Monday, May 29, 2006

The People

The past few days at New Attitude have been a whirlwind of interviews, messages and walking miles for a meal. Yesterday I met Ezra. We stood in line together for 45 minutes at Subway. You really get to know someone when you stand in line with them for 45 minutes. Ezra is a college sophomore (for my Clubhouse Jr. staff: he carried the Clubhouse Bible. Yes, I feel old.) Ezra lives in New Jersey and has big plans to pursue International business. He has a heart for other cultures and a love for New York style pizza. Ezra put his sales enthusiasm to use and helped me pass out free music download coupons from Boundless. Also in line was Connie, a teacher. She was the first woman I met near my age. Connie introduced me to Ricky, who works at Covenant Life church and wrote the copy for the New Attitude literature and Web site. Ricky is a journalism student. A conference like this gives everyone common ground. It's exciting because as we share the things we have in common, our passion grows.

The people I have interviewed so far have passion. Eric Simmons has a passion for singles and evangelism. Carolyn McCulley has a passion for hospitality and community (and good perfume). Justin Taylor has a passion for blogging and truth. Bob Kauflin has a passion for worship — not just music but living a life of worship. Mark Dever has a passion for the church. I have gleaned enough insight and wisdom to keep me pondering for months. Each person has offered something new and yet there is a common thread that runs through every conversation — the gospel. I am seeing now more than ever how the gospel is that connecting feature. The fact that each believer has experienced Christ as their substitutionary sacrifice is enough to bond us together in gratefulness and love. Dividing differences among Christians do not arise from the spirit of the gospel. They arise from arrogance. Humility is the key to presenting truth effectively. A passage I have been meditating on recently speaks to this:

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!—Philippians 2:1-8

That kind of says it all. Humility is a priority for each person I've interviewed, and that humility is evidenced in their lives and ministries. Jesus Himself was not arrogant (though he had cause to be!). Who are we then to not also humble ourselves in light of the unfathomable grace we have received?


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