Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest: Chad Young, author of Authenticity

“Good News, Good Deeds”  by Chad Young
 “Recognizing that my calling had been given by God, James, Peter and John – the pillars of the church – shook hands with me and Barnabas, assigning to us a ministry to the non-Jews, while they continued to be responsible for reaching out to the Jews. The only additional thing they asked was that we remember the poor, and I was already eager to do that.” (Galatians 2:9-10 from The Message)
        I find it interesting that the leaders of the early church assigned Paul the task of reaching out to the Gentiles both by sharing the gospel and by remembering the poor. Sometimes the church does one or the other really well, but it often fails to do both. We can help the needy with physical needs without sharing the good news that Christ died for our sins, but we aren’t addressing their deepest spiritual need for a relationship with God. On the flipside, if we share the gospel but don’t help the poor, we don’t truly love people the way God intended.
       This past summer, I led a mission project in Charleston, SC.  Each Saturday morning, I was joined by 70 college students as I attempted to minister to families in low-income areas of Charleston.  We handed out free groceries, cooked hamburgers and hot dogs, and played with the children from the neighborhood. Anytime one meets someone with needs far greater than their own, the experience is memorable.  On one occasion, however, one of our helpers, “Bill,” a rising sophomore at the College of Charleston, made a comment that really impacted me.
         When Bill introduced himself, he said, “I’m an agnostic, and I’m trying to learn all I can about all of the religions so I can make an intellectual choice regarding which religion is true. This is my fourth week coming out here with you guys. I came to help the poor, but I really like what you are doing. It seems that Christianity involves putting your faith into action. I plan on continuing to be involved.”
        When we put our faith into action, others take notice. This is the kind of faith we were created to have, and this is the kind of lifestyle many people like Bill are searching for. Why do you think the Jerusalem apostles stressed that Paul “remember the poor” (2:10)? Does your personal life reflect the importance of this?
        Spend some time reflecting on this passage and confessing any sins these verses reveal in your life. What are changes you need to make in how you spend your time or money? Thank God that he’s always provided for you – beyond just your needs. Ask him to guide you and direct you on where you should invest your time and finances. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

About the Author:
Chad Young is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World, available at Amazon.  As Campus Crusade for Christ’s director for the South Carolina Lowcountry with a scope of 25 college campuses and 70,000 students, Chad resides in Charleston, SC, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children: Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn and Josilynn. He holds an undergraduate degree from Clemson University and a graduate degree from Georgia Tech; Chad worked in the paper industry for 6 years before going into full-time ministry. He has served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ for 9 years and has also written a discipleship training manual. He has a passion for helping students learn what it means to have an authentic relationship with Christ.