A Harvest Surprise

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There is a discourse of Jesus that takes a rather surprising twist.

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them,

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

Luke 10 :1-2 NIVUK

The last three sentences of this are very unexpected.

From Jesus’ statement about the abundance of the harvest and the lack of workers, the last line would very naturally follow on, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

But, surprisingly, these two lines are separated by a rather incongruous and unexpected exhortation to prayer. Indeed, if this line about prayer was missing and we had to complete Jesus’ words, I doubt that any of us would complete it in the way that Jesus does.

Perhaps the most logical follow-on would be something along the lines of; “The harvest is plentiful and the workers and few, so everybody get out there and get harvesting!”

So why this interjection about prayer, what is Jesus telling us by including this unexpected phrase?

1 Whose harvest it is.
The harvest belongs only to God. Human beings should not presume to try and take the initiative and control how the harvest is gathered, nor who gathers it. This is God’s harvest; we need to follow His leading and guiding.

2 Those gathered, are gathered by grace.
Harvesting souls into the Kingdom of God is a divine act and one that is dependent upon miracles of grace every step of the way. Those who turn to Christ need a miracle of grace in their hearts and minds; grace to enable them to perceive the spiritual truth about themselves and about Jesus and grace to enable them to receive that revelation and to respond in saving faith.

3 Those who gather, gather by grace.
Not only are those who are to be brought into the harvest totally dependent upon grace, so are those who gather the harvest.
Every messenger of the gospel, every gatherer of the harvest, is likewise a miracle of grace. No one involves themselves in the work of God, other than God moves in them by His Spirit. No messengers send themselves out, rather they are sent out through a divine stirring, calling, commissioning and sending out by God.

4 The gathering is dependent upon grace.
The gathering of the harvest is also totally dependent upon grace. Those who are sent out need to be indwelt by the Spirit of God, who will then call and motivate and drive them to mission, who will enable them to proclaim the good news about Jesus, and who will anoint their proclamation with evangelistic power for the transformation of lives.

Mission is therefore completely different to every other human endeavour. In most human activity effort, technique, skill, hard work, and good methodology will more or less guarantee you positive results – not so with mission.

In mission nothing we can do has any efficacy in and of itself. A positive outcome in mission activity is entirely dependent upon God, in His grace, sending forth His Spirit; something we can neither predict nor control.

In this passage Jesus is therefore telling us something very profound and surprising about the nature of mission. Jesus reveals that mission is a mystical, mysterious activity. An activity in which God invites us to participate – and we do so in a meaningful way – and yet there is a degree to which we participate in a rather clueless, befuddled and uncomprehending fashion.

This reminds me of an experience I had at school.

At school I really struggled with maths and I remember learning about quadratic equations. I didn’t understand the concept. However I did manage to work out that if I had a string of numbers and letters in a certain format, and I carried out certain manipulations on them, then that would enable me to get a string of numbers and letters in a different format, which would be the correct answer. But I had absolutely no idea of what I was actually doing, or what it meant!

It was only when I got to university and studied maths as part of an engineering degree that I finally understood what those strings of letters and numbers meant and what the manipulations were doing and what the answer signified.

Our involvement in mission is rather like my schoolboy maths. Most of the time we have little comprehension about what we are involved in, what might be happening, or how God is working through us.

There is deep mystery built into the heart of mission and we are required to embrace it. The Lord of the harvest works as He wills and our involvement is merely to pray for the workers to be sent out, and to hold ourselves available and obedient to His call when it comes to us.

We just obey – God does the clever stuff.

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Not Results but Effort

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There is one crucial mistake that Christians often make. I was reminded recently that this has been the way of things since the very first days of the Christian movement.

This particular mistake is mentioned by St Paul, somewhat tangentially to his main point, when he chides the immature Christians in Corinth for their divisions.

Apparently there have sprung up ‘fan clubs’ for the different apostles in the church. Each group sets up its apostle as the ‘main man’ and denigrates the others.

