A few weeks ago, on a Sunday night I went to my wonderful church, Southcity Christian Centre in Christchurch.
The night began with singing, which I really love, and I felt really connected to God. During one of the worship songs I began to feel very grievous and quite burdened.
What I had on my heart was a deep sadness for all those people who don't know Christ.
Sadness doesn't really explain the extent of my feelings; I think it is more than just "sad" to not know Jesus.
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to be one of those dogmatic and forceful people, shouting in your face, "YOU NEED JESUS!!!"
I aim to not share my views out of force, but out of entire conviction, and love.
If you disagree with my position I say you are totally welcome to stop reading, or stop listening.
This is my truth, or God's truth, that I feel is my duty to share.
I don't want to approach the need for Christ as a personal thing. It is not that my personality/inclinations/thoughts make me a nice candidate for becoming a Christian.
I believe the need for Christ is an inherent, universal need.
Why do I hold to this?
1 John 4 speaks very clearly. "God is LOVE."
Now, what is the deepest, most common human need? Love.
LOVE. We seek it out through everything. We desire connection, to be heard, to be listened to by others, to be known, to be understood, TO BE LOVED.
This is why Christianity is not just a need for some people, it's for all people.
All people long to be loved.
I don't know anyone who doesn't.
Sadly, we seek it through sex, alcohol, money, travel...
I've sought it through those things.
And I found it eventually: through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Here is a little part of my story:
I grew up in a Christian home. My mother and father split up but I always knew I was loved by my family. I knew I was loved by God. I knew I was to love others, and love Jesus.
I KNEW this, but I never FELT this.
Then one night, singing at a youth camp, I cried out to God and asked to FEEL His love.
And I did!
He revealed to me that I was beautiful, I was cared for, I was deeply favoured and totally loved by my heavenly Father.
This allowed me to love others in response. No longer was their guilt about if my love was genuine, I had a confidence it was real and true.
God opened my eyes to the broken, the unloved, the unheard, and gave me a burden to LOVE them.
Now this is tough at times, but this is the call of Jesus.
The greatest commandment... To love the Lord your God, will all your heart, soul and mind, and to love your neighbour as yourself.
See Christianity is not a religion of judgement,
it's a religion of LOVE.
And if you've never felt love, please, find it in Jesus.
It's not hard. It is a gift He is waiting to give you.
Jesus' first sermon reveals His heart for all people, the reason He came to earth...
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."
Christ is here to do those things. We may not see them fully, but that is His mission.
And here these beautiful words, in John 3:16-17.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not come to judge the world, but to save the world, through himself."
God is love, and God communicates that love.
Please know this: You are deeply loved.
And to Christian's:
Love is our mission too!!!
We are to emulate Jesus, and do what He started on earth.
So let's do it.
Live out of love.
And when people notice you are doing this, say to them: I love you because Christ first loved me.
Give the glory back to Him.
Let's love our world, in the name of Christ.
With grace and peace,