Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sunday Practice

On July 20 we presented a message called "Sharing Jesus," part of our ongoing "Do It Yourself" series.

The message was introduced by a silly little video featuring "Ben and Ky," a video that is a sort of spoof or parody of "DIY" presentations that can be found on television and online.  The video can be found at the link above. 

In the video Ky is trying to present some information about tools--tools like wrenches and metal files and "hearing protection"... but, each time Ky starts talking about a tool, Ben relates it to Jesus.  Ben does that, however, without relating to Ky... he pushes Jesus in a way that has Ky walking away -- "exit stage right."

That video was a silly way of saying what NOT to do when it comes to telling others about Jesus... but, as I said on Sunday, "at least Ben tried."  Then I asked this question:
Are we more fearful of being annoying
than we are willing to obey Jesus
and share his love and his name with the world.
Think about it.
  • How do you obey the great commission?  
  • How do you share the good news of Jesus?  
  • How do you share Jesus in a way helps your friends say "YES" to him, to surrender to him, to stop fighting and give in to him, receiving, at the same time, his gift--"eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Often we just don't.  We don't share the good news of Jesus.  Often we're just quiet and hope someone will guess, or hear about Jesus somewhere else.

There are lots of reasons for that silence about Jesus and his salvation. Sometimes it's a lack of confidence.  Sometimes we don't think we'll be understood.  Both of those things can be overcome with a bit of practice--and it's practice that I'm planning on leading as part of the July 27 message.

Many disciples of Jesus, unfortunately, think that sharing Jesus is something that is best left to "experts,"  that is, to people like me.  And so, sadly, believers in Jesus start focusing more on "bringing their friends to church," or taking them to a Christian concert or big evangelistic event, or giving them a book or sharing a recording... almost anything other than sharing about Jesus with them directly, face to face.

And that causes lots of problems.  It causes problems, NOT because the church, properly understood, is a bad thing.  It's not bad at all.  In fact, it's the greatest blessing and a foretaste of heaven!  And wonderful speakers, musicians and authors can be really helpful. Still, they are not a good replacement for the words and prayers of a dear friend like you.

Here's the difficulty: 
  1. Powerful preachers, musicians and authors are so good at what they do that at least some of the attention goes on them!  That's even true when these excellent presenters want to put all the attention on JESUS.  (Paul describes this problem in First Corinthians chapter 1 and the remedy in chapter 2). 

    And also, 
  2. "the church," generally speaking, is not "properly understood."  People generally think of churches as voluntary associations of religious people--and so, when Christians bring their undecided friends "to church" those friends end up liking, or disliking, those "religious people" and their associations and their ways of life--or their leaders and pastors--instead of focusing on God's love and God's truth.
That's one reason (or two reasons) believers need to be prepared to "Do It Yourself" when it comes to sharing Jesus with their friends, not to mention the multiplying factor that happens when millions of believers can share about Jesus in a good way.

So, on July 27, we'll practice.  We'll practice gently and respectfully (First Peter 3:15-16) using the same "one verse" tool shared last week. We'll use a "repeat after me" format.  You won't have to interact with anyone--you can just look straight ahead if you want.  It won't be much different than what we did last week, except this time I'll ask you to "repeat after me."  (To hear just what we did last week, listen by clicking here.)

Just this little bit of practice will help you be more confident.  It will help you listen more carefully to what your friend is saying and feeling as you share.  You'll be less focused on yourself and how YOU are feeling.  You'll be a bit more focused on your friend--and his or her need to know the Lord.  You will be more relaxed... and that will help them be more relaxed too... allowing them to focus, not on you, but on Jesus and his love.

Still nervous?  That's okay.  It's NORMAL!  Every time I do anything for the first time I get preoccupied too.  I think back to 3 years ago and the time I drove a school bus loaded with children.  I was so nervous that I took a wrong turn and ended up driving the kids south on County Road 18 instead of north on 6.  Uff da.  But, the next day, after that bit of "practice," it went a lot better.  It was smooth sailing for me, and easier for my passengers too.

See you on Sunday--it will be good.

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