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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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