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December 29, 2016, 11:52 AM

Reach Out

For our January newsletter I want to propose an emphasis for First Christian Church, San Marcos, in 2017. I believe we are ready for this to be a year of “reaching out”.

Here is what “reach out” means according to the online Free Dictionary:

1. To extend one's grasp outward: The vines along the path were full of grapes, so I reached out and grabbed some. I reached out for the boy's hand and pulled him out of the water.

2. To extend one's grasp through something: The kids reached out the car window and the clerk handed them each an ice cream cone.

3. To extend one's circle of friends, contacts, or experiences: He has been rather isolated, but now he's reaching out and meeting new people.

4. To strive toward something; aspire to something: She is reaching out for a job that is more challenging.

5. To reach out to seek help, comfort, or support from someone: Given the way you wrote this letter, it seems that you're reaching out for someone to talk to.

For a Christian, to reach out has a special meaning. It is contained in what we call the Great Commission:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

To be a Christian is inherently to be “an ambassador for Christ, God making his appeal through us”. We are called to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”.

We reach out to our neighbors, our families, our communities, our nation, and our world, because God has reached out to us. The story of Jesus is one about God coming to our world and living with us and as one of us, to share good news of hope and help. We love because He first loved us.

So, here is my proposal: this year let us as a church and as individuals focus not on ourselves, but outward. Let us reach out to help, comfort, support, encourage, and share our love and hope and joy. Let us seek ways to bring light to the shadows of life. Let us give expecting nothing in return. Let us forgive and uplift. If we have experienced such an outreach from God, we can reach out to others.

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