MODULE 8 RESOURCES
ASSIGNMENT: Read the essay, “Finding a Person of Peace” below.
Finding a Person of Peace
By Phil Wiseman
In Luke 10, Jesus sends seventy of his followers out to proclaim the kingdom of God. He warns them that some people will not receive their message, while others will receive it. Jesus refers to those who accept the message as “sons of peace.” If they find such a “person of peace,” Jesus instructs them to stay and do ministry among them. However, if someone doesn’t receive them, Jesus is clear that they should move on. After all, receiving the gospel is a work of the Holy Spirit, and it’s not our job to force people to believe.
Finding your “person of peace,” therefore, is crucial. A person of peace is simply someone who is open to what you have to say about God. Mike Breen writes that “A Person of Peace is one who is prepared to hear the message of the kingdom and the King.” They are happy to talk to you about things that may lean toward the spiritual. They are someone who may not know God, yet doesn’t have a wall up either. It seems that Jesus teaches his followers to simply go with those people instead of spinning our wheels trying to reach those who don’t want to hear it.
This understanding of evangelism can be quite helpful. It makes it clear that our job is not to convert people—that’s God’s job. Rather, our job is to be aware of those who are already sensitive to God’s stirring. In evangelism, God does the work for us! We just have to have eyes and ears that are open to what God is doing.
So how do we find a “person of peace?” We have a great example of this in the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:25–40:
After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News. As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, "Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and walk along beside the carriage." Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" The man replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?" So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Look! There's some water! Why can't I be baptized?" He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.
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ASSIGNMENT: Read the essay, “Making Room,” located below.
By Megan Koch, revised by Jake Thurston
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” —Romans 12:13
“Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” —Hebrews 13:1-3
“That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead—so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit. The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.” — 1 Peter 4:6-9
The Gospel is the good news that God’s kingdom has come through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who now rules over all. Because of Christ’s work, we are now forgiven for our rebellion against God, justified as righteous, granted eternal life, and can grow in holiness. And if that weren’t enough, we are welcomed into the family of God, the fellowship of believers known as the Church. We’re in.
Evangelism happens every time we invite someone into life with Jesus. Because we now experience the fullness of grace and love that comes from being a part of his family, then we get to make room for everybody else to join in, too. We are so flooded with Christ’s goodness, grace, power, majesty, joy, and love, that we want to invite everyone we possibly can to be a part of his Church. When they come to Jesus, they don’t just get a new “religious status” on Facebook or start changing their habits. They’re adopted into the family. God’s family, to be exact. They’re no longer an outsider. They’re in.
ASSIGNMENT: Practice hospitality. This week the disciple will take deliberate steps to practice hospitality. Choose the path(s) you will take and come ready to discuss your experiences with your discipler at your next meeting. Choose one practice, or all three, or commit to another specific step God seems to be nudging you toward. Choosing just one is fine, but ask yourself, “Could I do all three?” If no, why not?
PRACTICE 1: PRAY
Marjorie Thompson explains that, “When we intercede for others in prayer, we welcome them into our inmost sanctuary of compassion. We participate in the spacious hospitality of God’s grace for each person. Since hospitality has a special place for the stranger, praying for our enemies (inside or outside the church) is a most fitting expression of the heart’s hospitality.” Who will you intercede for daily for one week?
PRACTICE 2: CROSS THE THRESHOLD
Alan Hirsch writes, “If every Christian family in the world simply offerred good conversational hospitality around a table once a week to neighbors we would eat our way into the kingdom of God.”
Identify someone in your life who feels like an “other”, where some sort of invisible
barrier exists between you, and invite them across your threshold (figuratively or hopefully, even literally). Reach out to them and offer a meal or coffee, and then simply just talk together. The gesture does not need to be grand, just genuine. Break that invisible barrier in the name of Jesus. If the first one or two people you invite refuse you or can’t make it, find someone else.
PRACTICE 3: MAKE ROOM FOR GENEROSITY
Ask God if there is any way you are withholding generosity from someone by not giving what you can. Where are you keeping extras for yourself instead of sharing with those who don’t have access to what you do? How can you make more room for generosity?
ASSIGNMENT: In preparation for Module 9: Justice & Mercy, watch the “Shalom” video below.
Shalom video, by The Bible Project