“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
As an intern this semester in York I have led a team down to Kings Lynn to help serve with Vince and Marie Proffit. Their son Mac is with me along with 5 other students for our fall semester’s Outreach Week.
One of our main ministries this week was to go into one of the public high schools here and answer questions students had in their Religious Education (RE) classes. Vince has tried to bring in students before, but for one reason or another was never able to. This time we expected that we would be able to go in, but thought that it would be for only one lesson (class period).
Thankfully, we were wrong. God gave us more than we could have thought.
On Wednesday we were in 4 lessons,
Thursday = 2,
Today (Friday) = 1.
All in all, we will have spent 7 hours answering questions students have on Christianity and how it relates to the world, singing songs of worship to God, and showing them that there are younger people who are Christians who think about what they believe rather than blindly accepting it.
We were surprised by some of the questions they had (animal testing?). Having never really studied much into some of these (a few of the first questions, at least), we pretty much had to shoot from the cuff and use our critical thinking skills (and much of the Holy Spirit) to help answer them (and every question, really).
Some of our questions were as follows:
- What are you thoughts on animal testing?
- In vitro fertilization?
- What makes your religion different from other religions?
- What makes your religion better than other religions?
- Do you believe in the devil?
- Why should I worship God rather than the devil?
- Could you explain the Trinity?
- What are your thoughts on evolution?
- The Big Bang?
- Who created God?
- What are your proofs for God?
- Do you believe people can be demon possessed?
- Where do the dinosaurs fit in?
- Why was man made in the image of God?
- Are you vegetarians? Why or why not?
- The Bible says you shouldn’t kill? What are your thoughts on that?
- Do you take the Bible literally?
- Are there symbols?
- Do you believe the whole Bible?
- Have you read the whole Bible?
- If God can heal sicknesses, why didn’t he heal my grandfather from cancer?
- Why does God allow sicknesses and natural disasters to kill so many innocent people?
I’m sure there were more and will be more today. What has been encouraging is seeing it *click* for the students. No, there wasn’t a flood of students running up to us to become Christians. But I loved seeing there faces when they realized that we weren’t as judgmental as they thought we would be.
One thing that surprised them was this:
It’s not my job to change you. I can’t change you. My example is Jesus Christ. “The eternal Son did not think of His status as God as something that gave Him the opportunity to get and get and get. Instead, His very status as God meant He had nothing to prove, nothing to achieve…he ‘made himself nothing’ and took the mode of existence of a servant'” (Carson, Basics for Believers: Philippians, Kindle Locations 512).
We were split up into two groups most of the time. In the other group one student had asked about their stance on homosexuality. At the end of class he walked out saying, “I just can’t believe they’re not like those other condemning Christians.” Later on the teacher told us he was over the moon in excitement and awe.
Why? I wasn’t in that group, but I am certain they said they would love the homosexuals too. They’re people too. How can we bring homosexuals to Jesus if they’re being kicked out of church? The church is exactly where they need to be. They need to be in the presence of loving Christians. Christians who have bought more than 3 dollars worth of the gospel. D. A. Carson has said it better than I can:
“I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much— just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust. I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation. I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races— especially if they smell. I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of gospel, please” (Carson, Basics for Believers: Philippians, Kindle Locations 44-50).
I am by no means perfect Christian, and as long as I’m on this earth and in this body I never will be. But I see my example, I see how He treated others, and I see how He loved the unloved and the unloveable. What is my excuse?
While these past few days were not filled with making lesson plans, grading tests, and correcting the misconduct of students, it has only impassioned me more for teaching. Teachers have so much influence over the future lives of their students, and if I can help with that to the slightest degree, to have students see the love of Jesus and then turn around and show that to the world, that would fill my joy (1 John 1:4).