Gavin Calver is the Director of Mission at the Evangelical Alliance and has a burning passion to see the Gospel reach every person in the UK. This week at New Horizon, he is speaking at the Evening Celebrations on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Here the NH Media Team brings you a summary of what he had to say on Tuesday 9 August.
Tonight, I want to talk about what kind of heart we should have when we seek to reach people. Reading from Luke 19:41 – 48
The first thing we learn from Jesus when it comes to outreach is compassion. Jesus looked down on the city of Jerusalem and He weeps because H knows what is going to happen. He knows that the city will be destroyed because it has gone its own way. In that moment, His first response is to shed tears of compassion for those who had gone astray. We need to be more compassionate towards those who don’t know Jesus.
We are called sheep in the Bible. That is not a compliment. I find it hard being a sheep with a shepherd. I can’t imagine what it would be like without it. Think about what it would be like to NOT have Jesus? Our starting point needs to be compassion. We need to ask God to see people how He sees them. How does God see your neighbour? Compassion is like a spear in our stomach… that deep sense of pain. Those of us who know Jesus have the absolute privilege of living.
We have got to stop deciding which human beings matter. Every person Jesus died for. We have to start seeking compassion for those we might not like. This needs to happen with those who are different. For years in youth work, we saw kids thrown out for a tattoo or the wrong piece of clothing.
We also need righteousness. In this passage, why is there such violence. You had to pay a temple tax and to sacrifice a perfect animal to atone for your sins. Most people think Jesus was cross because people were selling in the temple. The temple people were cheating people and taking advantage of the poor. This time instead of weeping, Jesus gets angry. Our outreach has got to involve a heart for the poor and for people who are being taken advantage of.
Some things should make us angry. What is happening in your world that needs to change. We stand on the shoulders of giants as a church. William Wilberforce gave his everything for the abolition of the slave trade because it is not okay for people to be sold. What makes you angry? There are 47,000 in the UK and there are 45,000 children in care who do not have foster homes, etc. It makes me angry that woman are still trafficked into the slave trade.
It is not ok that we can slander teenagers. It is not okay that there are people in your community that no one loves. Righteousness says I will be salt and light.
When you are outside you can see the problems. We need to say to God, “Give me your eyes to see the world and the eyes of my culture which say it is okay. Give me your eyes King Jesus so I can be compassionate and can pursue righteousness.”
The third thing we need is courage! Evangelism is the rejection ministry but we have got to have the courage to stand up and speak up. At this point in the text, the authorities could not arrest Jesus because the people hung on His every word but every time Jesus opened His mouth He was risking His life. We have too much of an earthly perspective. If we lived in the light of eternity, we would be more courageous. I want to be more living for God than I am for the approval of the people around me.
Jesus took 12 young men and changed the world. Northern Ireland could be transformed by 10 people in this tent. What could He do with all of you? God loves you and God accepts you and God promises He is with you then we have to start taking some risks.
When we are courageous, things happen. In the hands of God, something small can do amazing things. God is with us. For too long the church has been on the back foot. We need to be courageous, compassionate, righteous individuals who believe God has the power to change the world.
If we don’t get active, if we don’t get out there, if we don’t get our hands and feet dirty for Jesus, we will not change a nation. For too long the church has that expecting people to come in. We need to get out there into the world. God wants you to be like Jesus.
We need courage from God so we can stand up, speak up and show up. What matters is not who you are but whose you are. We belong to the God who died on the cross for us and that God did not stay in the grave. It is not going to happen by osmosis, we need to be the people who make a difference.