This is an unprecedented, historical week for me. I bought and closed on a house! With all of my running around the past decade, I’m so excited to finally be settled here at this church, with this student ministry, and in this area. I’m amazed with how God has been preparing me for this ministry. Just over a year ago now, I had been in my previous church for 3 years, and all the other four pastors I was serving with had resigned. I was left with leading that church, but God used it to prepare me for the next. Meanwhile, God had brought awesome youth pastors before me to this church, and prepared the student ministry to be passionate worshippers, attentive learners, and humble servants. When I got here, it was obvious that this is what God had been planning all along.
Everything I just said was absolutely true, but I also wrote it as an example of what God is doing with Deuteronomy 1 – 4 (read it). God wrote Deuteronomy in the structure of a popular peace treaty during that time (1500 B.C.) when superpower kingdoms would make peace with little nerdy nations with the promise of their loyalty. The second section of the ancient peace treaty was the history between the two parties. So just as my intro was my history leading up to my ministry here, Deuteronomy 1 – 4 is God reminding His people who He is and what He has done for them up to this point.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are camped on the edge of the Jordan River, and overlooking it right at their promised land. God had stopped them for two months, and spoke through Moses to restate His covenant and laws by which He was saving them. In chapters 1 – 4, God goes into pretty good detail of everything He has done for them including calling their Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), saving them from slavery in Egypt, destroying the Egyptians at the Red Sea, His discipline for their sin in the wilderness, and the defeats over many nations along the way (4:9-24). God reminds us what He has done for us so that we will stay faithful to Him. Do you ever take time to think back over your life to allow God to remind you of everything He has done for you?
In my studies of this passage, I’m blown away with Acts 26:12-29. In this section, Paul is on trial for his faith in Christ, and he uses his trial as an opportunity to share Christ with the authorities! After sharing his salvation testimony in court, the King calls him crazy and says he’s tempted to believe. Paul responds, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am – except for these chains” (26:29). Wow! Paul uses his history of what Christ has done in his life to witness to unbelievers even when his life is in danger the most. Do we ever share the gospel so clearly and passionately that we’re considered crazy? Are we so committed to the gospel that when persecution comes up because of it…we even witness to our persecutors? What can we specifically learn from these passages?
Just this week I got to teach in a Bible study at the largest high school in the state of Alabama. The teenagers wanted to know how to share their faith. They had the passion, but they wanted more of the know-how. The simplest and most compelling way to share your faith is to just talk about what God has done in your life through Christ. Talk to people about your hopeless life before Christ, your conversion into Christ, and your eternal hope only found in Christ. Just simply talk about your life with Him. We all should be ready to go with a quick “two minute testimony” of our salvation. You never know when you’ll be standing in line, briefly talking to someone in a hurry, etc. Sometimes people just want the facts kept short and sweet. As Christians called to be witnesses, we should always be ready to talk about our life in Christ, and to share His gospel with them (His life, death, and Lordship). Have you given your life to Christ yet?