St Paul scolds them for their immaturity; of which their division is the proof;

“For ye are yet carnal:

for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions,

are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3, KJV)

They are spiritual babies, not yet capable of living according to the spiritual nature; that nature which bears as its fruit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

But, and here we come to my point, the mechanism that has given rise to their division is in the basis of their estimation of the relative worthiness of the apostles.

It seems that they have been arguing about which apostle is the best, and have based their arguments on the results of their ministries.

At first glance this might seem reasonable enough, shouldn’t people be objectively evaluated on results? Isn’t that what best practice is always about? Recognizing and rewarding excellence and thus encouraging others to strive for it too.

Whilst this may seem reasonable in the domain of human endeavour, Saint Paul moves quickly to show it is completely inadmissible in the spiritual sphere.

Taking an example from the world of farming, he shows the stupidity of such evaluations.

“I planted the seed,

Apollos watered it,

but God has been making it grow.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,

but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, NIV)

To whom is the harvest due – The sower who sows the seed? The one who waters and cares for the growing plants? The one who comes along at the optimal time to wield the sickle and gather the harvest in?

St Paul’s reply is that the harvest is due to none of them! Rather it is the God who has been active in each of their ministries who owns the glory of the harvest.

The workers do deserve some credit, but it is their efforts that determine their merit, not their results.

“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose,

and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour.” (1 Corinthians 3:8, NIV)

Which is actually an example of God’s perfect justice.

Anyone who has grown crops knows that there is an inherent unpredictability in the process.

The first time I grew potatoes, I planted 75 plants and harvested enough potatoes to keep me and my family all the way through winter and well into spring. The next year I planted 100 plants yet harvested half the amount! The weather was different, pests more voracious, which made for a poorer harvest.

In the spiritual realm, St Paul reminds us that there is also an inherent unpredictability in the process.

It is God who makes spiritual life to appear and to grow.

The way in which He does this, the timing of it and the relative fruitfulness of it,

is only His to determine.

Thus equivalent levels of effort from us, God’s co-workers, will not guarantee similar results.

Thus it is an example of God’s perfect fairness and justice, that He rewards us according to our efforts, not our results.

Which is where Jesus’ famous statement,

But many who are first will be last,

and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:30, NIV)

starts to make real sense.

Some super-successful Christian leaders, mega-church pastors, world-famous evangelists, may actually be shown, in the final analysis, to have been rather mediocre. Perhaps they simply harvested where others had sown? Maybe they were merely a ship, swept forwards on a great wave of the prayers of the saints? Maybe they just had the fortune to be in leadership in a particular place at the particular time when God chose to act mightily?

Whilst some untiring lay-pastor, someone who has struggled his whole life to lead a tiny congregation in some remote backwater and who has little to show for his efforts, may prove to be one of God’s greats.

It’s all about effort, not results.

All of which should give us all pause for thought. For God’s fairness cuts both ways.

When we see great blessing on our ministry, we should recognize the very real possibility that it has little to do with us.

When we experience only frustration and failure, we should know that not one single instance of effort for the cause of Christ will be unmarked or unrewarded. Failure does not indicate God’s displeasure, nor His lack of interest in our work for Him.

This is why St Paul sums up his teaching as follows;

“By the grace God has given me,

I laid a foundation as a wise builder,

and someone else is building on it.

But each one should build with care.” (1 Corinthians 3:10, NIV)

Build with care…

Thomas : the doubter

Doubting Thomas

 

Poor St Thomas – We know very little about him, the New Testament hardly mentions him; in fact, almost the only thing we know of him is that he could not believe the other apostles when they told him that they had met the risen Jesus.

 

What bad luck! For 2,000 years he has become a symbol of distrust, of a lack of good faith, of doubt and disbelief. But does he really deserve that?

Put yourself in his place. Put your imagination to work.

You have spent three years with Jesus. You have seen his miracles and heard his teachings. Finally you have come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God, the one who will usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. Imagine your dreams, your hopes for the future.

But disaster! Within hours, Jesus is betrayed, condemned, tortured, humiliated, nailed to a cross and dies. Everything you dreamed, everything you hoped, has been shattered. What a catastrophe, what a disappointment!

