Don't Say God Around Here .... Acts 9.23-43
3/2/2017 10:33:13 PM
We have free speech . . . or do we really?
Don’t say “God” around here.
…and by all means, keep Jesus out of it! Acts 9.23-42
Juan was affixing a mailing label to my box when I commented on the vivid rose tattoo on his fore arm. Like my friends who love being complimented on their body artistry, he lit up and talked about what he was going to have done next. “You know, FedEx just recently changed their policy on tattoos; it used to be that shirt sleeves had to cover tattoos. Not any more – so long as they are not offensive or have anything to do with religion. Can’t say anything religious around here,” he casually added. Casual for him, I guess, not so much for me.
I’m okay with not being able to talk about religion,
but why can’t we talk about God?
Why is it okay to have a discourse about who won ‘best picture’ at the Oscars, or mention your pick for a March Madness basketball win, but not comment on how thankful you are to God for the gift of joy or hope or life itself?
Why can’t we talk real talk,
and mention the life-changing name of Jesus?
What are we so afraid of?
This past Sunday, I got to worship at the Brooklyn Tabernacle again, and the passion for Christ in that place is palpable1. ‘See many in the 200+ voice choir, as well as the several thousand in the congregation, have ragged pasts but have been radically set free by Jesus; their enthusiasm shows all over their person. All in all, it contributes to an atmosphere of love that is electric with power—and that is mighty contagious! We here in OC do not really consider ourselves sinners I’ve noticed.
When Saul was transformed by Jesus on the Damascus Road—
->set free from the bitterness and fear he carried<-
he could not contain himself. (Acts chapter 9) He could not help but tell others about Jesus, his Messiah. Just think of it, Saul went from the 'tracker' of those who followed ‘The Way’ (Christ followers), to the 'tracked.' Jews and Arabs were trying to kill him just to stop him from talking any more about his newfound love and purpose for living, Jesus Christ.
Read Acts 9.23-43: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=Acts%209.23-43&version=NIV&interface=print
When you understand the magnitude of the gift of Christ in your life, you can’t help but want others to know why it is well with your soul.
‘Well,’ you say, ‘I would actually like to tell a few of my friends about Jesus—I would like them to share in the joy I have found, but I am not sure how.’ It seems like there are different styles of sharing our faith; we just don’t
express things in the same way, nor do others receive in the same way either.
1) We saw that Peter had a CONFRONTATIONAL style which fit his personality. In Acts 2, Luke records that he preached clearly, boldly, powerfully, and convincingly--so much so, that 3000 accepted the Lord that day.
2) Saul/Paul had an INTELLECTUAL style. As we see in Acts 9, "He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews," and in Acts 17, he taught and reasoned with the Jews and Greeks alike, persuading them with the truth of Christ.
3) The blind man in John chapter 9 had a TESTIMONIAL style. He simply told what happened to him--vs. 25 "One thing I do know--I was blind but now I see."
4) Matthew had an INTERPERSONAL style. (also called "Levi" in Luke 5) After coming to know Jesus, Matthew invited his tax collector friends to a banquet in his home to meet and talk with Jesus. [I have a CONVERSATIONAL style.]
5) The woman at the well had an INVITATIONAL style. In John 4, she had a real encounter with Jesus, and then ran back to the people in her town and said, "Come and meet the Man who told me everything about me, and loved me anyway." She invited them to ‘come, meet Jesus’----and they did!
6) Tabitha (Dorcas), had a SERVING2 style. Luke described Dorcas as a "disciple who was always doing good and helping the poor," here in Acts 9.
Long ago I unlocked the key to daily personal prayer by writing my prayers.
I have shared that idea with others, and it works for them too~
When I find a great book, I tell other like-minded folks about it~
When I dine at a restaurant I enjoy, I naturally tell other people~
When I stumble on to something that makes exercise fun,
I like to involve my friends.
So why would I hesitate in telling them about
a God who loves them,
who has a plan and purpose just for them?
To me ‘real talk’ is the only kind of talk . . . and since there is nothing more true or real or meaningful or valuable than Jesus, I look for openings. Oft the circumstance determines my ‘style’ or manner; it is not my intention to be ‘in your face’ but rather conversational, back and forth, casual and genuinely interested. At one time or another, I have been the blind man, the woman at the well, Tabitha, Peter, Paul and Matthew.
I do not see a problem saying ‘God’ anywhere … quite the contrary.
1 – www.brooklyntab.org
2 - How to be a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg