Tag Archive: witness


When I was in high school I got my first pair of glasses.  I am near-sighted so I didn’t need glasses until I started driving sophomore year and I still didn’t really think I needed them until I put them on.

As soon as I walked outside wearing my new glasses I realized what I had been missing…

leaves.

Trees at a distance had been wildly waving strong outstretched arms covered in gorgeous green shimmery leaves and I never noticed.  I had always recognized them as a blur of movement until I put on my glasses and realized their individual leaves could be seen from miles away… and it was beautiful.

Isn’t that how we should act as Christians?  Wildly waving our arms, living in a way that people see Christ in us, being that unavoidable tree off in the distance…

but so many people call themselves Christians and we can’t even tell!

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”   Matthew 7:16

“Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”   Proverbs 20:11

A friend of mine just lost her job; a job held for over 16 years, a job desperately needed and lost over a false accusation…

She plead her case, explained her innocence and waited for a response.

The moment came when she realized any additional arguing was futile and she needed to face this unknown, fear-filled path.  She graciously accepted the news by saying…

I am a Christian and I know that this is obviously God’s will for my life, so I will accept it and trust Him.

In that moment of great heartbreak and uncertainty, my friend chose to exude Christ.  She wildly waved lush emerald growth for all to see and I can only imagine the look on her manager’s face.

“The word Christian is not one that the early believers chose to call themselves. It was a title they were given by people who observed their lifestyle. They were recognized as those who followed the teachings of Christ.”   ~ Gary Chapman

How do you respond when you are faced with hardship?
Do people see Christ when they look at you?

Would you be labeled a Christian?

What can I say?  With four kids the first day of school is always a whirlwind!  This was the third year in a row that I had to leave before the kids left for school…so I didn’t get to do the Happy-Mother’s-Day!-the-kids-are-finally-gone happy dance.

Hmph.

But what a wonderful greeting when I got home from work!  Backpacks and papers strewn all over the house, shoes flung haphazardly teetering upon the couch and coffee table, the kids playing video games and practically grunting their hello-mom-I-missed-you-so-much-today greeting as I walked in.

Yup, feel the love.

I gathered all the school papers; news, calendars, lists and noticed Tristan, my 1st grader, had the most papers and stuff in his backpack.  It was astonishing how much stuff he came home with on his first day of school, and after I took out all that he had left in it from LAST YEAR, he didn’t actually have so much.

Just sayin’.

One of the papers Tristan brought home was titled Sneak & Share.  Each kid is to bring in a special item from home to share in class, but the item is to be brought in a bag so the kids won’t be able to see it.

“So what’s something special that you want to bring in?”  I asked.

He responded; “I want to share something I have with me always but it’s in my heart.”

“What’s that?”  I asked

“God…”

I was in awe.  I am so envious of that boldness.  I love that he doesn’t have to worry about what kids think.  In first grade they are accepting no matter what you look like, who your parents voted for, who your favorite football team is, or what you believe.  He could be himself and share his heart without worry of ridicule.

My heart flew.  Oh what a joy it is to know your child loves God and wants to share Him with others!

“…but what do I put in the bag?”  He asked.

I suggested a little Bible and he turned his nose up, then I said maybe a cross or something else and Tristan’s eyes lit up.  He ran over to a little popsicle cross he made at church a couple years ago that we had sitting on the thermostat on the wall.

He brought it over and plopped it in the bag with a huge grin on his face.

My heart could have burst I was so excited and proud of him.  “So what are you going to say?”  I asked, and he stood there for a moment the smile slowly falling from his face.  He was silent for quite a while then he said,

“I don’t want to bring this.  I want to bring a toy.”

My heart fell.  “Why?”  I asked puzzled.

Tears began streaming down Tristan’s cheeks as he struggled for a response.

“Why don’t you want to bring the cross?”  I prodded gently.

Tristan began sobbing and through his distorted, tear stained face he said,

“Because they won’t understand.”

Boy, do I see myself in him.

How many times do I back down?

How many times have I missed an opportunity to share God with others because of that EXACT thought?

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”   2 Timothy 1:7

I have been in that exact position.  In fact, I wrote about it in my post:
Origin of Species ~Charles Darwin

But what I learned from that experience is precisely what Jax told Tristan;

When we want to share Him with others, that’s God’s whisper…
“tell them about Me.”

When we second guess and begin to question, that’s the evil one suggesting…
“they won’t understand.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”   John 14:27

What has God asked you to do but you still believe the evil one’s lies…

“They won’t understand!”
“You aren’t good enough!”
“You don’t know enough!”

“…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”   Matthew 10:19-20 (niv)

Don’t wait another day!

God has given us the Good News, no…the BEST News!  Stand up!  Go out and share it!

Isn’t it funny how God prepares us?  So many times I have seen God allow pain and heartache to come into a person’s life…they struggle as the storm engulfs them, wish it hadn’t come, pray for comfort and relief, and when the storm finally passes, praise God for how He works.

