Dear Family and Friends at CBC:
A physician has to learn how to recognize a disease from seemingly unrelated symptoms. For instance, I recently heard the dramatic story of a doctor who identified a rare bone disease simply by the color of a patient’s eyes.
I began to think—without Christ, people are a little like that. They’re like patients complaining about symptoms, unaware of the true disease. What they ask for help with doesn’t always draw a straight line to Jesus. As a ministry, when we evangelize in our traditional fashion, with straightforward ads like “Jesus Christ Loves You,” we get responses like “Who is Jesus?” “How can I be sure?” “What is sin?” and “I want to live a holy life.”
But we are constantly looking for ways to reach people more broadly and less expensively; ways to “go viral.” Changing our initial approach also means reaching those less acutely aware of their desire for God. They sense resulting problems, not the malady behind them. They just want help: “How can I have a better marriage?” “Please pray for my husband to ask God to help him.” “I’m so sick and weak. Where is my way?” “God should help me pass my test.” Please pray for us to get better at directing them to Christ in ways they understand.
I think life’s tests are one of the primary ways God makes us understand our need for Jesus. For four weeks from June 18 to July 13, Mike attended Campus Crusade’s Institute of Biblical Studies at Winter Park’s Rollins College. Intense as it was, (558 pages of assigned reading, numerous in-class assignments, papers and a sermon), I believe the experience will be very helpful for my future ministry. It was like drinking from a fire hose, as a number of CCCI and seminary scholars showered us with practical insights and principled approaches from their decades of experience.
Practical ministry has always made me painfully aware of my own deficiencies. I have to see this as one way God has been preparing me to find common ground with those to whom I am communicating. My own need for Christ in numerous surprising ways helps me to better see theirs as well.
One of the most famous missionary appeals in all of Scripture is the “Macedonian Call.” During his second missionary journey, Paul and his companions planned to go to Asia, then Mysia and Bithynia, but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Instead, Paul had a vision that night in which a man begged them, “Come over into Macedonia and help us.”
The Macedonian Call has come to symbolize a dramatic call to evangelism, like the Great Commission. But I think if we can look at it with fresh eyes, it wouldn’t sound so different from the daily appeals made on the GMO Facebook page, the GodLife Prayer wall or our Live Chat ministry. They say, “please come help us!” in various ways. We must learn to hear, “I desperately need Jesus in my life.”
Love, in Christ,
Mike and Cindy Skinner
“One Day Closer!” (Romans 13:11)