Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 – December 12 – Sharing Our "God Story"

Study from God’s Word Acts, Chapters 24 - 26 … Passage for Reflection: Acts 26: 28 … NIV Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

My Journal for Today: The scenario I studied from Acts 24-26 today, has Paul imprisoned in Caesarea by the Sea for more than two years; and he’s given the opportunity to witness his testimony and the Gospel message to several of his captors of Roman authority. Today’s verse is documented by Dr. Luke from Paul’s witness to the Roman appointed King, Herod Agrippa II, who had come down to Caesarea from Jerusalem for Paul’s hearing.

And the lesson here is how much of our attention, time, and testimony should be taken by evangelistic witness to non-believers (i.e., the lost) in our sphere of opportunity or influence. And Dr. Smith, from today’s devotional entry, remembers the exhortation of Jesus, Himself, to His disciples, whom He was sending out to share the Gospel in the countryside surrounding Capernaum, where Jesus was residing and teaching at the time. In Matthew 10: 14 we read Jesus’ words, ”If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.”

But here is Paul, in prison, and he has an audience with someone in civil authority, someone who is duty and time bound to listen to Paul’s witness; and Paul pulls out his best verbal guns to share Christ with the pagan king of Judea. And how he shares Christ with Agrippa is a great lesson for anyone who desires to share our faith with others. Paul simply gives the king his testimony, telling how Jesus entered and changed his life forever; and that is a lesson for any of us who desire to share Christ with others in our lives, especially those whom we love dearly and, in our perception, are lost.

We need to first have the opportunity and the invitation to share. As Jesus taught His missionary bent disciples, if someone is not willing – or able – listen to us share the Gospel, we need to move on, and use God’s providence of time, to develop or shape opportunities with others. But when the circumstances of life and our relationships with others give us the chance to share Christ with a lost one, as it was presented for Paul to share with Agrippa, we need to use our personal testimony of our Christ changed or transformed our life as the primary evangelistic approach. I have a story of how Christ changed my life when I was willing/able to receive Him into my life. You, as a Christian, have your story; and someone who’s lost needs to hear our story.

I used to think that I needed to trumpet a barrage of Scriptures at someone when I shared the Gospel with a lost person; but many people are “turned off” when they hear God’s word being spouted out at them, especially when they’ve given the listening license to someone to share their faith. But I’ve learned – by experience and example, like Paul’s story from today’s text – that it’s best to share my testimony in simple, brief, and clear word pictures, … my story of how Christ came into my life and changed me forever. Anyone with anti-Christian biases or negative stereotypes can argue with biblical references or pro-God arguments. However, NO ONE can argue with a testimony!

No one can argue the truth of me simply telling my story and my giving witness to the truth of how God changed me from an unbelieving agnostic to a believer in what Christ did for me on the cross. No one can argue with my story of how God broke my chains of sex addiction and gave me the power to resist those obsessive and destructive desires. And I also had to come to the realization that I’m not the one who will save the lost person with whom I’m sharing Christ. That’s God’s (i.e., the Holy Spirit’s) business. My charge is only to do all I can to have the opportunity to share my story with a lost soul; and then I simply leave it to God to take that person to the place where that dear lost soul can be humbled to receive the free gift of grace being offered by Christ.

So, we need to be convicted and directed by God’s Great Commission (which I hope you know from Matt. 28: 19-20) to devote our life opportunities to share the Gospel – from our own life experience – with those who will open the window of opportunity for Christ’s light to shine into their darkness by our testimony. And I hope and pray (below) that He will even give me such an opportunity today or into my future to do so. And here’s also me praying that God gives you that opportunity as well.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, as I do so often, I pray that You give me opportunities, maybe even today, for me, and anyone who reads here, to share our story of how You changed us forever. Amen

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