Imagine the emotional, psychological, spiritual trauma of St Thomas. Upset by this event you do not know what to think. You are lost, disoriented, blown away.

A few days later you and the other disciples are still trying to cope with this huge disappointment, to rebuild your lives.

And then one day you go out, and when you return you find the other apostles are in total uproar, it’s mayhem! Some are crying, others are laughing, some are singing songs of praise! It is a cacophony! Everyone runs towards you, all talking to you at the same time, everyone is excited.

Finally some peace settles and you ask them “what happened?” They tell you “We saw Jesus!” “He came among us”. “He spoke with us”. “He has risen”.

How would you react?

Perhaps the easiest thing would be to let yourself be carried along by the excitement of all the others. To tell them, “Yes, very well, I believe you, hallelujah!” but without being really convinced, with second thoughts, but not wanting to create a scene.

This is why I prefer to call Thomas “honest” rather than “doubting”. He refused the easy route. He preferred to be honest, to be true to himself, to say what he really thought.

When he expressed his genuine doubt and disbelief, one can imagine that it led to a heated exchange between him and the other apostles. His final words seem a bit abrupt, a little violent, perhaps they make sense only after such an exchange and pressure has being exerted on him. But Thomas did not give in, he is tough, courageous, he does not fold.

I think there are many people who need to follow the model of St. Thomas. They have heard what their parents, catechists, priests, pastors have said about the Good News of Jesus Christ. They have heard others tell of their personal experiences with the risen Christ. But they find that all that is still not entirely convincing. There is something they still lack. Like St. Thomas, they need a personal encounter, a face to face meeting with Jesus Christ.

If we look in the New Testament we see that there are plenty of different models for how different people come to faith.

  • St John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, entered the empty tomb, saw the burial cloths that had covered Jesus’ body and he believed immediately, without any need for anything more.
  • The Apostles and St Thomas himself, needed to experience the direct presence of the risen Jesus before believing.
  • For St. Paul it took God to knock him off his horse on the road to Damascus, and to be blinded for three days and then miraculously healed, before he could believe in the risen Jesus.

 

In my life as a Christian I have seen all of these models. I have met people who as soon as you share with them the good news of Jesus Christ, they respond directly “I believe, count me in!” For other people it’s much more complicated. Their journey to faith is often long and sometimes painful. Some even need God “to knock them off their horse” – that to bring them into some difficult, painful experience that disrupts their lives – illness, relational problem, redundancy – in order for God to get their attention, break through their cocoon, to open them up to His love for them.

To me these examples show us that God respects us in our individuality, in our difference and in our doubts; as we are. For those who need proof, God is more than willing to give them such proof as they need. Jesus did not leave St Thomas in his unbelief and in his doubt. He wanted to bring him to faith. If St. Thomas needed to meet Jesus, Jesus is ready to show himself to him. If Saint Paul needs to be knocked off his horse, Jesus is ready to do that for him. Jesus has not changed. He still has the same desire to help us come to faith – the way in which we get there is of no importance.

And you, where are you today? Maybe like Saint Thomas you do not yet believe. You are still missing something. You need that personal meeting, that face to face encounter with Jesus.

What help can you find in the story of St Thomas?

First, you need to be reassured, if you feel a desire for God that is already an infallible sign that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. Any desire for God is created by God. And God is not evil, he does not playing “hide and seek” with us. If God gives you the desire for himself, it is because he wants to satisfy that desire.

In addition, note the place where Jesus appeared to the disciples – it was in the midst of the Christian community gathered together. So at the heart of the Christian community is the best place for an encounter with Jesus – at church, at an ALPHA course, at gatherings for prayer and praise. If you have the desire to meet Jesus, these places are the most favorable times. Put yourself in the places where such encounters with God most often happen – amongst his people gathered together.

And for those of us who believe. For those who have received the grace to believe in Jesus, what does the story of St Thomas tell us?

