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inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ “The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’” Can anyone read such words and somehow miss Jesus’ intent that His followers be best known for their serving? He told them that their individual greatness would be measured by this seemingly upside-down scale and that their connection to Him would be revealed by their love. So how could Christianity possibly be known for anything else? Indeed, can you really be following a servant if you’re not serving? Sadly, modern Christianity has, at times, demonstrated other priorities, at least in the Western world. Recent cha ri s masbe m

decades have witnessed the sharp voices of many evangelicals without ever experiencing the help of their hands and feet. Moral issues have provided available battlegrounds, and some have charged forward carelessly, apparently unaware that their methods were triggering minefields that left even their own testimony damaged and scarred. For others, their Christian “life” seems primarily lived in only a few hours each week. Their worship expression has yet to produce any observable measure of obedience to the commands of Christ. Instead, theirs is a faith neatly kept in its proper compartment and accessed primarily for personal benefit. Jesus dealt with similar ideas in the early days with His disciples. It took a while for those future apostles to grasp that Christ’s kingdom was more about “Him and them” than a divine strategy for achieving their not-so-divine agendas. But all that is changing. Yes, there remain a good number of vitriolic voices, and self-centeredness has hardly been eradicated from the evangelical community. Still, there is much evidence of an awakening to the mission of Christ and the amazing potential that serving offers to that

mission. Projects of every scope and size are finding ready partners among Christ followers as they recognize the essential connection between Jesus’ method and His mission. In Wichita, Kansas, a growing group of pastors and their congregations have mobilized across their denominational lines to partner in an effort to restore their collective name in their community. After years of highly publicized battles between the political ropes of their city and state over the issues of abortion and gambling, these worship communities recognized that some methods had left their relationship with city leaders and public opinion in ruins. For nearly a decade now, their new effort—LOVE Wichita—has sought to change all that. “I don’t want our city to hear any more from us until they have seen our heart for them,” one prominent pastor stated. So thousands of Christians from dozens of local churches annually unite for a weekend of serving projects throughout the city. The mayor and other city leaders help build the list of needs, and Christians descend on these challenges, giving the necessary time and resources to revitalize neighborhoods, parks, local schools and much more. Elsewhere, a megachurch pastor helps 2 01 6 | C H A RI S M A ’S B E ST


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