This is the last post following the book titled, The Next Christians. When I started this short series I did not know what this last post would look like. I had not finished the book when I decided to write, so I really did just assume that there would be something good to end my posts. Sure enough, there is a thought that I want to leave you with. Below is an excerpt from the book and I enjoy it so much that I have put the whole thing here. Remember, the author of this book is highlighting a group that he believes is changing the way Christians are viewed. He calls them Restorers and throughout the book he gives practical examples of how they approach God’s call differently than those before them.
“The focus on savvy outreach methods and persuasive skills goes away. Outsiders aren’t seen as commodities to be recruited, reached, or proselytized. They are treated as valued creations of God, possessing his image and seeing their goodness affirmed wherever it shines through. By recovering the Gospel, the next Christians are befriending people through authentic relationships where love is the only agenda. They trust God to work in outsiders’ lives when he’s ready, using their unconditional love, grace, and acceptance as the basis.”Gabe Lyons in The Next Christians
This is it. This is what it’s about, authentic love. Some of you may be familiar, but I am a fan of the word authentic, peep the site you’re reading this on. I have grown to love this word and believe it is the way of truth. My prayer is that I will be authentic above all else. I think it’s what God wants. I think that our job on this earth is to be the most authentic version of us that we can be and love others the way Christ did. We make this so freaking difficult to do. Fear, insecurity, jealousy, pride, all these things hinder us from being authentic and loving others.
I’m not always right and that’s okay. I’m not always the best Christian and that’s okay. I’m not always authentic and loving and that’s okay. We serve a God that is bigger than these things and my prayer will always be to love others authentically and let God be God. Figure out how to be the most YOU, you can be and nothing else. If you haven’t read my post from March 24, 2018, titled Love (Part 1), I would invite you to check that out. At the end of the day, until we love ourselves we cannot love others. And many times we try to skip the first step and go straight to the second, loving others. This is where it gets hairy because in order to authentically love others I have to know how to authentically love myself. That is the message that is at the heart of being a Restorer. It means understanding the process, love God, love myself, then love others, and knowing that this order is not selfish or prideful it’s sustainable. God needs you to be your most authentic self and nothing more.
I don’t want this post to be long so I am wrapping it up here. I have enjoyed writing this short series following The Next Christians. I think we have a lot to be excited about as Christians and I think we have a lot of loving to do.