Hello Friends, I'm back!!
Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV) "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
A recent email grabbed my attention and tendered my heart. Emotion swept over me and tears welled up in my eyes. A friend shared with me that her fourth grade daughter's class had a speech assignment for school. They were to choose a selection from a packet of speeches and present it with clarity, confidence and expression in front of the whole class as well as any parents who came for the occasion.
Her daughter decided to challenge herself and pick something not in the packet of speeches. In her mother's words, her daughter wanted to deliver a speech that meant something to her and had a message that would leave the audience with something to think about. And, deliver she did.
My friend also shared with me that her daughter struggles with stuttering. While she has never had therapy it creeps up from time to time especially when she is nervous. The speech she gave is quite a tongue twister, but she didn't stutter one bit. In fact, you could have heard a pin drop when she delivered it. Her classmates and their parents sat in their seats shocked by the words that flowed powerfully from her mouth.
What could a fourth grader possibly say that would astound an audience to sit intently with flabbergasted looks across their faces and conviction in their heart? This is it:
The Disciples Creed --Author unknown
I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap loving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity.
I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, and let the cause of Christ Go.
I am a disciple of Jesus.
I must go till He comes~ give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - My banner will be clear!
Do you have goosebumps? I know I do. What strikes me most about this speech is this young lady's audacious courage to communicate Who she lives for. Her bold effort to proclaim Christ is an example to every person who calls themselves a Christian. We may not have a "speech assignment" but we certainly have a daily life assignment.
As I grow in my faith I am becoming more bold in my witness. Honestly, there have been times when I didn't speak up when I should have. Or, I felt prompted to share Christ but cowered in fear instead. I've realized my fear is based on what people will think of me. But, when I boil it down, it doesn't really matter what others think, only what He thinks.
There is the temptation to believe that we only have to live out our faith and not actually verbally share it. While our lives absolutely should profess what our lips confess, many succumb to our culture of intolerance that repeatedly tells us to "Keep it to ourselves". I mean, how dare we be bold in our faith, right? Wrong. I didn't say be belligerent or disrespectful. I said be bold. Have we been bought out by a world that shushes us, or, are we sold out for the One who paid for us?
If God has really changed our life we have something worth talking about; Someone to share. We can bring hope to hopelessness, healing to brokenness, comfort to pain, and redemption from sin. The gospel message was never intended to be kept to ourselves. Shame on us for hoarding what is supposed to be shared with others.
We are undeniably responsible to share Christ's redeeming work with people. These are the very people He brings into our lives for a purpose. The very people He deeply loves. The very people He died for. The very people who need Him. Will you deliver the message?
Are you braver than a 4th grader?
How can you speak boldly for Christ this week? How does this story impact you?
Think of one person who needs to hear your testimony. Schedule a time to meet with them and share about God's work in your life.
Ask God to give you courage and boldness (as the apostles did) to fearlessly make known the gospel of Jesus.
How do you daily represent Christ? Have you accepted the Disciples Creed?
What hinders you from speaking the truth and/or sharing your faith in God?
Reflect on this statement, "It is not Christlike to live our faith without sharing it".
How often are you silenced by the intolerance of our culture or paralyzed by fear? When have you been hushed to "Keep it to yourself"?
Heart Transforming Word:
Isaiah 66:19 (NIV) "I will send some of those who survive to the nations ..... to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations."
Matthew 10:38 "Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Mark 8:29 " ' But what about you?' Jesus asked, 'Who do you say I am?' Peter answered, 'You are the Christ.' "
Acts 4:29 "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness."
Acts 5:42 "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ."
Romans 15:19b-20a "So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known."
Colossians 4:3-4 "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should."
2 Timothy 4:17 "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it."
Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.