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You’ve Lost That Awkward Feeling

February 9, 2009

Philippians 1:27 has been in my heart for the past several days; namely the opening portion of  “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:”  If Jesus is truly first in our lives, our conversation will drift toward the gospel of Jesus Christ whenever an opening is available. We’ll strive to consistantly be a city set upon a hill and seeking opportunities to share Christ.  This is what truly matters; this is where hearts are transformed as, once the word of God goes forth, it will never return void. The foolishness of preaching is Gods chosen method for reaching the lost and he routinely employs tactics that our natural mind will consider to be ineffective and may cause us to feel somewhat uncomfortable.

Each of us have a post to occupy when it comes to the great commission. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist who travels the world, but everyone has an ambience filled with souls. One thing that has been on my heart much these past few days (actually a lot longer, but more intensely these past few days) is just how little time we sometimes spend talking about Jesus to those outside of the household of faith. I know of saints in various venues who are quick to initiate, or jump into, a conversation about work, sports, their family, the remodeling project, and a million other topics. Yet these conversations seem to rarely be guided into a discussion about Jesus where words of life can be given to one who desperately needs them. In short, we engage in a lot of idle conversation (and “idol” conversation) and we know what Jesus said about idle words.

Matthew 12:36-27  “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account for on the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned.”

One reason that this has been made so manifest is CR. He has become such a bold witness for Jesus; striking up conversations and distributing tracts in places where most wouldn’t think of, that I’ve begun to grasp how little most of us, including myself, are doing. I don’t know if we’re just too comfortable in the bubble that we’ve made for ourselves where everything is familiar, or we just don’t want to take the time to seek every opportunity possible. Or perhaps we feel as though we’re too busy to get more involved; choosing rather to engage in evangelism when it fits our schedule.  Regardless of the reasons, we often fail to grasp the seriousness of this. I’ve blown so many opportunities over the years that it’s frightening to ponder. I also wrestle with a “patience deficiency” when it comes to extended dialogue with one who has contrary ideas and I’ve allowed this to become a hinderance way too often.

This has been a problem on the streets as well and is an area that I’m prayerfully addressing. Tracts are easy to pass out and it doesn’t compromise the comfort zone. Stand on a corner in downtown Kalamazoo and one can go through a hundred tracts in a matter of minutes. But this doesn’t excuse one from the need to initiate dialogue when the time is present to do so; regardless of the setting. (Speaking of Kalamazoo, the temperature is supposed to climb into the low 50s on Tuesday which means Bronson Park and Burdick street will be filled with souls. Lord willing, CR and I are desiring to be there) Every person that we encounter during the course of a day may potentially be living out their final hours on planet earth. For everyone that we exchange words with, we may be carrying that persons last opportunity to hear about a Savior who came from glory and paid for their sins with his own innocent blood.

This applies to every venue. When we leave our work, we have no guarentee that every co-worker will return the next business day. We mingle with relatives at family gatherings, having no promise that, once the gathering has ended, we will ever see them again in the land of the breathing. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem at times, we must be about the business of proclaiming the good news of new life in Jesus. I praise God that he has stirred me to more aggressively pursue opportunities to share the gospel. CR has been instrumental in this stirring and another passage comes to mind when I think of how I’ve been shaken out of my comfort zone by a brother in Christ who has quickly become one of the boldest witnesses for Jesus that I’ve ever known.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

The word “provoke” appears fourty two times in the King James bible, but this is the only time that the word is used in a positive sense. CR has provoked me to utilize opportunities that I wouldn’t have previously. It’s a “thing that was done suddenly (II Chronicles 29:36) and I am greatful. Last week during dinner, I left the plant to tend to some business and one of these awkward opportunities arose. Not only was the opportunity one that I wouldn’t have sought after before, as I handed the guy a tract, my words didn’t come out smooth at all. I kinda went “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” however, the guy accepted the tract. As I was heading back to the plant, I began to ponder my horrible presentation; being certain that I had ruined the moment. It’s amazing how the Lord responds to things just as we begin to think of them. I was instantly reminded that “his word will not return void” even when we seem to blow it on every level.  So Lord willing, I’ll be doing a lot more “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” in the future.

Well I’ve once again broken my “no blogging after midnight” rule, and so I’ll close this for now. Please check out this link to a post that I found yesterday as it addresses an issue which ties in with this post: 

CHURCH a SPECTATOR SPORT  

CR and I attend different churches, but we both have noticed a common situation. There seems to be a lacking on the part of some to take a more active role in evangelism. I can’t say this is an accurate portrayal and it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone in either fellowship. Yet I fear that none of us truly understand the lateness of the hour or the urgency as we should. I mean, if tomorrow is my next door neighbors last day in the land of the living and he doesn’t know Jesus, THAT’S URGENT! For the sake of those who don’t know Jesus as Savior, we need to start feeling awkward.

Acts 8:4 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
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9 comments

  1. It is sad but many of our churches are serving themselves, praying for health issues of its members while saying little to attract the spiritually ill.

    One thing about evangelism in our post-modern culture: telling people they’re wrong will do little for Christ. Loving them and walking with them, accepting their unbelief as valid while living as a genuine testimony for the joyous redemption through Jesus will win hearts.


