Copyright © 2017 by Philip Byler – All Rights Reserved
Unauthorized Duplication Prohibited by Law

     Here in North Georgia, we are caught in the throes of a very unpredictable winter. Temperatures remained quite temperate for the beginning days, then there was snow, for us, big snow. Dr. Judy and I were away for a much needed respite, and we got snowed out (as opposed to being snowed in.) While conditions in our location were quite manageable, conditions at home were not so much that way. So, we cancelled our worship services and hunkered down in our cozy bunker.

      I never have been one to quickly or casually cancel a worship service, and to compensate, Judy and I generated a worship event on Facebook live. To our utter amazement, our posting received hundreds of views and dozens of kind and gracious remarks. [Newsflash] Perhaps we should try to provide a more consistent appearance to an audience we had not considered. If C.T.T.M. Ministries were to have a notable web presence, we would be able to use this technology to extend our reach and challenge our viewers to embrace more fully the amazing and wonderful blessings of discipleship. So, for the next several weeks I produced several short Facebook Live presentations and shared them with my friends and followers. These have also received some very good responses.

     Currently, I am working on building a series of teaching vignettes... 5-8 minutes in length. These, I pray, will offer encouragement, empowerment, and challenge to folks to make their Christian experience more than trip to heaven or a pursuit of prosperity. Neither of these things is notably wrong, but they should not be the underlying purpose of a disciple's calling and intent. Reaching people with God's love, grace, and mercy far exceeds the boundaries of personal blessing. The amazing truth of Scripture is that is, indeed, more blessed to give than it is to receive. It is this, the core challenge of Christ to His disciples that influences society and challenges culture. It is this, the simple message - "Go, and make disciples..." Sadly, many Christians don't take this command seriously. Sadly, there are far too many who are focused on an unseen future, rather than being focused on a very present, very obvious world of need.

      We cannot fix every condition. That is a truth that causes compassionate hearts to ache. We can, however, become engaged with some, with folk who need Christ, who need a loving, caring, undemanding touch. We can serve others in ways that shine the light of grace and mercy into the darkness of hopelessness and despair.

     Look outside the boundaries of Church life, beyond the safety of a protected atmosphere of corporate worship, programed ministry, and cloistered fellowship. Look toward those who are bruised and broken, who have experienced the and disgust of the self-righteous, the serious but seriously misguided...  good intentions, perhaps, but laced with caustic commentary. So many have been wounded and broken, only to broadcast their wounds with evangelical fervor any and all who will listen. They have recruited an army of followers, a deluge of individuals who see Christians and the Church as mean, selfish, condemning, and unloving.  Such accusations are not all true, not always true. Unfortunately, they are true sometimes, and they are true all the time for some people. One time is one time too many, and the rapid multiplication of the wounded and their supporters has left a stain that is difficult to erase. We must do better.

     Not only are there those who are bruised and broken, there are also those who are bored. They've "been there and done that." They've experienced the experiences, felt the goosebumps, given their offerings expecting 100-fold returns, and come to the conclusion that "it ain't worth it." Wrong reasons? Sure. Wrong conclusions? No doubt in my mind. But, unreachable unless there is something more to live for than the "goodies." And that's where true disciples come in. For, true disciples reach beyond the pain and offer genuine concern. They reach beyond the boredom and offer the reality of a transformed life. 

     Churches collectively offer all these things, and individually, at least some of these things. But, the people we need to reach are unsure, uncertain of our motives. So many have drawn the wrong conclusions, and will not allow the Church access to their needs. It is for us who are disciples to be the message of Christ, the loving touch, the healing prayer, the unconditional acknowledgement of people's value to God and to us. It is ours to bring them to the foot of the cross,,, to love them to Jesus.