Do you see what Jesus sees?
    March 14 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    GREENSBORO — Studies show that more and more churches are on the decline or have reached a plateau. Yet, studies also show that most people will respond positively to an invitation to come to church.

    Perhaps the problem, then, is that believers are not doing enough inviting. “Do we care enough to extend an invitation?” asked Phillip Davis, pastor of Nations Ford Community Church in Charlotte. “We are all responsible for gathering the harvest.”

    Davis was one of the featured speakers for the Feb. 28-March 1 statewide evangelism conference at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church.

    When believers get serious about seeing people come to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior they will, as Davis said, reach out to others and “become the evangelistic program” of the church. Davis said that only happens when believers begin to see people like Jesus saw people. Matthew 9:35-38 is just one example of a time when Jesus showed compassion for people.

    He saw how they were “weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.”

    “Jesus did not just see a bunch of bodies,” Davis said. “He was moved with compassion; He was stirred at the deepest level.” Jesus saw all their worry, hurt and anger — He knew their hearts.

    Davis challenged church leaders to ask themselves whether or not the church they serve is a place known for being compassionate. Care for others happens when the church takes time to get to know people and to really see who they are.

    BSC photo by Mike Creswell

    Pat Cronin, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, talks to the crowd at the statewide evangelism conference. Friendly Avenue hosted the two-day event.

    “What we notice about people reveals more about us than it does them,” Davis said. If all the church is known for is being critical and judgmental, that says more about how the church is abiding in Christ than it does about the ones being judged.

    “What do you see when you see your family?” Davis asked. What do believers see when they see friends, neighbors and co-workers?

    “Jesus didn’t just see an adulterous woman,” Davis said. “He looked at her need for forgiveness and love. Jesus saw people and He saw their needs.”

    One reason believers may be slow to offer compassion instead of judgment is because they have forgotten what it was like to be lost. They have forgotten what it was like to live in darkness without the light of life that is Jesus Christ.

    The question Davis asked that must be answered, but only with humble and repentant hearts, is: “When we see someone caught in the grip of sin does it disgust us or move us to compassion?”

    Davis seemed to plead with those in attendance to never allow their hearts to grow cold to the gospel or to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

    The scene in Matthew 9 is one that could just as easily describe communities throughout North Carolina and around the world: people needing direction; needing someone to heal physical sickness and spiritual sickness.

    Davis asked leaders to consider what Jesus meant when He called the people sheep. Sheep are not very smart, they are not quick and “without a shepherd will wander aimlessly for days until they die.”

    Without a personal relationship with Jesus, the Savior and Good Shepherd, people are just like sheep wandering through life without direction or meaning. Believers must care enough about the souls of human beings that they are obedient to sharing what it means to know the Shepherd.

    “The longer we go without a shepherd the more empty life becomes,” Davis said. “Fulfillment is something you and I have now, because as Christians we know where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. Jesus gives protection and direction for life.”

    In Matthew 9 Jesus instructed His disciples to pray for God to send workers into the harvest, for the harvest is abundant but the workers are few.

    Davis reminded the audience that serving God and telling others about Him is a privilege. The church must step up and do what God has commanded the church to do.

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    3/14/2011 9:27:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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