Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Bethany Bullet-Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We have all given and heard many excuses. It is part of our sinful nature to try to find ways to get out of doing something that is hard. Moses tried to even in the presence of God at the burning bush; he tried hard to get out of doing what God wanted him to do. Listen to his words from Exodus chapters 3 & 4:

  • "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?
  • "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?
  • "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?
  • "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
  • "O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”

Yahweh did not let the excuses of Moses get in the way of His plan, in fact, even in spite of the excuses; God empowered Moses to do the work he had been called to do. He even gave him some cool signs to help convince the people.

As we wrap up the Bethany Blueprint this week we come to Sharing Intentionally. Quite possibly, in this point more than any other we find excuse after excuse for not completing the task. Many of us, like Moses think we cannot do what God has asked us to do. We think we don’t have the tools or the skills to share about our faith. It is easy to convince ourselves that we can let someone else tell others about Jesus and then we can just sit here and do our own thing.

While it is true that God has given us all different gifts and abilities he has also called us ALL to share the message of salvation that we have been given in Christ.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28)

“Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
(1 Peter 3)

It would have been easy for God to give excuses for not wanting to share his love with us. After all we were the ones who disobeyed. We were the ones who fell away. God in his justice would have every right to leave us in our sin, destined for destruction. But God in his mercy did not leave us to die. He sent his son for us to bring us back, to find us, to redeem us, to give us new life and to rescue us from slavery. As God called his own son to rescue his people he did not give excuses...he showed his love.

Jesus didn’t have a staff like Moses, but he carried a cross. His hands were not leprous but they healed the lepers. He didn’t pour water on the ground but poured out his own blood for our salvation. As Jesus walked the way of Calvary...as he took our sins and our excuses upon himself...as he defeated death and the power of the devil we have been set free. Why should we keep this to ourselves?

You may be saying to yourself, “Moses got some cool signs to use to share God’s message of salvation. Jesus, the Son of God used miracles and wonders to validate his ministry, what do I have?” You may be already thinking up some excuses, “God, if you would just give me some cool signs like Moses, people would believe me.”

You don’t have a staff that turns into a snake but you do have the sword of the spirit, the Word of God that will help you. You don’t have a hand that you can do magic tricks with, but you do have hands that can worship, that can serve, that can give. Most of you will not pour your blood on the ground to point others to Christ, but you do have his blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all of your sins that will strengthen and preserve you. What is the bottom line? You have all that it takes to share your faith in Jesus. Where do you start? First of all you can all share intentionally wherever you are, with the people you already know.

I ran across a poem a few weeks ago called “How to Build Community” and I want to use it to help you see that there are so many simple ways to find opportunities to share your faith.

Turn off your TV. Leave your house.

Know your neighbors; Look up when you are walking;
Greet people; Sit on your porch; Plant flowers; Use your library;
Play together; Buy from local merchants;
Share what you have; Help a lost dog;
Take children to the park; Support education;
Fix it even if you didn't break it; Have potlucks;
Honor elders; Pick up litter; Read stories aloud; Dance in the street;
Talk to the mail carrier; Put up a swing; Help carry something heavy; Ask a question;

Hire young people for odd jobs;
Organize a block party; Bake extra and share; Ask for help when you need it; Open your shades; Sing together;
Share your skills; Turn up the music;
Turn down the music; Listen before you react;
Mediate a conflict; Seek to understand;
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles;

Know that no one is silent although many are not heard.
Work to change this.

Each of these is simply a way to find an open door to share the message of Jesus. When we find ways to get out into our communities and rely on the gifts we have been given, the message of Jesus can be spread well beyond the four walls of the church. Here is a challenge for you to do a few things this week. Think of that one person with whom you have a relationship and find a way to talk to them about church, Jesus, faith or spirituality. Then take some door hangers that are available in the Church office and put them in your neighborhood. Put your own name & address on them so that your neighbors will know that it was you. People are more apt to come to church if they are personally invited. What better time to invite someone than on Easter. Then pray. Pray that you will find some open doors to share about Jesus and last but not least, remember that it is because of Jesus and how he shared his life with us so that we might have life is what makes this all possible!

Having been called to faith in Christ,
moved by the love of God the Father and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the members of Bethany Lutheran Church are committed to Sharing Intentionally.


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