Thursday, September 30, 2021

What is the Best Way to Share Your Faith?

Hey Friend,

I had my steamy cup of coffee in hand and was ready to settle in for Sunday online church. No sooner had I plopped onto the sofa, turned up the worship music, and called up the stairs for Dave to come down, the doorbell rang.

Who could be ringing the doorbell at 9:30 am. on a Sunday morning? Pushing pause, I scurried toward the front door. It was our neighbor, John. We'd been journeying with him and his wife, Tracy, as she battled pancreatic cancer for the past year and a half. The cancer, sadly, was winning. 

John obviously needed to talk and, I believe, there was a reason he rang our doorbell. John's much needed verbal-purge wound it's way around anger, past frustration, through anguish, alongside despair, until it wound up on faith's front porch. A door had opened...

Genesis 12 is known as the "blessing chapter" in the Bible. A good summation would be: "You are blessed to be a blessing."

So how, exactly, are we to be a blessing?

Until recently, I thought there were basically two ways to be a blessing and to share your faith with others. The first method I call "In your face." This is the more aggressive path of quoting scripture continuously and turning every conversation into a sermon.

The second method I call "Live like Jesus." This method is more passive -- I'll just go about my life, living and trying to look like Jesus, and my actions may pique someone's curiosity about my faith. This method isn't bad, per se, but it relies on someone "catching" our faith much like they'd catch a cold.

The third method I've learned is perhaps the most effective way to share our faith -- it's called "Be a blessing." "Blessers" are much more likely to bring others to faith than "Converters" who are out to save souls. I do, however, admire those favored with the gift of evangelism.
When desiring to be a "blesser," perhaps the first question to ask yourself is this:

"What would I value in someone that would make me want to discuss personal spiritual matters with them?"

Would I value:

~ Someone who listens without judgment?

~ Someone who lets me draw my own conclusions?

~ Someone with enough confidence to hear my perspective before sharing "Jesus is the Way."

Jesus was a master at blessing others. This carpenter knew how to build relationships. Here are 5 key practices I've adopted from His playbook...

5 Practices Jesus Uses to BLESS:

1. B = BEGIN with prayer. How many times did Jesus go off to pray during His ministry? I like to go on prayer walks around my neighborhood in which I pray for each house I pass and ask God who I can bless, and who needs to hear the words,"God loves you."

2. L = LISTEN. I think of the time when Jesus asked the blind man what He could do for him. Listen to your neighbors -- they will tell you how they need to be blessed or healed.

3. E = EATING. Jesus shared lots of meals with strangers and unlikely guests. We eat three meals, seven days a week. That's twenty-one opportunities to love on others. I've found sharing a meal with people we don't know well is one of the best ways to begin building a relationship.

4. S = SERVE. If you ask, people will tell you how to serve them ie: include their child in carpool, provide a meal, or pick up a prescription. One question I've gotten much better at asking is this: "How can I pray for you?" 

I never used to pray before walking into a grocery store. But, one day, I prayed in my car for Jesus to guide my steps and conversation in the store I was about to enter. It didn't take Him long to answer my prayer. In the produce section, an elderly woman told me she liked my shirt which had all sorts of adorable dogs on the back.

We discovered we'd both had Westies among other dog breeds. Other shoppers raised a few eyebrows as we doubled over laughing about dog tales and puppy escapades. I kept my lips closed and listened as she lamented over her husband's recent passing. Against COVID protocol, I asked her, "May I give you a hug?" -- she graciously accepted...and then I asked, "How can I pray for you?"

My grocery store run had become more an act of giving than an act of getting. 

5. S = SHARE your story...but only when asked. Most folks don't want to know about your achievements, they want to know they're not alone in carrying their burdens and shame. Hubris gets you nowhere, but humility is a welcome mat. By sharing "me too" stories, we can lighten the load others bear.

As Christians, we need to be inclusive in our prayers -- in learning to listen, while sharing a table, when serving, and when sharing. Will you pray with me?

Dear Heavenly Father, I am truly blessed by you. Please enable me to go out and be a blessing to others. Let me be to someone else, what I would like them to be to me. Give me strength and courage to use the practices Jesus used to bless others. I'm asking you to bring to mind people I need to bless this week. What first step, Lord, do I need to take? Tell me. Show me. Here I am, Lord, use me. Enable me, ultimately, to share the hope that is within me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you? Is your style more "In your face," or "Live like Jesus?" Do you feel God calling you to a more active way of sharing your faith by being a blessing? What step(s) can you take this week? Who can you bless? Will you share?

May you be blessed in your endeavors...

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