Oikos: Everyday Saints Pt.3

In the spring of my senior year, I had the privilege of participating in the district track meet, competing in Shot Put and Discus. It was an honor to set school records, with a throw of 56’2" in Shot Put—a record that stood for 34 years. Yet, just two weeks ago, a junior from SLC, Bo Fleming, shattered this record by over 3 feet. It's a stark reminder that records are indeed made to be broken.

There's a part of us that wants our records to last forever, a selfish part that seeks to immortalize our achievements. But the true value of setting a record isn't just in the recognition—it's in the journey. The intentionality of analyzing techniques, the faithfulness to afternoon practices, and the early morning track meets for receiving coaching are all intrinsic values that don't fade, even if the record does. Whether a record stands for a year or 34 years, the investment of energy and time is always worth it.

This principle of dedication extends beyond the track. Every follower of Christ is called to live intentionally and faithfully. We're all everyday saints and potential world-changers, not just for a year or a few decades, but for eternity. Through our commitment to Christ, we engage in a divine mission, connecting people to Jesus and altering both their world and their eternal destination.

Matthew 5:14 tells us, "YOU are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden." Each of us influences our oikos, the network of people around us. Tom Mercer emphasizes the Oikos Principle, stating that our primary responsibility isn't to witness to the entire world but to minister God's grace to those specific groups of people He has directed us to. It's a simple, efficient, and Holy Spirit-powered strategy that can change the world and eternity.

On Pentecost, as described in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers, empowering them to bear witness to Christ. This empowerment enables us to invest in, inform, and invite others from our personal oikos, fulfilling the Great Commission and changing eternity.

Just like the early believers, the Holy Spirit uses our lives to inform others about God. Our personal stories of faith, when combined with our actions, can silence critics and inspire those around us. 1 Peter 3:15-16 encourages us to always be ready to explain our hope as believers, but to do so with gentleness and respect, maintaining a clear conscience.

The Holy Spirit uses your life to directly inform others [your oikos] about God.

Your life, infused with the Holy Spirit, is a testimony to those around you. You're called to be an everyday saint, living out your faith authentically in your social settings. This isn't about perfection but about faithfulness. As you live out your faith, people see who you truly are, which generates respect, influence, and credibility.

The Holy Spirit will guide you on the steps of investing in and inviting your oikos.

The Holy Spirit is calling you and empowering you to inform your oikos about your relationship with Jesus.

As we reflect on the fleeting nature of records and the eternal impact of our faith, let us embrace our role as lights to the world. Whether you are setting records or living out your daily life, remember, it’s all part of God’s grand plan. Let your life be a beacon that guides others to the truth and love of Christ.

Holy Spirit empowers you to bear witness to God.

Do not let sin or the ”Me-Focused Life” deform your witness!
The Story of the Prince and the Dragon
There was once a great & noble King— whose land was terrorized by a crafty dragon. Like a massive bird of prey — The scaly beast delighted in ravaging villages—with his fiery breath. —Helpless victims ran from their burning homes — only to be snatched into the dragon's jaws or talons. —Those devoured instantly—were deemed more fortunate than those carried back to the Dragon's Lair — to be devoured at his leisure.

The King led his sons and knights—in many battles against the serpent.
Riding alone in the forest one day —one of the king's sons heard his name being purred— low and soft. — In the shadows of the birds and the trees—curled amongst the boulders lay the dragon.  —The creatures heavy lidded eyes fastened on the Prince —and the reptilian mouth stretched into a friendly smile. —“Don't be alarmed,” said the dragon, —as grey wisps of smoke rose lazily from his nostrils.  —“I am not what your father thinks.”

“What are you then?” — asked the Prince— nervously drawing his sword—as he pulled on the reins—to keep his fearful horse from bolting? “I am pleasure!” said the dragon.
“Get on my back and you will experience more than you have ever imagined. —Come now, I have no harmful intentions. —I seek a friend, someone to share flights with me. —Have you never dreamed of flying, — never longed to soar in the clouds?”

The visions of soaring high above the forested hills—drew the prince hesitantly from his horse. —The dragon unfurled one great webbed wing to serve as a ramp to his rigid back —between the spiny projections—the prince found a secure seat—and then the creature snapped his powerful wings twice—and launch them into the sky.

