#iGospel – #iInvite

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The problem with real life is that there are many places where we are made to feel unwanted, unwelcome, uninvited. We want to belong but there are places where we are or were not welcome. We even have exclusive clubs, estates, hotels and shops. The day I will make some little money I will go to some of these places.

Ever been invited to a space, event, task, or place that totally changed your life?

For some of us it was School – you were called to a high school that exposed you to a culture and relationships that totally changed your life.

For others it was Relationships – You got hitched to this guy/girl and that space of relationship has totally changed your life. You can’t imagine how your life would have been if you had not said yes to that significant other.

For others…..Family – or you began living with a certain family and it totally changed your life you learnt etiquette.

Business spaces…. Some of you it was a Chama (investment group) you were invited to join and it totally changed your life. You were invited to join a business venture by your friends and it totally changed your life and your attitude towards investments.

My thoughts go to Jesus and the fact that the space around Him had all sorts of interesting people; Pharisees, Sadducees, Activists, fundamentalists, thugs, prostitutes, corrupt government officials, hustlers you name it and for some reason they would fit in. They felt welcomed. How was that possible? The truth is that Jesus was very inviting and He modeled to His disciples to do or be the same. Jesus was attractive to all sorts of people and He welcomed all sorts of people into his space. It was very clear that his life here on earth was for others and not for himself. He lived for others and died for others.

I came across some very interesting scriptures that illustrate Jesus’ culture of being inviting, turn with me to book of John 1:35-42

NB: Imagine how it would have been to visit with Jesus; I guess the disciples who visited Jesus were so awestruck by how welcoming Jesus was that they were willing to invite their friends. In the above instance Andrew invites Simon little does he know that Peter will become the head of the church. This phenomenon doesn’t stop there; John 1: 43-52

This is how the movement of Jesus begun to grow by Jesus inviting people who in turn invited others and it wasn’t just incidental it was strategic in fact it is the first promise Jesus makes to his first set of disciples Mathew 4:18-20 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

In a nutshell Jesus made it very clear to His first set of disciples that the main agenda of his invite was to bring them into a space where he could turn them into “fishers of men”. In other words Jesus’s chief agenda in inviting his disciples to follow him was to engage them in a process whose end result is the drawing (INVITING) of others to Jesus.

This whole issue of Christ’s disciples “fishing” or inviting others was so critical to Jesus that it featured prominently throughout his discourse with his disciples to the point that it features prominently  in his  Last words and instruction to his early disciples…just before he ascended… Acts 1:8

The scriptural considerations above have led me to arrive at certain conclusions:

Conclusion 1: Jesus’ practice was to invite others to follow Him and to come around Him. “ follow me”, “come to me” and “Let the children come to me”. Jesus reached out to people including people that  would not be ordinarily associated with the Rabbi or religious class; leprous people, prostitutes, tax collectors, fundamentalists, women with issues and men with ego problems…the rich the poor etc.…..

Conclusion  2: Jesus’ encouraged his disciples to be inviting and he challenged them to make it their priority. It was his main instruction just before he ascended and for emphasis he gave them the instruction twice.

Conclusion 3: It seems like Jesus’ chief desire is for people to be drawn to him and that his followers should make it their chief preoccupation to draw people to himself. Matthew 28: 19-20

I am not an expert in matters to do with Relationships, but for the several premarital experiences I have engaged in and the several marriage enrichment experiences I have engaged in, it is clear that individuals walk into the marriage space with all sorts of different expectations. I have never met a couple who upon entering the marriage space had the same expectations and priorities. The challenge comes when many couples don’t take time to openly and candidly talk about their expectations and needs upon entering the marriage space consequently this leads to the couple clashing at some point. I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to any relationship not just marital, be it business, professional, filial, platonic etc. there can’t be growth if the relationship only meets the needs of one party.

When a relationship is about the needs of only one party, it can’t go far. Likewise when it comes to our relationship with our Lord Jesus, we cannot expect to have a meaningful and growing relationship with him, if it is all about our needs; I need a job, I need healing, I need a house, a better car, a better marriage etc.  We must also recognize that God has needs. His needs are not out of inadequacy or lack they are based on pure desire. Now it is important that we realize that Jesus’ greatest need is connected to his greatest priority; He made it clear to his disciples when he invited them and he made it clear to them when he was about to ascend.

We can never make the most of our relationship with God if we don’t concern ourselves with his greatest need and priority which is for people to be brought or drawn to Him. A certain research done in the US indicated that only 2% of Christians share their faith.

When you make God’s priority your priority then God has no choice but to take notice of you and make you his priority. When you meet God’s greatest need then God has no choice but to meet your needs.

God’s priority is your friends coming to him; God’s greatest need is to see your friends coming to him. The mind boggling reality is that at the heart of meeting God’s need is your participation in inviting your friends and relatives to a space where they can experience God’s Kingdom. God is banking on you! Yes you are God’s plan A.

It doesn’t matter how much you strive to do for God if it doesn’t involve an active attempt to get your friends within proximity to God’s kingdom and power then all you are doing amounts to very little.

The greatest thing you can ever do in a bid to enrich your relationship with God is to align all you life’s opportunities …your job, marriage, business, parenting, school life etc. to the task of drawing people to him. Your life must be about making those around you to develop interest in your God. That is the direction our relationship with God must be headed.

As a church we have created natural spaces for you to invite your friends. As a matter of fact Mavuno is about creating an environment for both the churched and the un-churched to meet with God. That is why we do things the way we do them in our services and all our other experiences; That is why we have Mizizi- for all those friends of yours who have questions about God and need a non-threatening  space where people can be real and still seek God. We have Ndoa for friends who want a meaningful marriage. Lea for those who wish to raise their children in a decent way. All this are natural spaces you can invite your friends to an experience.

If we are really interested in God meeting our needs, then we must be keen to participate in extending God’s Kingdom in the lives of others then we will be fulfilling Mathew 6:33 “ Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Allow me to paraphrase this verse “Make the advancement of God’s kingdom your priority. Then all you need will be added to you!”

What are those things that you need added? Some of us have spent too long a time in the space of prayer asking God for some things, yet probably all you need to do is making the advancement of God’s Kingdom your priority by constantly inviting people to a space where they can experience God’s kingdom.

Every time one more person comes to the place of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ then the Kingdom of God (God’s realm of influence and ruler ship) has been extended.

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