Yesterday, we kicked off our new Sermon Series “Moving into the Neighborhood”. The series explores the impact of the Incarnation of Jesus on our lives. Throughout out the series, you can find devotions here that will help you on your journey. Ok, lets get on with it, here is Episode 1: It’s about community…not conversion.
“That they may be one, just as we are one.” John 17:21
There’s nothing more beautiful than a change of heart that results in a change of life. The scriptures call this instance and this process as being ‘born again.’ The thought that our lives can be different in the blink of an eye, or beautifully recrafted over 40 years, is a remarkable thing to hope for.
Most of us minimize the beauty of this by simply calling it ‘conversion’ or the people involved as ‘converts.’ Sometimes we think it is our job to make converts and thus we strike out into unnatural conversations and awkwardly aggressive attempts to wins souls. What we find is that trying to win souls is often a losing experience for us and them.
We must remember that Jesus and the Holy Spirit had no intention or desire to convert people to the religion of Christianity. They were and continue to be concerned with bringing people into and including them in a relationship, community, and family of the trinity and His church.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
When you consider the joy of being a part of the family of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it is impossible to stay focused on “converting” a friend or a stranger. As family members we instead nurture the life of the community in us and we gently nurture others toward the table that has been set for us. When we try to convert we come off as coercers, but when we offer adoption, we come off as brothers or sisters.
For further reading, check out Hugh Halter’s book “Flesh”