Truth Literally Saved My Life

By Stephanie Green, MBC Staff Applications Analyst & MBC Tysons Attendee

In a recent discussion with a close friend, I realized why I get so concerned about “relational sanctification” (as I would label it). I’ve found that relationships I’m in now can have a way of resurrecting the past, and all of the hurts that have been hiding under its webs. Previously in my life, these flashbacks have been so painful that I didn’t know how to deal with or face the reality of the hurt. For example, in high school, after being stood up on the day of my boyfriend’s prom, I began cutting. Several years later, while in a disastrous relationship with a college boyfriend, I tried to take my life.

These acts of brokenness were fueled by my deeply rooted insecurities. My dad left me waiting a lot, and my mom made me believe that God was going to send a replacement father who wouldn’t abandon me. I was raised by three orphans, two of whom had deep fears of abandonment. My own fears of relational pain and abandonment grew deeper, and my ability to trust faded away.

God is Different
God is faithful to keep His promises and says in His Word that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I’ve been to Christian therapy, and it has helped greatly, but there is nothing else on this earth (or beyond) that can fulfill the promise of God’s eternal love. When I first heard that God’s love was unconditional and everlasting, I was drawn to this message of hope.

Prior to committing my life to the Lord, I heard truth from His Word, but it wasn’t until my last suicide attempt (shortly after leaving college) that I surrendered my life completely to God. I didn’t feel comfortable trusting or believing anyone at that point, but I knew I needed help and prayed: “God if you are real, please help me.”

God Heard Me
He did help me. God brought me away from all that I clung to in order to teach me to trust and know Him as my Heavenly Father.

I wasted a lot of time focusing on Satan’s lies such as “you’re not good enough,” “you have no value or purpose,” etc. But I was literally rescued by Truth. If I breathed my last breath today, and I had to give my final words of advice, with no doubt I would say: “Cling to the Truth of His Word—God is faithful. Believe in the Lord Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He literally saved my life.”

The Truth Will Save You, Too
Not all of us have traumatic life stories, but we all face the same battle of believing lies from Satan and being deceived. Fight strong, not by trying to control circumstance but by clinging to Truth—God’s amazing truth found in His Word.

If you or someone you know is struggling with similar emotional pain and would like to speak with someone, please call The MBC Counseling Center at 703-770-8670 or the reception desk at McLean Bible Church at 703-639-2000 and ask to speak to the “Staff of the Day,” Mondays-Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm.

PURSUING CHRIST

By Rachel Thomas, Director of Discipleship for Women & Ministry Teams @MBCLoudoun

Many of you may be aware of the Alcan Highway. It was built during World War II to connect Alaska with the lower 48 states. Up until the 1960’s, it was all gravel and a challenge only a bold driver with a tough truck would want to tackle. The difficulties of the Alcan Highway in those days are captured in a story told by Ray Stedman, an evangelist in the Bay Area. He told of crossing the border into Alaska and seeing a sign that read, “Choose your rut carefully – you’ll be in it for the next 200 miles.” Choose your rut carefully.

That’s good advice for any four-wheel-drive road, and it’s wise advice for life, more generally, because it reminds us that our actions and decisions are not independent of each other.

Every thought we entertain, every step we take, and every choice we make influences the choices we make in the future. What we do and think in this moment is not just about the “now,” but it influences what we will do and think, and who we will be tomorrow and the next day. Repeated thoughts and repeated actions create ruts in our lives that become the path of least resistance; with enough repetition, habits make our decisions for us. Left to ourselves, our habits will master us, and they will be driven by our desires and shaped by our fears. Only Jesus can set us free from those; and once he’s done so, he calls us to follow and serve him. He went hard after knowing us so that we can go hard after knowing him!

We all know we should pursue Christ. But, HOW do we pursue Him? First of all, start getting to know Him. The Gospels and the New Testament epistles are a great place to learn more about Christ.

Prayer is also key! The great reformer Martin Luther once wrote, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” It is how we communicate with the Lord of the universe. It can be done anywhere. Anytime. Why not try turning off the radio in your car on your way to work each morning and spending time in prayer as you’re sitting on the beltway? Or if you take your kids to school each morning, pray out loud with them before they get out of your car.

Journal about what you see the Lord doing in your life. Write down what He has revealed to you through a passage of Scripture. Record prayers that have been answered so you can look back and reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness in times of trial and hardship.

