believe is the greatest appreciator of all.”
Perhaps we all can take John’s tender exhortation today and apply Mr. Rogers’ attitude and behavior to our own lives. How radical would that be for some of us?
A new film starring Tom Hanks playing the part of Fred Rogers will be released this next November. Here is the trailer for “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.”
Let’s all make a date to see this film together…