  2. Its funny, I had a dream two nights ago about witnessing to someone. They didn’t receive my conversation well, and in fact, walked away laughing at me. You would think that this might put me off, but in my dream, I actually felt empowered by this “rejection”.

    The dream has showed me that I can handle it when people don’t want to receive Jesus’ propmting. If anything, it has encouraged me to witness at every opportunity, and not to worry about how my words are received. It has released me from any fear that was holding me back.

    Every day I am being made more aware of the lateness of the hour and of the urgency to live every moment being about the Father’s business. Thanks Timbob for “provoking” us all into action!


  3. I would like to make an addendum to something I said earlier… “accepting their unbelief as valid.” This is entirely different from saying we agree with their unbelief.

    It’s been my experience that unbelievers know when we view them as some kind of spiritual conquest, and they resent this.

    Fivepeasinapod, it sounds like God brought you that dream to defeat some fear in your life. I would just urge you to risk relationship in your evangelism. That’s how Jesus did it.

    I am grateful for this post, Timbob. Your writing inspires me to boldness!


  4. Hi Anna. Thanks so mcu for stopping by. You touch on a really important issue. Nobody wants to feel like we’re out to copnquer them and if we’;re not careful this can be the image presented. It’s imperative to go out in the love of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit who knows exactly what’s needed in every situation.

    Before I was saved, a the girl next door went to live with her aunt and uncle in Elkhart. At this time I was really hardened toward the gospel due to some goings on the summer before. Teresas aunt and uncle were christians and as I egan to hang out at their house, I noticed something different. They had something real. They would answer questions that I ocasionally brought up, but never preached to me. Just being around them caused me to realize that I was lacking something. The Lord used them to bring me to a place where I could receive Jesus as Savior.

    Thanks again for pointing this out. I didn’t address this as fully as I should have above. We know that Gods word will never return void, but we also know that it’s very easy to scatter if were not careful.

    Have a blessed day in Jesus.


  5. Hi Five Peas. I have to admit that this does cause one to desire more to hold fast the profession of their faith. A lot of times in my household, where two kingdoms are dwelling, I’ll do something that causes upheaval. I’ve often prayed “Lord, I look at it as an honor if rejection comes because of my testimony. But I pray that it wont be because I’ve been a bad ambasador.”

    Rejection for Christ does seem to empower us into more boldness and we know that many will not receive the truth. My prayer is always that rejection is from this and not because I behaved unseemly. Then again when a person rejects our message, many will seek a fault in us as a means to justify their rejection. I used to do this prior to being saved. Thanks for stopping by.

    Have a blesed day in Jesus


  6. I can understand where you’re coming from when you say that, “There seems to be a lacking on the part of some to take a more active role in evangelism,” but I would counter that it only seems that way because you are so emphatic about evangelism. In truth, there is a lacking on the part of most to take a more active role in evangelism, tithing, holiness, stewardship, missions, ministering, prayer and just about every aspect of Christian life.


  7. Hi M Patterson. You are correct in that we need to be diligent in every aspect of life. Not only evangelism but in being a good ambassador for Christ in every way and being about our Fathers business.

    I was compelled to do this post partially because CR has become the boldest witness for Jesus tghat I’ve ever known. This isn’t an exaggeration. It has caused me to realize some areas where I need to grow. May we all grow closer to the Lord Jesus and seek his perfect will in all things. Thanks so much for taking time to comment.

    Have a blessed day in Jesus.


  8. Hi Timbob, this is such a stirring post! I pray for the Lord to guide me in all circumstances to share with those I come in contact each day. Many times, however, I regret that I have missed opportunities to share God’s love.

    I continue to be in awe that God gives us the power from on high through the Holy Spirit to proclaim the good news! We each have a unique way of going about the heralding of God’s promise and clearly this is His purpose for us…even His command to us! We are witnesses to His great power and His great promises and we should share this with others out of the overflowing of our hearts. And yet, I still find myself feeling flustered or shy in some circumstances (especially around old friends or family. I have been rejected and dismissed and it is not pleasant.

    There is a quote I like from Henry Martyn, a missionary to India. He said, “The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.”

    I love this verse from Luke 24:46-48 “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. (New Living Translation)

    It is by the authority of Jesus Christ Himself that we make known His gospel. Now that is a comforting thought!


  9. Hi Scotti. It’s amazing that the Lord has used CR, a brother at work who was born again on November 15, 2007, to show me how many opportunities I miss. (Even though I already knew that I had a problem of missing opportunities.) It’s been a needful; eye-opening experience and I’m still praying for courage to seek out those moments that otherwise would go by unnoticed.

    Family members who have no interest in the gospel are one of the greatest challenges and when I see the lack of interest in my own household, I can’t help but think of how Jesus told us this would happen. I would love it if our households would be like that of the Philippian jailer who were all redeemed in a single night, but usually the process is far more drawn out. This is an issue that weighs heavily on me. We see the urgency of the hour, and yet know that the Lord is the one who opens the eyes of those who don’t understand. May we all plant seed and water as the Lord leads.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a blessed weekend in Jesus.



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