Trust God’s Timing

Leave a comment

This morning, early, we got the phone call we hoped we wouldn’t get. The kids were leaving their home because the flood waters were rising. They called as they were driving away from their house in northern district above Bangkok. The waters have had them surrounded for about a week but now the flood has started into their neighborhood.

As they were driving south, Heather phoned on Ryan’s cell phone (I’ve never really cared for cell phones until now) as they made their way south toward a place called Hua Hin.

We don’t really know much about what is happening but I assume that the car is loaded with grandchildren and as much stuff as they can carry, with Pedro (Heather’s dog). Going about 100 miles south will get them out of the flooding as they wait for the waters to recede.

Before they left they had already put as much as they could carry on the second floor of their house. Some of their household items were too heavy for them to lift so they moved it to the highest place they could to get them off the ground. A washer, a dryer, a refrigerator were just too heavy for Heather to help Ryan move so this will be probably flooded.

The decision to evacuate was made after trying to wait out the flood. Their neighborhood was one of the last areas in their district to flood. The water started over the walls in the back of the neighborhood and the decision was- move now or be stuck until they were either rescued and or the water receded. They were told that the water might recede over the next month. Their friends, in the neighbor had next to theirs, were already flooded and the water was waist deep.

In light of the flooding and what has happened to our kids, let’s ponder some thoughts about God’s timing. I have been thoroughly studying Titus 1:3: “…And at His appointed season He brought His Word to light…” All of God’s promises will come true but it’s on His timetable, not ours. Events on God’s calendar occur at designated times in history according to His perfect wisdom. The timing of Jesus’ birth, for example, is one of Paul’s favorite themes. Galatians 4:4: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.”

The word “appointed” refers to that which is one’s own private and unique possession. The purpose behind God’s timing is often known only to Him. The word “season” refers to a window of opportunity, or a fixed period of time. Acts 17:26 reminds us of God’s direct involvement in our lives: “…he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”

Andrew Murray offers a helpful perspective on being patient about God’s timing: “Waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen the soul for His blessing. Waiting under the cloud of trial that breaks in showers of blessing, is as needful. Be assured that if God waits longer than you would wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious

(“Waiting for God,” page 102).

Will you trust His timing today? I’m sure trying to….

Advertisements

Saved to Share

Leave a comment

Last Sunday we kicked off our missions conference and I spoke from Acts 26 and showed that we are saved to share. This chapter records for us the third time that Paul gives us his personal testimony in the book of Acts.

Someone has observed that there are only two kinds of Christians in this world:

1. Those who talk ABOUT the lost.

2. Those who talk TO the lost. Which one are you?

You have not been saved just to sit in church, or to soak up truth, or to sing in a choir, or even to send missionaries around the world. You have been saved to Share.

Do you know what God’s greatest tool is to reach other people for Jesus Christ? Well, the answer is YOU!

A survey from the Institute of American Church Growth showed that 75 to 90% of new believers come to Christ through a friend or acquaintance who explains the Good News on a one-to-one basis. Only 17% of all conversions come through what is called an “event” such as a pastor preaching a Sunday morning message, a crusade, or some other church activity.

Every true Christian has in his heart perhaps the single most powerful tool available to be an effective witness for Christ his personal testimony. That is all Paul had as he stood before a king in Acts 26 and it was all he needed. In this chapter we see the simple things Paul did that every Christian can begin to do today to be an effective witness for Christ.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” I Peter 3:15

One of the most effective tools you have for sharing your faith is your testimony – the story of how Jesus Christ transformed your life.

When the Apostle Paul stood before King Agrippa (Acts 26), he spoke simply, logically, and clearly about his life before salvation, how he met Christ, and what his life was like after conversion. Paul’s testimony takes three or four minutes to read aloud.

Learning how to tell others your story in the same manner will be important on your mission trip. The choice of the right words, the flow of your story, and knowing how to begin and end are important.

The purpose of preparing a testimony is not to memorize it and say it verbatim, but to help you put into words some of the important and interesting details of your own conversion experience. A testimony serves primarily as a “door opener,” not a “convincing tool.” Many people are not ready to be convinced they need Christ, but can often be led to talk about the gospel after hearing a personal testimony.

