One of the interesting elements of our weekly gathering is "vision casting" - effectively reminding ourselves why we do what we do, and encouraging each other to press on.
I have mentioned our friend Brian a few times. He was the first person in New Zealand I personally led to faith in Jesus, and coming as he did from a life of petty crime and drug-abuse he was a wonderful example of God's grace powerfully at work. He was our first baptism in Avondale, and despite occasions when his life-before-Jesus rears its ugly head, all those who know him have a deep affection for him.
Brian suffers from multiple sclerosis, and spends his waking hours in a wheelchair. Last Friday when Monika and John went round for their weekly visit, they discovered that Brian had fallen out of his chair and was stuck on the floor. He painfully edged his way to the door, but could not reach the handle, so eventually John had to push Monika through a toilet window! Brian was understandably distressed, embarrassed and suicidal. To make matters worse, his "friends" has stolen his mobile phone so he had no way of calling for help.
What an awful, tragic situation - and yet God was in the middle of this mess. How wonderful that Brian has a faith in Jesus to sustain him through the lowest lows. How great that were were able to be there, as an answer to his desperate prayers, to offer physical help and emotional and spiritual support when he most needed it.
If we had not taken the decision to knock on Brian's door at the end of a long, discouraging day, then both his present life would be unbearable, and his eternity unsure. But we did, and his life with Jesus on earth, though it may not have long, contains a seed of hope, and his eternity is fixed, guaranteed, secure. I am reminded of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep - a stupid, disobedient, scruffy animal of little worth - and when he finds it "joyfully puts it on his shoulder", carries it home, then holds a party to celebrate its homecoming (Luke 15:5).
So there's your vision casting - if you are wondering whether or not to obey the Great Commission and "GO," unsure whether you have the confidence to knock on doors, or share your God-story, or explain the Gospel, or lead someone to faith in Jesus, think today of Brian - in the world's eyes a waster, good-for-nothing, druggy drop-out who has a limited life-expectancy, but someone who the Good Shepherd joyfully carries on his shoulders, until together, they reach home.
13 hours ago