Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Gospel Story with a Refugee Family: Sharing the Good News of Jesus with Each Other

Gautam and Silas slowly built a friendship; they ate together and talked about their lives, families and faith. + Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl

Previous Gospel Story post: A Gospel Story in a McDonald's

In Federick Buechner's Secrets in the Dark, he says, 

Jesus calls us to see that no matter how ordinary it may seem to us as we live it, life is extraordinary. 'The Kingdom of God is at hand' is the way He put it, and the way He tells us to put it to others. Life even at its most monotonous and backbreaking and heart-numbing has the Kingdom buried in it the way a field has treasure buried in it, Jesus said.

Below is an excerpt from Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl's Friendship at the Margins that provides an example of how the Good News of Jesus can infiltrate our conversations with others as we discover His Kingdom in each of our lives revealed like a hidden treasure:

Gautam Rai is a refugee from Bhutan. He and Silas met after Gautam opened a small momo (i.e. traditional Tibetan dumplings) kitchen. 
Gautam and Silas slowly built a friendship; they ate together and talked about their lives, families and faith. Gautam, an animated storyteller, would recount stories from his childhood, his move to the city and the early days of his marriage. 
Gautam was married to Rekha, a woman from a village in the southern plains of Nepal. At that point they had two young children. The family was struggling just to get by. 
Gautam was interested in matters of faith. He was a Hindu, but when he was a child, his mother had been exposed to the Christian faith before she died. One day Gautam asked Silas if he was a Christian. Responding affirmatively, Silas asked how he knew. Gautam responded, "I saw you praying before you ate your momos. My mother used to pray like that." He continued, "If you ever have any spare time, I would like to know more about Jesus." 
Dipa, the baby daughter of Gautam and Rekha, experienced occasional but violent seizures. ... Each episode was traumatic for the family. Silas asked Gautam if he could pray for them and for baby Dipa. Over the course of several months, Silas and the family became very close, eating many meals together. They continued sharing stories, and a deep and lasting trust was being established. 
One day, Dipa had another violent seizure, and Rekha rushed her to the Hindu temple, but the door to the shaman's room was locked tight. Deeply distressed, Rekha was certain the baby would die. Gautam wanted to give the Christian God he had been hearing about from Silas a chance to heal Dipa. ... Guatam laid the baby down and with Rekha's lipstick made a red symbol of the cross on Dipa's forehead as a substitute for the Hindu tika chalk mark. He placed a Bible he had received on Dipa's chest and stomach. He prayed a simple, humble prayer, and Dipa's seizure stopped. It was her last one, and Gautam became convinced that the Christian God was powerful. 
When he told Silas the story, it opened up a very intimate exploration of faith, and Gautam soon asked how he could serve Christ. His life changed drastically, though Rekha still wasn't convinced. Her heart softened but she was deeply committed to Hinduism. ... It took another two years before she made a decision to serve Christ and remove the Hindu idols from their household. 
Since then, Rekha and Gautam have become pillars of hope and faith in the community. They retired from the momo business and discovered a vocation in childcare. It started when they opened their home to children ... Moved by a profound sense of compassion, they took a few little girls into their home and cared for them as if they were family. It wasn't long before more and more children came. ... Today, Gautam and Rekha run a wonderful children's home that feels like a big family.

Praying for and Enjoying Spiritual Conversations with Friends in Your Life

When we realize all of who Jesus is and all that He's done for us, much like other exciting events and people we experience in life, we want to share about Him with our friends, but don't know where to begin.

| 1 | Prayer: Taking one minute to pray and ask God who are two friends that He wants you to be open to talking to and how you might continue to pray for them and grow your friendship.

Consideration: Ask Jesus to help you pray each day for these two friends.

For an example of how to step into the spiritual conversations God gives you with friends, Intervarsity provides helpful considerations and questions as you walk with others and consider where God may be leading them next:

| 2 | Curiosity: When a friend has some questions about faith, but it's not personal for them.

Consideration: Ask introductory questions about views of God and spirituality. No defenses or debates, just thoughtful inquiry.

| 3 | Open: When a friend becomes aware of their emotional and spiritual needs and wonders if there is a God who can meet their spiritual needs.

Consideration: Ask how they might want to grow spiritually and how God might help their growth. Offer to pray with them for this growth.

| 4 | Seeking: When a friend is open to exploring Jesus but are not sure how to seek Jesus for answers.

Consideration: Help them focus in their journey and ask something like: "If you could ask Jesus one honest question that would help you trust Him, what would you ask?"

| 5 | Follower: When a friend has been looking into Jesus, who He is, what He promised, etc., and is considering becoming a follower of Him.

Consideration: Ask: "Can I share with you how someone becomes a follower of Jesus?" Share the Good News that God, through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, is restoring everything sin ruined, and invite your friend to put their trust in Jesus to begin following Him.

If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, and beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don't know its name or realize that it's what we're starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it. + Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark

Next post: A Gospel Story among a City Group: Sharing the Good News of Jesus with Each Other

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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