Be intentional. It doesn’t just happen. Like all good relationships, you have to be proactive in love, word and deed. Spend five minutes reading Scripture from a Bible or an app on your phone. Think about those words. Pray those words. Write them on a card so you see them throughout the day. After you have been consistent with five minutes, try 10 minutes, then 15 and 20.  Pick the best time of your day to give to God. Your quiet time with the Lord doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. I’m not a morning person; so to give God my first waking moments would not be best. I wouldn’t remember a thing about my prayers or any passage of Scripture that I read. My handwriting would be indecipherable—even to me. Reserve the best time of your day on your calendar so that it is set in stone and trumps all else.

Find accountability. I cannot stress this point enough. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Hebrews 2:13 says, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Ask someone from your discipleship group to text you to ask if you spent time in the Word and prayer that day. Do the same for them!

Find a resource that guides your reading, reflection, prayer and application. With all the books, devotionals and apps out there, make sure that the ones you use are grounded in Scripture. Many “inspirational” quick-reads never offer a Bible verse of any kind. You are to know Christ, not a human author’s opinion or feel-good God verbiage. Stay connected to the source—Jesus Christ!

Lastly, don’t get caught up in the snare of compare. Your relationship with Christ will look different from the next person’s. Our standard is not our neighbor or small group leader, but Christ. When we measure ourselves against Jesus, we will always fall short and must continue to strive, as Paul says, “in order that I may attain to the resurrection” (Philippians 3:11-12). This translated literally means “if somehow,” meaning it is not attainable to actually arrive at the final destination here on earth. Paul, this great hero of the Christian faith who wrote the majority of the New Testament and who taught some of the greatest doctrine of evangelism and the church says, “not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect.”  He knew this would be a lifelong process and that he had to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God” (3:14).

Press on to make your relationship with the Lord the most important thing in your life. Getting to know Christ is worth every bit of your intentional pursuit!

A Dose of Grace in a Simple Question

By Will Pavone, Former Young Adults and Edge Community Pastor @MBCTysons

In our summer preaching series, we’re talking about recapturing a zealous love for the Lord Jesus and how we need to live a life of ongoing repentance from everything that tempts us to stray in our fidelity to Him. One of the steps in the process of repentance is having a “holy resolve” to walk in obedience to Christ. I have found that in my Christian life I need the sanctifying grace that God dispenses in the context of biblical community to overcome the many ways my heart is tempted to sin.

Below is one of the best and most practical tools I’ve ever used in order to grow in my obedience to Christ and my resolve to refrain from sinning. These diagnostic questions help foster deep accountability with our close Christian community. I want to encourage you to work through these in the context of a small group or discipleship relationship. Discipleship is a two way street, so be prepared to answer any of the questions that you choose to use in your group. My suggestion is to work through one of these questions each time you meet. I know you will be blessed, and God will use them for your good and His glory!

Diagnostic Questions:

  • What are some specific things that God is teaching you from His Word right now?
  • How is God’s Word making its way to application in your life?
  • What areas of growth have you identified in your own spiritual life? What’s one area you need to grow in?
  • Where are you finding life right now? (What we mean by “life” is joy, satisfaction, meaning, identity, etc.)
  • What verses are you using to fight the temptation of impurity? (i.e.“fighter verses”)
  • When is the last time you looked at pornography?
  • What’s an area in your life that God wants you to be free of?
  • How are you living on mission this week/month?
  • Is there an unbeliever in your life that you are intentionally engaging with in spiritual conversations?
  • Who have you been intentional to edify (build up) recently? How could you intentionally encourage (spur on) a fellow believer this week?
  • Is there a specific sin area in your life where you are seeing change?
  • How can we celebrate God’s transforming grace in your life this week/month?
  • How are you currently using your finances to glorify God?
  • Are there any upcoming spending decisions that I can speak into or pray for wisdom with you?
  • Is there any person in your life from whom you are withholding forgiveness?
  • When is the last time you practiced the Matthew 18 principle of conflict resolution? Is there anyone in your life you currently need to engage in this way?
  • Do the people you work with know that you are a believer in Christ?

