The Most Effective Witness in the World

lightstock_72547_xsmall_steve_What comes to mind when you read “the most effective witness in the world”? We probably think of a great preacher like Billy Graham. Some might think of a professional athlete that turned to God after crawling out of the gutter. Or, maybe it’s a missionary who travels to far off adventurous places to bring the gospel. But it seems the answer is much simpler.

This past Sunday, John Caldwell preached at Seerley Creek while my family enjoyed a much-needed weekend away. As expected, John brought a great message about fulfilling our biblical obligation to take the good news of Jesus’ love and sacrifice to every person everywhere. As I watched the video this morning I was struck as John explained who the most effective witnesses are. He said, “The most effective witness in the world is a truly converted Christian who is desperately in love with Jesus simply telling others.”

That really got me thinking. We tend to glamorize the great testimony. You know what I’m talking about; those awesome stories of God pulling someone out of the most awful circumstance and now uses their sordid past to bring others to Jesus. I love those stories. But, my story isn’t that great. Yours probably isn’t either.

As I considered John’s statement, I was reminded of something imperative; it’s not my story (or yours for that matter) that saves people, it’s Jesus’ story. His story changes everything. That takes the pressure off of us. We don’t have to have a great story—Jesus does. The more I’m amazed by His story, the more excited I am to simply tell others about him.

Let’s take it a step further. To be an effective witness we don’t have to have a microphone or TV camera, we simply have to be willing to tell someone. Often the most natural conversations happen with the people we see regularly. It’s the chat with the neighbor at the mailbox. It’s the conversation with a family member who doesn’t know Jesus.

“The most effective witness in the world is a truly converted Christian who is desperately in love with Jesus simply telling others.”

What a statement! If we truly love Jesus, we’ll live it and tell it. That’s the most effective witness there is. So, what are you doing to cultivate your love for Christ? Who are you simply going to tell? For me it starts in the family. My family is probably like yours. There are some who know Jesus and live for him. There are others who don’t. I pray they will see his transforming grace in my life and hear his awesome story as we simply get the chance to talk. I’ll share more about those family conversations in the weeks to come as we study “Picture Perfect – when grace frames a family.”

Misconceptions and Redirections

On Sunday I preached a message with this same title. The point was: Jesus is greater than your misconceptions and he cares more than you can possibly imagine. As I prepared, it gnawed on my heart all week. I couldn’t wait to share it with our church family. Finally, Sunday morning came and it was an awesome morning at Seerley Creek as we worshiped together.

However, God was just getting started driving home the point of the message – to me directly.

backpak pix from event 2015We had planned an outreach event for that afternoon to provide school supplies for a local neighborhood. And I’d been stressing over it for the past few weeks. A fundamental part of Seerley Creek’s vision is reaching out and this was the first new outreach event we had undertaken in a while. I had no idea how God would use the occasion to correct my misconceptions and remind me of just how much he cares.

As typical, Seerley Creek folks came up big! Paper, pencils and everything else you can think of started pouring in. Every time I turned around another family was bringing in supplies. The schools keep expanding the list of supplies kiddos need to bring with them on the first day. I get it, but it can add up quickly if a family has several kids.

Two things began to stress me out; would the weather cooperate and would anyone come? These were real issues. I probably prayed more last week than I have in a long time. As I walked out after the service on Sunday I peeked at the weather app on my phone. My heart sank. It predicted 100% chance of rain at 5:00. That was exactly when we were to start. Bad weather could ruin everything!

Here’s where I needed to hear my own sermon. I stressed out over the weather prediction, but I didn’t connect the greatness of Jesus to our little circumstance (see Mark 4:39-41). I’m usually quick to tell you how great Jesus is and how much he cares. But I had forgotten that the wind and the rain are at his command. Amazingly at 5:00, it poured everywhere except for our little corner of town. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

But what if no one came? That would be awful!

This time Jesus worked through Rene, a kind woman who just recently started visiting Seerley Creek. Before we got started, Rene walked door-to-door inviting folks. I couldn’t believe my eyes. People came from every direction! It was remarkable to watch as 40 of Seerley Creek’s finest, along with the good folks from Active Grace, fed dozens of families and filled over 60 backpacks and bags full of school supplies. What an evening! Despite my anxiety and overactive imagination, Jesus redirected my thoughts and showed me that he was watching and working through his church for our neighbors all along.

Jesus is greater than our misconceptions and he cares more than we can possibly imagine!