Let me start by saying, I love the lost and I am dedicated to seeing the lost saved and giving their lives to God. But not in the American sense of "accept Jesus." (I'll blog on that topic later)
Also, I genuinely want to see people who are without God come to know Him initmately. I genuinely want to see people who are already growing in their relationship with God become dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ. Not just church goers, but dedicated disciples displaying authentic faith. Seeing people go from casual Christians to being dedicated disciples. I'm always amazed when I hear stories from people who live or reach out to foreign countries and live trying to just make it to the next day because of their Christian faith. I have a kid in my youth ministry who is originally from Pakistan. He lives here in Rhode Island to go to school and lives with friends of his parents. His dad is a bishop in Pakistan and he lives with his mom and dad for the summer in Pakistan. When he's here, he lives freely and enjoys the freedoms of beign a Christian in America. This summer in his return to Pakistan, he was on the run the entire summer. Not because his parents are criminals, but because he and his family serve Christ. LITERALLY praying in the name of Jesus Christ on his own front porch could cost him his life. Meanwhile we have spend advertising dollars to "beg" and "bribe" people to come to a "see you at the pole" rally.
When I talk to a missionary friend of mine who travels to southern Asia (India and places around there), I'm always inspired and challenged. He has established a Bible college in India - mind you, its illegal to convert to Christianity from Hinduism in Inda - and his stories are amazing. I remember when he told me about the time some of the students in his school (all of whom are Hindu converts) went into the shopping square and began to preach Jesus and His gospel message. Well, these men were met with the joyfl appearance of the local police officers who politely began to BEAT the men - WITH BICYCLE CHAINS! After their public thrashing and ensuing imprisionment, the men returned REJOICING! They rejoiced because they suffered for the sake of the gospel! WOW!! Meanwhile, we have to convince people to talk to people about Jesus and to get rid of their fear of being "rejected." Rejection in the sense of not being invited to watch "Monday Night Football" at a friends house because you might be labeled "the religious guy." C'mon!
I'm not really interested in American Christianity. A friend of mine, Marco (shout out to Marco and Lindsey...not Leslie but Lindsey...ha!) he called in ME-anity. Its all about me in American Christianity. Its about me, me, me. What about When Jesus said "take up your cross and follow me." Or what about when Jesus said "they will hate you because they hated me." Or what about when Jesus "he who tries to keep his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it." Why are we trying to be so much about us when Jesus already told us that's a pointless cause! In America we talk that easy talk of "I'd die for Christ!" when there is no threat. But do we really love God enough to DIE for him? I actually get the opportunity to see people who LITERALLY put their lives on the line everytime they travel. its a challenge. Its counter-cultural. Its honestly un-American. But if I have to be unAmerican to be like Christ and to be a dedicated disciple - then so be it. Being Christian doesn't make me American (or Republican for that matter) and being an American doesn't make me a Christian. Being a Christian, makes a Christian...to the death!