Leprosy Center

by Kylie Billings

Today on the last leg of our trip God once again showed me the kind of joy only the Holy Spirit can bring. I received special permission to switch teams for our last round of ministry work because we were visiting the only Leprosy hospital on the island. I had been once before on last year’s trip here, and I was impacted mightily by the love poured out on both ends of the people visiting and the patients. God worked on my heart all year using that memory as a source of peace and joy in my life. Getting to go back was a gift from God that I was so thankful for. I was able to revisit certain individuals from last year and see the impact of the patients on our team. The Lord works in amazing ways when we serve Him and are able to have our hearts broken for what breaks His. Personally, I was filled with gratitude, joy, and love being back in that place which was dear to my heart. I saw many other team members be moved to tears by the influence of the lepers and words spoken about them. A large portion of the group was shocked by the physical deformities of the lepers, but they were able to see past that and touch them through some discomfort, to show the patients the love of Christ. It was an encouraging thought that if Jesus was here in the Dominican right now, that Leprosy hospital was most definitely where He would be. After praying all week to be used by the Lord, we all got to be the hands of Jesus to the people who needed His love and renewal of faith. Today was the positive highlight of the trip for me, and I think I can speak for many others when I say it was theirs also. To wrap up this post for our last day, I can only say that I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to serve with both teams and see God move among the Dominican people. We’ll see you all soon!

This has been an amazing trip that I cannot be more thankful for. We are grateful that so many of you have supported us financially and spiritually as we see God’s Kingdom expanded and Him Glorified through the time we spent in the DR. We look forward to celebrating the Lord’s work when we arrive home tomorrow night.

The Most Important Thing

By Rachel Thomas, Director of Discipleship for Women & Ministry Teams @MBCLoudoun

Why should we know Christ? If we have accepted the free gift of grace through Jesus’ death and resurrection, live a good and moral life, read our Bible every now and then on our own, pay attention enough during the sermon to recite facts about the Bible and who Jesus is, then we can pass as a Christian, right?

In Philippians 3:4-6 Paul says, “…If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.”

Paul gives us his “spiritual resume.” He has a pretty impressive one, too! Others saw him as impeccably religious. His righteousness was seen and acknowledged by all the important Jews of his day. He was found blameless! No matter what your involvement in the church—whether you are a discipleship group leader, head of the usher team, a member of the choir or part of a team flying around the world to serve on a mission trip in the slums—that is not what you should be known by. Those are all good things. Those are all important things. In fact, I depend heavily on my volunteers who serve faithfully and sacrificially! But religious activity is not the most important thing.

Paul continues in Philippians 3, “…but whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (vs. 7).

This “loss” is damage or loss like you would file as an insurance claim after some sort of disaster or accident. Isn’t that a crazy picture of how some Christians live their lives today? They invest their good deeds and religious-ness in hopes that one day they can cash in for a return on their investment. Almost sounds like using the sacrifice of God’s Son as fire insurance to get out of hell free, doesn’t it? How sad! Paul counts this type of good behavior as a measurable, verifiable loss. What he once trusted in as religious assets, he now sees as liabilities, which got in the way of truly knowing Christ.

Paul continues in verse 8, “more than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish….” We need to lose ourselves. Our identity in people and positions. Our good deeds. Count it all as if it were in a can going to the curb on trash day, that we may gain Christ. He is enough. All our self-righteous deeds are worthless compared to knowing Christ.

What losses are you currently experiencing as you actively pursue knowing Christ? Do you truly consider knowing Him the most important thing in life? If we view Jesus as our Lord and Master, shouldn’t He have full control of our days? Our schedules? Our titles and identities?

We need to lose ourselves to be found in Christ, as Paul writes in verse 9. We must be so closely intertwined with Him that we cannot be separated. I’m not married, but have been a part of enough weddings that I feel like there should be some sort of “Frequent Bridesmaid” card that when you purchase a dozen dresses, you get one free (or at least half off!). My favorite line of the sacred wedding vows, “forsaking all others and being united forever,” chokes me up every single time. Matthew 19:6 commands, “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” This picture of marriage is a picture of the Gospel. If you are in Christ, God has joined you together with His Son so that you are one. The Father no longer sees just you or your sin, but Christ. There is no separation.

Knowing Christ is the most important thing in life. We don’t have to lose ourselves for nothing because Christ is everything. He is worth any suffering because He made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Day 6: Broken, Yet Sustained

By Dave Kroeze
Director of Outreach

I must state before we get too far that my “ChicAAAAgo” accent has become quite the topic around our team. It has been stated that my accent is so thick that it makes it unbearable to hear me say that word “challenge.” In light of this, I must start my blog using the word in the first sentence! Today was the most challenging day as a leader in my entire life. My heart has been broken on numerous occasions throughout the week, as it should be, but today I saw areas where Jesus would weep and Christians should interject.

