Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Love One Another

Reading recently in a Christian magazine I found a story about a dining experience. A man and his wife shared a meal at a local diner. As they ate, the conversation at the neighboring table reached their ears. It was apparent their discussion topic was Christianity. One mocked Christianity, in particular the resurrection of Christ. He continued about how ludicrous he felt the teaching was. The eavesdropper wondered how he could let this kind of conversation go unchallenged. You see, he was a Christian and felt he needed to stand up for his faith. But the four guys at the corner table were all bigger than he, their strong cowboy boots even looked meaner than he felt. He finally became so agitated and frightened about doing nothing, he asked his wife to pray while he walked over to the table. With a squeak in his voice he began, “I’ve been listening to you, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” He proceeding to give a flying rundown of proofs for the resurrection, grabbed his wife’s hand and ran from the diner.

Now admiration for the man’s courage is in order. To stand up for one’s faith requires a level of commitment and guts we often fail to exhibit. And I realize I am sitting in a position of hindsight and it’s 20/20 vision. But I wonder about other possible approaches that might serve to be more positive and perhaps leave a longer lasting positive impact than rattling off his list of proofs on God’s existence. It seems he missed the most important and impressive proof of the resurrection- his own life as a Christian.

What if he walked over to the men at the table and say something like this: “You know, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and found it very interesting. If you don’t mind, I would like to pay for all of your breakfasts. The reason I want to do this is that, because of the resurrection, Jesus Christ has changed my life and lives in me, and wants to communicate his tremendous love for you.”

What yields the greatest change in people is changed lives, relationships that express Christ’s love to them in a tangible way.

This is the one thing that Jesus wanted His church to be known for: Love. Have you ever wondered what characteristic people assign to your church? We want that quality, that trademark of our Christianity to be love. What better thing to be known for? It is following through on the words of John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sing Your Own Song

Psalm 40 is a song of remembrance and praise. The remembering time is of difficult situations, helpless situations that God rescued the psalmist from. The result is a new song. Psalm 40:3, “He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God! Many will see it and fear him, and will trust in the Lord.” These songs are for a purpose, the purpose is to invite others into a relationship with God.

What song can you sing? What is your testimony? Are you prepared to share it? It is your genuine words that are needed.

If this is a new idea for you, here is a simple formula to help you pray through composing your testimony.

Step one, think about your past. Summarize in two sentences what used to be important to you. What basic need did you attempt to fulfill with these important things? What did your life revolve around?

Step two, remember how you found Jesus. When did you first hear the message of Jesus? What was your reaction? If it was negative, define when you first felt positively toward the message. Now put these ruminations into two sentences.

Step three, dwell on what life is like now. How did Christ meet the needs you felt before? What changes occurred in your life as a result of Jesus coming into your life? Elaborate a whole paragraph on the results and joys of living as a Christian.

Now your testimony is thought through and articulated. And now join me in praying for opportunities to share these words with someone searching for hope.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ask for Help

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8
This is our charge and our opportunity, to be ambassadors for Christ. We are to be joyful and confident in our identity as Christians. Your testimony is not something to be ashamed of, but grateful to a God who intervened and saved you.

When we think of witnessing it is usually a thought of giving precious information to another. And rightly so, a relationship with Christ is a most precious piece of information. But how about the witness of accepting help? What about asking your neighbor for a recommendation on a new dry cleaner? What about asking a friend to help you learn a hobby you know they are proficient at? Or be willing to ask for advice on a home repair from your neighbor who is a gifted handyman. 

Each of these opportunities builds a relationship, that can lead to spiritual conversations, that can lead to sharing about your best friend Jesus, and just maybe their commitment to Him as well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Be an Ambassador

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

We are charged with a high responsibility, to serve as ambassadors for Christ. As ambassadors we are to use every opportunity to plead with others to be reconciled to God. That simply means, share with others your own love for God.

This week find a way to take seriously your role as an ambassador. Be prayerfully creative about opportunities that are available to you. Maybe these ideas will spark your consecrated creativity: Share a meaningful verse with someone else. Write a note of encouragement. Tip generously. Choose to let that errant car merge gracefully. Offer to pray with a co-worker. Repeat a story of God’s goodness.