Saturday, March 04, 2006


Another awesome post from John over at Ginkworld

by john o'keefe

if I were to offer to you a fantastic, once in a life time opportunity where you could not loss at all - and you needed to do was act right now - no waiting, right now - what would you do? - what would you say? if your like most of us you would take the advise we have been given most of our lives - "if it's too good to be true - it is" or, "if you have to accept right now, without investigation - don't, there is always a catch" good advise, right? after all, we have all heard the stories of being ripped-off; real-estate investments turned sour; stock market fraud; investor rip-offs; we have heard them all and we are very cautious of anything that "sounds too good to be true." we all know this, and we teach it to our kids; if we know this, why do we as a church tell people - "accept Christ today, you never know what will happen tomorrow; eternal live is waiting for you, and if you wait too long the deal is off." this comes from our being told - "witness" to people - it is the "great commission."

the word "witness" is a noun - it is defined as a "person who gives evidence or testimony" what I find interesting is the fact that nowhere in scripture does it tell us to only witness - we are to help make disciple - that requires something different, something stronger, some thing more, something like - "withnessing."

the word "with" is a preposition (prepositions are words that connect the noun and the action taking place) which means "in the company of, among, as an addition to, because of, in the same direction of, at the same time, on the same side." "ness" being a suffix that relates to a condition of being, action or behavior. so, a withness is one that is in the condition of being with, the action of being with or the behavior of being with. - a withness is one who takes a person along a faith journey, and helps them see how faith will work in their lives. it is the same system that Jesus used with the disciples, and the disciples used with each other, and others. it does require a bit of involvement on the part of all believers. because, as i believe, sharing our faith is a requirement of all who claim to be followers of Christ. they key for me is the driving force behind the sharing of our faith.

in john 2:38-39 Jesus is approached by his first disciples. when they asked where he lived, Jesus replied - "come and see." now Jesus could have taken out the scripture and quoted all the scripture that told of who he was, and what was going to happen - but he did not. what he said was - "come with me and I will show you a way of life that which rock your world." that is what we care called to do with those seeking to know God and to see who Jesus is in their lives.

now I will be the first to admit that being a witness is a whole lot easier then being a withness - but being a withness is so much more fulfilling - it will rock your world. to be a withness here are some of the major points you need to know -

being a withness requires you to invest emotionally into creating a true and honest friendship with those you walk with. you must get to know the person you are walking with, and they need to get to know you - faults and all. your walk must not be based on any other motive but to know the person - so, if you are wanting to know people to "share the faith" or "grow your church" you are coming to the table with a motive - and your friendship will stop as soon as you achieve your goal. if we look at churches, and the people who have left, we find that many leave because they fell like a number - to truly be with someone means you desire to know them and will be their friend no matter what.

being a withness requires a great deal of time, and possible resources. a true withness is one you can call at 3:00 am and ask for a ride home, and they come to get you - no questions asked. if you get a call at 1:30am from a friend and they are drunk - do you go and pick them up? do you do it and give them a lecture on the evils of drink? of do you pick them up, take them home and check on them the next day - just to make sure they are all right?

being a withness requires you go beyond self, and enter the selfless. if you dislike a person, for what ever reason, that is the person you need to approach - you need to know the unloved, and love the unknown. you need to put aside your ideas of what is and is not a "good christian" and get dirty - all are called to serve and to be humble in that service.

being a withness requires that you build community - home groups, cell groups, study groups - it does not matter what you call them, the idea is the same - build community where people are invited to join and encouraged to grow. it means you open your home to all who desire to enter - all - even the unclean and the hurting.

being a withness requires that we stop being check book people, and start being date book people. stop writing check to some group to feed the hungry - get out there and help feed the hungry; stop writing checks to "help those in need" - get dirty and help those in need.

withnessing is a way of helping people see Christ in you, and knowing that you are in Christ. it is not "doing good deeds" - it is helping to change lives in community while going beyond self limits and allowing God to alter who you are at your core - withnessing is faith in action. withnessing is not trying to "make a christian" it is "being christian."

withnessing will cause you pain and it will get you dirty - but if we tell people that a relationship with Christ has truly changed our lives, we must be willing to show that it truly has. it is not just stating facts, or giving tracts - it is helping and committing to people in the love of Christ. the idea that sharing our faith is the call of just a "called few" is so not the way it truly is - we are all called to share our faith - and sometimes we just might have to use words - but when our faith is so much a part of who we are, we share our lives with others - and our faith comes out in our walk.


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