The first village that we went to had some unique difficulties. I was able to engage in a variety of pick up games of baseball: pitching, batting and even fulfilling a life-long dream to serve as an umpire for a period of time. Throughout the courst of these games, I sensed a hightened sense of aggression towards a particular child. I would turn around and he would immediately be attacked by 3 or 4 children. I later came to find out that this child was seen as a curse upon the entire village because of his special needs. I internally wept and made it my morning task to encourage this particular little boy anyway that I could – mostly in the form of keeping the others away from him. As we were driving away, a fight broke out alongside the bus, with this child in the middle of it. My heart immediately broke for the people of Los Colucos because they do not understand the beauty and depth of children who have special needs. Unfortunately, we were unable to intervene on this boys behalf anymore, but I plead to the Lord that he would be safe, and that the village would come to see these children as an incredible blessing so that the Lord might be glorified. God is doing amazing things through our team, as the “alpha male” of the village accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior this morning. Additionally, SCORE is working to plant a church in the near future. God is good, and I look forward to visiting next summer and seeing the mighty tranformation that can only come at the hands of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

The other village we went to saw us revisiting a village from Saturday afternoon. We adapted our program and played a variety of games with the children. Every
individual had the opportunity to share their faith and many were able to walk through a new decision as Christ transformed hearts. What JOY that brings us! The angels were rejoicing with singing and dancing as the Lord found many lost sheep today. Another little boy had scabs and scars all over his head. When he was pushed over, many of these injuries were reopened and infections are likely to follow. I pray that God would heal this little boy and that he would do mighty things for the Kingdom. What a joy that would be!

I cannot possibly communicate the emotions I felt today as I had to lead my team out of a village as a boy was being physically beaten. Today was a hard day because I felt totally helpless for the first time this week. There was absolutely nothing that I could do to help either of these little boys, and it fell into my lap to inform members of our team that we could, unfortunately, do nothing outside of praying for them.

I want to shout out to a few members of our team. I could share stories of each member, but a few need special recognition. Miriam Jensen, Maria Isaza and Raquel Pine have faithfully served us each day as translators. This is hard work and we could not do door to door evangelism without them. Dave Fackler, Jonathan Harris, Matthew Kim, and Katelyn Leidy (Happy 16th Birthday!) have faithfully led our team in worship each night. What a blessing they are. Nick Venegas, David Dodge, and Troy Bennett have faithfully led our ministry teams into the field and done an AMAZING job providing flexible but creative leadership in the midst of less than ideal circumstances. I am grateful for the team that God has built and the amazing work that he has done in our lives. I cannot believe that tomorrow (Thursday) is our last day of ministry. Pray that the Lord would move another mountain for His namesake and Glory!

Day 5: Los Brujanes and Local Ministry

By Leanna Wilson

How wonderful it was to go to two church plants done by Dominicans! Our group went to Las Brujanes, west of Santo Domingo, the capital. At the first church, the youth pastor already had the children gathered. He had us come to the front and introduce ourselves. The children cheered and applauded as he repeated our names. We then began the program with songs, a testimony, then a story. The story teller had the children repeat John 3:16. They enthusiastically said the verse from memory. A team member described their saying the verse as “having a slice of heaven.” We give God the glory for how the children’s hearts were prepared. We then played games with them to continue connecting with them.

After lunch, we headed to the next church plant. We went door to door witnessing. We gave God the glory for some Christians whom we met. Although no one accepted the Lord as Savior, we found out that some had heard the gospel at that church and another evangelical church in another community. We are confident that through God’s power, they will enter into a personal relationship with the Lord at a later time.

Please pray for the people of Las Brujanes as they will be continuing to be hearing the Gospel.

Midweek Report!

By Leah Hawley:

During my time of devotions this morning, I came across Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” While I am blessed to be writing this blog today, I come with a heavy heart about having time to do so. Steve, my husband, and I made the difficult decision to stay back at the hotel while all three ministry teams spend a full day out in local villages. Since Steve just had surgery and I’m 7 months pregnant, after much prayer we knew the Lord was telling us to take a day to rest (don’t worry Mom and Dad, we really are okay! Being smart about resting!). We have embraced this day and are spending time in His word, as well as prayer for our team as they continue to spread God’s love throughout the villages of the Dominican.

