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Checking for oranges

by on August 9, 2011

“Are you sure there’s no oranges in it?” asked a concerned Emma (3 yrs), eyeing the fruitjuice bottle I was offering to pour for her. “Because I’m allergic.”

I checked the back. Where are those ingredients? Ahh, there they are, in fine print down the bottom. No, no oranges. But before I could say so, Asher (5yrs) took charge of the bottle. “Let me see”, he instructed me. His sister’s health was at stake, he wasn’t taking any chances. I meekly complied.

Asher stared at the picture on the front for a moment, and then stated confidently, “No, no oranges.”

I looked. There was a picture of a half mango, and a couple of green apples. He was right. No oranges.

As an object lesson in learning styles, it couldn’t have been clearer. I went for the small print, he looked for the picture.

And of course it made me think of the dear people of Canterbury. I’ve been brought up to hope everyone will come to Jesus through text. Through reading, that is: tracts, gospel introductions, essential Jesus, bible studies, reading one on one, apologetics books (Evidence that demands a verdict, etc). That’s the ideal. A text-based conversion. The stories of conversions in our church magazines seem to look like that. And I like it. My own conversion was fairly texty.

But I’ve got a feeling there aren’t too many folks in Canterbury that are going to come to Christ through study. Studying the Bible, comparing other religions, etc. There are a few we know who like to do that. But not many.

Most people around here seem to be more like Asher: they want to look at the picture. The words aren’t very real for them, they need something more concrete to make an impression. They don’t care that much what we tell them about what’s in the gospel, they want to see it with their own eyes. What’s in this thing?

If I’m right, then our outreach had better have a big clear picture on the front. I don’t mean like the JWs with their paradise drawings. And I don’t mean ikons either. I mean something more concrete, something that people can point to and say, look that’s what Jesus is about. That’s what’s in the gospel.

I mean us. I reckon the people of Canterbury need to be able to look at us and see the gospel. They need our light to shine among them so they can see our good works, and be drawn to worship our God. Does that sound like something you’ve heard before? If we’re going to tell them about kingdom of God is arriving, they’d better be able to see some signs of ‘love, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit’. True?

I’d love it if everyone would just go straight to the books. It would be so much easier. But around here, they’re just not like that. They have no experience in assessing these kind of texts, no confidence there. But they do know people. They’re used to sorting the genuine from the phonies. And they’re looking at us, at their local church: they want to see what kind of fruit there is. And until they see that, they’re not going to let us pour them a gospel drink. They want to make sure there really are no oranges in it.

From → General

  1. Stacey permalink

    Happy birthday for yesterday!!!

    • thanks!

  2. Sarah permalink

    You mean you are loving and listening and knowing and remembering the people of Canterbury. Refreshing! Praise to Our God!

  3. Charlie Ellis permalink

    Hey Jonno, great insight into growing God’s Kingdom. Praying that people won’t be allergic to the ‘Gospel love concentrate’ you’re dishing out in Cantebury, particularly as you inject it straight to the heart. God Bless you guys!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Charlie. We can do with it!

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