One of the most powerful things that Jesus did when He was in his physical body walking the earth was that He caused people to feel that they belong. One New Testament story that stands out to me in regards to this is the story of Mary Magdalene (John 8: 1-11). When she had been cast away by society, broken the law, and was doomed to death by public stoning for her crime, Jesus did a very remarkable thing. Even when she was about to suffer a harsh death, justified by the law, He challenged everyone holding a stone to examine their own heart. He invited Mary with forgiveness, showing compassion to her causing her to feel accepted through love.
The story does not go into much detail about Mary before this. I would guess that she had heard about Jesus and the claims that were being made about Him prior to this encounter and could have already had some knowledge of Him.
The significant thing that happened next was she believed or experienced a connection to Jesus. After He spoke and all her accusers dropped their stones and walked away wondering what just transpired while trying to retain the moral dignity, Jesus’ compassion for Mary shined brightly as He demonstrated His heart for the oppressed. It was at that moment her belief in the Messiah became a reality! Then Jesus confronted her behavior and said, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” This became the starting point or new beginning for her and so began the transformation of Mary Magdalene.
My life went through the same process of acceptance, connection, and transformation. When I first stepped into NCWC, I first felt truly accepted by Jesus and this family that was following Him. Realizing I was created for this, my desperation to be deeply connected to my Father in Heaven began and has never stopped. After acceptance and connection were established the transformation of my life began and is still on going. Through love and compassion for us, Jesus set the framework in place for us and displayed the only life lived on this earth worth following. I believe the Lord inspired me to with a way to easily remember how to invite others to be a part of our family and to ultimately be followers of Christ.
This simple acrostic can be our filter for sharing the good news, discipleship, or teaching.
A – Accept
C – Connect
T – Transform
Accept – It is vitally important that we feel accepted or that we belong and that we communicate this to the ones we are inviting to be a part. We know the Bible says this clearly in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) – God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Connect – When we know we are accepted then our choice to believe can be solidified and made clear. We see this in Ephesians 1:13 (ESV) – In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
Transform – When we know we are accepted and we firmly believe in what Christ did for us and are connected to Him, then we can embrace the process of transformation of our lives as we see in Romans 12:2 (NLT) – Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
It is my prayer and hope that this is an encouragement to those who read this. I feel that Jesus did the greatest job of showing us how to accept, connect, and transform the lives of those He puts in our path into His image with faith, love, and compassion!
Christopher E. Hanson
Evangelism Ministry Leader