Growing

So I was chatting with one of my friends recently about this starting point series and how it’s connecting with others. I’ve received some awesome texts and emails from some of you.  Thank you!  Now, for some reason if you haven’t been around, this series is focused on helping people who have struggled with faith or who have had questions about God.  Which by the way, if we are honest, that is all of us.  Yes, including you, Christ followers!

What I said to my friend was how much 'I’ve had to grow' in putting together this series.  There is always room to grow, right?  Yes.  Christians should always be growing and we should all take that upon ourselves all the time.  This series, which is aimed at the starting point of faith, has pushed me to go farther.  How?  I’ve had to look deeper into the questions about faith that others have.  Like the honest, unfiltered questions that non-Christians have.   I've had to dig into the history behind our Christian faith and how it's so important.  I've listened to communicators that challenge me to think and process in ways that make me a better Christ follower, a better leader and a better communicator.  I feel stretched! 

While I’ve been knee deep in this series, here is a passage that has challenged me and I hope will challenge you as well.

Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
— James 1:4

Now, the context here is our response to the difficulties of life.  I'm called to have the character of perseverance in those times.  But as Jesus followers, shouldn't we always strive for those character qualities every single day?  Look a them again.  Fully mature.  Complete.  Not lacking. 

I’m not there yet.  How about you?  Again, if we are transparent, we know the answer is simple; 'no-we aren't there yet’.  So, I for one am glad that a series on the beginnings of our faith is pushing me to new depths in my long held faith.  I hope it's pushing you!

But here is another reason why I believe understanding 'starting points' is bigger than you or I.  Others!  I mean, shouldn't our own learning and growth ultimately be about serving, caring and connecting with others?  How about helping others with their faith starting points?

For example, what about the people in your life that have questions about faith?  Trust me, they are all around you.  Don't they need someone like you in their life to help them find a staring point in faith?  Yes.  Don't they need you to help them bridge the gap and find a new starting point with the church?  Again, yes! 

So, if those are true, what about these deeply personal questions?  Can you have an honest conversation with a doubter in your life?  Can you do that without being argumentative?  Can you help them wrestle with the questions they have and genuinely understand where they are coming from?  Can you do more than say, ‘the Bible says’ as a response to their heartfelt questions and life challenges?  Those are the kinds of people we need to be to help people find that starting point of faith in Christ.  

I think this verse nails it. What do you think?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
— 1 Peter 3:15

How about it in these terms?  Always be prepared to engage with others.  To be honest with others about faith.  To admit your doubts.  To hear their honest questions and not give pat answers.  Always be prepared to help others with their starting point.

I for one am so excited to see what a series like 'Starting Point' is doing in my life, my faith and my view of others.  I'm grateful that it's challenging you to new levels of understanding, faith and thinking of others too.  But how awesome is this?  God has been and will always be a God of new beginnings and starting points.   Thank God that He always gives us a new starting point!!!

Reaching people together,   

Steve

 

Steve GillComment