Paul’s Model

Paul’s testimony in Acts 26 is a biblical model you can follow in writing your own personal testimony.

LEAD IN VERSES 2-3

BEFORE VERSES 4-11

HOW VERSES 12-20

AFTER VERSES 21-23

CLOSE VERSES 24-29

Here are some suggestion for developing the Before, How, and After sections of your personal testimony.

BEFORE

Many people’s actions spring out of their unsatisfied deep inner needs. What were one or two of your unsatisfied, deep inner needs before you came to know Jesus Christ? Some examples of inner needs are:

Lack of peace Lack of security

Fear of death Lack of purpose

Something missing Lack of Significance

No meaning to life No real friends

Desire to be in control No motivation

Loneliness

Non-Christians are usually trying to satisfy their deep inner needs through unsatisfactory solutions. In the past, what unsatisfactory solutions did you use to attempt to meet those deep inner needs? As you develop your testimony, list positive, as well as negative solutions you may have tried.

Some examples are:

Marriage/family Education

Work Hobbies/entertainment

Drugs/alcohol Sex

Sports/fitness Wrong friends

HOW

1. Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. Identify the events that led to your conversion. In some cases this may have taken place over a period of time.

2. State specifically the steps you took to become a Christian. If there is a particular passage of Scripture that applied here, you may want to use it. Usually, you will simply paraphrase it.

3. Include the gospel clearly and briefly. The gospel includes: All have sinned; Sin’s penalty; Christ paid the penalty; You must receive Christ.

AFTER

Share how Christ met or is meeting your deep inner needs. In the BEFORE you expressed your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to firefly show the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Conclude with a statement like this: “But the greatest benefit is that I know for certain I have eternal life.” The person you are talking with will tend to comment on the last thing you say. Often it is natural to move from the testimony into a clear presentation of the gospel.

HOW

1. Describe the circumstances that caused you to consider Christ as the solution to your deep inner needs. Identify the events that led to your conversion. In some cases this may have taken place over a period of time.

2. State specifically the steps you took to become a Christian. If there is a particular passage of Scripture that applied here, you may want to use it. Usually, you will simply paraphrase it.

3. Include the gospel clearly and briefly. The gospel includes: All have sinned; Sin’s penalty; Christ paid the penalty; You must receive Christ.

AFTER

Share how Christ met or is meeting your deep inner needs. In the BEFORE you expressed your needs and how you tried unsuccessfully to meet them. You now want to firefly show the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Conclude with a statement like this: “But the greatest benefit is that I know for certain I have eternal life.” The person you are talking with will tend to comment on the last thing you say. Often it is natural to move from the testimony into a clear presentation of the gospel.

it’s YOUR story. You will help others see that Christ can make a difference in their lives, just like he has made a difference in yours!

At first blush, it appears as if Paul was unsuccessful. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (v.28) You would think that it was all for naught because Agrippa did not come to Christ. But listen carefully. Paul was succesful because he was faithful. He was indeed “obedient to the heavenly vision.” Any witness is successful when he or she simply testifies to the truth of Jesus Christ, shares the story of their own conversion, and leaves the results to God. Because that is all God has called us to do, is to simply tell the truth about Jesus.

If you do not have a testimony or you are not sharing your testimony, you need to examine yourself as to whether or not you have truly met Jesus Christ. Has there been a time in your life when you repented? When you truly turned to God? Are you now doing works befitting repentance? If you do not have a testimony, today you can.

Church and Football

Leave a comment

Did you know church can be just like football?

Quarterback Sneak—Church members quietly leaving during the invitation.
Draw Play—What many children do with the bulletin during worship.
Half-time—The period between Sunday School and worship when many choose to leave.
Benchwarmer—Those who do not sing, pray, work or apparently do anything but sit.
Backfield-in-Motion—Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.
Staying in the Pocket—What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord’s work.
Two-minute Warning—The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.
Instant Replay—The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week’s illustrations.
Sudden Death—What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes into “overtime.”
Trap—You’re called on to pray and are asleep.
End Run—Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.
Flex Defense—The ability to allow absolutely nothing said during the sermon to affect your life.
Halfback Option—The decision of 50 percent of the congregation not to return for the evening service.
Blitz—The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.