Reflections: Being and Bringing Christ to others

So, first of all, to my few followers, hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, solely because things have been so busy lately, and I haven’t necessarily had much to say, and with regards to movie reviews, well, just haven’t been able to find the time. On to my random reflection for today.

A week ago, I was sent out to Hamilton to visit SFC, and help out with their COWR (Covenant Orientation Weekend Retreat for those not in the CFC Family Ministries). As I was introducing myself, I began to share that I had been in SFC since 2007, meaning that this was now 10 years in SFC, and 14 years in the CFC Community as a whole. This was a bit of an eye opener for me, because just towards the end of last year, I was experiencing the burn out that most leaders have experienced at least once in their lives. In fact, I was experiencing it so badly that towards the end of last year, I was beginning to question whether I should even still be in this community. Why? Because after 10 years, I was beginning to question if the time I had put in was worth it, or whether I had achieved anything. What made it harder was the fact that all around me, friends were moving on with their lives, and I was still here in SFC, doing the same old thing. As friends transitioned into CFC or elsewhere, I was still “Kuya Carl”, the reliable one everyone could ask for help and would always come through. Because of all of this, I was very firm on quitting. Stepping aside and just moving on. I felt like nothing I had done had made any difference. Yes, I was serving God and doing the work that was asked of me, but I wasn’t sure any more if I still wanted to do it.

Then last week’s Hamilton trip happened. At that moment, that was where for the first time, I remembered what it felt like when God speaks directly to your heart. If we rewind a bit, two years ago, myself and a group of other SFC from Auckland drove down to Hamilton and started their CLP there, and all of them are still active now. In fact, the participants that we handled, are now all of SFC Hamilton’s leaders. Watching them all in action, God was telling me at that moment,
“Carl, this is why you kept saying yes all those years. This is the reason I asked you to serve. It was never for you Carl. It was so you could bring them back to me. But if you ever doubted that what you have done all these years has been worth it, look at them. By saying yes, you allowed me to reach them, and now they are doing the same for others. It’s not your work, its mine”.
So to SFC Hamilton, my heart felt thanks for being a reminder of the work of God and the reason we all serve.

I was reminded then of all the times people would tell me that on earth, we are called to be the hands, feet, ears, eyes and mouth of Christ to others, because we are all a part of the body of Christ,

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27

Each of us has a part to play in being and bringing Christ to others. It is because of this we are SFC, so that we can live out the vision and mission we all hold to,

Every single man and woman all over the world experiencing Christ

Not “experienced” being a one time thing in the past, but “experiencing” being an everyday encounter with Christ himself. I was often told that Christianity is not just a one time choice, but an everyday battle. It is a battle to choose Christ everyday, and choose to live for Him and as mentioned before, to be and bring Him to others all over the world.

Given my little reawakening thanks to SFC Hamilton, I remembered why it was that I did what I did. Because of the joy we experience seeing others experiencing and bringing Jesus to others. I began to reflect further as to why I had drifted so far away, and realized I had become a bit lazy with that daily choice. I allowed my love of God and others to become like a job that I got tired. I was giving and giving and giving, but never really taking time to have my own prayer time. Jesus says to us:

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22:39

Love your neighbor as yourself, not more than yourself. While we can be busy bringing Christ to others and working away, we also have to allow ourselves to experience Christ in our own day to day. This then reminded me of WYD08, and then theme we had for that year, Acts 1:8,

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

Reflecting on this further in light of all of the last few weeks, I began asking myself how does this apply to me? What is my Jerusalem? My Judea? And beyond? It was that reminder then, that in the context of today, were Jesus saying this to me today, he would probably have said something like “you shall be My witness both in Albany, and in all of Auckland and Hamilton, and even to the remotest part of the earth”. The challenge each of us has is to be witnesses and missionaries where we are first, and work outwards. Moving along that train of thought, being witnesses and disciples starts from within. Because from within is the closest thing to us. The challenge as leaders, as Christians, not just limited to SFC, or whatever Church or community you belong to, but as Christians, is to be witness from within and work outwards. Only then, can we truly be and bring Christ to others.

In summary, what did I realize? That God calls each of us to be and bring Christ to others, and while we may not necessarily always see the results, our efforts are never wasted. Even if we feel like quitting, God will somehow remind us why we do what we do. And if we want to continue being and bringing Christ to others, then the best place to start is with ourselves. We start in our own Jerusalem and Judea, and then work outwards. For each of us, the challenge is, to start with the Jerusalem inside. Be a witness to our own lives and allow God to transform us. Then we can do what is asked of us, and answer that call to be Christ’s witnesses. My dear brothers in sisters in Christ, God has chosen you to be His disciple. Are you ready to answer the call? Let us continue to pray for one another, that we can live the life we have chosen, a life for Christ. A life to know Christ and make Christ known.

I sign off with this song that wraps up everything I’ve realized over the last few weeks. God bless you all!!