How To Be A Christian Witness

As Joan stated in an earlier blog, I am going to be speaking on Apostolic Action on an upcoming Via De Cristo weekend.  She asked me to post a few of the things I will be saying.  This post will be about how to witness.  I may follow up at a later date with how I witness.

To be effective in apostolic action we need to develop relationships with the people to whom we want to show Christ’s love.

We need to remember to talk to God about your friend before talking to your friend about God.

1. Pray first, last and always John 17:20 “I am praying not for these disciples but also for all who will EVER believe in me through their message” Please realize that the verse is telling us that John is praying for us in our discipleship
2. Make a friend – Show genuine interest in their lives as a whole not just their spiritual well being
3. Be a friend – Proverbs 17:17A “A friend is always loyal” Be accepting and tolerant NOT judgmental Show them the love of Christ by your loyalty
4. Bring your friend to Christ – It is only after prayer, an initial introduction of yourself, and taking the time to be a true friend that will bring to your friend the knowledge of salvation.

Apostolic Action flows from us
When we put Christ as the center of our lives – John 3:30 “He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less”
From our personal encounter with Christ – John 15:16a “You didn’t choose me I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit”
And our encounters with our brothers and sisters – Matthew 5:16 “In the same way let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”
It is important that we understand that our testimony is not only in the words we speak but also our deeds. “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words. This is a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Is being a witness of Christ easy – NO.  But think about it this way, it wasn’t easy to die on a cross but He did – So we need to face our reservations, concerns, fears, whatever you want to call them and do as commanded by the man who died for us.  It is a very small price to pay for the love He has shown us.  Wouldn’t you say??

 

As always, remember

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

 

Yes, But How?

Well, we all seem to agree that witnessing is something every Christian should do.  Now we come to the important question Nancy raised, which I call YBH–Yes, but how?  I’m going to start with a quote I like from Dorothy Day.  In case you don’t know who she was, Dorothy, after living a completely unchristian life for many years, converted to Catholicism and founded a number of hospitality houses (rescue missions) where she tried to live and work in a very simple way, not owning much more than her “guests.”

“Works of mercy are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the prisoner, and burying the dead.  The spiritual works of mercy are instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, rebuking the sinner, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries and praying for the living and the dead.  Works of mercy are the most direct form of(I would add here apostolic)  action there is.

from Loaves and Fishes by Dorothy Day

When we imitate Christ by doing His work on earth, things like the ones Dorothy lists, we are most truly his witnesses. Of course, it is also important that the folks we are witnessing to know who (or maybe I should say whose) we are.  That comes from building an ongoing relationship with them.  (probably a topic for another post).

Going back to Nancy’s comment citing St. Francis of Assisi, I recently read a story about him in the Max Lucado Study Bible.  It is said he once asked a young monk to go with him to a nearby village to preach.  They arrived and St. Francis began to visit people:  the butcher, the cobbler, the teacher, a new widow.  This went on all morning until Francis told his follower, “It’s time to return to the abbey.”  “But we came to preach” protested the young man, “and we haven’t preached a sermon.”  “Haven’t we?” responded Francis.  “People have watched us, listened to us, responded to us.  Every word we have spoken, every deed we have done has been a sermon.  We have preached all morning.”

So what do you think readers and Lutheran Ladies?  Do we witness through our actions?  How do you witness?  I want to hear your stories.

 

Not an Option

My friend, Michele is giving a talk on an upcoming Via de Cristo weekend.  The title of her talk is “Apostolic Action” which is defined as anything we  do with the sole purpose of influencing others to develop a relationship with Christ;  in essence, witnessing.

When Michele gave her talk at a recent team meeting, the idea that stood out most for me is this:  witnessing to others is not an option.  Let me repeat that:  WITNESSING IS NOT AN OPTION.

If we examine the words of Jesus in Acts known as the Great Commission, we see how true this is.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

This is a command, not a request.  Jesus did not say, “some of you will be my witnesses,” or “you may choose to be my witnesses,”  He said, “you will be my witnesses.”  Like it or not, it’s a simple fact.

There’s a story I’ve heard that goes something like this:  when Jesus returned to Heaven, some angels asked Him how He intended to spread the gospel throughout the world.  He replied that He had trained and sent out 12 disciples.  The angels responded, “what if these disciples fail?  What will You do next?”  Jesus replied, “There is no other plan.”

The disciples were the first witnesses;  we are His witnesses today.  It’s not an option.  There is no other plan.