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Faith comes by hearing

The following is part brain-dump/part reminder/ part passionate plea.... take what you can...

Romans 10:17 has kicked my butt lately. That along with some contemplation, prayer and reading lately.

Today I spent some time in my local Starbucks. I've been doing the whole 'lifestyle witnessing' thing for a while now. I'm finding that's more and more a load of crap but I'll get back to that in a second.

I typically get to know people around me in 15 minutes or less. I'm pretty good with getting people to feel relaxed and spill the beans on their life. It's honestly been that way for a long time... I'm pretty chill with people and I guess they feel that they can trust me so after one or two questions I usually hear people's life story. A few weeks ago I found that one particular barista and I shared a commonality in that we both lived in Corpus Christi, TX at one point. She's from there and I lived there for a few years.

She's known I'm a Pastor... we've talked about our families. At this point we've even seen each other's kids. But up until today I haven't followed through on the invite after the investing.

I got to talking to her today and I said "So what was your church experience growing up?" This is a question I always ask when transitioning the conversation. I've never had a person offended by the question and the answer just about always leads to a conversation about faith. As long as people see that you're not overbearing they do not mind the conversation.

Well, we talked a little and a statement hit me... she said "I'm not Christian, I'm Catholic."

That hit me in the gut. I personally believe you can toss labels in the garbage and simply ask if people know Jesus as Lord and Savior. You can label yourself what ever "_ist" or "_ic" or "_al"... the question is about the name of Jesus.

We spoke about Christ and I then invited her to our Christmas Eve service. She said "I'd love to go to church more often but I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old... they can't sit still that long. I talked with her about our preschool and kids ministries and asked her to talk with her husband. She assured me that she will.

Here is my deal... I was knocked square across the forehead last night when I was reading. I read something by Oswald Chambers about the power of the Holy Spirit. He said that most have over glorified or over simplified the Holy Spirit. The paraphrase is that some use the HS as an excuse for disorder and emotionalism while others (like most in my camp) ignore His presence all together except for a fuzzy 'guide' without much depth. Chambers went on to say that there is enormous power in the Holy Spirit and he's been given to us TO PREACH THE GOSPEL.

The modern day pendulum has swong to the place now where the church has trained it's parishioners to just live good lives in front of people. I've been guilty at times of teaching this. Just go live like Jesus would want you to live... but I'm becoming convinced that that in and of itself is garbage.

Matthew 5:16
"In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven. "

I thought about this today... Our "light" isn't just doing good things. Our "light" is not simply being kind. I've been around a ton of people who are kind to people but when they walk out of the room they start gossiping about that very same person. Is that light? Is simply 'acting nice' spreading the light? I don't think so. We are to let 'our light' shine before men. The light is the light of Christ. I won't get into all of the verses here but this Sunday I'm speaking on that light and scripture is clear that the light is God the Father, Jesus Christ, even the word... they are all called 'the light'.

My light is Christ... the word of God... and God himself...all powered by the Holy Spirit.
Faith doesn't come from being nice to people in public. Yes I need to be kind and be a great example.... but it's more than that... faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of God. I need to open my mouth more often and speak of that light. Our churches need to do that as well. I'm afraid we're training people to rely too much on the Sunday presentation and creating a generation of Christians who can't speak intelligently of the light that is within them.

This is an ongoing thought and I'm certain a lifelong challenge so take it for what it's worth. I was reminded tonight of how much further a person can come to knowing Christ by simply having a conversation about Him.

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posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, December 15, 2006


At 11:02 AM, Blogger Phillip Santillan said...

Thanks for this post. It was intellectually and spiritually invigorating. Merry Christmas too!


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