Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Small things done with great love

Maybe you are like me. I believe with all my heart that part of following Jesus is to share my faith with others, but in reality I find this very hard to do. When it comes to talking to someone about my faith, I can think of a hundred reasons why it is not the time or place and oh- by the way did I forget to take out the trash or brush the cat? I recently rediscovered a classic book on sharing the good news of Jesus that is helping me with this. You might have read it or heard about it. It is Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World by Rebecca Pippert. This book was written about 32 years ago has much to say that the church still needs to hear and practice.
Rebecca Pippert kick’s off the book with her now famous quote, Christians and non-Christians have something in common. We’re both uptight about evangelism. The idea of telling other people about our faith in Jesus seems awkward at best and offensive at worst. It seems like an extra chore or task added to an already busy and weary life. Becky turns that around and shows how faith sharing can be a normal, natural part of our Christian lives. Sharing about our faith becomes something we get to do instead of something we have to do. When we are relaxed with ourselves and in love with Jesus the good news just flows from us with out us even realizing it. On the other hand if we are uptight, bitter or cynical about life and God, that flows out too. Sheldon Vanauken wrote, The best argument for Christianity is Christians; their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the biggest argument against Christianity is also Christians – when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.

The reality is that we can only authentically share what we know to be true and have come to experience in our own lives. The Apostle John writes We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 Jn 1:3,4 The Message) We must know Jesus if we are to share Jesus and even then we only can bear witness to what we know from the word and from experience.
We can share with words and we can share with deeds. Usually words and deeds work best in tandem. God knew that words alone lacked power and credibility and that actions alone could be easily misunderstood. That is why the word became flesh and dwelt among us. That we would hear, see, know and experience God among us.
One of the many ways we share our faith at New Hope is by connecting with people through simple acts of kindness (deeds) that hopefully, by God’s grace, might lead to spiritual conversations (words). Since this doesn’t come naturally we need to practice so we can grow and it can become a natural normal part of our lives. On Nov. 5th we will practice kind deeds by going through the neighborhood and offering to replace batteries in smoke detectors. Starting in September we will be collecting batteries. Right now you can begin praying that God would open doors for good connections and good conversations that will bump people a bit closer to Jesus.

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