Encounter: Listen to the words of Paul as he encourages the Christ followers in Colossae. As they are trying to live out their new found faith false teachers have come in sowing doubt in their understanding about the nature of Jesus, questioning his true identity as Creator and Redeemer. Ultimately the core issue was and still is, what gospel are we witnessing to others. Read through Colossians 4:2-6 a few times underlining any words or phrases that speak to you about sharing our faith with others. Then Acts 1:8 and the entirety of John 16 & 17. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how he is working to "proclaim the mystery of Christ," through your life.
Yesterday while on State Road 3 heading back to the church after lunch, the driver of the car behind me began weaving and following me so closely I thought he might touch my bumper. He then began to swerve and try to pass me but there was oncoming traffic. I knew then I was dealing with an impaired driver and I needed to get as far away from that vehicle as possible. I called 911 and told the dispatcher a complete description and everything the driver was doing as we came closer to the intersection. I eventually was able to give them his license plate once we came to a halt at the stoplight. Whatever was going on with this driver, I was witnessing someone who could be a danger to others. I often see reports of this happening on the news but this is the first time I have actually witnessed someone driving impaired. I also knew as a witness I might be called upon to share what I saw. As we often say, reading about something like this and experiencing it is totally different.
It's the same with our faith. Reading about someone's experience of faith in a book or podcast is one thing and is where things begin, but our knowledge about God is designed to move us into our own actual experience of faith. The "personal heart-knowledge" as Trevor Hudson calls this, forms the foundation of our witness to Jesus Christ. A witness is one who actually experiences something, not just believes, not just feels or shares from someone else's life. Like watching TV, we can get so wrapped up in watching other people live their lives we never quite get to living ours.
The invitation is to understand how the Holy Spirit empowers us to be His witnesses in our world. Acts 1:8, Christ proclaims, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me. From our personal heart-knowledge to the empowerment to listen and communicate to the power giving us the capacity to lay our lives down, we are encouraged to be prayerful, watching and waiting as we live out our faith every day. And it may be the little things that are the big things. Isn't this what Paul was teaching the church in Colossae?
This Sunday we gather to show our devotion and make our commitments to God and His call to be witnesses of His great love. And we ask God, as Paul did, to open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, and be wise in the way we act toward outsiders making the most of every opportunity, letting our conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that we may know how to answer the real questions people ask.
We may always feel like beginners in this ministry God has given us, and we may fear saying the wrong thing but I believe that is the way he intends it to be so that we know it is the Holy Spirit who empower us to be witnesses and we lean into the one who teaches us all things.
Our message is an eternal one. John tells us, "eternal life is to know the one true God and Jesus Christ who he has sent." That is an intimate knowing, the message now and forever will be this: we are being invited into friendship with God. This truly does lead to Abundant Life!
Witnessing with You,
ps. Remember to bring your commitment cards as we invest in the ministries that make all this possible!
Reflect: In what area of your life do you find it hardest to be a witness to Jesus Christ? How do you feel about talking to others about Jesus? What have you come to know about Christ through your experience of him?
Spiritual Practice: Pray and ask Holy Spirit if there is a person you are to reach out to and share the love of Christ. But first write down or talk to a friend about what you understand the Good News to be. How does friendship with God affect your witness of your own faith?
Gather: Share with one another an area of your life where you need to grow in order to become a more credible witness to Jesus Christ.