But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
This passage is so exciting. Like for reals, so exciting! We are being called to share the word of God with those around us. Woah. Be that with our family, school friends, team mates, colleagues, the list could go on. This is ordaining you to be the change in someone’s life, to have the privilege of sharing God’s amazing grace and love with someone.
Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s sounds fantastic but it isn’t that glamourous, the heavens don’t open with a light beaming down angelically on you when you do that. Or maybe, for the less theatrical amongst us, the people we’re talking to are just not that interested in what you have to say. I have been in that place so many times, where you’re just talking to a blank wall, or the person you’re talking to shuts down and attempts to discredit every word you say.
Don’t be disheartened.
You have planted a seed.
Just because you may not see the fruit of your conversation immediately, that doesn’t mean that something isn’t stirring within them. Keep praying and you will see God’s hand at work, in both your life and others around you. Pray for opportunities and you’ll be surprised with how God hears you. Have courage.
We all wear masks.
Different masks for different days and places and people.
Well I know I do, sometimes all of my focus can be put into what sort of person I should be, funny, charismatic, whatever I think will fit the situation and often I can forget to be me. When I was getting ready to go to university and I kept thinking about what person I should be, how I’d fit in, rather than just being myself.
Often we feel by putting on these masks and changing who we are, we can fit in better, become more popular but in the process we often lose ourselves. We hide ourselves from the people we call our friends, our families see someone different as do strangers on the street.Sometimes you find yourself asking does anybody really know me? Do they know the person I am when I take off all of those masks.
There are times when even I feel that I don't know myself and it is in these times where I particularly turn to God, he always knows who I am, he knows more about me than I know about myself. For me knowing that there is someone who unconditionally loves me more than anything for who I truly am helps me to continue. It gives me the confidence to move forward and to be more like myself; the person I truly want to be. God is never going to decide he doesn't love you anymore. God is always going to be on your side as he has known you from before your birth and has shaped you into the person you are today, without all those masks, and he has done that for a reason, as he loves you and wants the best for you.
‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ psalm 139 v13-14
One of my favourite things at Ripon is the response time after the evening talk. This is a quiet time to spend thinking over what you’ve just heard, receiving prayer, and basking in the presence of God. I love the peace and the serenity of it.
When you read the Bible you get the impression that Jesus enjoyed this too. Time and time again he ‘often withdrew to lonely places to pray’ (Luke 5v16). Jesus saw the importance of getting away from the noise of the crowd, the distraction of his friends, and the pressures of life to spend some quality time with his Father.
Let me tell you something – you can do this too.
Jump on a bike and go someplace quiet; be that your local park, hill top, or babbling brook (in my case the murky waters of the Thames). Bring your bible – and a bite to eat – read something short and ponder on it. Think about what it tells you about Jesus. Think about what this means for you. (Hint: remember Sam’s message of PIGS – promises, incarnation (God with us), grace, and surprises). And then just chat with God: open up a two way conversation. If you get stuck go through the Lord’s Prayer and see what you remember from the talks from the summer.
For example something God has been telling me recently is that He is in absolute control over everything. You might hear this described as sovereignty. In other words He is KING. Not only that but he is the King of Kings. This is particularly clear in the story of Daniel (read Daniel chapters 1-6 if interested). Kings and kingdoms come and go yet God remains eternally in charge. For me this is reassuring: that whoever was elected as president, regardless if my siblings keep their jobs, and whether or not I catch the bus on time – He is in charge.
Follow Jesus’ example – you can’t go far wrong.