Tag Archives: sharing our faith

November 29; Speak It

I Corinthians 14:1-15:34

Years ago I was an organist in a church with a new pastor. He came in like gang busters and began to makes changes almost before the moving van had gone. One of the first things he did was call a meeting of the music committee.

He told us he wanted a more contemporary feel to our worship service. Less hymns, more praise songs. Our music director asked the pastor if he was to pick out the songs, or did the pastor want to do that. The pastor said that would be up to the music director, he didn’t really care what we sang so long as it wasn’t all hymns.

I shared that in the past we tried to pick out music that went along with the sermon, to prepare our hearts for what was going to be shared from the pulpit. I’ll never forget the pastor’s response. He looked at me, laughed a condescending chuckle and said, “I suppose you are one who thinks the preaching is the most important thing. Well, it’s not.”

I think Paul might take issue with that philosophy. If you read this part of his letter to the Corinthians you’ll see how much emphasis is placed on the words, the Gospel, the telling. The apostle used the example of musical instruments having distinct notes and a clear call.

There are many different aspects to a worship service. Paul was addressing the use of the gift of tongues but he called that gift mindless and unfruitful unless there is an interpretation. Telling the message so people can understand is the most important thing. Paul said he could speak all day in tongues, but he’d rather speak five intelligible words of instruction.

I found out that day of our music committee meeting that indeed, I am one who thinks the preaching is the most important part of a worship service. It’s the part of instruction, of encouragement, of digging deeper into God’s Word led by someone called to do that.

And once again I am reminded how important it is for all of us to speak the Gospel. We can live our lives in such a way that people notice our devotion to God, but unless we tell them about Jesus, they can’t be saved. We can go to a worship service and be carried along by the Spirit during the praise songs, but the instruction is the meat.

Let’s continue to grow, to define our faith from Scripture so that we can share it in an understandable way. We’ve got the Good News! Let’s speak it.

 

Numbers 25-27; Leading By Example

When Moses found out he was about to die, he prayed that God would raise up a man to take his place. I was struck today about how he prayed:

Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (27:15-17)

Moses knew that, left to their own devices, the Jews would go astray like sheep without a shepherd. He prayed two things about the one who would come after him. And I can’t help but think we should be praying the same thing for our own leaders, those dear ones who accept the responsibility as pastors of our church fellowships.

  1. Moses prayed that his successor would “go out and come in before them.” This seems to be speaking of the kind of example our leaders should present. Does your pastor (or do you if you are a pastor) demonstrate how to share the Gospel, and not just talk about it on Sunday mornings? Is he (or she) a presence in your community, does he talk about Jesus over coffee at McDonalds? Are people coming to your church on Sunday because of the contact your pastor has made? I knew a pastor one time who said that visitation wasn’t his gift. I’m sorry, but I question his calling. I don’t think a pastor should be making excuses for not “going out and coming in” before the people he is called to shepherd. We sheep learn by example. Moses knew that, and he prayed for a leader that would be that example.
  2. Now before you get too hard on your pastor for not being the perfect example, Moses didn’t let us off the hook. He prayed that his successor would “lead THEM out and bring them in” as well. I am reminded that Jesus wasn’t just speaking to preachers when He commanded that we get out there and make disciples. We aren’t to sit comfortably in our sheep pen while the shepherd is out there knocking on doors. We are all to be sharing our faith, calling on people God puts on our hearts, striking up conversation with people in the grocery line if God prompts us to do that. Are people coming to church because you have made the effort to invite them? It’s not just the pastor’s job to share the Gospel.

But it is his job. I will say that both of my pastors, the one in my Ohio church and the one here in Georgia, are men who are leading by this example. Going to school board meetings, or Rotary Club, or striking up a conversation with the waiter who brings coffee, or helping a neighbor pull weeds, finding opportunities to share Jesus… and taking those opportunities, these dear men aren’t just preachers on Sunday mornings. They live their faith openly every day. And they challenge us to do the same. I think this is what Moses had in mind when he prayed like he did.

Yes, our pastors have a grave responsibility to lead by example. Pray for yours. His is a very difficult job, and Satan would love nothing more than to shackle him to his desk.

And pray that God will prompt each of us to get busy, too. May we be people who eagerly put ourselves out there and lead people into our fold.

For Jesus’ sake. May He find us faithful.

November 22

Acts 17:1-18:17; I Thessalonians 1-2

Witnessing, sharing our faith, giving our testimony, talking about the Lord is hard for most of us. Most of us did not go to a Bible College or go through a “how to” course on sharing the Gospel. We fumble over our words and forget the chapter and verse of the Scripture we want to use. We are so afraid we’re going to sound like fools we convince ourselves to say nothing.

Yet we are commanded by Jesus to go into all the world and preach the Gospel!

Paul was a master soul-winner and we can learn so much by studying him. Look at how he talked to the Greeks in Athens. He started the conversation with what they already knew. They worshiped lots of gods and in fact, just to cover their bases, worshiped “an unknown god”. Paul acknowledged that, then said – let me tell you about that unknown God because I just happen to know him!

Sometimes I think we believe sharing Jesus has to be a three point sermon. I know there are some who are saved in evangelistic services or at the kitchen tables when a stranger knocks on their door and comes to tell them about salvation. But I believe most people accept Christ as a result of someone who is invested in them. Who gets to know them, spends time with them and talks to them on their level of understanding. 

What is it your friend already knows about Christ? Start there. If God has nudged you toward speaking to your friend, he is already working in this dear one’s heart. Let God give you the words and trust him to use those words to draw this friend to himself.

Father, I pray that you would nudge each of us toward a loved one, neighbor, co-worker, or friend who’s heart you are readying to hear the Gospel. May each of us be faithful to reach out to this person, to listen to them and encourage them. Then when you open the door for us to put our faith into words, I pray that we will allow you to give us the words! Help us to see the people in our world like you do. And give us a loving boldness to tell them about your Son, our Savior… and theirs’.