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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Chains of Freedom – guest post by John Colburn

“Freedom ain’t free.”

“Ain’t” that an American phrase? I know, I know… ‘Merica! I’m convinced, though, that this far truer than your run-of-the-mill patriot realizes. I’m not referring to the lives lost to protect it (though those bear their own weight – broken wives, fatherless sons), but rather to the fact that the biggest secret of “Freedom” is that you have to chain yourself to it.

We want to be free. It’s undeniable that one of the most heart stirring phrases in our cultural vernacular is freedom. Does it mean what we think it does? Growing up my understanding of freedom was that I could make any choice I desired, starting simply and increasing in complexity as I grew older. Anecdote time: I remember vividly a fall festival in my church gym. I was the most uncomfortable scarecrow since the my more famous counterpart had been informed that he didn’t have a brain. My flannel shirt was stuffed full of hay, my face was covered in so much makeup it felt like a mask, and I had yet to figure out how to pee when wearing overalls. However, all that was forgotten when I won the cake walk. Suddenly I was rushed over to a table covered in delectable homemade treats: cookies, brownies, cupcakes, regular cakes, pies, and one wonderful double chocolate fudge cake. I had never had so many choices before and spent some time making up my mind, but I knew nothing could possibly be as glorious, as delicious, as “mine!” as that cake. So I told the lady, “I want number 15!” while dancing my little “I have to pee” jig. I’ll never forget what came next. She told me, “Oh honey, someone’s already claimed that one. You’ll have to pick something else.” My world collapsed. I think I got some pumpkin sugar cookies, I don’t remember, but I never forgave Ms. Angela. That’s for sure.

All that to say, being able to choose from seemingly infinite different life plans, decisions, pleasures, goals, ambitions, relationships, or desserts doesn’t make you free. Freedom is being able to choose the one thing that is worth the choice, even if you didn’t know that thing was it. Satan (not pitchfork and pointy-tail, but deceiver and fallen angel) has always distracted humanity with hiding the one pearl of greatest price in a gumball machine.

In order to truly be free you need three things:

1. The ability to recognize the best choice.
2. The ability to actually choose the best choice.
3. And finally, the ability to enjoy that choice to its fullest potential.

Don’t let this get lost in this logic: God is the best choice. American freedom has granted us part two easily. “You can believe what you want and have what you want!”, but has obscured part 1 and drowned part 3. It has made us focus on the quantity of things we can choose rather than the quality of things we choose. It shouts at us that the infinite yes’s of the world far outweigh the one Yes of God. Himself in his Son. On fall retreat, Joel Brooks spoke about our inheritance being God plus nothing, when will we begin trust that it is worth far more than infinite somethings. The amount of yes’s is insignificant only the value of the one Yes matters.

I believe only the indwelling Spirit of God can grant us true freedom, encapsulating parts 1, 2, and 3. Feel free to follow along on this blog as Christ continues to break my shackles where I have chained myself to a false freedom, and rejoice with me in him, not just now but forever.

John Colburn is an extraordinary articulate co-minister in reconciliation and a good friend of mine. Currently resting from school, he is speaking words of life into his Freshmen Life Group at Calvary Tuscaloosa. For more from the mind of John, see his blog here.