Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Schedule and talking about Jesus


A few weeks ago the only thing on my fall schedule was the revival at Orla Baptist Church that just ended. In the past few weeks, my schedule has filled up.
The remaining Sundays in October are full, half of the Sundays in November and all but Christmas for the Sundays in December!

I've even had to turn down a couple of events due to conflicts.

It still amazes me and humbles me that people call to have me come speak to them about how we can serve our God and influence our communities. I really believe that we know what we need to be doing; we just need to be encouraged to do it. Talking to people about what we believe and who we are isn't supposed to be difficult.

Sometimes I wonder if we aren't afraid to tell others about what we believe because of how we react when they tell us about their beliefs. If we immediately put them on the defensive by attacking their differing beliefs, then perhaps need to change our approach.

What if ... you build your relationships with people, you find an opportunity to ask them about their beliefs on God, afterlife, heaven and hell, good and evil, etc., and then you just listen?

...we ask questions to clarify what they believe rather than to contradict what they believe?
     How did you come to that belief?
     I'm not sure I understand that. Could you elaborate for me?
    Just to be clear, you're saying that ... ?

...we begin by finding out what others believe with no intention of telling them about our beliefs?

...our conversations are centered around them and their basic beliefs and philosophies of life?

...we ended the conversation by saying, "Thank you for sharing that with me. I always find it interesting to know what others believe and how they arrived at their beliefs."  ...and then left it at that?

Maybe this approach will make us better listeners. I think that when our goal is to share our beliefs we become so focused on what we want to say that we fail to hear what they are saying.
What if we waited to share our beliefs until they asked us to tell them what we believe?

1 Peter 3:15 says that we should always be ready to give an answer to anyone that asks us for the reason of the hope that is in us.
Be ready.
Give an answer.

You might be thinking, "But John, what if they never ask?"
Don't worry. I've got you covered.
At another time (maybe your next meeting, maybe later) you can say, "You know, I've been thinking about our conversation the other day and we have some differing beliefs. I was wondering if I might tell you about mine?"

On the off chance that they say "no," don't worry about it. They weren't going to listen anyway and you will have another opportunity at a later date. Until then, live out your life in such a way that it reflects your beliefs.

This isn't supposed to be difficult.

John <><

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