From Pastor Mark
Have you ever showed up to a meeting or an event unprepared? Maybe you were supposed to speak about a topic or hand out a document or you were to read something ahead of time. But, you didn’t do it. I remember a staff meeting a while back where each person was supposed to present their goals and how many hours were spent to accomplish those goals. While the others were presenting, I was feverishly adding up my numbers and creating a spreadsheet. All while seeming to pay attention to what my teammates were sharing.
I can assure you this happen many years ago!
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Always Be Prepared
It feels terrible to not be prepared. Preparation takes work and discipline. It means prioritizing certain activities over others. When Peter tells us to “always be prepared,” he is calling us to make it a priority to prepare ourselves to be witnesses for Jesus. What does that look like?
It looks like spending time in God’s Word. Reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture to help you grow in the knowledge and grace of God. It’s just like any healthy relationship. The more intimately you know Jesus, the more prepared (and likely) you will be to share Jesus. The only way to make a defense of what you believe is to know what you believe. So, be a person of the Book. Read other good resources to help you understand the Bible better.
It looks like praying for people that don’t know Jesus and praying for opportunities to share Jesus. Are you actively praying for people you know by name? Jesus invites us to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking (Matthew 6:7-8). Don’t give up. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt like there weren’t any opportunities to share my faith with others. And then I actively pray for God to open doors and all of a sudden opportunities seem to abound. It’s likely that they were there already, but that through prayer God opened my eyes to see those opportunities and the courage to engage.
The Hope That Is In You
Not only should we be prepared, our lives should also demonstrate a real and enduring hope. Pastor Brady talked about this last Sunday. You must honestly ask yourself, do the people around me see the hope that is within me? Are you known as a hope-filled person? That doesn’t mean we cannot grieve. We are always sorrowing, yet always rejoicing. But, does your life demonstrate an unshakable hope in a risen Savior?
Yes, politicians might drive you mad. The tragedies will break your heart. The injustice around the world will exasperate you. But, does the gospel of Jesus Christ fill your heart with a quiet confidence that God is still on the throne and still in control? Do you make decisions and speak with an sense of assurance that in the end, God will make all things right? Does the death, resurrection, and return of Jesus impact the little things in your day?
It is only when we live a life of genuine and counter-cultural hope, that it will be seen as attractive and powerful. And when others ask us the reason for that hope, we can then be ready to share—with gentleness and respect of course.