It seems so unnatural and against every fiber of our being… and yet when God allows us to be tested and we become more like Him; we get through the challenge, we stand firm and lean on His plan, His leading, we are grateful and equipped to help someone else walk down the same path we dreaded in the beginning.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”   1 Peter 5:6-7

Praise God for how He works!!

I mentor a young lady named Hayley.  Love this girl. Now, when Hayley does something, she goes big.  She just turned 16, and went on her first trip… anywhere.  Hayley and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain named Ana, and now Hayley was invited to spend a month with Ana and her family in Spain.

Hayley left July 1st.

She was so excited and so nervous at the same time.  Her excitement was infectious, and I couldn’t wait to see what God had planned for her overseas.  Now, I had a similar experience in high school, where my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Mexico.  The summer after graduation I was invited to go to Mexico for a couple weeks to stay with Liliana and her family…so I knew the fun and challenges awaiting Hayley.

I warned her that the first 3-4 days would be hardest.  Being away from home, in a different culture, speaking a different language… it is very difficult.

However, one HUGE difference between Hayley and I at that time??  I didn’t know Christ.  That places a whole different set of rules and challenges on Hayley.

True to form, a few days in I started receiving emails and messages from her expressing her heartache… she was so homesick, missing her boyfriend and struggling really, because she is surrounded by girls her age who drink, smoke, curse, and are quite affectionate to their boyfriends.  Hayley was very much struggling with staying strong, but feeling quite alone and set apart because of her beliefs.

I tried to encourage her, by giving her scripture to focus on…

“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.”   Psalm 37:23-24

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”   Psalm  55:22

But I felt strongly that God had called her there to be a witness, and if she stayed strong somehow He would show her.

I asked if any of Ana’s friends were believers, and she said many called themselves Christians, but didn’t act like it.  I told her I felt that perhaps there was one there, who is struggling as she is with standing up for their faith.  That perhaps God is using Hayley to give that person strength to stand up for God as well, and I would be praying for God to call that person out.

I got this email from Hayley yesterday:

“Today I could not be happier, I am so excited to tell you about the experience I had today! One of Ana’s friends and her started asking me questions to practice their English and it turned into a ton of questions about my faith. They asked me a bunch of things about the Bible and we discussed a couple miracles of Jesus, and how he died and rose for us, and how you can’t just be “good enough”.

Her friend asked me about a lot of things that are in the Bible and we even discussed why I won’t be intimate until I’m married. Please pray for him, I know I will be, and I’m sad because tomorrow is the last day I will see him but I know he is growing in his faith because he believes but has a hard time living it because of his friends and family.

It was hard to discuss because of the language barrier and I had to really try to explain things simply but it was amazing! This was the greatest day ever and I’m so excited!!! Love you! (: and miss you!”

Oh God, I praise you.

I praise You for how you work in our lives. I praise You for your protection.  I praise You for helping us understand our need for a Savior and the hope we have when we trust and rely on You and You alone…

And then you use us to point others to you?!

Oh, what an amazing God you are.  It is a pleasure and real honor to follow you.

“… Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”   Mark 5:19

I have heard it said many times; “Family is the hardest mission field of all.”

For those of us who came to know Christ later in life, sharing what the Lord has done in our lives with family and friends is almost like surgery.  Tools have to be chosen carefully and pressure applied at the right time.  If the subject is approached with too much fervor, they might just bleed out and shut the door tight.   If the subject is ignored and we wait too long, they may just flat line and the opportunity is lost.

Family knows you.  They have seen you at your worst and know who you were before.

I had the immense privilege to watch five baptisms last night.  Three adults and two teenagers, who made the decision to follow Christ with their life, took the next step in their Christian walk by taking part in believer’s baptism.

Believer’s baptism is a public display of the decision made privately to follow Christ,

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ [And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’] And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”   Acts 8:35-38

but even more importantly, it is a picture of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”   Romans 6:3-4

I have been blessed to get to know a lovely Japanese woman named Katsuko.  Her daughter, Noriko, began attending Hillcrest a couple years ago and she and I became fast friends.  When I first met Katsuko, she couldn’t speak a lick of English… so when we get together there are a lot of smiles, head nodding, and hugging, but few words.

When Noriko came to America to continue her education, the Lord placed integral people in her life at just the right times.  God worked mightily to reveal the truth of who He really is and what Christ did for her, and Noriko placed her faith in and gave her life to Christ.

Noriko immediately shared what she had learned about Jesus with Katsuko and questioned the god her mom followed.  But living in Japan, Katsuko was deeply involved in Buddhism and admits how committed she was.

For 15 years Noriko shared Truth with her.

Last night Katsuko was baptized.

 

15 years.

Is there someone you’ve been praying quite a while for?

Someone you’ve been witnessing to for what seems like forever?

Someone who is heavy on your heart, but doesn’t want any part of your Jesus?

Don’t give up.  Don’t become silent.

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”   2 Peter 3:8-9

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