Monday, June 05, 2006

"Offensive" Faith

One of my best friends, Amy Jeffus, recently started a blog, and I think it's really impressive (not just because she gave me a shout-out. Ahem.). I have loved her passionately ever since I met her: she's dogged in her pursuit of truth, kind in her way of communicating it, and always eager (not just willing) to learn. She's a walking, talking, breathing Berean.

Okay, I am a little biased because I love her so much! Amy is also extremely dedicated to the middle-school aged children she leads as a youth minister at a church in South Carolina. I had the privilege of working with her for many months; every day was a time of rich fellowship for us that I will never forget.

Amy's recent posts have included a series about the "offense" of the gospel: in one of them she lists "Six Keys to Offensive Faith" that I think are brilliant. Here are some excerpts:

1. Know your Opponent:
Romans 12
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You cannot fight the other team if you don't even recognize them as being against you. You may even begin to look more like the other team then your own and get confused about who you are playing for. You must be able to recognize them as The World and remember that we are called to be seperate from them. How do you recognize them? Fight the World with the Word.

2. Know what the other teams have used the past that did or didn’t work:
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry."We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

God didn't leave us scripture for our mere enjoyment (although the more you get into it the more you will begin to enjoy least that is my experience). He left it for us as a tool. It is a guide that can help us be offensive in our faith in so many ways. One way, is by looking at the rich history of the Isrealites, King David, the early church, and more. Looking at where people and nations before us have fallen can help us be watchful for traps the World may try to use to gain possession of our ball.

Read more here.

In a more recent post, she writes:

So how do you share an offensive message with people in a way that they won’t immediately shut you out. The answer is not as easy as we would like. The Holy Spirit must work in a person before they will be able to look past the offense to see the Good News. So we have to be sensitive to the working of the Holy Spirit. Cover those you know who aren’t saved in prayer. Pray for opportunities to tell them about Jesus. Pray that their hearts would be softened by what only God can do enough so that they will hear and receive the WHOLE gospel of Christ. I want us to stop being afraid to tell the whole story. I don’t just want Jesus…I need Jesus.