Summary: The chief cause of most of our failure and misfires when it comes to being a soldier of the cross is using someone else’s weapons or tools…and not the ministry to which we have been personally called and gifted by God.
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
We have been dealing with some of the “deep breath” issues of life…those times, when, to be obedient to our calling as believers in Jesus Christ we find ourselves facing a difficult task or decision; these are times we must “take a deep breath” and press on.
One of those deep breath issues is sharing our faith. We are mostly all afraid or ashamed to do that, or have been at times.
----- WORSHIP SKIT -----
(Beth enters cautiously, looking around, crosses to imaginary casket DC, one last look around, looks down at body)
Hi, Amy, it’s me, Beth. (looks around)
I suppose you want to know why I came to see you an hour before the funeral. I... I just wanted to talk to you alone... just the two of us... like we did when we walked home from school together. looks around, to self)
Here I am, talking to a dead body. Why am I doing this? If anybody sees me, they’re going to think I have a screw loose.(looks around, deep breath)
No, I HAVE to do this. (to body) Amy, do you remember all those times our discussion got around to the differences between our church’s? (laughs nervously)
You always laughed at me because I always carried my Bible around everywhere I went. Remember? (laughs nervously)
And I always laughed at you because you thought you HAD to go to church on those special church holy days, and because you thought you HAD to eat certain things and NOT eat others? Remember that? (sigh)
I must have asked you a half dozen times, "Amy, what do you think it takes to get into Heaven when you die?" You always answered, "Well, if you’re a good person and don’t do a lot of bad stuff and if you live a good life and do good deeds, you’ll probably get to Heaven."
(turns aside, sigh, turns back toward body) Amy, I always intended to tell you this, but I always I choked. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell you. (sigh) Well, here’s the truth. Here’s what I was going to tell you a half dozen times and I chickened out: Amy, it’s a lie! It’s all a lie! You can’t be good enough or do enough good deeds to get into Heaven. Human beings are incapable of being "good" enough. There, I said it.
You know, I even memorized a Bible verse to recite to you, but I never had the nerve to recite it to you. So, let me recite it to you now:
Matthew 5:20. Jesus said, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Amy, Pharisees spent their entire lives trying to be good enough to get into Heaven and Jesus said they’re not good enough. If they can’t do it, there’s no way any of us can make it that way either. (paces in front of the casket)
I guess the reason why I never confronted you about that is because every time I mentioned the name of Jesus, you got this funny look on your face, like I was mentally deficient or something. So, I sort of decided to wait for you to ask me about it or maybe I was waiting for a crisis in your life, or something. I don’t know. I mean, I look back on it now and think to myself, (hand to forehead) "DUH!" This is a no-brainer! Just quote the scripture. Tell her that Jesus himself said that there’s no other way to Heaven except by putting your trust in him. What could be simpler!?
Thirty seconds. Give her the chance to make an intelligent decision. What are you waiting for? This is not rocket science. (stops, looks down at body)
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I had to do it over again, Amy, I would tell you.
(paces in front of the casket)
You know, Amy, now that I think about it, I was really stupid, you know, I mean, short sighted. See, I was afraid that if I had told you about the lie that you had believed all your life, you might get mad at me and not want to be my friend. But, if I had given it any thought... any thought at all, I would have thought about the long term, you know, the future. If I had just been brave, you and I could have been friends for eternity in Heaven.