Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sharing the Love of Christ

Chuckle: "Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter. --Sara, age 6

Ponder This: "God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called." --Unknown


"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8 NIV).

Studies show that only 8 to 10 percent of Christians regularly share Christ with others. I saw a poll that showed the following reasons why people do not witness for Christ:
- 33.50% are afraid of being rejected or embarrassed.
- 21.70% are afraid of not having answers to people's questions.
- 19.20% rarely even think about the need to be witnesses.
- 17.30% don't know what to say.
- 8.30% haven't yet found a way to share that fits his or her personal style.

If you are concerned about the millions of people without Christ, these statistics should alarm you greatly. Maybe you fall into one of the above categories and have difficulty sharing your faith. If so, you can see by this poll that you are not alone. Some of the same fears reflected in the poll are common to all of us, and if God understands this, how does he expect us to carry out his instructions to be his witnesses?

The major problem is that we depend on our own strength to make us effective witnesses; when, in fact, God has provided for us His supernatural strength to encourage and enable us. You see, if you depend on your own abilities, vocabulary, personality, and determination, you are sure to fail. It is the power of God's Holy Spirit who provides all the resources you need to share your faith effectively. He can take away your fears and empower you with the right words. Here's what Jesus said to His disciples as He sent them out: "At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" (Matthew 10:19b-20 NIV). He can also prepare the hearts of those to whom you witness. All you have to do is be willing and trust God for everything else.

Building relationships with those who need Christ is essential for effective witnessing. By getting to know someone and bonding with them, you will increase your credibility and their receptivity to the gospel message, especially if they see in your life the qualities of a fully devoted follower of Christ. Once a mutual trust has been established, you will feel much more comfortable sharing the plan of salvation. Please keep in mind that as a witness for Christ you must go in the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, the way you live is as great a witness as what you say. "Preach the gospel at all times, and sometimes use words." --Saint Francis

Finally, to be effective witnesses, we must have within our hearts a genuine love for people and a burning desire to see them come to Christ for salvation. We must have a burden for those who are lost and without the hope that faith in Christ can give them. We must care about people!!!! If you really care, you will ask God to show you a way and give you strength to share his love with others; but if you don't really care, you will never be an effective witness. The "want to" must come before the "how to." When you have the "want to," God will teach you all the "how to" you will ever need.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, August 17, 2009

Greater Things

Chuckle: "Nowadays early to bed and early to rise probably means the television set isn't working."

Quote: "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish." --Michelangelo


"The truth is, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater (things) works, because I am going to the Father. You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it" (John 14:12-13 NLT).

When we read about all the miracles Jesus performed in the lives of lost, sick, needy, lonely, hungry, and hurting people, it's hard to imagine that any one person, or groups of people, could ever do greater things than Jesus did. If you consider that Jesus even raised the dead, it's hard to imagine his followers doing something greater than that. Yet, here, Jesus says this will be so. This begs the question, "How could this be so?" Let's see if we can figure this out.

I think a simple way to address this question is with another one. "After Jesus goes to the Father, what, or who, would enable the followers of Christ to do even greater things than Jesus did?" Jesus was not saying his followers would do greater individual works. But rather, the disciples, working in the power of the Holy Spirit, would carry the Good News of Jesus Christ and God's Kingdom from Palestine to the whole world. Jesus was limited, geographically, in the scope of his earthly ministry, but he prepared his followers for a much larger mission, and he empowered them to accomplish it with his Holy Spirit. Consider these words from Jesus: "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you" (John 14:15-17 NLT).

With the power of the Holy Spirit, down through the centuries, Christians have led millions to faith in Jesus Christ, many more than Jesus did personally. As he promised, Jesus is still with us in Spirit. "No, I will not abandon you as orphans -- I (my Spirit) will come to you" (John 14:18 NLT). By faith we can appropriate the Spirit's power each day we live. In our first passage, Jesus says we can ask for anything in his name and he will grant that request if such requests are consistent with his character and purpose. He will give us the love, wisdom, and power to accomplish his Great Commission: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT). It is only in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do great things for our Lord.

Love, Jerry & Dotse