2 False Assumptions About Sharing Our Faith

Anybody who grew up in church hearing about the great commission has had to deal with two false assumptions surrounding the issue of sharing our faith:

  1. I have to achieve a certain level of competence and have my life together before God can use me.

and

  1. If I were transparent and let people see my weaknesses and struggles, it would invalidate what I had to say about Christ.

Both are reasonable thoughts. I mean think about it, it’s way too easy to compare ourselves to the champions of the faith. We can say “Paul got knocked off a horse by God and was blinded for three days. Of course his faith will be greater than mine.” Or how about “Moses spoke openly with God, He doesn’t do that with just anybody.” This one we’re all guilty of: “I don’t have a crazy testimony; just wouldn’t know what to say.”

All that’s a load of bull.

As with everyone, we all try to and funnel our circumstances into something we think we can control. But as Hebrews 11:1 points out, “Faith is being…certain of what we do not see.” In other words, it isn’t really faith until we get beyond what we can control.

And when we can’t control something everything goes out of whack. We are afraid that if we follow God where leads us, our incompetence will expose us and we’ll look like failures.

Let’s all remember that Paul had to go through years of prison, torture, name-calling, slanderous speech and even hot pursuit. In the early days of his ministry he was continuously kicked out of towns and synagogues for his fearless teaching and bold speech. He even narrowly escaped death in Damascus by being lowered over the wall in a waste basket (Acts 9:23-25).

Talk about humbling.

Years later he shared that out of all his rich years of experience, he singles out that failure in Damascus as being among the very most important of his life (2 Cor 11:32-33). It was important because it taught him that out of he cannot rely on himself. He is not in control of his life.

So what did Paul do that we must also do? “Boast of the things that show my weakness”(11:30). Paul chose to live under submission to the Holy Spirit. In doing so he could reap the rewards of God’s work and not his own.

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Trusting in the Holy Spirit can be unsettling. On occasion, He might even decide to let us look like failures just to get the message across. That’s why we need our inadequacies. Without them we will never understand our need for true strength.

Realizing and tapping into that true strength can only come through understanding and awakening to our weakness.

In a sense God is saying “You’re better the way you are—weak. That way you aren’t even tempted to trust in your own abilities. I get the glory and you have to fumble around the way you do, “for my power is made perfect in your weakness”(2 Cor 12:9).

It is not the hardship in itself that helps us know God better. It is when we embrace the hardship by faith, seeing it as an opportunity to experience God’s power, that we grow towards maturity.

So, to answer those two false assumptions: no, we don’t have to have it all together to share our faith. Also, that we must embrace our weaknesses and boast in them so that in our humility we can let the light of Christ shine forth into the darkness.

We reveal the reality of the transforming power of the gospel best when we are authentic, honest, and open about our weaknesses.

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The Grace Portion

Last night I had a dream that got me a little worked up. Ever had one of those?

I dreamed that I was in Texas at a party of some sort with some friends and it was getting late. There was a guy there who offered to let me drive his truck back to his place and crash on his couch while the rest of them continued on to play a round of golf. At midnight? Yeah that’s how they do things in Texas I guess.

Perhaps crash isn’t the correct term here. Or is it?

So it’s around midnight and I’m flying down a state highway when I see my exit come up way sooner than I thought. Having no time to react I jerk the wheel and flip his big, beautiful, Texas-edition truck one and a half times until I lands upside down crushing the roof. The crazy part is that I somehow, at 70 mph, opened the door and stepped out-of-the-way before it started flipping so I was totally unharmed. I know right?

I was unharmed except psychologically cause if you’ve ever seen The Walking Dead this was the guy who had loaned me his truck:

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Yeah. Not too thrilled. To sum it up, I was expecting him to show up hammered drunk and proceed to pound my head in with an iron skillet.

So he shows up and instead of pummeling me, he talks slowly and calmly telling me it’s all okay and that he’s glad I wasn’t hurt. Are you kidding me? I got mercy instead of a severe beating. Grace instead of condemnation.

Sound familiar?

