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Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Small World

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim 2:5

Six Degrees of Separation
I watched a fascinating programme this week about the new branch of mathematics known as Network Theory. It was conceived on the back of the famous notion that it only requires a chain of 6 people to link each of us to anyone else in the world.

On this TV programme they tested this concept of 6 degrees of separation by giving people around the world packages to send to a Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts. They could only pass the package on to someone with whom they were on a first name basis, who would then pass it on to someone they knew, and so on, until it reached its destination.

Some packages made it, others didn't. But for those that did, the average number of steps was indeed 6. The conclusion is that the human race is far more connected than we realise.

Connected For The Gospel
This has implications for evangelism and mission because it means that it is far easier to spread the gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth than we might imagine. When we factor in the possibilities of modern communications we can understand that we truly do live in a generation when everyone has the chance to hear the gospel. And that means the return of Jesus could be imminent.

One Degree of Separation
But what is really exciting is that this principle only applies to us in part. Firstly, the Christian community is smaller and more closely knit than society in general. That means it probably wouldn't require so many steps to pass information from one Christian to another.

But the second, and most important aspect of our Christian networking is that we don't have to go through half-a-dozen other people in order to be able to communicate with God. There are not five, six, or seven mediators between us and Him. There is just the One, the man Christ Jesus.

Connecting With God
What a privilege to have direct access to Almighty God. We do not have to pass messages via a member of His court. We can enter His throne room at any time for an audience. But the question which occurs to me is this. How often do we disconnect ourselves from God by asking someone else to pray for us but neglecting to ask Him for ourselves?

James said, "you do not have because you do not ask," (James 4:2). Are we guilty sometimes of saying to a friend, "please will you pray for me about this situation," but failing to ask for ourselves as though it's somehow not polite to do so? Is the reason our prayers are not being answered simply because everyone else is praying but we're not?

Prayer College Assignment
When you ask someone else for prayer stop and think, "have I prayed about this?" That shouldn't stop you asking but it should prompt you to go direct to the Lord rather than entrusting your needs to someone else. They may have the best intentions but they may forget to pray, or they may think they've done their bit by passing on your request to someone else who may, in turn, forget to pray. Pray for yourself.

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