Have you ever seen someone standing or sitting in the middle of a crowd, who looks so alone?
The person in the crowded coffee shop, sitting all alone, gazing at their cup, and looking like they wish it would gaze back at them. Wishing anyone, anything, would gaze back at them.
So surrounded, yet so isolated.
Hearing so many voices, yet no one is talking to you.
Have you ever been that someone?
If there is one thing that has stood out to me this time in California, it has been the individualism of people, and the way that people keep to themselves.
Every time i see someone walking past me, i try to make eye contact, and say hi. It is SUPER easy in Indonesia, a little harder in Australia, but almost impossible here in California.
The crazy thing is, that when i do get to talk to someone, they are so friendly and really appreciate the conversation.
Yesterday i had a tour of Fuller Theological, I met many people, all who wanted to talk, I’d say it was because i was a safe option.
Student, Christian, visiting Fuller. That isn’t all that intimidating if you are also a student, and a Christian.
Yet trying to talk to someone over coffee in the local cafe, was a totally different story.
I tried talking to three people. They all acknowledged me, almost suspiciously, and then went back to their coffee, book, or food.
I’ve asked a few people why it is like that here, and they say this- “Most people in California are trying to sell you something, or use you for something.”
Fair call, I wouldn’t want to talk to a stranger who was trying to do that to me either.
The only thing is, my future is looking like it will be filled with a lot of conversations with strangers.
My family is soon moving here to Pastor. As a Pastor I won’t just be speaking to Christians in our church, but actively meeting and reaching people outside of the church. People that don’t see me as a safe option.
So what makes me think I can make a difference? After all, I’m basically trying to ‘sell’ them something too.
Love. Grace. Hope. Forgiveness. A relationship with God.
Maybe, just maybe, i will make a difference because what i am ‘selling’, is something that people actually want to ‘buy’.
I’m also not asking for money in return for what I’m ‘selling’ either, even though a decision to follow Christ cost’s your whole life- but you don’t give it to me, you give it to Him.
I think that maybe, just maybe, all these people around me, are actually looking for the hope and relationship, that I have.
I walked into a cafe today, and the lady asked me what I was doing here. I told her that I was moving here to Pastor. She said, “I thought that might be your thing”…
Maybe just maybe, my thing will expand and grow and one day be some other people’s thing too. Maybe, just maybe, people all around me will see that there is something different about those who have ‘my thing’, THE thing. That we have a relationship with God, that can change the world, theirs included.
My prayer is that God would build His church through me, as I humbly look for opportunities to shock people with the product I am offering, UNCONDITIONAL love.
I’m asking for nothing in return.
I’m just offering to others, the same gift that I received…
If you are a Christian, please join me in prayer. Thank you for your prayers, as we look to plant a church, and Pastor in the LA/Orange County area in 2014. May God use us, and you, to reach those who are surrounded by people, but for one reason or another, are all alone.
If you are not yet a Christian, do what someone involved in ‘The Simpsons” did.
Read John 3:16 and know that God so loved you, that He gave Jesus, so you can live forever in relationship with God, never to be alone again. You don’t have to be separated from God or others for eternity, but can spend eternity in relationship with God and others.