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When in a Funk

A couple weeks ago, I was talking to a couple from my church and the husband told me that a mentor of his used to say to him, “Man, you are just in a funk today! You need to go out and talk to someone about Jesus.” And he would literally kick him out of the office (which is ironic because they worked in a ministry) and he would go find someone to share Christ with.

The whole story kind of stuck with me. He talked about how it didn’t really matter how he was feeling that day, somehow telling another person what Christ had done would change his mood and outlook on the day. So I’m here to tell you two personal stories about sharing Jesus “when in a funk” and how they turned out.

Last Saturday, one of my co-workers asked me if I would make her some monkey bread. For some people, this probably sounds like a bizarre request, but (not to brag) my monkey bread is actually pretty well-known and I get requests for it all the time. To be fair, it’s a family recipe and it’s pretty amazing. I was more than happy to make it for her and asked her when she wanted it. She asked if Sunday would work. Honestly, I sighed a little inside. If you know me or have read this post, you probably know that Sundays aren’t my best days. I usually come home after church and crash. But I knew that I really did have the time to make it that day so I told her that would be fine.

When she came to pick it up, she ended up staying and talking for a while. She’s young and goes to church without her family and wants to be baptized, so in the course of our conversation, she asked about my baptism. I’m pretty sure my whole face lit up. That was a really special day for me (maybe I’ll post about it sometime) and I loved getting to tell her about it. After she left, I realized how invigorated I felt, just from talking about Christ’s love for me.

And the words came back to me: When in a funk, talk about Jesus.

Fast forward to a few days later. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I had a lot of things weighing on my mind but was trying and trying to trust the Lord with them. But in reality, I was kind of grumpy. Having remembered the success from Sunday, I decided to find someone to talk to. I live just down the road from a nursing home, so I grabbed my Bible and went there. Come to find out they have a lot of entrances and I wasn’t really sure which one to go in which just further added to my frustrated feeling. Finally I just picked one and marched in like a soldier. I smiled sweetly at the secretary and asked if I was allowed to talk to some of the residents. She told me to feel free. Great.

I found an older lady sitting by herself in the dining hall and asked her if I could sit with her and pulled up a chair. We introduced ourselves and that’s when I discovered that she couldn’t hear very well. I CAN talk loud when I need to (people are usually really surprised 🙂 ) but it’s hard for me to keep it up for a whole conversation so there was a lot of repeating. She told me about herself and her life and I read some verses to her. She was feeling kind of discouraged and frustrated though and wasn’t sure what purpose she could have in the nursing home. And I’m not really sure she heard me say anything. After about an hour, I prayed with her and went home to get ready for work.

And my thought was, “Well, that didn’t make me feel better at all!” Instantly, I was stung with conviction about my motivations. Ouch. I realized the difference in the two situations. The first time, I was focused on my friend and on the Lord- talking about him and what he had done in my life. The second time, I was only worried about myself- what would make ME feel better and help ME.  My heart was totally in the wrong place.

So I do believe the statement still stands: When in a funk, talk about Jesus. Just make sure you are focusing on him and his glory.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2018 in witness

 

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The Cemetery Saves the Day

I consider myself a well-hydrated person. By which I mean, water is the only thing I drink (except hot tea) and I drink more than most people I know. I drink about 75-100oz of water a day. So whenever I’m not feeling well and people question if I’m dehydrated, I just laugh. I don’t think that’s it.

However, the other day, I was a little behind on my water for the day and I decided to go for a walk. A walk these days could be anywhere between 5-9 miles and it was a nice day so I picked a loop that I knew was about 8 miles and headed out.

I was about 5 miles in when it started. I realized I was actually sweating (which isn’t normal on a simple walk for me) and my mouth was a little dry. I checked my phone and saw the horrible thing. The temp was 86 degrees with a 44% humidity. (I’m a cold weather kind of person. Shoot me.) Hmmm…guess I wasn’t prepared for the real summer weather yet…oh well…can’t really help it now.

So I kept going but it just got worse. My mouth and throat were SO dry and hurting! Soon I was consumed with a single thought- water. I just need a drink of cool water. Okay, Lord, it doesn’t have to be cool, just ANY kind of water. A creek. Puddle water. Images of ice cubes, bottled water, condensation, and swimming pools(?) filled my head. I started to wonder how long it took for sunstroke to set in?? (Dramatic, right?) I was so thirsty that I thought to myself that if I saw someone out in their yard I would have absolutely no problem going up to them and asking for some water. That’s how desperate I was. But the countryside was completely deserted. Seriously, the ONLY person I saw outside was having a showdown with her toddler and I wasn’t about to interrupt that. I thought begrudgingly that probably everybody was inside enjoying their air conditioning like smart people instead of walking around, about to DIE!