As Donnie reassured me last night in our decision to take a day to rest, an additional blog today is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the week and the growth of our team as a whole. Many of us were timid as we came into the week, but as we debrief each night it has been a blessing to see how God is working in each of our lives. The stories of each individual’s ability to talk to villagers about the gospel are worthy of praise. Each day, there have been several stories of Dominicans being led to Christ through our time with them- praise the Lord! Please pray for these individuals as they begin their new life in Christ; pray that not only will they have opportunities to be strengthened and encouraged by other Christians, but will also seek ways to strengthen their own faith.

Our team is comprised of a variety of individuals, from middle school students to adults with grown children. No matter our walk of life, we have embraced this trip and grown together. As we see others step out of their comfort zones and use broken Spanish to connect to members of each Dominican village, we are strengthened ourselves. Dave Fackler mentioned in our blog last night that our youngest member bravely stood up in front of a crowd and shared her testimony- what a true inspiration and blessing!

While we have four members of our team helping to act as interpreters, those of us who have a limited background in the Spanish language are bumbling our way through the week and trying to continue to learn new phrases and ways to effectively communicate. Just in the few days we’ve been here, I can see my team members who may have initially chosen to allow someone else to translate for them, make the effort and communicate with Dominicans freely, even if awkwardly! It is a joy to see the reactions of each Dominican as we struggle for the correct word to use- they are truly appreciative that we are attempting to communicate directly with them.

A typical day here in the Dominican is a busy one! We begin the morning with breakfast as a team, then head to a quick morning worship time where we learn about what the day will entail. Most days, two teams go out on one bus while the other goes individually. While the teams are out, they are ministering to local villages. This usually includes door to door ministry where we speak with individuals and encourage them in their faith or spread the gospel. As we talk to members of each household, we invite them to a VBS program that will be held following our time walking the village. Once we have all gathered in a common meeting area, we hold a VBS program that has already been prepared. At the conclusion of our program, we pile back on the bus and head to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, we go back out to another village to repeat the process. When we return to the hotel for dinner, it is a great opportunity for members of all three teams to eat together and share stories of the day. Generally around 8 pm, we gather as a whole group, spend time in worship, debrief on the day’s events, and then Donnie Cohn or Dave Kroeze will lead a time in the word. Last night, we had the privilege of hearing Frank from Score International share his testimony and short teaching. After worshipping together, we head back to our rooms for time with our small groups to process the day and how we’re coping. After approximately a sixteen hour day, it is certainly time for some rest!

Please keep our team in your prayers as we reach members of the Dominican community. The days we have already spent here have been invigorating, yet heart breaking. The conditions of the villages often make me feel like I’m stepping onto a movie set and not across the threshold of someone’s home. Yet, as we interact with members of each village, we are humbled by the gracious attitudes that can only come from God. There is hope in each of these down-trodden villages and we pray that we will only be able to strengthen that hope and help it to flourish. Thank you for the support you have already supplied our team with and the continued support in prayers as we spread God’s word in the coming days.

Ministry Day 4

By Dave Fackler

Today we split into two teams. In the morning, Nick Venegas’s team went to Quisqueya while Dave Dodge’s and Troy’s team went to Monte Cristy. While in Quisqueya, the team met the founder of Emanuel House and heard her testimony and toured the establishment. Later in the morning our youngest member, Amber(she says she’s 11, I don’t believe it. She’s too mature), volunteered to share the gospel and sewed seeds that eventually lead to two young men giving their lives to Christ. Overall Nick’s team grew in confidence with sharing their faith. In Monte Cristy the combined team ended up getting some unexpected guests from Score, a third team from a different church. The Mclean Loudoun team did door to door evangelism and invited the people in the village to a program at one of the churches (Dave Fackler and Dave Kroeze got beaten up by a 6 year old boy). After the other church group did their program and left, the M.L. team did some games with the children, I was given the opportunity to share my faith with a young man named Tito, during our conversation I shared the gospel and planted the seed, he did not give his life to The Lord, but The Lord is faithful.

