7 November 2016

Friends, how would you answer these questions?

What does it mean to live as a Christian?

What did we do to deserve Christ dying for us?

Does God love us more when we become Christian?

When people say “Jesus Christ!”, is it not always good?

These are all questions I have heard recently. All of them were asked by people with Bibles open and genuinely inquiring about Jesus. And those asking were all international visitors to Wollongong—university students, spouses & others.

Now maybe there’s nothing particularly amazing about the questions.

All of them, with the exception of the last one, could have been asked by a native English speaker. (The last one was asked by a Chinese friend trying to understand why he hears so many Hollywood movie characters shouting “Jesus Christ” when they don’t look very happy. I told him those characters probably didn’t know Jesus.)

But one amazing thing is that at St Michael’s 10am congregation, we are having more and more opportunities to welcome international visitors with questions like these! The increasing numbers of guests is one reason the 10am service is often full. And so we at St Michael’s are seriously considering some viable options for all nations ministry.

Please keep this all nations ministry in your prayers.

But once more, how would you answer these questions? Can you do it simply & clearly, and include the gospel?

I think it’s both harder than it looks, but also easier than we might feel.

It’s harder than it looks because sometimes the simplest questions are actually very profound. It’s harder than it looks because clear communication is hard. It’s harder than it looks because sometimes we mightn’t know the answer!

But it’s also easier than we might feel. It’s easier because we don’t have to be gurus or isolated experts. It’s easier because help is at hand! We are part of the body of Christ and so we have other members with different gifts (Ephesians 4:11-13). It’s easier because we are allowed to say “I don’t know” and/or “let’s ask Joe and see what he thinks.”

One of my favourite lecturers at Moore Theological College said, “Sometimes asking the right question is more important than having an answer”. He wanted to encourage us to ask questions and not hold back because of pride. He knew that asking a good question can help us seek God’s treasures in his word.

So again, please pray for wisdom as we seek to share not just the gospel but our lives as well with people of all nations at St Michael’s. And let’s do so, learning and growing together under God’s word.

Warmly in Christ,
Jon Baird