Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Telling the good news that is in us and has changed us (Acts 5:20)

SCRIPTURE: Acts 5:20 (TM) – larger reading Acts 5:17-32
(The angel of God) said, "Go to the Temple and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life."

Leighton Ford writes: In preparing for this book, I have talked to a lot of people, and the fear issue comes up front again and again. What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the fears that have been mentioned to me:
- "I am afraid I might do more harm than good."
- "I don't know what to say."
- "I may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions."
- "I may seem bigoted."
- "I may invade someone's privacy."
- "I am afraid I might fail."
- "I am afraid I might be a hypocrite."
Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected. A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit. One question asked, "What is your greatest hindrance to witnessing?" Nine percent said they were too busy to remember to do it. Twenty-eight percent felt the lack of real information to share. None said they didn't really care.  Twelve percent said their own lives were not speaking, as they should.  But by far the largest group was the 51 percent whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react!  None of us likes to be rejected, ridiculed, or regarded as an oddball. 
“Fear of how the other person would react” was not a problem for the disciples as witnessed in the Acts account of their activities. They were thrown into jail and even after the angel of God came and released them from their cells they returned to the city and filled it with their testimony.

The world will pause and take notice of the resurrection this Sunday. There is a sensitive to the Christian message. At no other time during the year, not even Christmas, are people more attuned to the resurrection story. There is something magical about this week. The world wants to believe … key word here is “wants” … they are just waiting for someone that really believes the story to tell how Jesus’ resurrection has effected their life. Not a “you should believe” kind of witness and defiantly not a “if you died tonight where would you spend eternity” kind of witness … but how has Jesus’ resurrection changed life for them.

Many will gather in centers of worship and hear the stories shared by the preacher for the hour, but he/she gets paid to do that. The disciples were just common folk. They were just your everyday kind of person. They weren’t much different then those one would find in the marketplace. This made their witness powerful and meaningful… as it will ours.

Share the good, unbelievable, life changing news with others. They are waiting to hear from someone whose life has been changed. And, by the way, if someone questions the witness or challenges the testimony respond simply with, “You might be right, but all I know is myself before Christ and myself after Christ and I like the myself after Christ much better.”

Give us the courage to bear witness to the good news that is in us… not fearing rejection because God is on our side!

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