I just read a blog from a favorite author. A young staff member from their church was investing in a friendship with a gay barista at Starbucks. Sort of like our “Pray for One.” This barista had been treated rudely by so many “Christian church people.” This staff member relentlessly invested in their friendship—a friendship with a purpose. Finally, this gay barista friend accepted an invitation to join them at church one weekend. Guess what? She loved it! She wrote to her friend on staff at this church, “I’ve never really thought about reading the Bible, but his enthusiasm is making me think I should check it out.”
The largest religious affiliation in Monroe County is “None” at 53.6% of our population, surpassing the next largest affiliation of Catholics at 25.7%.
I love our denominational family. But I live for the “red letters” spoken by Jesus. Jesus simply said, “Do this on the way…love your God and love your neighbor.” 53.6% of my/our neighbors have no church affiliation by choice. Many of them have walked away from church and/or God. But our God of unfailing love, in His grace, meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where He found us.
“Father, fill our hearts with a burning love for those who do not yet know Your unfailing love. Fill us to overflowing with Your presence that we might better look, live, and love like Jesus. Send us to those who most desperately need Your love. Lead us into friendships with a purpose—that we might be a friend, and introduce them to The Friend-Jesus.”