Is it True? Is it Real? Is it Good?

One of the highlights of staff conference for me (Sue) was learning more about reaching the hearts of people. We know that Jesus delivered the same good news in unique ways to each audience or individual based on his Father’s lead and what he intimately knew about each heart. One speaker named Josh Chen taught us the importance of following the Holy Spirit as we listen to discover what our audience is longing for. For example, there are different questions that each generation seems to care most about when it comes to the gospel and spiritual things. Baby Boomers (51-69 yr. olds) tend to ask, “Is it true?” For those asking this question (Baby Boomer or not), offering apologetic resources makes sense. Generation X (35-50yr. olds) most wants to know, “Is it real?” How would you answer that? If you interpreted the question, through your lens, to be the same as “Is it true?”, you’d probably offer arguments about absolute truth. But, “Is it real?” might actually require a more relational and vulnerable answer, right? Maybe a testimony about a time when you knew on a heart level that God interacted with you or intervened in your life. Then, there’s Millennials (18-34 yr. olds) who tend to want to know, “Is it good?” Speaker Sam Alberry, author of Is God Anti-Gay?, was asked by one man, “Why would I want to leave the best thing that’s ever happened to me (referring to a long term same-sex relationship) to follow Christ?” Sam, as a believer who has had to struggle with the same question in his life, was able to tell the young man how Jesus’ message and God’s plan for sexuality truly are GOOD NEWS.

We also have been given the challenge as believers to come alongside individuals with questions (not only from different generations, but cultures, races, lifestyles, and ethnicities) that leave them at a crossroads of choosing Christ or not. A speaker, named Hung Thach, (pictured below) who follows God in a culturally diverse urban high school ministry in California, emphasized that compassion is a must, especially as we relate to people who are different than us. And in order to get that kind of compassion, we must be personally willing to be close to suffering and present with others facing great suffering. This thought softened my heart and helped me receive, as a necessity, the ways that God has allowed me and people I hold dear, to experience proximity to the kind of suffering that tests our faith and puts us daily at our own crossroads of believing and trusting in God for the long haul or not.

I hope that you’ve been encouraged to reach others through the tidbits I’ve shared. There is so much more that we learned while we were out in Colorado. Thank you for making it possible for us to be there. If you want to check out some of the conference for yourself, you are welcome to listen in. Click here. I know you all long for God’s glory to be revealed to the world and those in your sphere of influence too. May God fill you with His Spirit and bless you with wisdom and compassion as you seek to make Him known.

Sam Alberry

Hung Thach

Columbus, OH Staff Team Reunion (minus my brother Bod who now serves with a ministry called Joni & Friends)

The High School Ministry celebrated its 50th birthday this summer!

Danny and I enjoyed some climbing in Colorado.

Forced smiles at 6:30 AM for Mom on the first day of school 2017-2018.

Mandi trying to teach Tim how to march her spot in the Timber Creek High School Marching Band.

Mandi celebrated her 15th birthday by getting her learner’s permit.

Josh Chen