How Did He Do That?
In Acts 17, verses 24 through 31, you can find one of the most concise testimonies ever given. Paul uses just eight verses to proclaim the Gospel’s message of good news. There is nothing new here. Most of us would find that Paul states the obvious. God is the creator of the world including mankind. Mankind’s purpose is to pursue a relationship with God, one that is repentive of our sinful nature. All will be judged by Christ. Mankind’s only hope of eternal salvation is dependent upon one’s belief in this message. (Please read those eight verses for yourself)
It is not this particular message of good news that makes this part of Acts such a good model for sharing one’s faith. To fully appreciate the Apostle Paul’s expertise, you should begin your reading at Acts 17:16. Paul often began his missionary activities by finding work in a new city. His work would bring him close to people where they could see Christ at work in Paul long before he even began to share the Gospel’s message. In Athens, Paul took time to get to know the people and their present belief structure. It was his knowledge of their “unknown god” that Paul used to describe our God to them. In presenting the message of salvation, the Apostle Paul never referenced any of the Old Testament. As a Pharisee, Paul could have dazzled them with his knowledge of Hebrew Scripture. Yet he kept his message short and to the point.
Paul did not even call Jesus by name. He just described Christ as the “man He (God) had appointed.” In providing the good news of eternal life, Paul also did not leave out the “bad news,” that judgment would escape no person and that repentance and faith were of equal importance to salvation.
Only “a few men became followers” that day. Numbers don’t matter. Here we see that all we are asked to do is obey and not worry about our skill and knowledge. Our message needs to be simple and clear, and we need to be faithful in service to our Lord.
Christianity is not complex. Sometimes we try to make it that way but the message is simple: we are created by God for a purpose; separated from God by our nature; saved by our God through the unselfish sacrifice of His Son. Those who can come to terms with this truth lead a different life. Others notice and grow to this same understanding.
Can you share your story of your faith walk in a minute or less?
Do you know what the belief structure is of your neighbors and co-workers?
Do you believe that equipping each other to share faith stories is important to the Christian mission?
Are you willing to step out in faith and leave the results to God?
Magic versus Miracles
Did you ever see a talented magician pull a rabbit out of a hat or suddenly make a bouquet of flowers appear? As children, we are mystified by how this is done. As we grow older, we come to know that through slight of hand, special hats and hollow objects, magicians entertain us with their tricks. Yes, this is magic.
But have you placed a simple flower seed in your hand, observed its simplicity and placed it in the ground. Have you ever patiently nurtured the newly sprouted seedling, watered the young plant and kept those pesky weeds at bay? Did you ever then pick the flowers from the plant you grew, placed them in a vase and admired them as their fragrance filled a room and their beauty filled the heart of someone you love?
That was not magic, that was a miracle. And like my story, the plantings of a seed of faith, the nurturing of one’s faith walk is not magic, it is a miracle. Miracles are happening all around us. We just need to notice them.
Your tip of the month, therefore, is if you want your own miracle, plant a seed of faith, nurture it with Christ’s love and watch it grow.