Applied Christianity

Kirby Reutter Profile
Article by Kirby Reutter
Counselor

What does applied Christianity look like? I have yet to figure that out in my own life. But I do know a good place to learn: Gateway residents.

Flashback:

A few years ago, I was scheduled to conduct one of my first Gateway presentations in the Philadelphia church, directly following the afternoon service. Well, it was already the afternoon service, and I was a little bit nervous, because I still didn’t know how I was going to start off the presentation. I shouldn’t have worried.

Brother Jerry Isch opened the Bible to Isaiah 61 and meditated upon these prophetic references to the Master:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

As Bro. Jerry read about binding up the brokenhearted, I thought of Landon, convulsing on the floor, clutching his chest, and shouting: "My heart, my heart—it hurts so much!" As Bro. Jerry expounded on proclaiming liberty to the captives, I thought of Sophia, whose own father was raising her to be a prostitute—right in his own home. As Bro. Jerry meditated on opening the prison to them that are bound, I thought of every time we enter a county jail and ask a young person: “Would you like a better life?"

As Bro. Jerry expounded on comforting all that mourn, I thought of Colton, who was raised by his grandmother and great-grandmother, because his parents were not in the picture. After coming to Gateway, both his grandmother and great-grandmother died. As Bro. Jerry mediated on "beauty for ashes" and the "spirit of heaviness," I thought of Levi, who was left an orphan in Russia when the apartment of his alcoholic parents burned to the ground. Levi was later horrifically abused in the orphanage.

What a depressing passage of the Bible, I thought to myself! But then Bro. Jerry read this: "That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified!"

Regardless of their background, when a young person comes to live in the Oak House, the Hickory House, the Maple House, the Cypress House, or the Pine House, our goal—the Master’s goal—is to plant trees of righteousness…for HIS kingdom and HIS glory!

So what does applied Christianity look like? Let’s ask Gaven, who once told me in counseling: "I would rather have the fiery passion of a broken heart, than the mediocrity of a heart that has always been whole!"

I think that’s the spirit of another prophetic verse we can read in Isaiah 53:

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

And that’s the standard for applied Christianity!


Kirby is currently a Counselor at Gateway Woods.