Sunday, February 26, 2017

Share God with Others…..Let one count the way(s)

Post by: Frank Oligmueller

While sitting in one of our recent Sunday services and listening to a brief announcement by a parishioner, our churches core mission was verbalized - Worship God, Grow with God and Share God with Others. I believe one of God’s primary purposes is for us to have a relationship with Him and each other, particularly through our salvation in Jesus Christ and the help of the Spirit living in us. Relationship is defined to be a connection by blood or marriage or a condition of being related. For all intent and purposes, it primarily involves having a physical interaction.

As our country has transitioned into, what you might say, a new experience of Presidential behavior including tweets, a growing examination of social media’s impact and moral responsibilities, and sometimes just puzzling whether news and information is being publicized for truth or merely sensationalizing opinions on events, the Share God with Others portion struck a thought of how this statement is being played out within the communication fabrics of this world. The fabrics of communication can involve anything from focused physical interaction to use of a social media platform for broad sharing with all in the chain of connections.

Sharing God with others can be applied to us within the walls as well as outside the walls and involve any method of communication. So, one question that could be asked is – does a method of sharing matter more than others?

If we look at the New Testament, there are two key communication methods used. One is by way of direct contact. This is exemplified by the territory covered by Jesus. Physically travelling primarily within the regions of Judea, Samaria and Galilee and engaging people in person. Another example is then by Paul, and the Disciples that took their testimony to Asia Minor, Greece, Rome and further. The second method displayed is via written letters by Paul, Peter, and others. And, the yet subsequent missionaries to other corners of the world. Given its timeframe, it would easily be surmised that those were used due to the known and available technology at the time. Advance 2000+ years, there is now the electronic age of emails, facebook, texting, and growing for communicating electronically. However, though faster, is this method more effective versus physical/direct engagement methods used many years ago?

We have seen evidence that the former methods of communication were effective by the mere fact that it established Christianity to build and take hold to this day. Infusing use of technological advances (not including voice since that is a form of direct contact) has helped become an enabler of the electronic communication methods to more quickly and more broadly emphasize Christian beliefs and personal stories to re-enforce what had already started hundreds of years ago with non-electronic means. In the definition sense, does a relationship exist or more importantly is it maintained via electronic methods?

I asked a member from my small group what their preferences are in sharing God with others. Her response was to primarily take action first, then, if needed, to share by a verbal interaction. These methods were inherent for how Jesus and his disciples shared God with others and thereby built relationships so fundamental to God’s desire. And, in the New Testament, there were several examples of when a physical encounter was given testimony (sharing God with others) to others causing a growth of believers. One of the many instances, is the case of the Samaritan women’s conversation with Jesus and later her testimony to others in the village.

Given the Bible provides us examples and guidelines for living our lives, we can’t ignore the impact of physical communication methods and its effectiveness. The electronic technology, though having its value to share and connect, lacks the ability to create and maintain relationships as God intended. I can repeat a verse I have submitted before - Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hallow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” At times I find myself deflated a bit from the aspect of having and then not having what I felt was a relationship. After my finding/having a wonderful relationship with a brother and/or sister in Christ but had, overtime, faded into a myriad of electronic exchanges because one or both sides couldn’t find the time to maintain the relationship. God has called us to be out to be face to face or voice to voice and not constantly behind and interface.

In Sharing God with Others, be careful not to let the ability of technology over take the ability (and opportunity) to build and maintain relationships.

I grew up in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. After finishing my Computer Science degree at University California - Irvine, I eventually moved back to Colorado with my wife. Over the past 32 years, I have worked in both the aerospace and commercial industries with my degree getting many opportunities to grow in my professional life. However, there always seemed a gap in the growth of my spiritual life. That gap has began to fill measurably since my attendance and involvement at BUMC for which I praise God to have brought us at a key time of our lives. Outside major interests include playing hockey, but time and the physical ability has been an increasing challenging, planning a yearly 14er climb and trips to Disney - most favorably - Walt Disney World. However, I love spending anytime and anywhere with my wife, family and friends. All the while - inviting Christ with me.

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