One of the core beliefs that I hold to in life and ministry is that Christians are to embrace and engage in the world around them. Too many times, it’s easy to find ourselves (those that profess faith in Christ) cordoned off by a buffer of our Christian friends, Christian music, Christian decals on our cars and Christian t-shirts with quirky acronyms.

While I have no problems with these things, I believe with all my heart that my faith is challenged – and strengthened – by being around others that do not believe in the same way that I believe. Sharing the same faith is not a pre-requisite for friendship. I have learned more about my personal faith and relationship with Jesus because of the many people in my life that simply don’t agree with me and my beliefs. And these that I am mentioning became some of my closest friends. During this time, some have come to believe in the message, life, ministry, death, resurrection, love, life and freedom found in Jesus. And some have not. And all are still counted as friends.

Embrace the world around you. Love those around you. No matter their background and beliefs. Make friendships that are based on mutual respect. And don’t compromise what you believe when faced with questions…just find the answers.

“Holiness is not to be achieved by withdrawing from sinners and a godless world. Rather, it is to be pursued in the confusing whirlpool of conflicting cultures, personalities, and values.” – Roger Hahn