“…I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance…” (2 Peter 3:1)
“…to provoke unto love and good works…” (Hebrews 10:24)
I confess that I am a button pusher or one who provokes or instigates. One of my favorite things to do to other obvious Christ-ians, like those having a Bible study in a coffee shop or at a Panera bread shop, is to walk up, and ask them, “How can anyone with any intelligence believe in something so silly as a “Guy in the Sky?” I then stand and watch and listen to these stalwart believers stand fast and declare their faith in Christ. Sometimes I continue to degrade them and seek to cause embarrassment. Then I tell them how pleased they have made their Heavenly Father and how they have blessed Him. I tell them that, I too, am a believer and lover of God. I congratulate them on their stand. We then Praise God together, and pray. We pray and thank Him for the grace to “give an answer for the hope we share in Christ.
I do this for a number of reasons: 1. Out of selfishness. I am so blessed and encouraged to see these believers of different ages, and backgrounds standing firm and speaking to the reality and greatness of our Almighty God. 2. To give these believers a real world opportunity to exercise their faith and to take a stand. 3. I believe it blesses and brings great glory to God. He is pleased to see His Name honoured and defended. 4. So that others, who may not be “churched,” to see Christ-ians defending their faith when someone confronts them, and basically calls them, Stupid. 5. I have an opportunity to praise God in prayer, with newly met, fellow believers, in the presence of others. 6. I leave them with something to talk about, think about, and share with others. 7. I want to be a blessing and leave people and places better than I found them.
When we do things like this, we are reminded of a passage where Isaiah, that says he will be found by those who look for him not. We, as Christ-ians, should actively seek out opportunities to be a blessing, be an answer to someone’s prayer, to stir up another believer to glorify God, to provoke others to do right. A pastor friend of mine sums this up with (3) three E’s…Exalt God, Edify the saints, Evangelize the lost. If one is actively participating in one of these at all times, one is in the will of God. I think, I would add (1) one more E, however. My (4) four E’s would be Exalt God, Edify the saints, evangelize the lost, and Engage Everybody, everywhere, in every way and everyday.
Christ-ians, today, especially in America, have so very many, many ways to Exalt God, Edify the saints, Evangelize the lost and Engage everybody. We have access to tracts, Bibles can be purchased almost everywhere and given away, Social Media offers ways to “4E” who knows how many persons and peoples.
We have recently befriended a pastor in Pakistan, who is 4E-ing in all directions. We have the opportunity, honour and privilege to help this pastor through prayer and financial means. We are (DV), going to be on YouTube soon and my Pakistan pastor friend will (DV) show us in his school and mission. Imagine that, a no-name preacher teaching children and adults in Pakistan India, through social media. We are trying to get him in touch with Chapel library, so that Chapel library might provide him with literature, tracts, books, booklets for no charge. My point is, We were found by persons not even looking for us and we 4E’d (2) two different ministries (1) one in Florida and (1) one in Pakistan…from our bed!!! If anyone is interested or so led to look into the pastor in Pakistan, let me know. Also, If anyone is interested in Chapel Library, let me know.
We attended a wedding recently and over that weekend we spent time in a small town shopping strip. We entered an antique shop and there was Christ-ian music playing . Well, Guess what I did. I spoke to the store owner in a confrontational and condescending manner. We questioned how she, obviously a smart woman, could, for a second, believe in the God fairie tale. This woman, posture straitened, head up, staring into my brown eyes, began to tell me why she believed in God and how sad it is when others do not. I, then told her, “Miss, I am so pleased. I am a preacher and fellow lover of God.” She relaxed, let her breath out and we spoke to each other about the greatness of our God.
When purchasing Xmas gifts for the wife of my youth, We discerned the lady at the register was a believer. We spoke about our faith and our God. She gave me discount after discount after discount…We saved ($60.00) sixty dollars. In that (3) three-(4) four minute exchange, we all, she and I, Exalted God, Edified one another, Evangelized, somewhat, the lost, if they were listening, for we had engaged one another.
I have learned that if one speaks to another person, as if they already knew them, the other person reacts, in likewise fashion. I learned to ask persons, “Where do you attend Church?” This breaks the proverbial ice, and one is able to give a witness to God. If the person responds negatively towards us, we use the prophet’s “Woe unto thee, sir…woe unto thee” and we excuse ourself. If we are faced with a joyful believer, we use the prophet’s, “Blessed art thou.”
Sometimes, when standing in line, I begin to provoke by calling attention to a newspaper or tabloid headline. The conversation (DV), goes, at some point, to my God or ” Where do you attend Church?” We speak to them like we have always known them and persons will open up more often than they don’t. It could be called seed planting. It could be called planting a seed of guilt for they know they should be in Church, if they aren’t.
One can bring God into a conversation very, very easily without drawing attention to one’s self. In a conversation, someone say’s, “This trump guy (shaking his head) is gonna destroy our country.” another chimes in,” Yeah, did you hear what he said about, X?” Then the Christ-ian can say, with an innocent voice, You Know I read somewhere…that it is foolish to answer a matter before hearing it….I think it was….. King Solomon, in the Bible, that said that.” The Christ-ian can then lead the conversation toward Scriptural matters. One could share some of Solomon’s “one liners.” Once they are comfortable with Solomon, use Solomon’s Proverbs about sin and salvation.
I know, easier said than done. One thing to keep in mind, when giving a witness to a stranger, is, you’ll probably never see them again, anyway,but your words will stick with them, for His Word does not return void.
We, like Paul, are not ashamed of the Gospel. Why should we be? We see advertisements showing women in their under clothes and there, unfortunately, is no shame there. We see commercials that seek to seduce persons into sin and there is no shame there, either. We see commercials that support gluttony, greed, fornication, adultery, idolatry, etc. and there is no shame. So,? Why are Christ-ians ashamed or scared to speak of the Righteous Christ of Holy God? Methinks it is because, somewhere, at some time, Christ-ians were told, in some fashion, to be scared and ashamed of their faith. Is it because of church history and persecution? Is it because, we aren’t strong in our own faith?
Methinks that in our day and time every thing is being thrown into the ring. No one is holding back anything. Why, should we? Why not stir up the lost? Why not provoke verbal jiu-jitsu? Why not stand tall and tell the world, “I am a Christ-ian, and that means, I am better than you.” Why not provoke by saying, “God loves me, however, I doubt that He loves you.?” This may stir up their thinking and they may find out that God does love them and that Christ did die for them.
My point, beloved, is this, In this world much seems backward and dark. Let us use this to God’s Glory. When someone say’s they do not care about God, tell them, “Maybe He doesn’t care about you either, and bring them into a conversation on God’s love. Or play yourself as an arrogant unbeliever, and provoke a believer to defend the faith and defend the faith in front of other non-believers.
There are many ways to Exalt God, Edify believers, Evangelize the lost, and to Engage everybody. One should, or dare I say must, find one’s own way to do so and then… to……… do so.