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Invite and Answer

10 months ago written by
openermarch2017

I’m no wedding crasher. When I learned from family members that they were planning to attend a wedding of another relative, I said I couldn’t attend because I had not received an invitation.

I might not have been able to attend anyway. I lived in the Upper Midwest at the time, and the wedding was in the Southwest where the relative lived — a costly trip for a print journalist on a fixed income. Still, I thought, “It would have been nice to have been invited.”

The wedding day arrived, and I opened my front door and saw something tucked under my doormat. I reached down and, to my surprise, discovered the wedding invitation in an envelope with a postmark from weeks earlier. My neighbors and I frequently received each other’s mail in our mailboxes, and a neighbor must have received the invitation and waited a few weeks to deliver it. It was too late to fly across the country and attend the wedding, but I at least knew I had been invited.

While writing this article, a familiar verse popped into my head: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). I also thought of Warner Sallman’s painting “Christ at Heart’s Door” that shows Jesus Christ knocking at a door with no doorknob. The reason is that each person must invite Christ into his or her heart for Him to enter. Christ’s invitation won’t get lost in the mail, and He’ll be sure to come if you invite Him.

However, it should be noted that Revelation 3:20 doesn’t just apply to individuals. The verse is in a section written “to the angel of the church in Laodicea.” Churches also must invite Jesus Christ to enter and work.

This issue’s theme, “Inviting God to Work,” was inspired by two sentences in the Free Methodist Church – USA “Multiplication Plan,” which can be downloaded at fmchr.ch/fmmplan.

The first sentence is about church recalibration, the focus of last month’s issue: “Begin with willing churches and leaders who are eager to invite God’s changing and invigorating work in spite of the challenges.” The second is about church reproduction (planting), which is the focus of this month’s Feature section: “We must help pastors and churches understand how church planting will enhance their ministry, expand their vision and invite the Holy Spirit to create a healthy dependency for them.”

God doesn’t always work in the ways we expect or want. Consider the Action section story about a church plant connecting more with its community because of a fire at the pastor’s home. Still, the church should invite God to work, and we must avoid the complacency that prompted this message to the church members in Laodicea: “So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

Jeff Finley has served as the managing editor of Light + Life since 2011. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for Sun-Times Media. He serves as a volunteer youth leader at John Wesley Free Methodist Church.

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[Openers] · Culture · L + L March 2017 · Magazine