I saw a tweet the other day by Bob Goff that said something like, “Give grace away in huge portions as if it’s the only size it comes in.” That really stuck out to me and got me thinking about how I should deal with others who wrong me or offend me even when it is unintentional.

I have been forgiven much by way of the cross. Even so must I extend that grace so that others may see it and even though they don’t understand where it comes from, are attracted to it and are drawn in by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Give grace today, even to those who don’t deserve it. Isn’t’ that what Christ did for us?

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The Coast Guard

The danger of coasting through life without paying attention to our surroundings is that we can often do a ton of unintentional damage. I learned that valuable lesson as mentioned in this video.

The other thing that happens is that we miss out on golden opportunities to shed light, give grace and spread the gospel.

When we zone out and coast on auto-pilot we often miss out on what the Lord has planned for our lives.

We all have a purpose and the tragedy is when worthless distractions pull us away from the ultimate goal: sharing the gospel of Christ in our lives.

It’s your life, you’ve got a front row seat. Don’t you wanna be apart of it?

Always be on your guard not to coast through and check out when you can be most affective for the gospel.

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P.S. For your enjoyment, the greatest example of bad driving that I’ve found. I still question how this is even possible hahaha

The Gospel Pizza Delivery Man

Last Friday I started delivering for Marco’s Pizza. I’m only doing a few nights a week but I’ve already made some gnarly cash. Anybody who’s ever thought “Delivering pizza is way below me, that would be my last resort.” has never listened to Dave Ramsey. It’s quick, super easy, a lot of fun and places are almost always hiring.

Plus I get to listen to the Rangers play on the radio. This could be their year.

Recently my church hosted a missions weekend and had a young couple speak about how to evangelize in your work place and community. One of the main points that stuck out to me is to remember to view the people around you as more than just machines or landscapes. The people who bag your groceries, shop in the same stores, order your pizza are all in need of the Gospel.

I’m still in need of it. I need it every day.

Until we recognize our need for the Gospel, even as Christians, how are we to have our eyes opened to the needs of the world around us?

Every day, every transaction, every interaction is an opportunity to let His light shine into the hearts of those machines we avoid eye contact with as we stand in line among the landscape of our temporary home.

Back to the thought of “that’s way below me.”—what some see as trifling or humbling I see as opportunity. I have dozens of literal open doors every night to speak life and drop a dose of hope into their world as well as deliver some dang good cuisine.

Oh how I wish was bold enough to speak more openly when I had a stage and a crowd of people every night. Never pass up an opportunity.

Let us not grow cold to His redemptive work on the cross and fail to remember our dead bodies and hopeless spirits prior to Christ’s sacrifice and mercy on our souls.

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Our New Born Identity

The other night I was re-watching The Bourne Legacy. I’m a huge fan of the original Bourne trilogy with Matt Damon so this movie was right up my alley. I remember doing research after watching the third installment, The Bourne Ultimatum, and seeing what it would be like to be an FOO(Field Operations Officer) for the CIA. A lot of training, studying, background checking and waiting just to see if you even qualify for the program. Sounds like a huge hassle.

Still it would be cool to travel the world, speak multiple languages, know how to drive anything that moves, defeat assassins with no more than a ball point pin or a rolled up magazine. Having multiple identities/passports and a stash of secret cash in multiple foreign currencies at your disposal is also pretty gnarly.

During one scene in The Bourne Legacy Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross is fleeing with Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) from her burning Maryland home. As they drive they’re being passed by multiple fire trucks and Cross tells Shearing “You’re June, June Monroe. Where are you from? Where was the last place you lived?” He’s forcing her to accept the situation and change her alibi in case they get caught.

Spoiler alert: they end up getting away but not without an epic chase scene at the end of the movie(as all Bourne films do).

It kinda got me thinking about how we’re often so quick to crumble under a little stress or to change our alibi when faced with a tough decision. When we’re up against the ropes it’s too easy to jump ship and claim anonymity.

And yet, the two characters had burned all their bridges(houses) and were on the run. They had no other option than to leave everything and flee.

To make a terrible illustration, we’re to give up any and all connections to our former lives before Christ. When we receive His redemption and are adopted as sons and daughters into His family (2 Corinthians 6:18) we must follow after His plan for our lives.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24

To be identified with Christ is to be given a new identity and new credentials because of Christ’s finished work on the cross.

