Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pictured above is an exchange student we hosted for the 2005-2006 school year. His name is Jirawut-Othni Wiraspun. We called him "Ong." Ong is from Bangkok, Thailand and is a Buddhist. For one year Ong lived with our family. Ong also became a part of our Ridgeview Church family. He attended Ridgestudents every Sunday night. Yes, as his American parent I made him go! The Ridgeview family showered him with love. I'm tearing up as I write this. I'll never forget several of our students at Blue Ridge High School invited him to sit with them at lunch and really included him in the social scene. Day after day, week after week, month after month, Ong lived among our family and watched our church intently. He was very quiet and shy. There were times Ong and myself ate breakfast together in the kitchen and after my, "Good morning, Ong," not a lot more was said. But, through it all, God was working through His Spirit, through His Word, and through His people in Ong's life.

I'll never forget a Sunday night as I pulled into the driveway to drop him off for the Ridgestudents gathering. He asked me, "Can I be a Christian and a Buddhist as well?" We sat in my car for at least thirty minutes as I shared the gospel with him and gave him the opportunity to respond. Ong was not ready yet to give full allegiance to Christ. But the seed of the gospel was planted in his heart.

I share that story with you because that's a very small way that I can be radical for the sake of 4.5 billion people who are lost without Christ. It's a drop in the bucket, but it's a start. Did it cost our family financially? Yes. Did it mean I lost some of my free time? Yes. Did it mean we lost some of our privacy? Yes. But these were small sacrifices to pay. Our family gained so much more. Jesus says in Luke 14:33, "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

I want to warn you that this Radical series we begin Sunday will challenge you with the question, "Am I really a disciple of Jesus Christ?" It is going to make you uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. It is going to make you question some things in your life. But we must grapple with the question: Do we believe this book? And if we believe the Bible, then we must look at it with fresh eyes and evaluate what it says with our current way of life and our obedience to the clear commands of Christ.

Radical series begins this Sunday. I'm praying God would use this series mightily so His glory and fame would be spread throughout our lives and our community and our world.

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