Paolo Esposito - Associate pastor for media and outreach

Paolo Esposito – Associate pastor for media and outreach

It has not been all that long since I had the privilege of joining our Sligo church family. It was EXACTLY two years ago, on November 14, 2011, that I was interviewed by our church board. As Cindy and I were waiting in the sanctuary, and we did wait for quite a while, one of the two banners that hang from the ceiling above our screens caught my attention:

“We seek to grow passionate disciples of Jesus through worship of God, nurture of one another, and outreach to the world.”

This is our mission statement and I was greatly encouraged by it. I believe in it and I pray that as a church we will accomplish this mission. Every aspect of this mission statement is of vital importance to the ministry of our church. As a church we seek to grow passionate disciples of Jesus, and it all starts with following Jesus. In Mark 1:16, 17 we read:

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

When Jesus called Simon and Andrew He was very clear about what He wanted them to do: He invited them to follow Him and in turn He would send them our and make them fishers of men. As a matter of fact, time after time we see this pattern repeated in Jesus’ ministry. He would call, “come to me” and then, “go for me”. This pattern is repeated with the disciples, the demon possessed man (Mark 5), the Samaritan woman (John 4), and on resurrection morning (Mathew 28), just to name a few instances.

The act of sharing is extremely intuitive. When something great happens to us we want to share it with others. This is largely what social media is all about. We love to share. And most of what we share is experiences or things that we find interesting. We share things that make us happy; we share videos that make us laugh; we sometimes even share things that are really not worth sharing at all! We can easily become engaged on various topics – from sports to politics, economy to entertainment, but when it comes to sharing our faith things come to a screeching halt. As I was driving home last Saturday evening, I was able to catch the tail end of a sermon by Randy Roberts. In his conclusion, he read a quote that says:

A kind of arithmetic has been spawned in the counting rooms of hell. This arithmetic is always interested in reaching the masses but somehow never gets down to a man or a woman. This kind of arithmetic always talks about winning the world for God but doesn’t think much about winning a neighbor to God, It makes it valiant to cross the oceans but never crosses the street.

If we want to reach the world for Jesus we must start with the here and now. The biggest mission field we will ever find is right where we are, where we live, where we work, where we go to school. What Jesus told the disciples He is telling us today: Come, Follow Me and Go for Me. Here are four easy steps we can take to make that a reality:

  1. Make your own decision to follow Him, know Him, let Him transform you.
  2. Choose one person to pray for. A family member, co-worker, neighbor, a friend or school mate. Pray everyday for them. Pray for them to be sensitive to work of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Pray for God to create an opportunity for you to share with them what He has done for you and in you.
  4. When the opportunity comes, seize the moment and let God work through you.

This is how we can really change the world, one person at a time. May we all hear and heed His invitation: “Follow Me and Go for Me”.

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