A Conversational Challenge

book imageMany of you know that Sean and I lead our church’s college ministry. We meet on Sunday evenings, and this semester we are going over the topic of community using the book Compelling Community by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop. Last night was our first meeting of the semester, and this morning I’ve been able to really think through some of the questions the book raised for the first chapter and the discussion we had last night.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking through this question, “What do you talk about with other church members outside of church? To what extent do casual conversations differ from what you’d expect to hear in a local bar/neighborhood picnic/Little League game?”

I hope you take a minute to think through that question for yourself. Do you think the conversations should be different? Do you think it’s okay if they are the same? Do you know what it even looks like to have a conversation with a church member outside of the church?

For our group last night the consensus seemed to be that while our conversations are genuine, there are often times where the conversations are the same – you might ask about their lives, their families, their work, their hobbies, the weather, upcoming events, etc. And that in those questions it doesn’t need a “Christian” answer.

And then I read this today: “I am afraid that a whole lot of functional atheism exists in the church of Jesus Christ. I am afraid that we often live as if there is no God and it’s all on us. … I can’t tell you how many times in counseling I have heard people – people who seem to have a rather well-developed theology – recount their stories but omit God from them entirely.” (from Awe by Paul David Tripp).

And this stood out to me. How often do we allow the mundane to omit the work of the Lord? How often do we ignore that God is at work in our families, at our work, and is moving all things together in upcoming events? When someone asks how your family is doing does it cross your mind that there is a spiritual side to them? Is your view of God that He is present even in the ordinary?

Tripp goes on to say, “Every hope you have as a believer is rooted in the glory of God that Isaiah [40] reveals. … So because of this vision, you don’t live a two-drawer existence, filing all the real-life things in one drawer and all the spiritual-life things in another. You have only on drawer called life. Everything goes in that drawer. Where does Isaiah 40 fit? Well, it’s not another drawer. Isaiah 40 is a pair of glasses that you put on so that you can read and understand everything in your life drawer. Only when you wear the glasses of Isaiah 40 can you understand yourself, others, meaning and purpose, right and wrong, identity, morality, history, and the future properly. If awe of God is not at the center of your worldview, you will look at nothing properly.”

Wow. I am convicted. But my conviction is leading me to admit my failings. As I think back on the question first posed, I realize that my view of God is so incredibly low. So low that I don’t even include Him in what I consider ordinary. And my admittance of my failings leads me to desire change. My entire life should be so drenched in my awe of God that whenever someone asks me about it, they can’t leave without getting wet.

So I want to challenge myself, with you as my witness, to make my conversations stand out. This will only happen by elevating my view of God and seeing Him involved in all aspects of my life.

This week, ask me about my family. Ask me about my job. Ask me about the weather. And challenge me to remember and community the awesomeness of God in my conversations.


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