I ask you to imagine how the community of disciples reacted to the disbelief of St Thomas? Do you think they left him alone with his doubts? Do you think they said, “Okay, you have made your choice, now get out of here, you have no place amongst us true believers. If ever you do come to faith, then you can come back to us.”

No, I think it is much more likely that they helped their brother St Thomas with their prayers. I am sure that they prayed to God with insistence during those eight long days, “Lord Jesus, show yourself to our brother so that he can believe!”

Imagine their delight when they finally heard St Thomas exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” What a party they must have held that night!

So for us believers, we should take up the challenge to pray for those who do not yet believe – and I emphasize the word ‘yet’. This is our duty and our privilege. Pray asking God to do whatever is necessary in order that our brothers might come to believe. And what a party we shall haven on that day when we can say together, “My Lord and my God!”

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I will be found by you, says the Lord” Jeremiah 29:13

God bless you. Amen.

Stephen J. March

Sermon, 2nd Sunday of Easter 2011, preached at ​​Vitteaux and Sombernon.

And up to now…

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In the Confessio of Saint Patrick, written around 493 AD, the old missionary bishop reflects on his life and ministry. He identifies the key lessons he has learnt in his experience of living with God and, with great honesty, he writes them down for the benefit of those who also seek to live well with God.

Somewhat surprisingly, the first thing Saint Patrick attests is the inherent fragility of his faith.

But I do not trust myself, ‘as long as I am in this body of death’ C44: 105/6

Here, Patrick quotes Saint Paul in Romans 7:24, where, again with absolute transparency, St Paul lays bare his own struggle to live in a manner worthy of a Christian. A challenge that his own body, with its inherent tendency for sinfulness, opposes.

Saint Patrick also makes clear that his struggle is not merely against recalcitrant flesh, but also against an opposing spiritual force that works in and through this weakness,

 …he is strong who strives daily to turn me away from the faith

and from that chastity of an unfeigned religion which I have

proposed to keep to the end of my life for Christ my Lord. C44: 107-109

He acknowledges the activity of a powerful spiritual adversary who uses Patrick’s own fleshly weaknesses to try and turn him away from the faith he has embraced and the God he has vowed to serve.

The hostile flesh is always dragging towards death,

that is towards allurements to do that which is forbidden. C44: 110

Whilst he does not state specifically what these ‘allurements’ are, we can well imagine the possibilities. Patrick has been called by God to leave family, friends and homeland, to exile himself in a foreign land, to minister to those of a different language and culture and to seek to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and establish a Christian Community amongst them.

Patrick faced opposition, which was sometimes violent. He was no doubt often lonely, tired, dispirited, discouraged. The temptations that might then be rained down upon a man are self-evident.

Patrick also identifies a more subtle struggle,

And I know in part wherein I have not lived a perfect life. C44: 112

Not only are there fleshly and demonically inspired temptations there are also the constant reminder of past failures, ever-present weaknesses. These present themselves to his mind and manifest his failure to be what he should be. He has to live with the reality of his own hypocrisy, which undermines his commitment, saps his morale.

Patrick also speaks of the opposition to his mission, sometimes even active opposition, which came from within the Church.

…many were trying to hinder my embassy.

They were even talking among themselves behind my back

and saying, ‘Why does this man throw himself into danger

among enemies who do not know God?’

Not out of malice,

but it did not seem wise to them,’ C46: 137-142

The idea of an organised mission to a pagan people was, to this point unprecedented. Many within the Church considered this ‘novelty’ unnecessary, unwise, and inappropriate.

In the light of all this, we might well ask, what is it that keeps Patrick going? In the face of these opposing forces, the inherent tendency to sin of his own body, the actions of a maleficent force opposed to his faith, the constant hardship and struggle of a difficult life in a foreign culture, the harsh reality of personal failure, even the active opposition of other church leaders who question the validity of his missionary approach; where does Patrick find the courage to carry on?

