I recently found this list of 33 people Jesus had conversations with:
In Norway at the University of Stavanger last week, Sam has a conversation with a group of Muslim friends. He says:
“I’ll never ask you to become a Christian. And just so you know, I’m not interested in becoming a Muslim either. But I am absolutely fascinated by Jesus and His teachings about how to enter the kingdom of God. If you’d like to pursue getting to know Jesus together and seeking God’s kingdom, I’d LOVE to do that together.”
As Sam has focused on the simplicity and truth of Jesus and the message of God’s kingdom, many students are responding. Over the last year, Sam and Hanne have started a few simple churches on their campus.
Conversations with people who seem far from the kingdom of God is a value we share in the student church movement and the SCPX tribe. Last week in Norway, I saw this value modeled incredibly well.
On Monday, Ethan and I and about 25 others pack into Sam and Hanne’s living room to share a meal, sing some songs, discuss stories about Jesus, and pray for each other.
Half the room are following Jesus. Several of them are new believers. The other half are from Muslim backgrounds, or varying ranges of world views from committed atheist to questioning agnostic.
I realize tonight how much this has become my passion – gatherings of people pursuing Jesus together in the most unlikely of places. This is “simple church” at it’s finest. Informal — but intentional — gatherings of people eating a meal together, getting to know Jesus and one another. It’s a starting point for churches that can make disciples anywhere. On a Native American campus. On a military base. In an African American barber shop. In houses in the urban core of devastated cities. On a mountainside in an illiterate village in an unreached people group.
“Go into the highways and byways and invite people to come…”
Tonight at Sam and Hanne’s house, I wonder if this is how the first disciples felt: perplexed at Jesus’ commitment to inviting diverse people into the kingdom of God.
Last week, I shared with you some pictures of recent baptisms on their deck:
Before this cold Norwegian night was over, we would fill up the tub again with hot water transported from the sink. Another person has become a follower of Jesus.
Ingrid gets baptized out on the deck and has a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit. She is set free from dark spiritual forces that had oppressed her. Sam gives her my Disciple book. She’s now meeting with another student leader to help her grow in her relationship with Jesus.
After Ingrid is baptized, one of the students from Iraq later says, “Wow, that must feel amazing [to experience God that way.]”
This is the kingdom of God. All people everywhere are invited to this great celebration feast God the Father is hosting for His Son.
What a joy it was to travel here with my son, Ethan, spending quality time with Sam and Hanne. The rest of our trip to minister at Stammefeiring, and a short trip to Scotland to visit our friends Roger and Eileen and their family and friends was equally blessed.
Conversations produce encounters with Jesus.
Encounters with Jesus produce disciple making relationships.
Disciple making relationships produce churches.
Churches that multiply produce movements.
Movements disciple nations.
Who could you start a conversation about Jesus with this week?