I seriously didn’t think of this until just now but stick with me on this one, it’s great: we have a new Born Identity through Christ’s Supremacy which offers no Ultimatum but to follow in His Legacy.

*mic drop*

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Seriously though, if you haven’t seen these, do it.

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“What Took You So Long?!”

Who’s in charge of the chocolate fountain?

A few weeks ago I got a letter in mail. Anything hand written that doesn’t say “bill” or “statement” on it is always welcome in my mail box. It being the wedding season of my life I wasn’t too surprised until I read a girl’s name above my address and a bridal shower invitation inside the envelope.

Chuckling to myself I texted a picture of the invite to my friend who’s helping to orchestrate the event. “Is this for me or…Sarah?”(the name above my address) I asked. She responded with laughter assuring me that I was definitely invited though I may be the only guy attending. Pleasantly I declined though I did offer to man the chocolate fountain if need be.

No hard feelings. I never know what to bring to wedding showers anyways. A towel perhaps?

This whole thing got me thinking: how weird would it be if I didn’t re-mail the invite to the correct recipient and showed up in place of her? I’ll bet Sarah would feel left out when she realized that she was invited but never told.

Woe to those who know of it but never preach the gospel. Imagine hearing from the lips of a new-born Christian “What took you so long to tell me?”

I know of a middle-aged/senior adult man in my church who recently became saved after 30+ years of his family vehemently praying for his salvation.

No one is out of reach of God’s hand.

No one is “too lost” or “too far gone” from the power of Christ’s redeeming atonement.

As John 6 states in verses 37-40: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Christ goes on to say that He “is the bread of life.” He gives life, He sustains and He rescues sinners.

For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16

Like a captive waiting to be set free, may we struggle and fight with all our might to free the actual captives, slaves to sin, who upon seeing their error and God’s redemptive grace may say to you: “This is good! This is truth. What took you so long?!”

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24:00—The Beginning

Today is my birthday.

I made it to 24, woo! In retrospect, 23 was a pretty good year but I think we can do better. I still don’t think I’ll live past 30 but that’s another conversation. Hooray for today!

Last year I journaled every day for a whole 31 days leading up to April 11th. If I could find that dad burned notebook I may be able rehash some points and see some growth in my life. But I’m not so much focused on how great 22 was as I am about how 24 will be.

Looking back on 23, however, I definitely like what I saw. Most of my year was spent driving for a vending machine company. That involved long hours(3 am-4ish pm), country drives through early morning fog while jamming great music, sermons and audiobooks, decent pay, plenty of soreness, near death experiences due to sleep deprivation, vehicular frustration and an over abundance of fresh pastry. I’m talking a LOT of donuts.

*whew*

However, the biggest thing that stands out for me over the past year is the drive instilled in me to love the Lord. By the grace of God the one thing I’ve never lacked in my life is godly council. I thank God daily for the leadership and tutelage of my pastors at HBC.

What has really made a difference in my walk has been my one-on-one time with my peers. Through their faithfulness I have been spurred on to consistently seek Christ daily and in the Word.

Folks, it has to start there.

Just like this blog you can’t get to where you want to be if you’re not consistent. Surround yourself with godly, like-minded individuals who will push and encourage you in the right direction and don’t quit. Only look back to grab the hands of those behind and pull them along with you.

If I were to look at my life as the hours on a clock I would feel that I’m in the right spot. I’ve been wound up, ground up and broken down all in preparation of what’s next. All my life is a sanctifying process. I’m just a tool for the Kingdom and the Kingdom is here.

24:00 hours is the end of one day but the beginning of the next. I think this is just the beginning of something awesome.

God has a plan and a purpose in mind and I want you to be apart of it. I want you to be apart of it too. Dig in and find your beginning.

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They see me rollin’, My engine smokin’, I’m sleepin’ at the wheel and muchin’ Little Debbie. I’m muchin’ Little Debbie, A luncheon in my Chevy, I’m plowing through your town red, loud and ridin’ heavy

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