Summary: The third in the GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing)series and calls us to engage the culture.
GPS – Stage 2
* For much of my life I have been a trekkie! (That is, someone who follows the “Star Trek” saga). I was truly upset in 1969 when the original series was canceled and was excited when Deb & I went to see the First Movie in 1979. However, In 1987 I was a huge fan of Star Trek The Next Generation. One thing which caught my attention in that series was Captain Picard using the word “Engage”. Watch (Clip).
* This word “engage” is “engaging.” It calls us to get started, to put our feet to the fire, and get into motion. If you are in the arm forces and are given the order to “engage” the natural response is to get involved. I submit that for far too long, the church (this would be you and me) have been almost disengaged from the world, if we are disengaged we are disconnected, and if we are disconnected we have no influence. Watch how this works.
* In an over simplistic illustration, think about the lamp on your coffee table at home. You have a light bulb in the lamp, the lamp connected to the wall socket, the wall socket connected to the light switch on the wall, and the light switch is connected to the power meter on the house. Now, if you’ve paid your electric bill, the power flows through these connections and engages your light bulb which produces light. However, if any one of those connections is not complete then you are in the dark.
* As a child of God, we are ultimately connected to the power source of our Heavenly Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the power flowing in BUT if we remain unconnected to the culture then the power of love, forgiveness, and salvation never flows out resulting in no life change. Let consider the story which we have read and learn how to engage.
1. They discerned the ‘hot’ button of the crowd. – It would seem that Jesus looked, saw people, & knew these guys were hungry. It would seem to me that He seeing their need for food could serve us in symbolic fashion. It closely resembles Him seeing the woman at the well and offered her water. Jesus sees the most basic need that we have. While it is true that Jesus could and can see more clearly than we can, this story illustrates for us that Jesus is interested in people’s needs. Since we do not possess the under-standing which Jesus did & does, it is imperative that we spend time with, talking with, getting to know, & literally caring for people all around us.
* If you were planning on opening a business, would you seek to discover what kind of market you had? You would seek to discover what people would respond to, what they wanted, and more importantly, what they would put their money in. In fact, some people who desire to go into business check out the market to see what is “hot” and what’s ‘not.’ Then they build their business around the need.
Stage 2 – Engage – PG 2
* Here’s the question, do you actually know what it is that gets the attention of people in this community? Do you know what they would respond to more than anything else? Looking at the culture (as an outsider), I would say that at one time all the residents responded to something like a parade. While that is somewhat true today, do people still respond to a parade today like they did 30 years ago? When I was a teenager, attendance at gospel sings were ‘off the charts’! People came from miles around, stayed all day (and sometimes all night), and just hung out with people they didn’t know. The list can go on and on but here’s the point: Do we know what it is that ‘presses the button” of today’s crowd. The first step to engaging people is the find their hot button. Jesus did. He knew they were hungry & would respond to food.
2. They discussed the possibilities. – Look how Jesus works. He asked His disciples a question when He knew the answer. He asked them to test them, check them out, and let them see what they were made of. Even though Jesus ‘knew’, He wanted the gang to be involved so He asked, “Where will we buy bread to feed everybody?” Notice that He asked Philip and not Judas or Peter. Those two would have probably had a stroke. Had the disciples been Baptist they would have said, “We need to discuss this in the Finance Committee because it will be a HUGE expenditure. In fact, it’s not where can we buy the food, its how will we pay for it?” In fact, you get that kind of feeling from Philip’s answer. However, leave it to the Sons of Thunder to find a possibility. Andrew had been searching through the crowd to see who had food. All we found was a little boy with some loaves and fish but what was that among so many.