10
Sep

Children of the Day Reflection # 3: I Thessalonians 2

Children of the Day

Warning: Maybe get a beverage first. 

Howdy, Bible Study Fans! Or are you a Beth-Moore Fan? Either way–I’m happy you’re here!

If you saw the video or heard the CDs, you probably know that Beth thinks churches should have three groups of people to be a healthy church: We, You, and They. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, if you didn’t hear or see the lesson, so let me explain it my way:

1. We’s – The mentors. These folks have been actively working in their churches and as, Beth says, “are actively producing fruit in the body of Christ.” They are essential for teaching the other two groups about the faith and about how to contribute positively to this world. I also think these folks pretty much have figured out their role, particular gifts, and talents within the body of Christ. Let’s just say they aren’t spending time trying to figure out who they are anymore.

2. You’s -The doers. These are the folks starting to produce fruit. They are starting to come into their own, but maybe don’t have it figured out completely yet. They need the “We’s” to help them figure it out the rest of the way, but if the church didn’t have doers, the church would be history!

3. They’s–The learners. They are learning what the We’s and the You’s are giving out to the community, neighborhood and the world and how the We’s and the You’s are behaving. They may know little about Christianity yet. They may have been turned off from the church in the past for very good reason. They may have such busy lives that they fail to attend church. They may be reluctant to visit a church unless a member actually invites them.

When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, I realized that if I wanted my church to continue to be there for the people around them, I would have to give a lot of my time, talents and resources to make that happen. The older members of our congregation were, quite honestly, dying off–the ones we were relying upon to make sure things got done and were generating new ministries.

Those just beyond my age group were getting weary–they were continually the ones on the firing line making sure the ideas got implemented and implemented well. Without knowing it, I was already thinking about We’s, You’s and They’s!

I hope this doesn’t sound pretentious, but I think I’m at the beginning of that mentor phase. I still believe I can do a lot to help my church, but the reality is that my health adventures prevent me from doing what I did my 20s, 30s and 40s. Do I still have a lot to learn? Oh, my gosh, YES! And I will need my older mentors to get me through the last stages of my life, for sure.

But, I find mentoring words coming out of my mouth more often now, particularly when it comes to parenting. I’m an empty-nester now and with that, comes some wisdom and perspective that I, as a young mother, wife, and career woman, did not have. I don’t intentionally go out and mentor–it just happens.

So, on to this week’s homework. As of today I’ve finished Homework 4 of I Thessalonians 2. (Yes, I’m ahead, but if you saw my schedule for the next few weeks, you’d understand why!)

The phrase at the bottom of page 40 in the Member Book resonated with me: “We say, ‘Trust God,’ yet we agonize privately over whether He can be trusted.” I know, in my own life, I have a really difficult time bringing up how Jesus’ life and resurrection could be transforming for those around me, particularly if I know they’ve been burned by Christians in the past or they have openly stated that they don’t believe in God, etc. I fail miserably at this!

When I do manage to be brave for 20 seconds and bring it up, it often goes far better than I think it will. And if nothing else, I managed, for 20 seconds, to be obedient and trust God to do the rest. So why on earth do I find it so difficult to still do? Yet again another reason why this blog is “MaryAnn in Progress”!

I think we feel that God-talk will sound “canned” and that people will be turned off. We’re both right and wrong about that. If we walk up to a stranger and individually talk to that person about Jesus the second we introduce ourselves, we are right–we will probably crash, burn and be regarded as fools.

But, in two ways, I think this can be overcome. If we speak to a large crowd all at once, trying to be sensitive to a variety of ears, then bringing up God will not sound canned, particularly if we stay away from “Christianese.” (We assume people intuitively understand terms like gospel, resurrection, salvation, etc., and this just seems elitist to non-believers.) Also, if we establish a sincere relationship with a non-believing person, eventually, that person will come to trust us as we come to trust them, and such sharing about God will seem sincere and just natural to the other person. They won’t hate us or belittle us at that point because they already value the relationship.

Jesus could “talk turkey” to individuals without first establishing that relationship, but we aren’t Him. So this probably won’t work for most of us! We should just focus on the relationship with that person and then, little by little, bring Christianity into the relationship.

Regardless of this, I did write one question in the margins of page 40 that I think is worth pondering: What would we do differently if we truly trusted God?

Another compelling part of the homework hit me at the bottom of page 50: “Just as Scripture testified that Enoch and Noah walked with God, may huddled angels whisper behind your back when the chronicles of history are complete, ‘See that woman right there? She walked with God.” I penned these questions in the bottom margin of page 50: “How would the angels know that you walked with God? What would they see? What would they hear as evidence?”

I think I would be disappointed about what the angels could muster up for evidence. Yes, I have moments when I’m pretty certain that I’m walking with Him, but more often than not, He’s probably unable to walk with me because of my mixed-up priorities and stubbornness.

Last, but not least, the bottom of page 55 also is intriguing, ” To stifle the gospel (the story of Jesus’ life, death and life after death) does not just oppose God; it opposes all mankind.” I have never thought about it in those terms, but if we truly want to have “They’s” in our lives and in our churches, we have to believe that getting 20 seconds of courage to talk about it no matter what, is the kindest thing we can do for one another.

Are you that courageous? I’m praying for you to be that and more! 🙂

Friday’s Post: What My Cell Phone Says About Me

You Might Also Like: Children of the Day Reflection # 2: I Thessalonians 1; Children of the Day Reflection # 1: Introduction; An Unlikely Mom; and Go Ahead…Hate Me

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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