Imitate Paul

It’s SHARE YOUR FAITH WITHOUT FREAKING OUT WEEK here on GUWG.

Monday, we discussed how NOT to share your faith. Yesterday, we looked at the ultimate role model: Jesus.

Today’s topic? Be Like Paul.

Here’s what Paul himself said:

Imitate Jesus

It’s SHARE YOUR FAITH WITHOUT FREAKING OUT WEEK.

Yesterday, we shared some “To Don’ts.” Today, we’ll start sharing some “To Do’s.”

We’ll begin here:

Imitate Jesus. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Was evangelism a priority for Jesus? Let’s look at his first and last recorded words to his disciples:

Share Your Faith Without Freaking Out

Ever get tongue-tied, weak-kneed or sweaty-palmed when it comes to telling people about Jesus?

I do.

Well, never fear again. This week on GUWG, we’ll be probing what the Bible says about how to share your faith without freaking out.

We’ll start with one of the few topics on which I am truly an expert: how NOT to share your faith. I have made every conceivable mistake you can possibly make in this area.

Without further ado, here’s GUWG’s official:

EVANGELISM “TO DON’T” LIST

Connect

Some words of wisdom from the Apostle Paul:

Though I am free and belong to no man,
I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

To the Jews, I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.

To those under the law
I became like one under the law
(though I myself am not under the law),
so as to win those under the law.

To those not having the law
I became like one not having the law
(though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law),
so as to win those not having the law.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.

I have become all things to all men
so that by all possible means I might save some.
I do all this for the sake of the gospel,
that I may share in its blessings.

(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

Follow Paul’s — and Jesus’ — example. Use all possible means to connect with the people around you.

Flip open the Gospels or any of Paul’s epistles. You’ll see stories, object lessons, visuals, irony, symbolism, metaphor, humor and passion. You’ll see discussions with small groups and sermons to large crowds. You’ll see messages for everyone: prisoners, prostitutes, kings — even religious people.

I’ll admit it: I can be pretty awful at connecting with others. Too often I’m too busy and too self-absorbed. So, for a little inspiration, I did some research this morning and came up with the following . . .

FIVE WAYS EVEN NINCOMPOOPS LIKE ME
CAN CONNECT WITH TODAY’S WORLD

  • Have an actual conversation. Invite a friend or co-worker to lunch today and do more listening than talking.
  • Have a party. But don’t invite the usual suspects. Follow the Luke 14:13 example and invite those less fortunate than you. You’ll be blessed.
  • Write a letter. Surprise someone by going “old school” and writing ’em a letter. Don’t be afraid to tell ’em about what God has done in your life.
  • Hand out books. When I get tongue-tied trying to explain my faith (which is often), sometimes I’ll give someone a book I think they’ll connect with. Here’s three I’ve given out recently: Crazy Love by Francis Chan, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Grace by Max Lucado.
  • Go techno. I’m truly a nincompoop when it comes to technology. But over the past few months, I’ve managed to stumble into some new and exciting ways to share the Gospel. Go to Twitter.com, where in 5 seconds you can sign up for free and start blasting bite-size messages all over the world (if you’d like, you can follow me @getupwithgod). Or check out Yahoo.com, where you can ask or answer questions about God with millions of other people. You can even connect with the Bible on a deeper level by helping create a “wiki-commentary” with other believers at Youversion.com.

The possibilities are truly endless.

GET
ENGAGED

Stupid Arguments

Ever find yourself stuck in a really dumb argument? I’m a lawyer — that’s practically my specialty.

Here’s what the Bible says about this subject:

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments,
because you know they produce quarrels.
(2 Timothy 2:23)

This is a nice follow-up to Monday’s daily dose about defending your faith. When I first became a Christian I got all charged up and went out and pretty much beat people over the head with my Bible. Probably not the best approach. Here’s what the Bible says right after the above verse:

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel;
instead, he must be kind to everyone,
able to teach, not resentful.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct,
in the hope that God will grant them repentance,
leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
and that they will come to their senses
and escape from the trap of the devil,
who has taken them captive to do his will.
(2 Timothy 2:24-26)

The lesson? Don’t quarrel. Be kind. Instruct gently. And then trust God to take care of the rest.

Defending the Faith

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

You pray fervently for the people around you to come to know Jesus. Then one day someone comes up to you and says: “You seem different. What’s your deal?”

Waaaaay too often, my answer to that question begins something like: “Umm, yeah, well, uh, you know, um, ahh . . .”

Don’t let that happen to you. We’re called to be prepared to answer questions like that.

Other times, I find myself sucked into arguments about God where I become a rude and insensitive blowhard. Don’t let that happen to you either.
We’re called to be gentle and respectful.

Here’s a prayer for all of us:

Dear God:
Help me always to be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks about my faith.
Help me always to be gentle and respectful.
And help me live my life in a way
that will communicate your love
in all that I do.
Amen

Bonus: It’s reallllly hard to find anyone in mainstream media defending Christianity. But click here for a recent example that might make you laugh (and maybe even think).

Bonus #2: If you’re looking for books to help you explain and defend you faith, here are some thought-provoking resources: Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, Lee Strobel’s Case for Christ, Doug Powell’s Guide to Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft’s Handbook of Christian Apologetics and C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

BE PREPARED

Shoe Salesman for Jesus

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. (Philemon 6)

Never underestimate the impact of sharing your faith. One little conversation can change the world. Literally.

Let me tell you a story . . .

In the 1800s, a humble Sunday school teacher named Ed Kimball helped lots of people get to know Jesus. Ever hear of him? Probably not.

One of those people was a disgruntled teenager named Dwight Moody. Moody’s antics made him seem like a long shot to ever become a Christian. But Kimball never gave up.

One day, Kimball felt led to visit Moody at the shoe store where he worked. The plain-spoken Kimball kept it simple. He asked Moody “to come to Christ, who loved him and who wanted his love and should have it.” Deeply moved, Moody decided to give his heart to Christ right there on the spot.

Moody turned that little shoe store into his own personal mission field, sharing his new faith with anyone who would listen. He went on to become the greatest evangelist of his generation, preaching to crowds as large as 20,000.

But that’s not the end of the story.

A young man named Fred Meyer once saw Moody preach. He was so moved that he decided to launch his own outreach ministry. He preached at colleges all over the country and helped lead many to Christ.

A man named Wilbur Chapman came to one of Meyer’s rallies and gave his heart to Jesus. Chapman got involved in the YMCA and mentored a former pro baseball player named Billy Sunday. Sunday, too, went on to become a great evangelist.

Chapman arranged for Sunday to preach at a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was such a huge success that they decided to have a second one, inviting another well known evangelist named Mordecai Ham to preach.

As Ham spoke, a young man named Billy came forward to give his life to Jesus. That young man’s last name? Graham. Ever hear of him?

And all because a Sunday school teacher took the time to visit a shoe store.

SHARE YOUR FAITH