Weekly Journey 15.1

Here’s The Weekly Journey – a few blog posts that I’ve recently read.  As you read, know this: sometimes I agree with the content and other times I don’t.  The point of the Weekly Journey isn’t to share my thoughts.  At the end of the day, I hope these posts help us think as we journey together.  Feel free to comment and/or share!

Weekly Journey

THE WEEKLY JOURNEY

Church Ministry: Outreach

How some older congregations have successfully reached a younger audience.  You may be surprised at the answer…

Five Ways Some Senior Adult Churches Became Younger

Church Ministry: Worship Ministry

Have you experienced the conflict between new and old worship music? Billy Graham answer’s the question, and I hope it speaks “volumes”…

http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article31303013.html

Christianity and Culture: Capitalism?

The economy is in a volatile state. Is there anything Christian about it? Can that change? This post may be idealistic, but hopefully it can make us think…

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/09/23/is-capitalism-unchristian/

Just for fun…

Burton is an author and blogger who lives around the corner from me. Subscribe to his blog to rea some short-stories about life in Newfoundland, Canada.

Craving Caffeine

The most recent post on The Journey Holm…

http://andrewholm.com/fatherhood-she-brings-me-a-book

Thanks for reading! I hope these blog posts are helpful in your weekly journey. Feel free to comment and/or share!

Loving God or His Creation?

RESPONSE: Do I even love God?

This is a response to a very humble and honorable question: Do I even I love God? Many ask similar questions, but are afraid to journey through an answer because of the possible outcomes. This is part of my answer…

As a Christian, I often ask myself: “am I busy being involved in ministry OR in my relationship with God?” Sometimes I think of this in terms of being in a relationship with THE CREATOR or CREATION.  I find this useful because it voices the concern in terms of God’s activity.  God himself is THE CREATOR, while everything in this world (including every system and science) is a product of God’s CREATION.  We should always focus on our relationship with THE CREATOR; however, by being involved in what God has CREATED, we support and join in God’s activity which in turn, strengthens our relationship with Him.

God, The Creator
God is our personal Creator.  When Adam and Eve were in the garden, it was clear their first priority was to obey and serve God, which is our primal definition of worship.  We were created in God’s image and likeness, and in return, we were called to obey.[i]  Our relationship with God was, and continues to be, our first priority.

God’s Creation
Adam also understood his second role ? to take care of God’s creation.  God told Adam to name the animals, have leadership among the rest of creation and to work and keep the garden.[ii]  Part of our responsibility is to take part in what God has created.

Our Journey With God in His Creation
If we continue to read scripture, we see that God created the system of ministry we serve in today.  Jesus talked about building His church,[iii] and sent the Spirit to empower the early Church for service.[iv]  Paul understood God’s creation in terms of God’s ultimate authority.  When discussing government, Paul told us to subject ourselves to their authority because God himself has appointed them.[v]  If we continue in this logic, the Church and our system of ministry has been appointed by God himself and he expects us to join in his special activity.   Furthermore, our lack of participation would symbolize our lack of involvement in Christ, since we, the Church, are in fact Christ’s body.[vi]

While God, the Creator, should always be first in our lives, being active in what God has created should be one of the ways we participate in that relationship.  That said, participating doesn’t necessarily mean you love God; rather, loving God means participating in His creation.  In order to love God, we must live lives of WORSHIP, LOVE His creation, and SERVE others as they GROW to do the same.

My prayer: May God allow you to continue to develop your understanding of your journey with Him.

 


[i] Genesis 1:26; 2:16-17.

[ii] Genesis 1:26, 28-30; 2:15, 20.

[iii] Matthew 16:18.

[iv] Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4.

[v] Romans 13:1.

[vi] Ephesians 4:1-16.

7 Reasons Why Sharing Our Faith Can Be Difficult

Sharing our personal faith with someone seems to be one of the hardest things to do.  It was common for first century people to share stories with one another – they lived in an oral culture.  So, when something impacted them, talking to people was fairly natural.  Today, in the twenty-first century, there are so many factors that slow us down to share the truth that God has gifted us with.  The good news is, many of these factors start with us.  If we can overcome the things that slow us down, sharing our faith will become a lot easier.

