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Posted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:30 pm
Ok, here's my situation...I was raised in the church; without saying which denomination, I'd describe it as being the "right" church, the one "everyone" except the Catholics attended. Noone brought a Bible to church, we all stood at the proper times, babies were baptized within a month of their birth, everyone could say the Lord's Prayer in their sleep, which I think some of them did during the service. You get the idea.
A few years ago, my dh and I joined the Baptist church in town. It seems to me so different than what I grew up with. We've both been baptized, and I hope that the difference in our lives is noticable.
My question is this: How do you witness to people who say they "know" Jesus, but maybe don't? My dad has terminal cancer, so it's on my mind alot lately. The thing is, when you bring up Jesus, some people believe they're saved, because Mom and Dad had them baptized or because they know about Jesus. I believe you need to Know Jesus, not just about Him. Many of my loved ones are regular church goers, but they're Sunday morning Christians whose lives do not reflect Christ. So how do you communicate clearly with people who call themselves Christian, but maybe aren't? I know that I don't know their hearts, only God does. But I just want to make sure they hear the truth in a way they can hear, kwim?
(I've spent quite a bit of time trying to find the answer, but I'm posting it here because I think (hope) some here are like-minded. Hope I don't offend anyone)
Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:14 am
Hello, Sandy. You seem to have a sincere heart of compassion for people. Of the cuff, I would suggest sharing your personal testimony. It sounded like you were raised to believe "once saved, always saved". Now, you realize it's much more than being sprinkled with water or reciting a prayer. While it is true that God will never leave us nor forsake us, it is quite evident that we can turn away from Him whenever we want. The Lord desires a personal relationship with His people. I feel that I am rambling...Remember:
It's the kindness (goodness) of God that leads people to repentance...Not suggesting that you are mean,that's just something I flubbed a few times early on.
The Word of God does not go out and return to Him void. It accomplishes all that He set it forth to do. That's a loose quote but gives the idea. Just keep sharing and know that God is responsible for His part-changing hearts.
Lastly, be encouraged and remember that God was able to reach you, He is able to reach your family and friends. Keep on loving them. Speak the truth in love.
Re: Religious question
Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:45 pm
Sandy wrote:I believe you need to Know Jesus, not just about Him.
I love the two old stories on this subject, and I don't know whether it does any good to share them with other adults, but I keep them before my children because I have some authority to speak to them.
One is about the person who dies and goes into an interview room with a glowing personage, who asks the person to tell what he knows about Jesus. The person gives a long answer about things in the New Testament, and so on, and is politely thanked and sent away. Another recently deceased person enters the room, takes one glance at the "interviewer," falls to his knees, and says, "My Lord and my God."
The other story is about the famous stage actor who is asked to recite the 23rd Psalm in a benefit performance. He does it well, in the manner of Shakespearean training. Then he calls on an older gentleman in the front row to come forward and recite it. After the man's humble, moving recitation, as the entire audience wipes their eyes, the actor says, "Ladies and gentlemen, I know the psalm. This man knows the Shepherd."
Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 10:32 pm
You might like this sermon by a young baptist missionary
Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:49 am
You need to have faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Knowing him just helps strengthen that faith.
Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:47 am
My heart goes out to you in this situation, because it sounds so very familiar. I was raised in no religion or church because both my parents
were different denominations, and neither would budge to compromise. It was an excuse that was used and abused.
I attended church with a cousin, and during a class, asked Jesus into my heart and began my personal walk with Him. I had prayed for my father and family for many years, for them to be drawn to God and a close relationship with him. Growing up, I saw that this was not the case and only religion was referred to.
My father was diagnosed with a slow growing terminal cancer that took away his personal freedom over a period of 10 years. when I would approach the subject of church, or salvation, my father would tell me that he was already saved, he walked a church isle when he was a youth.
I was stunned, because I have never seen any evidence of this as a child, or adult of this life changing event in my dad's life. I began to understand that he was relying on a religous experience and not a personal decision and relationship for salvation- through Jesus.
I wish I could go back and relive some moments with my dad; I would do them differently..so don't loose an opportunity to talk and pray for him now. God was so faithful to send friends, family, and strangers to talk to my dad and minister to him in his illness. I do believe that my dad came to a saving knowledge of Jesus before he died. He had a 'vision' of walking among the clouds' during a prayer said over him.. at the time he thought it meant he was going to be healed and walking around here on earth..but we realized after his death that he saw his total healing in heaven.
Looking back, I also see that God used his illness to bring him to a place where his strength, and his brains, and sheer determination could not be enough..but that he had to rely on God for everything, and so his focus was on a relationship and not a religious experience. I hope this helps!
Don't give up on your dad..my dad was a very smart, hardened and embittered person towards anything about God and prayer- and at the end he was embracing and welcoming it all.
praying for you..
Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:06 am
Thanks for sharing, Sandy.
I must say, after the year that my family has endured, that I understand people such as your father. Our previous "pastor" was a control-freak whose spiritual abusiveness is having lasting effects on all of us. I could TOTALLY see us "stalling out" right where we are. That is not what we are striving for but some days the future seems hopeless. (Makes me wonder what your father endured to have such bitterness.)
One very good result of this HORRIBLE situation... I reserve ALL finger-pointing for those who point fingers! Seriously, I really have learned that judgment is for God... not anyone else.
Man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.
That's the good and the bad news.
Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:27 pm
Here's something I just posted on my blog. The main thing is to LIFT UP JESUS, USE THE WORD.. the Words of Jesus will do what we cannot do.
Recognize your sin. No ritual, no fasting, nothing you can do will make you right with God. You know the law! Muslim, Jew, Christian, you all know it! You know how you have failed to live it!
Please find a Bible and read John, Chapter 8. These statements are based on the truths found therein. Numbers refer to verses in chapter 8.
34 Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave to sin.
39 If you were truly Godâ€™s children you would do as he said.
20, 24 Without Jesus you will die in your sins. You know nothing has taken them away, nothing else can. â€œIf you do not believe that I am He, ye will die in your sins.â€
Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:27 am
Great scriptures! I'm not sure if you are responding to the OP or my response.
I would just add...
We are ALL on a journey, ALL in different stages. Now, do not take this as "anything goes." I am referring to born-again Christians, not the general public. Even still, we do not ALL look the same, act the same, or speak the same. I have reached a point in my journey where I REFUSE to look at my brethren and cast ANY judgment. After all, the way we measure it out, will be measured back to us.
Lastly, we can quote all the scriptures we want, pray the most eloquent prayers, sing the most glorious praise... yet, without love, it is as a clanging cymbal.
Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:00 pm
I agree with 4given. Love is the key. What seems like a "hard" stance in my previous post, arises from my witnessing to muslims who are so very difficult to reach, but yes, even for them, LOVE is the key (and this has been confirmed by native and American ministers).