Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Courageous Christians

At our recent Weekend Away, we introduced a new program, Courageous Christians. Over the last number of weeks, we have been unpacking this and it has been moving through our Small Groups. Over the next couple of posts I am going to put some of the thoughts out there from the Courageous Christians booklet for information and comment. You can also get information about this from our website, www.dpc.org.za and via the Facebook page. 

What is the vision of Courageous Christians? Courageous Christians is a challenge through our congregation,  to help people to live their Christian lives more intentionally where they are.

There are issues that affect our fruit – the products that flow from us as Christians and as a congregation. But if we are going to bear fruit for the kingdom, then there are some specific root issues that we need to address.This is what Courageous Christians is all about. Courageous Christians are called to be both salt and light.

Light and Salt
Matthew 5
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven

As a congregation of Courageous Christians, we are called to be a light on the hill called by God to shine the gospel in a dark world (Matt. 5:14). Thus, our community life, our ministries and outreach programs are a communal witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God in our community. The congregation is also a means by which the love of God is communicated to a hurt and broken world. The congregation must be a community where God’s grace is shown through our communal lifestyle.

As Courageous Christians in the world, individuals are called by God to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13) wherever we live and work and socialise. We have to be transformed so that we can live out our faith in our daily lives. Courageous Christians are those who have made a commitment to practicing their Christian faith both inside the walls of the church (and so to be the light of the world), and outside (as the salt of the earth).

The Scriptural paradigm is found in Luke 10:25-28 (NIV) The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Courageous Christians are Christians who strive to live their faith to the full in all areas of life. Where most of the courses we offered in the past in the church were intended help in specific learning areas, the Courageous Christians program focuses on who we should be as Christians where we live and work and play. 

A simple illustration to describe what Courageous Christians is all about comes from the IT world: the difference between a piece of software and an operating system. A specific piece of software (e.g. a word processing or graphic design program) enables a computer to perform specific tasks while the operating system of the computer itself (e.g. Windows 8 or Vista) creates a platform from which the software programs can operate. The purpose of the Courageous Christians program is to help people find a different spiritual operating system, to create a platform from which all the other aspects of the Christian life can operate. Where the specific ministries of the church are anchored in the different gifts of the Spirit, which all believers of the Spirit share (1 Cor. 12:7-11), Courageous Christians is an expression of the fruit of the Spirit made fully visible in the lives of all believers (Galatians 5:22-23).

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