In What Good is Jesus? I discuss very briefly this issue of “Living as Restorers” in chapter 2. Here I wish to expand upon that idea and discuss how a friend of mine (whom I also mention in the book) is doing that right now.
When we take a hard, honest look at the world around us, we can tell that something is broken. We simply can’t look at this world through rose-colored glasses for long, because we quickly bump up against things that are, that shouldn’t be. There are many broken lives around us and we even see this brokeness in our own lives. We may wonder about the goodness of Jesus due to our brokeness or simply ignore it with several different cocktails we use to quiet the pain of our personal brokeness or the brokeness around us.
To many outside of the church, we as followers of Christ do not seem to be helping this systemic brokeness, but it appears we are adding to it. Much of the American church, to those outside of it, have the appearance of hate rather than love. Yet, if we are to follow the model of Christ, we should be known by the exact opposite reputation. Christ when he was on earth lived as a restorer, not a condemner. He said of himself: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17 ESV). How intriguing that much of the Western Christian sub-culture gets mostly ramped up about condemnation rather than salvation. If we sought to live as restorers of this world, rather than condemners, I think the world would begin to see Christians (and Jesus Himself) differently. Being a restorer is seeing the brokeness around us and seeking to make it right. Yet, without the illumination of the Spirit, or His empowerment, we can’t do this. I fear that many of us give into despair when we see the world’s brokeness, fearing we can’t do anything…but in His power we can! Below is an excerpt from my book about a friend of mine who is a restorer.
Chris Coakley, a youth pastor in Ohio, had a passion to connect his teens to a global movement. So during a thirty-hour famine-type event10, he dedicated himself to raising funds to purchase food for those in Burkina Faso and Gabon who needed it. Chris had connections with missionaries on the ground in these countries and knew that they would get the food delivered to the people in need. His youth group raised a lot of money, and Chris felt called to continue this project. He has now started a non-profit organization called Grain of Hope 58:1011, and he is raising money for food and water for those in need in Gabon and Burkina Faso. What is even more astounding is that 100% of the money goes directly to these efforts! Chris is passionate about restoring those hurting in Africa and is is a lover of people, just like his Saviour. It is a remarkable story he has to tell and God has surely grabbed his heart for the things that matter. In fact, the verse that sparked all of this for Chris, the verse that asked him that tough question of “What are you going to do was Isaiah 58:10, which says:
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
That verse shows the heart of God who pours Himself out for the hungry and satisfies the desires of the afflicted. Jesus also deeply desires that His followers to do the very same.
My friend Chris saw the brokeness of hunger and thirst and felt compelled by God and empowered by His Spirit to do something about it. He is a restorer. We too can be restorers in this world. We can begin to live out our faith with others, rather than imposing our faith upon them. May we seek to live as restorers.
What Good is Jesus? is published by Ambassador International and will be available in March! Below are the links for pre sale:
What Good is Jesus? (Christian Book Distributors) This is the cheapest pre-sale price available!