The Gift of Sincerity by Matt Estes

Because of the nature of this blog, I feel I can be a bit more serious and possibly a bit deeper than usual here. This place seems to be made up of non-controversial and mature people, so I don’t really feel a need to dumb anything down or make Justin Beiber jokes. Being an avid reader of Expecting Kairos, there is one thing I can say above all else. It is mission oriented.

Now I don’t claim to be a foreign missionary. I oh so admire those who can devote their entire lives to reaching the darkest corners of the world for God’s glory. They are made of the highest grade of awesome. What I do claim is to have some experience in being a missionary here, in America. This, much like adapting to a foreign culture, takes work.

I worry that many times, much of that work comes in the form of circumventing this Christian religious culture we hold so very dearly. Nonetheless, learning how to glorify God and point others to Jesus is work.

We spend years and years and years studying the Bible, many of us not very well, only to go out and make a fool ourselves spouting off incomprehensible Christianese. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable. You want the key to getting out there and reaching people in school and work and even in random places like on Facebook or at the mall? It’s really simple. Be yourself. Be that wonderful example of a human being that God himself made.

Study the Bible, yes. Pray like there’s no tomorrow. Be in church; that’s fine. But let those elements of a strong Christian manifest themselves in who you are. Don’t try to be somebody you are not by being all consumed in the religious procedures that Satan has done a terrific job developing for the past 2000 years.

As with anything in life, trying too hard almost inevitably results in failure. Don’t make that same mistake when it comes to your witness.

I regret saying this, but I feel I can find Christians in exactly two places in the world. One place is backslidden and confused; the ones who make no contributions to the Kingdom of God and I can usually locate by looking for broken homes and lives without joy. The other location is out in the mission field. These I can find overseas dying for their faith, or behind a pulpit desperately trying to snatch people out of Hell.

Why can’t I find any Christians in the middle ground? Where can I find the student going into computers that really wants to be a witness by his words and work ethic? Why don’t I see shining examples of Christians when I walk into Starbucks? Why does true, passionate witnessing requires such an extreme division?

I don’t have to look very far to see people who are hurting; people who have an unquenchable thirst for something or someone genuine in their life. I expect you, as a Christian, weather in your backyard or halfway around the world, to be some indication of that genuineness.

It does not require a special training course in Christian jargon. It DOES require you to be confident in yourself and the type of person God has carefully crafted since the day you were born. It requires the ability to not hide behind a mask of religious language. It requires the gift of sincerity.

You do that, and no matter where you are, you can be made of the highest grade of awesomeness as well.

We can do this…

 

Matt Estes is an old and good friend of mine from the little town of Eclectic. I’ve known him for nearly a decade and has to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know. His knowledge of the Gospel out does his knowledge for computers (and that’s saying A LOT). He runs a blog here and rumor has it that you’ll see me post over there in the near future. 

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Time-lapse fasting.

(note: Last week we were given the challenge to participate in a corporate fast. This fast would last 24 hours and we were asked to give up food and social media. I did this last year and it was amazing. It made us rely more on God’s strength and peace. It also brought the church together and we all experienced community a whole different way: breaking bread after a fast.)

To keep away from social media for the 24hrs I’ve decided to just write. This is just to give you a glimpse of what an average college student does during this 24hr social media and food fast.

8:55pm

I officially stopped all social media surfing and eating. Here comes the water chugging (not).

9:05pm

Not long since last entry. I drank a huge cup of water. Craig is here and is working on slides. Community makes fasting easier. I think 12am will be my next major update. Unless I find something interesting before then.

12:00am

It has only been 3 hours so it hasn’t been too tough. Thankfully I will be able to sleep for 8 more hours. My mission for tomorrow is to stay away from the Ferguson center. Mainly just food in general. I’m off to bed now. I know I will be waking up pretty hungry tomorrow morning. I’ll be fine. I hope.

9:35am

I don’t feel that bad. Normally I don’t eat breakfast anyways so I know this feeling. When 11:00 comes around though… It’ll be rough. Digging into the Word now! I have class at 11 and then probably the Episcopal Church’s Ash Wednesday service.

12:35pm

The professor that Craig and I have made us late for the Ash Wednesday service so we didn’t go in but instead headed back to Calvary’s chapel. About to commence my 1 hour alone time with God. While I miss social media, He misses me. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.

3:00pm

Six hours left. I’ve been praying for strength. The talk of food makes my stomach growl. However, I just spent 1 hour with my heavenly Father and then 2 hours with my mentors and great friends. Tonight should be amazing. I hope I don’t get a headache.

5:00pm-

Right now I’m watching tv. Trying to pass some time. I have a headache but I’ll pull through. I’ve been praying for the students who are fasting with me and the college ministry staff. May God provide them with strength. Chris and the rest of the staff will each be doing something tonight at The Well. It’ll be different for those that haven’t been exposed to this type of service. It’s shower time!

7:00pm-

I’m about to head to The Well. I’m not that hungry anymore.

9:05pm-

The 24hr fast is officially over. I’ve let every social networking site know. I’m not hungry at all. The night of prayer gave me a peace I’ve never felt before. I hope this continues into tomorrow and the next day and the next.

10:00pm

I picked up Hungry Howie’s pizza with some really great friends and sat down to break the fast with them. It’s been a wonderful 24 hours.

This concludes the journal entries for this day of fasting. Things I’ve learned: praying constantly produced a state of pure Joy I’ve never experienced, I want less food and more God, the Church is beautiful, and I’m blessed with an awesome college ministry team. I’m so thankful.