We had a nice, warm time in our worship service this week here at First Covenant this week, even though the weather is getting colder and colder outside. First of all, we thanked everyone who had worked so hard on our annual Valentine’s Day dinner (for once, actually on Valentine’s Day) fundraiser for our Youth Group this past Saturday evening. The Intersection Restaurant of Love was as beautiful as ever, and the food and service were spectacular, as always (and yes, I got my extra loaves of homemade bread).
We also welcomed Melinda Merz back from the mission field this Sunday, and we gave Melinda a chunk of time in our service this week to share a little bit about what had happened, how and why the visa process in Australia had changed, and what she’s planning to do, now that she’s been plopped back into the United States for the time being. For those of you who couldn’t be here this week, Melinda is working on finishing up her Master’s Degree program, and that requires her to run a weekly small group Bible study over the span of three months -- so if any of you would like to be part of that, please just chat with Melinda and ask her for more details.
By the way, since Melinda has come home from Australia, that means that I didn’t go to Australia to teach the course at her school that I was planning to do this February (just for those who were wondering about why I’m still here and writing Sunday Morning Updates). But since I had originally planned on not being here, I’d asked Dawna Warren if she’d feel led to speak. So even though I was here this Sunday, I thought it would be best to still give her the chance to share what God laid on her heart.
Dawna shared about what she called “snowflake evangelism” -- the need to appreciate that each one of us is unique, and that we are thus all sculpted uniquely to step out in obedience to evangelism. I shouldn’t try to reach people the same way that you would, nor should you try to do it the same way that Dawna would, even though we can all learn from one another.
Without your unique “snowflake-ness,” the world is diminished, and without your unique gifts, the church is diminished. God loves you intimately, uniquely, and He calls you and me and all of us to join Him in sharing in the work of bringing the Gospel to the lost world.
And yet, we still struggle with that. So Dawna suggested a few things to help with wrapping our heads around what God is trying to show us:
1) We need to listen -- to God, and to our own needs and uniqueness.
2) We need to forgive -- forgive other people, and forgive ourselves (and, for that matter, we need to accept forgiveness from others and from God for ourselves). The sins in our lives are vile, but unforgiveness is like drinking poison day after day until it kills you -- and vile though sins are, they are also paid for by Christ on the cross.
3) We need to focus on the essentials -- untangle ourselves from all of those issues which choke out our growth and make us unfruitful.
In short, we need to remember that focusing on evangelism isn’t adding more items to keep track of on our lives’ schedules. It’s simply centering our lives on being the kinds of people that God is calling each one of us to be in the first place.