Summary: To encourage believers to share their faith during the holidays.
Author Kevin Harney tells the following story in his book Seismic Shifts:
It was a battle. A wrestling match. A test of wills. Every day, at exactly the same time, Margaret would go to the bathroom cabinet, open it, and take out a huge bottle of castor oil. Then she would head to the kitchen to get a tablespoon. At the sound of the drawer opening and the silverware rattling, Patches, her Yorkshire terrier, would run and hide—sometimes under the bed, at other times in the bathtub or behind Margaret’s recliner. Patches knew what was coming.
Someone had convinced Margaret that her beloved dog would have strong teeth, a beautiful coat, and a long life if she gave him a spoonful of castor oil every day. So, as an act of love every 24 hours, she cornered Patches, pinned him down, pried open his mouth, and—as he whimpered, squirmed, and fought her with all his strength—poured a tablespoon of castor oil down his little doggie throat. Neither Patches nor Margaret enjoyed their daily wrestling match.
Then one day, in the middle of their battle royal, with one sideways kick, Patches sent the dreaded bottle of castor oil flying across the kitchen floor. It was a momentary victory for the canine, as Margaret let him go so she could run to the pantry and grab a towel to clean up the mess.
When Margaret got back, she was utterly shocked. There was Patches licking up the spilled castor oil with a look of satisfaction only a dog can make. Margaret began to laugh uncontrollably. In one moment, it all made sense. Patches liked castor oil. He just hated being pinned down and having it poured down his throat.
Welcome to the world of faith sharing. This is the third and final sermon in the Share the Gift series. A series designed to help Christ followers discover that sharing the gift might be easier than they ever thought. Hear now the word of the Lord from the theme passage of Acts 1.6-8.
[S] “So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1.6-8, NIV). [S]
The word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
I’ve approached this series with the assumption that disciples want to be obedient to Jesus when it comes to telling another what God has done for them. But, there are some high hurdles that prevent us from doing so. And so what I’ve attempted to do is identify some of those high hurdles and lower them to a height that each one of us can manage.
Up to this point we’ve lowered two hurdles. And have just two more to go.
The third hurdle to lower is revealed in the statement, “But I don’t know what to say?” That’s an issue the church has had since the beginning and why [S] I think Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reasons for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3.15, NIV) I want you to know that knowing what to say to someone is not as difficult as you might think thanks to a simple model that Pastor Bill Hybels shared.
The model has three components that make it easy to remember. Imagine a cross. And written across the left beam are the letters [S] BC which stands for life before Christ. And written across the top of the right beam are the letters AD which stands for “after death to self” and represents life after making Jesus Lord. And right in the middle of both of those is the cross.
[S] When it comes to being prepared to tell your story begin with what your life was like before Christ. And here are a couple of questions to help you do that. “What was your life like before meeting Jesus? What was going on in your life that caused you to begin considering Christ as a solution to your needs?
[S] The next area is the cross and conversion. What crossed your path that finally motivated you to make Jesus your Lord? And how did you receive Christ?
[S] And then AD, “how has your life changed since making Jesus Lord?
Let me illustrate this by telling my story. Before Christ I didn’t feel accepted or cherished, or loved outside of my family. It seemed I was always looking for ways to be affirmed, and accepted. I made some bad decisions along the way that led me to the conclusion that I was a failure and worthless. I had let God down, my parents down, my siblings down, and myself down. And I didn’t know where to turn. I just knew I needed something to change in my life.