10/26/2004 6:41 AM
Title: JUST LIKE PAUL, EXCEPT FOR THE CHAINS
S: “Paul replied, ‘Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all
who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these
chains.'” Acts 26:29
O: Paul has just made a dramatic defense of the gospel. He’s been in and
out of prison for two years – basically in. But each time he’s brought
before the governors or the kings, he comes to give a defense of
Christianity, not himself. Sure he defends himself, but he doesn’t do it as
clearly as he does with Christianity.
A: I see a pattern here that I could follow. Yesterday I was listening to
“Casting Crowns” as we drove along. The one song that caught my ear was the
one about “I’m going to tell him one more time about Jesus love – pray for
me, it may be the last time I get to tell him, but I’m going just one more
time.” That’s obviously not a direct quote. But it’s the idea that I’m
driven by the idea to tell someone about the love of God. It’s driven by
the desire that people get to go to heaven or hell. It’s driven by the idea
of salvation for all who accept.
In many ways, that is what has been the driving force in my life. But
that’s happened on a large scale kind of thing. In other words, it’s more
about group events than it is about my personally. What I mean by this is
that it is GREAT that finding salvation for others has been the driving
force in my life. That’s awesome. But what about one-on-one? I need to
remember that every conversation I have with Greg and Kim, Jon, Mike and
Brenda, Kevin and Darla, etc. These are all opportunities to share the Love
of God with them. I need to be able to share it in a non-confronting way.
That’s what Paul did. He presented it in one way when he met with Festus or
Felix. He presented it in another way when he met with Agrippa. He
understood people and how much they could discern at any given moment. That
is the way I need to discern things. That is the way that I need to teach
things to my neighbors and my friends and my extended family.
I guess I hear God saying to me, that I need to spend the time thinking
through my conversations when I am in them, or before I am in them. I can’t
just float in and out of conversations and friendships without ever having
thought through the process first. John wants to go play golf with me –
what will I do if it really happens? What will I say? We go on walks every
day, and I wonder what I should say as I meet our neighbors.
The idea is, that I should go and prepare here with God each day, and get a
word to share, and get an idea about how to share with the people I am to
meet. It’s having the boy scout motto – “Always Prepared.”
P: Lord, I ask you into my heart. I ask you to fill my heart with your
power and your love. I ask you to guide me and change me and fill me and
make me like you. Paul is an inspiration to me, Lord. Paul is an
inspiration to be a faithful witness. He’s someone I could look to for
ideas. Lord, you are ultimately the one I need to look to and be changed
by. But I have a better idea of what kind of a friend I need to be when I
look at Paul. I need to be the kind of individual that people naturally
want to hear about you or that they know they are going to hear about you.
Lord, I’m leading my church down the evangelistic frontier, but I need to
make sure I am leading my family down that path as well as myself down that
path. Please guide me.
I ask you into my heart today and I ask you to fill my life with your
presence. Please come, Lord, and make me like you. I love you and I desire
to walk with you. I will follow you, Lord. Please fill me with the Holy