34 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Did you know the Republic of Ireland is considered Roman Catholic?
In a 2006 census, 3,681,446 of Ireland's 4.2+ million people claim to be Roman Catholic. That's almost 87%. Another 125,585 consider themselves part of The Church of Ireland, which basically means they are Catholic minus the Pope. Around 20,000 are Orthodox and around 50,000 are other Christian. That's a lot of "Christians".
So why in the world are we bothering to go over there??
Well, besides for the fact God told us to.... I'd like to give you another statistic. The area we are living in now, Nashville, TN, is considered 95% Christian from a 2010 Barna Poll.
Never would have guess that with all the crime, greed, and Me-ism, I've seen around here. Also, try asking the random person what God has been teaching them recently and what He has asked them to do. You'll get a bunch of blank looks mixed in with several scowls.
Christians are meant to be known for the love they have for one another and their personal, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Evangelical Christians particularly: As we are here in the belt-buckle of the Bible Belt. We are suppose to operate on Grace over works. Roman Catholics lean toward works: Confession to priest, rosary, penance, etc. I am not saying that all Roman Catholics are doomed to hell. Just like any "religion" - including Evangelicals - there can be false doctrines that pop up and become ingrained into their belief system. They do not, however, define themselves as having a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.
That is what we are called to do over there. We are to love them and shine brightly with the light of Truth, sharing how to live life daily with a Savior who has given us grace beyond measure, and loves us enough to have died for us.
What amazes me so much and helps to confirm what God is doing, is that I love them so much already. Only God can melt my hard heart to love a people I have never even met.
By this they will know I'm His disciple....