Not Only the Gospel
Over the next several months we will be telling stories of the extraordinary work of God in normal people's lives. You will also get the chance to know some of our pastors and staff as they share their stories. If you have a story about how God is working in your life that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you and celebrate together.
Stories: Micah Vasko
Growing up, there was not a period of my life where people were not in my house, hanging out, playing with me and my siblings, meeting for Bible studies, eating dinner with us or even living with us. For me, this was totally normal. As my dad, Todd Vasko, is one of the leaders of Medical Campus Outreach (MCO), these were the people we were naturally around. I just did not realize how different it was for them to be in our house seemingly 24/7 or really even why they were there.
Showing Them Jesus
As I grew older, I began to repeatedly hear phrases from my dad such as "life-on-life discipleship" and "discipleship in the context of community". Slowly I began to see that the whole point of having all of these students in our home was for the purpose of showing them Jesus. Further, my dad began to talk about 1 Thessalonians 2:8 all of the time, which says, "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us."
As I began to compare this idea to what I was seeing in the church at large, I began to conclude that this verse and way of living is not the norm. I began to see that to the American culture and even to the culture of American churches, this is a radical way of living - to be willing to give our lives and not just the gospel. However, God calls us in this verse first to share the gospel (which is hard enough in itself), and second to give them our lives. This is where the concept of life-on-life discipleship comes from - the idea that I do not simply tell someone the gospel and how to live, but I bring them into my life to show them as I serve them.
A Glorious Picture of the Gospel
While difficult, this all sounds pretty awesome. Imagine if Christians all over the world brought people into their own homes and gave them both the gospel and their own lives. However, if we stop here, we are missing the most important part. I remember the worst argument my family ever had, and the entire time a little medical student sat in the corner, watching it all. It seemed like the worst testimony ever for us to give to her, a Christian family who had brought in this young woman, struggling with life-threatening issues, falling apart and reigned by sin before her eyes. But out of the mess, we saw not the failure of the gospel, but instead a glorious picture of the gospel. She came from a family in which any sort of argument was subdued at all costs, in which sin and wrongdoing were rarely if ever acknowledged. But here, amidst my family's extreme brokenness, she saw my dad, in tears, come to our family and repent for how he had sinned while leading us to do the same.
Letting People In
What is the gospel? It is that Christ came to save broken sinners and has covered us with his blood. We are evil and have forsaken God, but he redeems us by his blood - and this is what my dad had in mind when he would talk about giving our lives to people. He was not expecting to show them how Jesus makes us perfect--as we so often try to do by throwing up a façade that says, "I have it together now because of Jesus". Instead, he had committed our family to showing students the gospel by letting them in to see just how broken we are and just how awesome God is in saving sinners like us. This is far from comfortable and opposite of what our culture tells us we should look like - but this is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Boasting in Our Weakenesses
So here is my challenge to us as a church: What would happen if we each committed ourselves and our families to giving people both the gospel and our very lives - all of our lives - to show them what Jesus has done. This would not only change the way people view or think about Christians, but more importantly it would help them understand how loving, gracious, and powerful Jesus is to save messes such as us. Let Jesus work through you to show people the gospel. Not only by your strengths, but even more through your weaknesses. As 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." If we give people our lives as we boast in our weakness, much will be made of God's power and his grace will be put on display to a world that has no hope without it. That is my challenge: Let us tear down the façade of perfection that we all put up, and instead show to the world how absolutely amazing and awesome Christ is in saving wretches like us.
To learn more about what the Lord is doing through Micah and the Generation LINK residency program, visit generationlink.org/charleston - or if you would like to learn more about Medical Campus Outreach CHS, visit mcocharleston.org