Well, fortunately Patrick reveals his secret to us. He says he can say with honesty before God,

…there grew in me the love of God and fear of him,

and up to now, with God’s grace, I have kept the faith. C44: 118/9

Patrick can look back over his life and see that he has come to love God and to live in fear before him. This fear is not a negative, servile fear, but rather the proper respect and bearing towards God that is birthed in a man or woman when they have come to glimpse something of God’s majesty and grandeur, his power and holiness. The contrast between this and our own evident weakness and sinfulness is such that it engenders a holy ‘fear’. This, in turn, becomes a motivating force in our life with God. This ‘fear’ is expressed in a life that worships God in all it does.

The reality of this love for God, and this holy fear, are evidence to Patrick of God’s grace at work in his life. He testifies that this grace has enabled him, however imperfectly, to keep the faith until now. But he is not complacent. His testimony is only, ‘up to now’. He is conscious of his utter reliance upon God to bring his life of faith to a successful conclusion.

It strikes me that this spiritual advice is as helpful now in the 21st century as it was in the 5th. The spiritual realities of human existence and not changed one iota in the intervening millennia and a half.

Like Patrick, anyone who seriously tries to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will immediately find himself / herself in the midst of an heroic struggle of epic proportions.

The spiritually twistedness of our human flesh will, like those shopping trolleys with wonky wheels, reveal immediately its unfailing tendency to shoot off in the wrong direction.

If this were not bad enough the situation is worsened by a spiritual adversary who will stoop to any base level, try any underhand trick, in order to knock us off course. One of his favourites being to simply remind us of our imperfection, of our manifest hypocrisy, that we are not the perfect Christians we try to be and know we should be.

We may well also encounter, alas, opposition from within the Church itself, people who don’t understand our calling and who cast doubt on our work for God.

There is only one thing that will keep us on track and help us bear up in the face of such trials – the reality of a love for God and a holy fear of God that is growing, however slowly, in our hearts through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.

None of us can ever say more than,

‘And up to now, with God’s grace, I have kept the faith’ C44: 119

 

 

The three divine revelations everyone needs

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“When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:

about sin, because people do not believe in me;

about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;

and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16:8-11 NIV)

 

Jesus is here telling his disciples what the Holy Spirit is going to do in the hearts of human beings to enable them to be saved. This is presented as a re-playing of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilot, to whom the Jewish leaders had presented Jesus demanding his death. However, in a surprising twist it is revealed that it was not Jesus who was on trial – but the world itself.

 

Three things are presented – three divine insights – which are essential if anyone is going to come to salvation.

All three of them concern Jesus and the understanding we have of him.

 

“about sin, because people do not believe in me”

The first divine revelation is concerning the identity of Jesus. The world refused to believe in Jesus. His own people the Jews rejected him. The Roman empire – the great pagan world power of the time – crucified him. This is the world’s basic sin – it has refused to recognize that Jesus was God. No salvation is even possible until people realize that Jesus is God, that Jesus is their only hope.

 

“about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer”

The second divine revelation concerns the character of Jesus – was he a criminal, an imposter, a fraud? Is he now in hell being punished for his sins, or is he in heaven at the right hand of God the Father?

The Jews portrayed Jesus as a glutton and a drunkard. They condemned him for being willing to eat in the company of the insalubrious. They pointed to the fact that his disciples were not drawn from the great and the good, but from the common stock of fisherman, tax collectors, even terrorists. The Romans suspected him of being an insurrectionist, a threat to the Roman military conquest of the Jews. Thus the world in its entirety – Jew and Gentile – judged Jesus guilty. But in actuality he was the only really innocent and just man that ever lived.

 

“about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned”

The third revelation concerns the outcome of Jesus’ trial. Jesus was pronounced guilty, but in actual fact in doing this the world pronounced judgement on itself; in its rejection of Jesus.

Pontius Pilot famously washed his hands before the Jews in order to express his innocence of the blood of Jesus – he claimed he was merely doing what the Jewish leaders wanted. The Jewish crowd were whipped up by their leaders to cry out that they accepted that Jesus’ blood be on their heads.

In this false and erroneous judgement of Jesus the World system condemns itself not only as blind but as guilty, they knew Jesus was innocent, still they condemned him. In condemning an innocent man they condemn themselves.