I’ll be the first to admit, sharing my faith is difficult.  That said, God has appointed believers to be his witnesses.  Luke shows us how Jesus prepared his disciples, not just for their own journey, but also to spread the message to others.  Over the span of Luke’s writings, Jesus called his disciples, taught and mentored them, sent out the 12 disciples, sent out the 72, provided for them spiritually and physically, laid down his own life to full-fill the mission, resurrected, told his followers to wait until more helped arrived, and when the Holy Spirit came, the followers of Jesus were given power to be witnesses in “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”[i]  The message of hope, love, joy, and peace was not only brought to some, but eventually to the “end of the earth,” and it was accomplished by God sending those who believed at witnesses of how God impacted them.

So why don’t we share our story with everyone we meet?  There are really no excuses, but I think there are several reasons.  Here are 7 reasons that I came up with:

1. It’s our personal life…

The impact of God isn’t superficial.  When we experience the freedom of accepting Christ as the Lord of our lives, he starts to encompass our entire being.  With that, comes personal transformation.  Because it’s often very personal, we tend to hide what God has done and keep it to ourselves and close family and friends.  While some things are personal in nature, we need to remember that others deal with personal issues as well.  God may need you to share your story of freedom with someone who is struggling.

2. We feel unworthy…

Good, we should.  We have received an unworthy and unwarranted gift of grace from God.  That should make us feel very humble and unworthy.  The amazing part of God’s sending plan, however, is that he asks us, the unworthy ones, to be his Church.  He wants those who have been impacted by his love to spread the message to others.  We need to stay humble and allow the Spirit to move through us.

3. We have too many questions ourselves…

Because our relationship with God requires faith, there will always be some unanswered questions.  God is beyond are understanding in many situations and there are many times when we have to trust in God to ease our mind. That said, let’s remember two things: (1) don’t stop thinking; and, (2) don’t let unanswered questions stop us.  God gave everyone a mind, so let’s use it.  As we think about God’s glory, we may indeed come to a better understanding which we can then share with others.  As we live, however, let’s not let unanswered questions stop us from sharing God’s plan with others!  The next life-changing theologian could be awaiting our witness.

4. We’re comfortable…

We’ve all experienced being new.  Whether it be new to the Christian faith, or new to an assembly.  At some point, however, the newness wears off and we become comfortable.  This doesn’t only stop us from sharing our faith, but also disregards the need to share our faith.  We need to remember that God made us new and desires for us to spread that message of hope.  If we remain comfortable, then the message will die with us.

5. We’re unsure of the outcome…

I think it’s safe to say, most of us have many friends, co-workers, and family who don’t have a relationship with Christ.  Most of us would also say, they’d love for them to start having a relationship with Christ.  What stops us from sharing our faith?  I think it’s partly because we’re afraid of the possible outcome.  It’s normal to think through how someone will react to our testimony; however, we need to make sure we rely on the Spirit to bring life to what we share.  Read Luke 12 to see how the Spirit helps us with the right words to say and provides the right resources that we need.

6. Religious freedoms…

In our culture today, people are free to worship, live and respond to any religion of their choosing.  Some Christians interpret this to mean other religions are more important than theirs.  This is not entirely true. Religious freedoms allow for everyone to choose their own religion.  There is nothing stopping a Christian from sharing their faith, as long as they don’t force an individual to participate.  In fact, religious freedoms actually allow for Christians to share their faith to anyone who will listen.  Let’s make Christianity a desired option to choose.

7. We forget to ask God for help…

Sharing our personal story is difficult, but we’re not alone.  God has partnered with us be his witnesses.  Let’s go back to Luke’s gospel.  In chapter 12, Jesus taught his followers that the Spirit will give you the right words to say when you defend your faith.  Jesus followed this up just before he returned to heaven.  He said to wait in Jerusalem until the power of the Spirit comes to help you to be “witnesses of these things.”[ii] In Acts, the Spirit empowered the believers and they continued to spread the message.  Today, the same power can help us.  The Father and Son are willing and able to equip us with the Spirit to give us boldness to speak and to live-out Christian lives as witnesses of the truth. Let’s not be afraid to ask for God’s help!

I’m sure at least one of these reasons have crossed your mind at some point.  While many of them have lasting impressions and are difficult to overcome, the ball is in our court.  With God’s help, we can overcome whatever is slowing us down from sharing our faith.

God has called us.  God has provided a way to help us.  Will we choose to be a witness?

Join the conversation…

Why do you think Christians find it difficult to share their faith?  How have you shared your faith?


[i] Luke 5, 6-8+, 9, 10, 12, 22-24, Acts 1:8, ESV.

[ii] Luke 24:48.