A New Way

I’m learning more and more that my relationship with God does not have to be fueled by a fear that motivates me to compare, judge, and avoid people who are far from God.  As I learn to embrace more deeply the Gospels, I’ve discovered that Jesus was, in fact, not intentionally trying to tick off the religious leaders of the day. He was actually showing us, through the rhythm of His life, that there was a new way to engage the culture around us. That we—His followers—could become agents of restoration and grace.

I love the story of Gabe and Rebekah Lyons. Over a decade ago Rebekah gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son. Six hours after he was born, doctors told Gabe and Rebekah that Cade had Down syndrome.

As Gabe sought to understand more about his son’s condition he shockingly discovered that ninety-percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome during pregnancy were aborted.

Heart broken, convicted, and compelled to do something about this sad reality, Gabe first thought that his only option was to get involved politically. At first, he thought that would probably amount to little more than signing a few petitions and putting a pro-life bumper sticker on his vehicle.

As opposed to simply attacking parents who chose abortion or the issue of abortion itself, Gabe and Rebekah were inspired to do something different. What if we could help convince people that Down sydrome kids are not a burden but a gift, thought Gabe. With that goal in mind, Gabe and his wife created a campaign geared toward doctors who communicated the Down syndrome diagnosis to expecting parents. They created a brochure full of beautiful pictures of Down syndrome kids participating in life to give to doctors an effective tool in explaining the reality of Down syndrome kids and the life they will live.

Instead of just judging people who considered abortion, they sought to educate them and restore them.

Gabe recently wrote a book entitled The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World, in which he writes about a group of Christians rising up who aren’t offended by the sin and corruption they encounter in the world, but rather, they are provoked to engage it. And often when they do, they don’t critique the situation, they roll up their sleeves and get busy using their talent and treasure to solve issues in ways similarly to how he and his wife did.

I love this idea. This is what God intended. This is the life Jesus taught us to live, a life full of meaning and purpose. And existence that engages the space between with passion and hope and love and refuses to simply sit around twiddling our thumbs waiting for eternity.

Jesus modeled for us a rhythm of life that compels us to become engaged with the culture around us. He wants us to follow Him not out of  fear and arrogance, but instead, a life rich with humility and brokenness and compassion, an existence that promotes peace, reconciliation, and mercy.

What do you think about this new way?

5 Responses to “A New Way”

  1. AymieJoi says:

    I would love to mature enough that as soon as I catch myself judging a person/group/organization, I stop and ask God how I can use what He has given me to impact them for Christ. I think my little corner of the world would be better off if I did that. If I care enough to judge, I can care enough to love. Thanks for this, Pete, Rebekah and Gabe!

  2. Margaret says:

    so grateful for what the Lyons have done!They are doing great work for the kingdom!

  3. keith says:

    Do you think he wad trying to tick them off in Matthew 23:23-33. Sounds pretty intentional.

  4. Pete, I’d love for you to know more about Rising Above Ministries. Started here in Cookeville, TN just a couple of years ago, there are already Murfreesboro and Nashville chapters. They are 100% committed to reaching out to special needs families – especially the dads that are struggling with the prospect of a special needs child. Check out their website at http://www.risingaboveministries.info and give Jeff Davidson a call. He would love to hear from you!

  5. Laura Anne says:

    Amen.

    One of the saddest things this summer was hearing that in so many countries virtually no coverage was given to the Paralympics. Disability shouldn’t be hidden, and I know the dream for all Olympians and Paralympian is to inspire generations to show what is possible.

    One of the reasons I came back into Girlguiding is it’s inclusiveness. We’ve got a girl joining our unit who has Down’s Syndrome. I won’t lie that I’m slightly daunted by the challenge of making sure our programme is one she can participate in just as much as the rest of the girls and will be until I get to know her better. But I’m so glad that Guiding is so accessible to EVERYONE (well…except boys…sorry guys!)

    Gabe & Rebekah, thank you for your attitude, for sharing what you’ve learned from your life experiences.

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