“Sometimes it is necessary to talk about something before you can talk about it.”
– Colonel William Bayles, USA, Retired
You have probably heard us talking about the importance of Creating Access – it is time to start talking about it! In February we will launch our church family into a prayer journey to consider what God is calling us to give in order to Create Access to the good news of Jesus.
Paul says the following to the church in Ephesus about how Jesus Created Access,
“And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have ACCESS in one Spirit to the Father. So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,” (Ephesians 2:17-21 – emphasis mine).
Our human nature calls us to focus on those who are near – our neighbors who look like us AND talk like us AND share our same values AND eat the same food as us AND… But this text calls us to the mandate and mission of Christ Himself to Create Access for not only these people but also those people. We too were once “those people” but were brought near to God through Jesus and became the family of God – the household of faith. Who are “those people” for our church? Who are the strangers and the aliens who need to be given access to the whole gospel of who Jesus is? How have we hindered access instead of Creating Access?
I am reminded to what great lengths four friends went to Create Access for a disabled friend. In the people’s excitement to hear and see Jesus, they had created an obstacle that hindered the least of these from gaining access. In a desire to Create Access, these four men lifted their friend to the roof of the house, ripped a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down, through the hole in the roof, so that he too would have access to the good news of Jesus: The gospel of forgiveness and healing.
We need to Create Access for those people who don’t walk like us, look like us, or talk like us but are right outside our doors. This includes building a ramp, creating restrooms that are accommodating, a space that welcomes them, and a venue that speaks to “those people.” We are choosing not to ignore those far off as well, so we will also be Creating Access for the nations and those in other cities by giving to Alliance Missions and MidAmerica Church Multiplication efforts from those dollars given toward Creating Access for our neighbors, (10%).
I want to invite you to prayerfully consider how you could kickstart our initiative to Create Access today! Please consider also helping our church family kickstart this initiative by giving to a designated account for Creating Access – just click on the GIVE button at the top of this email. Some of you may be looking for ways to give non-cash assets (stock, annuities, property, etc.) in a manner that will protect your estate; visit www.OrchardAlliance.org. With over 100 years of serving Alliance Churches, they would love to help guide you in the gift planning process.
We have been talking about it so that we can finally talk about Creating Access for the whole gospel of Jesus for those who are near, and those who are far off. This is so much more than money, and I hope that you will joyfully participate in as many ways as possible in Creating Access to His gospel.