The Hometown Challenge



Jesus usually commands others to follow Him, but at least once, He gave the command, "Don't follow me." Why? Wouldn't it always be better to follow Jesus?


In Luke 8:39, Jesus told a demon-possessed man to "return home and tell how much God had done for him."

We can’t know all of the reasons why Jesus told the man to go back to this family, but months later when Jesus returned to the region, over twelve thousand gathered to hear Jesus speak. God used one man’s story to stir the hearts of thousands.


God wanted this demon-possessed man to reach his friends and family. And God wants you to reach your friends and family.


What could God do if you went to your friends and family and told them all that Jesus has done in your life? 


I believe there are two groups of people out there. Some of you are too bold. You take every chance you get to challenge other people, and you could do some damage if you go back to your friends and family with your gospel guns blazing. The majority, though, fall into another camp. Most of us are a little too afraid of what our friends and family think. We are worried that they might think we are weird or even reject us. 


I want to speak to those of you who are timid when it comes to spreading the gospel.


If I have a cure to COVID and I keep it to myself, I am the most selfish person in the world. If we have the cure to the sins of the world (which 100% of people will die from) and we don’t share it with others, then we aren’t any better. 


We have the cure that people need and we have the opportunity to share the greatest story the world has ever known.


So why wouldn’t we share this news?


Maybe...

you worship comfort – you don’t want to be in an uncomfortable conversation. 


Maybe...

you don’t believe that people are truly going to hell if they don’t follow Jesus.


Maybe...

you feel like you will botch it and leave things worse off than they were before you spoke up.


If you’re like me, you fall into all three of these categories at different times. I’ve convinced myself that someone was already a believer and didn’t need to hear the good news. I’ve convinced myself that the path to heaven is wide and many people are on it. I've thought that I could destroy a relationship beyond repair by messing up during the conversation.


When we're feeling this way, we need a little perspective.




LOOK AT THINGS FROM GOD'S POINT OF VIEW


God is the one who created the earth with His voice. God decided to include us in His plan to rescue people from hell. 


In 2 Corinthians 5:20 God says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  

He lets us be His messengers, but we only plant and water the seeds. God makes them grow. When we see that we are only a piece of the puzzle, then we can take the pressure off. 




LOOK AT THINGS FROM THE OTHER PERSON'S PERSPECTIVE


They may not be interested in hearing what God has done in your life, but what if God has been preparing their hearts? What if being cooped up for the last couple of months has them thinking about God more than ever? What if they have a friend who has been sick and they are thinking about what happens after this life is over? 


We will never know if we don’t step up, be bold, and find out.




This week I encourage you to take steps of boldness by having a spiritual conversation with at least one family member and one friend.


I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to have that conversation with an old friend or a family member and chickened out. But in the moments where I piped up and asked the simple question, “Do you care if I ask you a spiritual question?” God has come through. 


If you let Him, He will do the same thing for you.







Discuss these questions with a friend or spiritual leader to help apply today's reading:

  1. Which of the reasons for not sharing your faith do you relate with most? Why?

  2. “May I ask you a spiritual question?” is a challenging question.  Who can you ask this question this week?


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