Summary: In this message we look at persecution and sharing our faith and life.

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When I was a boy there was a side lot on our church property where we would play football. I remember playing with my best friend. It was just the two of us, so it wasn’t really football - it was more of a game of tackle the guy with the ball. I used to pretend like I was Tony Dorsett. I would get the ball and I would shake and move and jive and get past Craig - because I was fast just like Tony Dorsett.

Something happened though as we got a little older and started school - Craig learned how to tackle. Before, he would just try to grab me, but suddenly, I wasn’t making it past Craig anymore. The game had changed, and if I was going to compete, then I had to learn to tackle ...but you know what? I never did. I never could get my brain around the art of tackling someone. Maybe I was to small? Maybe I needed a proper coach - all I had was Craig trying to tell me what his coaches were telling him - but honestly, I think I was afraid of tackling...

If we are honest, We all have a lot of fears. It might be fun to spend some time going around the room asking what each of us fears - For instance, I’m afraid of heights. Its not something that I’ve always been afraid of - in fact, its just come on in the last few years, but I’ve noticed that when I get high up on the rides at certain theme parks that my wife and kids love to go to - If we have to wait very long, my heart starts beating fast, and my breathing gets shallow, and I get to feeling a little sick...

One of the things that most of us fear is sharing our faith. We know that as Christians, Jesus tells us that we are to “shine our light” and tell others about him, but most of us fear that! We are afraid we’ll mess it up, we are afraid we’ll be too aggressive, we’re afraid of what that other person will think of us...

We are just afraid - and so it keeps us from sharing. Period. End of story. We might invite someone to church, or tell them about a good book we’ve read - but we are too afraid to mention the name Jesus.

In 1 Peter - Peter has some advice I think to help those of us who fit that description... (read 1 Peter 3:13-15)

Peter was writing his letter to Christians that were living in real fear of being persecuted for their faith. They were ostracized and abused and sometimes even tortured by their neighbors and society and government. We definitely live in a different society than that, but you know, if we take a stand for Christ, I do believe that we will face persecution...

I’ll give you an example. I have a Brother in law that is a professor at a large state school here in Texas. He’s a believer and a sunday school teacher and a great guy, not to mention an award winning professor - but because of his faith, because he takes a public stand for his faith - he has received some persecution. He gets made fun of by some of his colleagues. He gets a very cold shoulder in some circles. He isn’t asked to serve on some of the committees, and stuff that other professors serve on - I don’t think he’s ever been told “You can’t tell people you are a Christian” but I’m sure that his bosses are watching what he does very carefully, in fact, he’s said that he’s afraid that they might even be out to get him...

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