·         Draw people closer to God through meekness. Choose to imitate the meekness through which Jesus won over people: He was incredibly strong, yet He didn’t express that power in the form of arrogant control. Instead, Jesus chose to direct His power toward humble service to others so that people could see real love in action. Rather than trying to force religious dogma on people, choose to meekly show them God’s powerful love in action. Humbly listen to others, learn about their lives, and serve them without taking a morally superior stance toward them. Keep in mind that you need God’s grace just as much as others do. Ask God to help you become a person who is accessible, approachable, and inspiring to spiritual seekers.

·         Find Jesus wherever you go. Rather than just looking for Jesus only in church, start to notice Him with you wherever you go – at work, at home, while you’re out with friends or running errands, etc. Pray for a better ability to recognize Jesus with you in every situation you encounter. Reach out to people who don’t currently attend church, doing your best to be the church to them by loving them and inspiring them to seek Jesus.

·         Show mercy to sinners. Since God is constantly showing mercy to you even though you sin regularly, ask Him to help you show mercy to the people around you who sin (which will encourage them seek God more because of His love flowing through you), rather than judging and condemning them (which will only alienate them). Rely on God’s help to obey His command to forgive the people who hurt you. When you see people celebrate Communion in church, don’t judge them as unworthy if you know about sin in their lives; remember that God is the only one who can correctly judge people.

·         Become a peacemaker. Help the people around you find peace with God, within themselves, and with other people. Ask God to show you the specific ways in which He wants you to use your resources (time, energy, money, talents, skills, etc.) to bring peace to people who need more peace (from people you see regularly, like your family members and coworkers, to people you happen to meet, like people who are waiting in line with you somewhere). As you help bring God’s peace into other people’s lives, God will break down religious barriers and help them get to know Jesus in new ways that will change their lives for the better.

Adapted from Sacrilege: Finding Life in the Unorthodox Ways of Jesuscopyright 2011 by Hugh Halter. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com.     

Hugh Halter is a church planter, pastor, consultant, and missionary to the United States. He is the national director of Missio (http://www.missio.us/) and is the lead architect of Adullam, a congregational network of missional communities in Denver, Colorado. Visit him on the web at: http://hughhalter.com/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.comto send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: December 5, 2011