I thought of a rivers and fountains. And nonchalantly, my brain thought of the verse where Jesus declares that he is the living water and whoever drinks of him will never thirst again.

And that’s when it hit me over the head like a brick. For over 30 minutes I had LITERALLY thought of only one thing and my mind never strayed from it. Water. I was SO thirsty and I asked God right then to give me that same thirst for him. That desperate, unquenchable desire to know him more and to love and obey him better. I’ve never had a more vivid parallel or understood that verse better in my whole life.

But it wasn’t over. I was still about 1/2 mile from my house, passing by a cemetery. A car was parking and I thought, “Maybe those nice looking ladies have some water. A half mile still seems like a loooonngg way.” I watched them as they checked the flower pots near a headstone and heard one say, “Yeah, they’re pretty dry.” I struggled painfully to swallow and thought, Me too.

As I got closer I kept watching and saw one of the ladies pick up a jug and carry it away. I saw in disbelief as she got to a red water pump and filled her jug. I looked across the cemetery and it seemed as if all the headstones just dropped into the ground and suddenly all I could see were these little red water pumps! Did you know they have those?? I walk by this cemetery all the time and I’ve never seen them!

I was so excited that I quickly (but um, respectfully) clambered to the one closest to me. I turned it on and nice cool water came out. I’m sure it wasn’t the cleanest and I. Don’t. Care. It was the best water I’ve ever had. I drank and splashed it on my face. A car drove by me and I almost hesitated because I didn’t know what they would think and then it hit me again that I still didn’t care. I felt so much better that I laughed and briskly walked the last part home. Just so thankful for water.

But that also reminded me of something else. Sometimes we let fear of what others think of us keep us from talking about Jesus, our Living Water. I want to desire him so much that I simply don’t care what others think of me. I want him to be my single thought and goal.

(And today I took a walk with a water bottle.)

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2018 in encouragment

 

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Done “Being an Example”

Have you ever felt paralyzed? Hmm…maybe that’s not quite the right word. Crippled? Maybe inadequate is the best word for it. Where you look into your toolbox and realize that you simply don’t have what is needed to get the job done? Like you need a flat head screwdriver but, doggone it, all you have is a Phillips. (Because we all know you can make do the other way around.)

That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about evangelism recently. Yeah, I know, you’re waiting to find out how my brain got here. As you may know, I started this new job which is totally different from my previous job. It is fast-paced, you get moved around a lot within the store, and there isn’t a lot of time to talk with your co-workers or the customers. I went in, prayerfully, with one goal: to share Christ with others. Very simple in my mind.

But I have found myself floundering. I slowly realized, with dismay and distress, that I don’t recognize opportunities to share the gospel! At first I refused to believe it. I mean, seriously, I just worked at a Christian facility for over 4 years. And I shared the gospel daily with my campers when I was a counselor. But that is such a controlled environment where bringing up Christ came naturally and easily every day.

I’ve been thinking about how evangelism was taught to my generation. All growing up, I was pretty much taught that if you live like Christ, people will see your example and will want to follow him. It’s very simple. Example Evangelism is what I’m calling it. But the more I look at Scripture, the less I see of that! You have to use words! You can’t just give someone the gospel by your actions (although you need them for sure); words MUST be included! (Romans 10 talks about hearing the gospel.) I feel like I was never taught how to naturally bring Jesus into everyday conversations in order to witness to others. And I’m TIRED of living by example only. I get frustrated at work because I know I miss opportunities to share Christ simply because I don’t recognize them until later.

Now, that all being said, I’d like to make two disclaimers:

  1. I realize that you need actions AND words. Both are necessary parts of evangelism. I’ve been looking at Jesus and Paul and how they did ministry. I am aware that their whole lives were testimonies. Not only did they proclaim salvation with their lips but they also healed people, lived among them, gave of themselves. My point is that sometimes I think believers almost become humanitarians because we do wonderful and nice things but if we don’t openly share Christ right along with it, then the entire meaning is lost!
  2. I am NOT blaming my parents or the church for my inadequacies in this area. I know that each person should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in him. I take full and complete responsibility and I have people at church not only holding me accountable but also helping me learn and grow.

However, I don’t know when or where this whole “Example Evangelism” thing got started but can we lay it down now? You don’t convert people (Okay, we don’t convert people at all, but ya know what I mean) by being a good example. You know what’s going to happen? They are going to look at you and go, “Well, there goes a really nice person! They don’t make ’em like that anymore!” And they will go on with their lives.

Let’s learn and teach the new generation how to boldly and naturally share Christ in everyday conversations. Teach them to share the gospel by example AND with their words. You need both. Without one, you will frustrate yourself; without the other, you will become a hypocrite to all people.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2018 in witness

 

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