Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sharing a Groupon vs. The Gospel

I've been on a Groupon kick lately. It's as if Groupon has read my mind and has been offering deep discounts on restaurants and activities that I've wanted to try for some time. And when I get in on such a great discount, I feel the urge to share the news with others so that they, too, can participate.

As I was driving home one night, this thought hit me: Am I more prone to share a Groupon than the Gospel?

The answer, unfortunately, has been "yes."

I could make a lot of excuses, like that I don't cross paths with a lot of nonbelievers. But that's mainly because I assume a lot of my acquaintances are believers, even though I've never asked them.

Yet, when I send a link about a Groupon, I don't know for sure that the recipient is even interested in the deal, and it's not up to me to convince them that they have to buy it. I only want to share it.

That's how simple it could be to share the Gospel with others. I'm not responsible for the results, only to be obedient to share.

But the truth is that I haven't made it my mission to share the Gospel. And that is appalling because it's only the Gospel that I'm instructed to share and to be a witness of "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Only the Gospel can change lives. Only the Gospel has eternal significance.

If I want my friends, acquaintances, and others to experience the benefits of knowing Christ, I, as a believer, MUST share it. This is my mission, and I'm grateful for a church that is reminding and encouraging me week in and week out to build bridges with others and to make Jesus's name known.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Heavenward Perspective

I confess that there have been times in my life when I've gone days, weeks, and even months without thinking about Heaven. In the past, Heaven came to the forefront of my mind when someone was battling a terminal illness or when Easter was approaching.

But this year has been different. Heaven has constantly been on my mind.

It started a few months ago with hearing Hillsong's "You Hold Me Now." After that, I listened to Matt Carter's sermons on Heaven. He mentioned that his wife had made a playlist on her ipod of songs about Heaven, and that got me on the lookout for more songs focusing on Heaven. Then, I attended a presentation on "Israel in the Crosshairs," and Jesus's return seemed even more imminent. And this past Saturday, I had the opportunity to hear Hillsong live.

I've never experienced anything like that night. From the diverse crowd filled with every nationality imaginable to the unabashed worship with hands raised, I sensed that I was getting a glimpse of Heaven.

As I've continued to count my own One Thousand Gifts, I'm seeing more and more glimpses of Heaven here on earth - gifts that He has put in my path to enjoy here until I get to enjoy the gift of eternal life with Him.

#339 - Being up in time to see beginning of a sunrise

#340 - Feeling of freshly shaved legs (after a long time of not shaving)

. . .

#343 - Sister's prayer for my healing

#344 - Respite from sinus headache

. . .

#346 - Robin eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs

. . .

#365 - Psalm 91:12's picture of angels lifting us up in their hands

As Lent begins tomorrow, I anticipate that this year my perspective will be a bit different in light of this gift counting. I will continue to focus on the amazing gift that Jesus gave by taking away my sins by dying on the cross, but I also hope to see more and more of the gifts that come from having eyes opened to see the gifts that come daily, not just once a year.