In the afternoon, Nick’s team went to Monti Cristy nursing home. They had the opportunity to witness to elderly as well the children that were outside the retirement community, after the evangelising three boys gave their lives to Christ. The team showed huge maturity and willingness to serve the children this morning. The second team went to Quisqueya and heard the same information about Emanuel House. After we left Emanuel house the people took us to the house of a woman who is dying of cancer. She has five young daughters all between the ages of 5 and 13. We prayed over her and the Score intern started singing Amazing Grace. The team started to file out and I looked at her and I said, “Glory to God, Daughter of the King,” and she said, “Amen” seeing her faith and knowing what her girls could be going through broke my heart. As we moved on the Lord worked in sewing seeds of the gospel through the team.

I saw overall change in the heart of the team from shy to courageous for The Lord. It has been a wonderful experience to see those around me grow in their confidence because of what the Lord has done through us and experiencing Him in a mighty way.

What is Discipleship? – Part VI: Sharing Him

By Dave Kroeze, Director of Outreach @MBCLoudoun

“A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in biblical community and is committed to becoming like Him by obeying Him, serving Him and sharing Him.” – MBC’s definition of a disciple

It is infrequent that we catch a glimpse of the enemy’s plan prior to seeing it enacted. It wasn’t long ago when the New England Patriots were front and center in the news for reportedly filming opposing teams practices. Baseball players are frequently called into questions for stealing signs while they stand on second base. There are a variety of “less than ethical” ways to come across the opposition’s battle plans.

In Scripture, we are given a warning that gives us the exact information that the enemy will use against Disciples. Before we even discuss this plan, it is important to discern what took place at the end of Matthew. As Jesus was preparing to ascend into heaven, he informed his disciples of future events and a task. The future event is that Jesus alerts them of the arrival of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit convicts, challenges, teaches, and empowers disciples for good works. This is a necessity in our lives as we are used by God for His glory.

The command is that we go out and make disciples (Matthew 28). How are we making disciples if people are not coming to Christ? How can people come to Christ if they have not even heard the Gospel? How can people hear if we do not speak the powerful and beautiful story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a substitute for our own sins? I hope you are starting to realize that we have received a divine commissioning from the Lord Jesus Himself, to go into the world and preach the Gospel.

If there was any strategy of the devil, what do you think it would be? Cause people to doubt? He is definitely doing that, but not necessarily. Cause people to suffer so immensely that they cannot possibly grasp the reality of God? He is doing that too, but not necessarily. Let’s look briefly at the Book of Acts. Acts 4:16-17 gives us an intimate look into the strategy of the devil. It states, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”Do you understand the gravity of that? The demons have let slip the strategy that they impose upon us Disciples, and the worst part of it is that it is working! Scholars estimate that 80 – 95% of Christians have never talked about their faith publicly before. That is staggering! Imagine if we used any words at all to discuss the power and majesty of the Lord and the amazing transformation that has taken place in our lives. We were once dead, and not live. We were once thirsty, but thirst no more. How can we not tell people about what the Lord has done for us?

I often hear “I don’t have the gift of evangelism, so this isn’t for me.” Do not allow the devil to scare you into remaining silent. Not everyone has the gift of evangelism, but everyone of us is called to be a witness. As a witness, we have the opportunity to share our testimony with other disciples as an encouragement, passive non-believers as a means of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict, and aggressive non-believers as an introduction to the love, mercy and compassion that is found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ and His disciples.

I have heard a pleading to share the Gospel in analogies to an individual with a cure for cancer. We do not have a cure for cancer, but we have something much greater. We have received salvation from the God of the universe who loves us so immensely that he was willing to endure the most gruesome beating and mockery, as well as hanging on a tree to die for us. If we truly understand how deeply sinful man is and what he endured on our behalf, we would be unwilling NOT to share the Gospel. God has given us the most amazing gift anyone could give us, and it is wrapped in the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Whether we recognize it or not, we have individuals around us who do not know Jesus. Do you love those individuals enough that you just have to tell them about the gift that is awaiting them? When I was in Chennai, India, I had the opportunity to visit a hospital made up of Christian doctors. The board of directors for this hospital had implemented that every patient must hear the Gospel before they are treated and that every employed doctor be equipped to share the Gospel at all times. When I asked Dr. Sam why this was, he pondered and said to me, “I cannot possibly treat a broken leg, and send them walking away straight to Hell.” This phrase has weighed heavily upon my soul the last few weeks. How often do I ignore opportunities to be faithful and obedient to God because I am distracted with other things?

We know the strategy of the devil. The strategy is to silence us, and if we look around, it has been largely successful to this point. Let’s be the disciples God calls us to be that are unwilling to be silenced and love people well enough to share what Christ has done for them.