Ambition like Paul’s

Paul says in Romans 15:20 and 21, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.  Rather, as it is written:

“Those who were not told about him will see,
    and those who have not heard will understand.”

Paul sees himself as integral to fulfilling the prophecy from long ago about the many nations who will be touched by the suffering servant in Isaiah 52. He is sent to those who were not told and those who have not heard. He hopes to help them see and understand. He’s got pretty big goals, but they are given to him by God.

Can we see ourselves in the same way that Paul sees himself? Are we not surrounded by a nation that hasn’t been told and hasn’t heard? Maybe they’ve been told a little or heard a little but many have not seen or understood. They haven’t been told enough or heard enough, or they’ve been told and heard too much of the wrong thing. There are many, many people in our area of South Jersey who have not been introduced to the real Jesus in a way that they could see and understand.

The best way we as Circle of Hope tell our story is by including people in it. Our community gives people in our region of South Jersey a unique opportunity to see and hear. We really do believe that in relationships with real Christians, being real with each other, people grow in their faith and come to faith for the first time. Jesus shows up when we show up. He shows up in other ways but we’ve seen him do it enough this way to build our whole strategy around it.

The Circle of Hope Summer Tour is headed to Cinnaminson tonight. There’s a concert in Wood Park. I have not been anywhere in Cinnaminson off of 130. It’s new territory for me. I feel a bit like Paul trying to get to Rome and then to Spain where he can build something on no existing foundation. Circle of Hope doesn’t have any people in Cinnaminson, but Cinnaminson has a bunch of people. We’re going to show up and see if we can’t find a friend or two in the little time we have. I don’t know what God will do but I know that God is doing, and people do want to be a part of that, even if they’re not sure they would say it that way just now. Let’s expand the territory. Let’s test our ambition.

You may not be the type to just show up at a public event and see if you can make a friend. Of course that’s okay. But pray for us who are giving it a shot, and take courage when you find yourself meeting someone who hasn’t been told and hasn’t heard. They could see you. They could understand you. And if they know a real Christian living his or her real life in a real community, they might see and understand Jesus too. I think there’s a pretty good chance in fact.

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