We received an encouraging letter the other day from someone who wanted us know what was going on in her church. The letter was so encouraging, we decided to break it down into two parts.
Our Pastor was so impressed with the philosophy of “I Am Second” that he wanted to engage our congregation and challenge them during the season of Lent. As we were doing a Bible Study called “Walk Across The Room,” we decided to do the “I Am Second” challenge as a follow-up with the wristbands and “I Am” New Testament Bibles. The wristbands became the conversation starter that many of our “timid” congregational members needed. They simply used the front page of the Bible as a study guide, discussing the “I Am” scriptures within their families and then committing those verses to part of the conversations they had with other people. During Lent, members were encouraged to do daily scripture reading, daily accountability, and daily sharing with others (particularly non-believers). Both the wristband and the Bible encouraged each of the people who used them to share their faith. These tools also seemed to spark confidence that each person could share their belief as they were sharing a conversation about being a Second!
Mitzie Deike, Veribest UMC
What a cool way to get the whole church involved in outreach! What are some things you’re doing for Lent? When people ask you about it, are you able to share Jesus with them?
Find these at www.iamsecondstore.com!
*If you’re interested in getting some of the “I Am” New Testaments, you can find them at www.iamsecondstore.com under Promotional Items.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I just had someone email me about wanting to become a believer. The issue was that they didn’t think they were strong enough. A few months ago, I had another friend who said something very similar to me. This verse immediately came to mind. It was also a challenge to me. I love acting like I have it all together, you know? I love Christ and therefore things are great! But in reality, any ounce of strength I have comes directly from Christ. I was incredibly weak when I came to Him. I don’t know how much you guys know about my testimony: http://iamsecond.com/#/seconds/Shannon_Culpepper/, but I came out of a verbally abusive relationship. A lot of times I hear, “That took a lot of strength to be able to leave.” On the contrary! I was tired of fighting. I was tired of being talked down to. I couldn’t handle being in the relationship anymore. I was too weak to keep going through what I was going through. So I ran to Christ. Then, He gave me strength. But how often do I actually tell people that my strength isn’t my own?
All that to say this: When we proclaim or present strength, I challenge you to make sure that people know it is entirely from the Lord, because even when we’re weak, He makes us strong.
Isn’t our God good?
That’s all for now J
“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” – Paul
Wait a minute. “We loved you so much“… Now there’s a new way of looking at it (for me anyway). I always have this idea in my head that the love I show others comes directly from my love from God. My love from God compels me to share His love with others. I still wouldn’t say that’s wrong… but maybe it’s incomplete. Should it be my love for God and my love for others that brings me to the point of sharing the gospel? And not only the gospel—but my life as well. For Paul to share his life with someone, it meant he was spending time with them in community—living with them, eating with them, and serving with them. How often do we make that next step of truly investing not just a conversation, but authentic and substantial time with a person? We should be taking delight in these things out of our love for our neighbors. But fundamentally, do we love our neighbors? Think about those who we’re called to love. (This would be everyone—friend and foe alike). Do we truly love them? Now, if we love them, shouldn’t we invest in them both through sharing the gospel with them, and then by following up with them through quality time?
The challenge is pretty self evident here, but I’ll lay it out just in case. Examine your relationships. 1) Do you love your neighbors? 2) If you love them, are you showing them genuine love? 3) If you’re showing them genuine love, are you showing them Christ? 4) If you’re showing them Christ, are you continuing to love them by investing in them?
I of course am not suggesting that you beat anyone over the head with a Bible, but I think it’s important that we show an authentic compassion and love for people through actions and quality time so that the faith that we share doesn’t stand alone. Then we, like Paul, can show others our love.
Let me know how it goes!