Friday, June 9, 2006

WHEN IT'S TIME TO GET BEYOND OURSELVES

I've been exploring what happened to move the earliest Christians from being exclusively a Jewish group to a movement that included and embraced Gentile believers. The story of the initial transition indicates it wasn't natural or easy. Apparently, God had to help folks get beyond themselves with the Good News. Acts 10 and 11 tells the story of the beginning of this broadening process. Peter had to let go of some of his religious peccadilloes before he was free to speak to anticipating Gentiles in Antioch. By way of interpretation and application, here's my take:

We know it's time to get beyond ourselves....

...When our habits, preferences, traditions and self-interest dull us to God's present, forward-looking work in the world.

...When we find ourselves resisting God's challenge to our "narrowness," "stuck-ness," or "me-ness."

...When God sends people our way who need and want to know about the faith we have been given.

...When God demonstrates overwhelming grace in lives and groups we had written off, suspected, or excluded.

...When to stay where we are in our faith--or to not share our faith--will hide God's light and nullify our witness.

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