One action verb most clearly describes all our work with Cru. What is it? Drum roll please….
Without splitting hairs over a strict definition of the word, to invite is to take action and reach out to people – offering and encouraging them in a compelling way to participate in something extremely good.
Our day to day activities with Cru are varied. You may hear about us hosting a conference, maintaining complex technical systems, training missionaries in digital methods for ministry, blessing people through prayer, equipping volunteers to reach people for Christ or developing new tools for volunteers. Yet the core of our mission everyday is to be about the business of inviting.
We can only invite people to Jesus. We can not change people’s hearts. That happens after the invitation is accepted.
But the invitation to Jesus is rich and deep, not shallow. And the “invitation list” includes more than non-believers outside the church. Here are just a few possible results for anyone who might respond to the Grand Invitation:
Salvation and Life for Your Soul
Isaiah 55 – Six times within three short verses, the Lord, speaking through Isaiah, passionately invites “everyone who thirsts” to come to Him. “Come and drink.” If perhaps we don’t feel thirsty, hungry or recognize our desperate need for God, the author makes it very clear: Here is why we need Him: “that your soul may live.”(vs 3)
It’s an invitation that brings life to sinful, dead people. And even more so, it’s an invitation that leads thirsty people to three different types of drinks that truly satisfy. Compare your favorite energy drink to this combo and there will be no comparison:
You’re invited! Come and drink…
1) Water = Life (water or “waters” are symbolic of life)
2) Wine = Joy (symbolic drink of fullness of joy with a pure heart)
3) Milk = Strength (symbolic drink of spiritual health and sustenance – providing growth for the believer)
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.” Isaiah 55:1-3
Jesus proclaimed himself as the complete fulfillment of this Grand Invitation. He is also the One doing the inviting:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
Renewal and Healing
Our soul thirsts for Living Water that can not only save us, but also heal us. No one can make it through life without suffering a wounded heart. Because our hearts are wounded and broken, we can’t fully respond to the the Grand Invitation without healing, renewal and a shedding of hindrances that strangle our growth.
Thank the Lord, we are invited to a place of healing and rest:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Abundant Life and Dependence on Holy Spirit
The beauty of living with Jesus here on earth is that it is HIS life lived through us. Living the Christian life in full obedience and limitless faith is impossible for me – but not so for the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, we can have full access to the joy and power we were originally designed for (before the Fall).
Jesus invited us to an abundant life (John 10:10) and promised that our dependence and hope in Him will never “put us to shame” (Romans 5:5). For more on this, see our previous posts on this topic.
Exciting Opportunities to Give of Ourselves
When we’re invited by the King of Kings, we realize we’re not worthy. Only by grace do we have this honor. In response, we joyfully look for ways to serve – to offer ourselves (Rom 12:1-2) to God.
We love because He first loved us. As He uses us as His instruments, we get to fully demonstrate His amazing love by inviting others to step closer to Him. This is what our ministry is all about. However, we aren’t designed to do it alone.
The Grand Invitation means that we serve Him together with you – our ministry partners. We fully share the Grand Invitation with you – both the benefits of being invited and the exciting thrill of being a servant who helps the Master invite others.
So when we invite you to join us as a partner in ministry, it’s a rich invitation. Ultimately it’s not an invitation from David & Shannon. It’s from Him. It is not an invitation to pray and give so David & Shannon can get by and get on with their life. Our funding needs are real, but our invitation to you is not merely to get us to the summit of Mt. Fully Funded. It’s an invitation to “come to Him,” to “buy from Him” and to be a part of His wonderful business of inviting.
The Lord invites us all to truly live and not die separated from Him.
Jesus invites us to an abundant life of dependence on His Holy Spirit.
We’re all sincerely invited to have our hearts healed and to receive rest.
We invite you to pray and give financially as a means of offering yourself fully to Jesus and His work.
We invite you to invite others to Jesus, simply by taking the initiative to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God (this is Cru’s definition of successful witnessing).
We invite you to seize opportunities to serve Him wherever you are – loving others, inviting others to experience His healing, and mobilizing your church to be about the business of inviting.