As I think about the future of LifeSpring and the hope we have of increasing God's kingdom, I wonder how we will get others to visit LifeSpring and try it on for size. Then I remembered the story of Jesus' disciple named Nathanael and how he first encountered Jesus.
It's found in John 1:43-53.
In this story, Jesus, on his way to Galilee, meets Philip (who is from Bethsaida, like the brothers Andrew and Peter, who Jesus had already called to follow him) and says to him, "Follow Me". Now there is no recorded verbal response from Philip to Jesus. Not a "yes", or a "no", not even a "well, let me get back to you on that". There is only a description of what Philip did next. Now, this doesn't mean that Philip didn't respond verbally to Jesus, it only means that the scriptures record his reaction (or action) to Jesus rather than his verbal response.
The Bible tells us that the next thing Philip does is to leave Jesus and he goes to look for and find Nathanael, (whom we suppose is a friend of Philips). After Philip finds Nathanael, he tells him that they have "found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote... Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph." Here it sounds to me like Philip and Nathanael (and probably some others) had already been talking about "the one" that both Moses and the prophets had written about, in some earlier conversation. You know, like talking at work while they're fishing, or during their break time, or while they were at the grocery store, or talking about "the one" some place or another.
The point is that Philip knew that Nathanael was ALSO SEARCHING... and when he found what they both were looking for (or at least talking about in earlier conversations) he didn't jump UP AND GO with Jesus when he was asked to "Follow Me". Rather, Philip cared enough to GO AND FIND NATHANAEL, WHERE HE WAS, AND TELL HIM WHAT HE HAD FOUND!
Nathanael seems like he was a little skeptical when he hears what Philip tells him, to say the least. Upon hearing this great news about "the one" they had talked about and were searching for was found, he POPS OFF with a smart aleck reply..."Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?"
Now, if I were Philip, I might have up and turned away thinking to myself, "so that's the gratitude you show me, after I come all this way up here to tell you about something this important... humph, I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I would have stayed where I was with Jesus and not have made the walk up here to find you in the first place. Heck, Jesus and I might have already have made it to Galilee by now, dude".
But that is not how Philip handled the situation. Nope, Philip responds to Nathanael with three small but powerful words... "COME AND SEE".
Notice he didn't say, "Well, go and see for yourself." This is important for the simple reason that the word "COME" infers that Philip will go with him to meet Jesus. Nathanael will have the opportunity to see Jesus, but he won't have to go alone. Philip is letting him know that ... "Hey friend of mine. You might have a skeptical view of this thing I have told you about, but you know what? I'll go with you. You don't have to go alone. THEN when WE get there together, you can see for yourself".
I am convinced that the only way LifeSpring will reach more people in this community is when the Philips of this world (or in our case, the people who have already experienced Jesus at LifeSpring) begin to say those three words to their friends "COME AND SEE", and then take Action!
I mean, the people of the church need to get up off their bottoms, stop waiting on God to do their work for them, and start doing it themselves; by going and inviting, or picking up and bringing, or by meeting them in the parking lot and walking with their friends (WHO ARE SEARCHING FOR THE ONE THING THAT CAN SET THEM FREE) through the doors of the church so they don't feel all alone.
Let me close my thoughts on this note....
The other day I had lost my voice completely, barely able to whisper. I went to see our high school girls play in the state basketball playoffs. My throat was killing me and I just wanted some chewing gum to help keep my throat moist (which made it hurt less). I went to the concession stand at one end of the college gym to get some gum. I whispered to the girl that I couldn't talk well, because of my dry throat, and needed some gum. She said that they didn't have any for sell, but that she had some of her own gum in her purse.
She said, "why don't you come with me and I'll get it for you"... So, I thanked her and followed her from one end of the gym all the way to the other end (a good 3-5 min. walk from where her work station was) and into a back room where she disappeared and came back with not one stick of gum, but TWO. She said, "here's one piece of gum for now and you might need this other piece for later before you get home". I whispered, "thank-your so much" and though to myself.
THIS IS WHAT THE CHURCH SHOULD LOOK LIKE IN ACTION... 1) leading friends or strangers to what they need; 2) going with them the whole way; 3) putting aside the inconveniences that it cost them personally; and 4) then giving people MORE THAN THEY EXPECTED...
That's the way the followers of Jesus Christ would have done it, and that's the way LifeSpring is going to do it!
LET'S DO LIFE TOGETHER !