The princess’s apprehension quickly melted into awe and exhilaration. —From then on, he met the dragon often—but secretly—for how he could tell his father—his brothers or the Knights —that he had befriended the enemy. The prince felt separated from them all. Their concerns were no longer —his concerns. — Even when he wasn't with the dragon, — he spent less time with those he loved and more time alone. — Over time, the skin on his legs became calloused from gripping the rigid back of the dragon — and his hands grew rough and hardened, — he began to wear gloves to hide the disfiguration. —After many nights of riding, — he soon discovered scales growing on the back of his hands as well.

Though with dread — he realized his fate were he to continue.  —So, he resolved to return —no more to the dragon. But after a short time — he again sought out the dragon having been tortured with desire, — and so it transpired many times over. —No matter what his determination, — the prince eventually found himself pulled back in, — as if by the cords of an invisible web—but silently, patiently—the dragon always waiting.

One cold moonless night, —their excursion became a foray against a sleeping village —the dragon torching the thatched roofs—with fiery blast from his nostrils. —The dragon roared with delight—when the terrified victims fled from their burning homes. —The cluster of screaming villagers made the prince closed his eyes tightly —in an attempt to shut out the carnage.
But in the pre-Dawn hours—as the prince crept back from his dragon ride—he discovered the road outside of his father's castle unusually busy. —Terrified refugees streamed into the protective walls of the castle — and the prince attempted to slip through the crowd to close himself in his chambers. —But some of the survivors stared and pointed towards him.
“He was there!” —One woman cried out —“I saw him on the back of the dragon.” —Others nodded their heads—in angry agreement. —The prince saw that his father—the king—was in the courtyard holding a bleeding child in his arms. —The King's face mirrored the agony of his people as his eyes met the princess. —The son fled—hoping to escape into the night, —but the guards apprehended him, — as if he were a common thief. — They brought him to the Great Hall, where his father sat on the throne, — and the people on every side, — they railed against the Prince.

“Banish him!” — he heard one of his own brothers angrily cry out, — burn him alive. Other voices shouted as the king rose from his throne — Bloodstains from the wounded shone darkly on his royal robes. — The crowd fell silent in expectation of the king's decree, — the prince could not even bear to look into his father's face —stared at the stones of the floor.
“Take off your gloves and your tunic,” — the king commanded. —The prince obeyed, slowly, dreading to have his metamorphosis uncovered before the kingdom — his shame was already great enough. —He had hoped for a quick death without further humiliation. — Sounds of revulsion — rippled through the crowd at the site of the princes thick scaled skin—and the ridge growing along his spine. — The king walked slowly towards his son, — and the prince prepared himself fully—expecting a backhanded blow, — even though he had never been struck by his father before.

But instead, his father embraced him —and wept as he held him tightly, — in shock, disbelief that the prince buried his face against his father's shoulders. “Do you wish to be freed from the dragon my son?” — The prince answered in despair — I have wished it many times, — but there is no hope for me. — “Not alone,” said the King. — “You cannot win against the serpent alone.” The prince replied,— “I am no longer your son. I am half beast.” But his father replied, — “My blood runs in your veins. — My nobility has been stabbed deep within your soul.”  And with his face still hidden tearfully in his father's embrace — the prince heard the king instruct the crowd.

“The dragon is crafty, —and some have fallen victim to his wiles, —and some to his violence.
But there will be mercy for all, — all who wish to be freed. — Who else amongst you has ridden the dragon?”  The prince lifted his head to see —someone emerge from a crowd. — To his shocked amazement, — it was his older brother, — one who had been celebrated throughout the kingdom for his onslaughts against the dragon — and for his many good deeds. Others came forward — some weeping, others hanging their heads in shame, — and the king embraced them all. “This is our most powerful weapon against the dragon!” — he announced. Truth! — No more hidden flights alone. We cannot resist him alone. — But together,— we can win.”
A Word to the Class of 2024

If you mess up, come home. If your mental health overwhelms you, come home. If you feel alone or a relationship fails, come home. You are always welcome, as your church will forever be your home.

Regardless of your circumstances, age, or past actions, the Heavenly Father welcomes you into His loving and forgiving arms.

This is our testimony, and it is the essence of being part of His oikos.

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