Written by Linda Noah, Petros Network Executive Director:
My husband, Ray Noah, and I have been leading in our local church, Portland Christian Center, as well as overseeing the ministry of Petros Network. Our schedules have been grueling, and we felt it was time for us to set the stage for growth, and some healthy balance in our own lives.
As part of that process, the Petros Network Board of Directors (see Board Announcement) recently formalized me (Linda Noah) as Petros Network’s Executive Director. Ray will remain active as our Founder. Both weighted and delighted with this new responsibility, I have found myself pondering about what really pleases the heart of God.
WHAT PLEASES THE HEART OF GOD
Our experiences in the developing world through Petros Network has impacted our view of the ministry of the local church significantly. Without question, we have seen God move in extraordinary ways — in miracles, signs and wonders — transforming individuals, families, entire communities, and even influencing the nations.
The Petros Network Movement has painted a vivid picture in our hearts of what the local church should look like, what pleases God's heart, and what the Kingdom Life can be here on earth.
This vivid picture of God-at-work has fueled our belief that the local church is truly the hope of the world. It has also fueled our beliefs on what God finds bless-able.
WE HAVE TWO EYES BUT MANY VIEWS
As people we may all have two eyes, but there are many views and various ways good Christian people believe we should be living out faith, according to scripture, in the public arena. One camp leans into calling out of sin and creating dividing lines between sinners and the sinless, and another camp leans into demonstrating loving-kindness, without compromise of the Truth, and trying to be bridge-builders and people of peace:
- What view pleases the heart of God?
- What is our role as we live out our faith and honor God?
- Is there too much love and not enough rebuke?
- What did Jesus do while He was here on earth and how do we model that today?
- More importantly, how would Jesus want us to respond to people who are different than us?
These are important questions to ponder as we consider our witness around the world.
AS A CHRISTIAN, CAN YOU SHOW TOO MUCH LOVING-KINDNESS?
The Bible is clear on what it takes to have eternal life, and a life of sin is not on the checklist. We are to live holy lives unto God, and as Christ’s ambassadors call people to turn from a life of sin and be reconciled to Jesus. However, HOW we lead people to repentance can look and sound very loving.
2 Timothy 4:2 challenges us to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort [and here is the HOW] with great patience and instruction.”
FOR PETROS NETWORK, THIS IS WHAT LOVING-KINDNESS LOOKS LIKE:
We have witnessed first-hand the brutality of pagan religions and traditional cultural practices in the developing world.
When we express Truth with loving-kindness, we confront the validity of harsh belief systems and provide an alternative of a life with Christ overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galations 5:22).
As proclaimers of the Gospel, our greatest energies will lean to speak Truth with love and equip leaders to be people of peace in unreached communities, sharing the Good News of Jesus to those communities, and calling people to a life in Christ.
KNOWN AS, “THE KIND RELIGION”
In a recent sermon, Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit – The Gift of Kindness, my husband, Ray Noah, shared about loving-kindness.
“Interestingly, kindness in the Greek is “chrestos.” (Mt. 11:30, sweet, easy, mellow) It’s just one letter different from the Greek, “christos,” the word for Christ. In the first century, chrestos and christos were often confused, which led the Romans to think Christians were simply those who believed in kindness. So Christianity was tagged as the “kind religion.”
In reality, it was true: their kindness was so palpable and compelling that by the third century, this upstart sect had won over a hostile world empire. That’s the power of kindness!”
The kind religion — what a thing to be confused with! What would happen if instead of posturing and positioning, arguing and complaining we began to engage in a healthy lifestyle of loving-kindness? What if we chose to light a candle over rebuking the darkness? What if instead of ‘powering up’ we took on the very nature of Christ and humbled ourselves?
AND THIS IS WHAT LOVING-KINDNESS LOOKS LIKE IN OUR MINISTRY:
- Training and empowering local missionary church planters to know God’s Word, proclaim God’s word, and create Redemptive Lift in unreached communities in tangible ways.
- Calling indigenous people to turn from pagan beliefs into a new life in Jesus.
- Launching a thriving church community within walking distance of every person.
- Creating and demonstrating Redemptive Lift at work in the lives of individuals, families, churches, communities, and even entire nations! Read our Transformational Stories.
- Caring for the poor, especially those who cannot care for themselves like widows and orphans.
- Feeding the hungry through farming initiatives and supplying emergency food, water, and basic supplies.
- Improving healthcare through the TESFA Medical Clinic and mobile medical teams in rural, underserved areas.
- Lifting the youth of communities through sports education.
- Providing leadership and discipleship materials in print and on digital devices.
- Educating out of poverty children and adults through online learning, traditional classrooms, and select adult learning initiatives.
May the Lord help us to call people from a life of sin and destruction to a life of freedom in Jesus through the truth of His Word and our acts of loving-kindness.
Perhaps we will be so fortunate that the unreached communities we serve in and call to a life in Christ (christos) may confuse us as the kind (chrestos) ones. With that, how can you extend Christ’s loving-kindness around the world?
GIVE TO WHERE MOST NEEDED
I want to reach the world with the Good News of Jesus by equipping Petros Network with resources — including personnel, materials, support services, and more — to respond to every opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ around the world.