 

The only salvation that the Christian faith knows to be possible is based on an understanding of the reality about Jesus, a reality that we can only grasp by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in us. It is only he who can help us understand that Jesus was God himself, incarnate amongst us, the innocent who chose to die to save the guilty.

 

These revelations also apply to ourselves.

We have to see that we have also refused to believe in Jesus, that he is God himself, and so we stand guilty before God.

We too have refused to accept his innocence and that he told us the truth about ourselves and about God.

We too have rejected him and by so doing pronounce our own guilt.

 

It is only when that miraculous insight is graced to us by the Holy Spirit that salvation becomes possible.

Jumping when you should be flying (or ‘Nice is not Enough’)

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Authentic Christianity generally improves people.

Which seems logical enough.

When people commit their lives to He whose nature is love, one would expect this to lead to positive changes in their behaviour.

Historically, Christian faith has also led to social advancement, particularly in contexts of social deprivation.

When those whose lives have been marked by anti-social, or self-centred activity, turn to Christ and start to become conscientious husbands, committed fathers, reliable employees, worthy citizens – their social situation often also improves.

In times of economic opportunity this has historically led to Christians founding businesses, becoming entrepreneurs. Indeed, for many this gave them a platform for Christian philanthropy and social action that impacted their whole society. Look for example at the impact of the Quaker-founded businesses in 19th century England. Suddenly employers start providing decent housing, medical care, schools for the children of their employees etc. etc.

All of which is good and right, yet can have the negative effect of blurring the Christian message somewhat.

It can leave us thinking that as improvement follows conversion, then maybe improvement is the goal?

Following this, we can further note that many different philosophies and models for living can equally bring about improvement in a person – so maybe Christianity is just one approach amongst many?

This would be to completely miss the point.

Improvement is not the goal of Christianity – redemption is.

As its outworking, redemption may well bring improvement to a person – but that is a symptom, a secondary and external effect of an internal transformation, not the heart of the matter.

Lewis reminds us that;

“A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world – and might even be more difficult to save.

For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine.

God became man to turn creatures into sons : not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.

It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature.”
(C.S. Lewis ‘Mere Christianity’, Book IV, Chapter 10)

Christian Men – Warring Heroes or Terminally Nice?

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There has been a lot of discussion around the fact that Christian faith doesn’t appeal to men.

Indeed the Christian church has had a ratio of women to men of around 80 / 20 pretty constantly since the 14th century.

The several confluent reasons for the change which occurred at that point in time are explored by Podles in his book “The Church Impotent” – so I won’t go into that here.

Suffice to say that Christianity hasn’t and doesn’t appeal to the vast majority of men.

Christian spirituality tends to be presented in terms that do little to inspire or enthuse men.

Whilst the Bible is full of manly and heroic men, churches are largely empty of them.

Partly I think it is because men most need to be in the company of other men. The biblical text that states;

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.(Proverbs 27:17)

Which means that in each other’s presence we are improved. Countenance (or the face) speaks of the outward life – that part of us that is seen by others, that interacts with our fellows.

In spending time together good friends can inspire each other to become better, to advance, to mature.

Perhaps this verse expresses a truth that is valid for both genders, but I certainly believe it has validity for men.

And especially in a Christian context where men are in a small minority.

I also believe that if Christian spirituality was expressed in terms more likely to catch the imagination of men then perhaps they might find it easier to engage with the Christian faith.

The Bible is full of warfare metaphors, about fighting, struggling, combatting, resisting; yet Christian spirituality tends to be most often expressed in passive or even romantic terms.

Unfortunately, the call to be “nice” doesn’t make a man’s heart beat faster!

God is love and the Christian faith is at heart a love relationship with God; but anything you love you sooner or later have to defend, protect, preserve.

The Christian mission is one of advancing the kingdom of God – going into often dangerous, antagonistic places with the message of God’s love and transforming power.

Perhaps if we had a little more of this and a little less of being “nice” we might find men more open to responding to the Christian message?