So What's the Plan - Ephesians 3:1-13 - Episode 70

So What's the Plan - Ephesians 3:1-13 - Episode 70
Season 5 Sweet Selah Moments Podcas...

 
 
00:00 / 00:31:52
 
1X
 

God has a plan for us once we accept Christ. And it's to share the good news that He has made a way for us to be freed from the power of sin and death. He wants us to live forever with Him in a perfect place where sorrow and suffering will be replaced with love and hope and joy. Now that's a great plan. But how do we share it? Not all of us feel comfortable knocking on stranger's doors or shouting out this great news at the local supermarket, right? Nicole and Sharon have a practical talk about how to share our faith with others in winsome ways through God's help and grace. Join us.

Read the transcript for So What's the PLan-Ephesians 3:1-10-Episode 70

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Is your world a little crazy and off kilter at the moment, feeling a bit frazzled? Well then, you’ve found the perfect place to regain some quiet today. Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast, where we study his Word and encourage one another. The Sweet Selah Moment Podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.

Nicole (00:28):

Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. Episode 70 has a question for the title, So What’s the Plan? Well, Sharon, what is the plan for this episode?

Sharon (00:39):

I had such trouble coming up with a title for this one. I’ve changed it a couple of times, but really the section of Ephesians we’ll be looking at today is all about God’s overarching plan for people and Paul’s specific role in that plan. (Nicole: Okay) And as I pondered this, I realized we also need to be super aware God’s got a specific plan for us too. God, very specifically called Paul, self righteous, separatist Jew that he was, to go hang out with Gentiles. I just think that’s so hysterical. He was like the highest quality of ‘stay away from the Gentiles Jew’ and God’s like, Nope, Nope. Your assignment is Gentiles. Go for it. So, and help convert them to Christianity, such a stretch for this. Oh man. Yet Paul gladly obeyed and shared that good news far and wide, traveling hundreds of miles. And I am sure, sporting multiple blisters on his feet.

Nicole (01:33):

Sure.

Sharon (01:33):

Goodness, but Nicole, we are not off the hook here in terms of helping people convert to Christianity. I actually believe it’s a universal call on all of us to share the good news of Christ in our current world as it is today. So we’re gonna look at Jesus’s last words first to his disciples in the book of Acts. It’s interesting that Luke starts his book on the history of the early church with what we call the Great Commission. So he starts with Jesus telling them what to do, and then he spends the rest of the book having them do what Jesus told them to do. (Nicole: Right) So that’s kind of nice. (Nicole: Yeah) So, would you read it for us?

Nicole (02:08):

Sure. So I’m gonna read Acts 1:1-9. “In my first book, I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. During the 40 days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time. And he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the kingdom of God. Once he was eating with them, he commanded them, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you with the gifts he promised, as I told you before, John baptized with water, but in just a few days, you’ll be baptized with the Holy Spirit’. So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?’ He replied, ‘the Father alone has the authority to set these dates and times and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you’ll be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and at the ends of the earth’. After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching and they could no longer see him.”

Sharon (03:21):

Hm, I love that they’re still saying, ‘So are you coming? Is it now? Do we finally get the kingdom?’

Nicole (03:26):

Right. I know to the very end they hoped.

Sharon (03:29):

And Jesus is like, well actually you’re going be telling people about us, you know, me across the world. So it might take a while for me to come back. We’re still doing it today. So that’s so cool. Okay. Well, I’m now gonna read the same story from Matthew’s perspective. And of course, Matthew was there in Matthew 28:16-20. “Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some of them doubted. Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you and be sure of this, I am with you always, even to (Sharon adds: whenever it shows up, that part, I just added) the end of the age.”

Nicole (04:24):

Yeah.

Sharon (04:25):

So what do we learn from these verses?

Nicole (04:27):

The disciples had a job to do, go and make more disciples.

Sharon (04:31):

Yes, they did.

Nicole (04:31):

Don’t stand staring at the cloud. Don’t wonder about their kingdom being restored here, but go and share the wonderful news of Jesus and his great sacrifice for us and to help these new believers to grow in their faith too. So not just go and tell, but make sure they’re, they’re understanding it.

Sharon (04:45):

Yeah. Don’t just tell ’em and leave them but help them grow.

Nicole (04:47):

Yes.

Sharon (04:47):

Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. (Nicole: Rooted) Yeah. We also learned that we don’t get to know when Jesus comes to finish up his work and bring this age to an end. Although we do know he’ll be there with us till the end of it. Whenever it is.

Nicole (04:57):

That’s nice.

Sharon (04:58):

And someday he’ll usher in that new heaven and the new earth and banish sin and sorrow and suffering. They didn’t know when and neither do we, although people love to guess.

Nicole (05:08):

They really do.

Sharon (05:09):

But while we’re trying to figure it out, we have a job to do, to the ends of the earth. You know, sometimes I think we think it might be easier if we could just come to know Christ and hang out about in church and learn more about him and go off to heaven, you know?

Nicole (05:24):

That might be nice.

Sharon (05:25):

That might be handy. Yeah. Yep. Yep. But that’s highly unfair to all those who are walking through life without a plan, who don’t know him. Nicole, have you ever been in a situation where nobody seemed to have a plan where it was just a little bit chaotic?

Nicole (05:41):

Well, actually like, yeah, we had attended a wedding of a friend one time many years ago and it was complete chaos.

Sharon (05:48):

Oh no.

Nicole (05:49):

After the ceremony, I think about 50 extra people showed up and there were not enough tables and they didn’t have a seating arrangement. And it was down in the basement at this tiny little church and people didn’t know what to do. We were all standing outside, standing around. There was a few tables and we were just like, okay, what’s happening? And like half the people ended up leaving and they couldn’t stay and celebrate. It was just kind of crazy, you know? (Sharon: Yeah) And I think, you know, this poor, sweet couple were probably only expecting a few people to show up so they didn’t expect an RSVP.

Sharon (06:17):

Oh, bless them.

Nicole (06:17):

But they were more loved than they thought or planned for. So it was a little crazy.

Sharon (06:21):

Okay. There was a lot of love in that chaos.

Nicole (06:23):

There was, there was. So we just kind of scooted out and like hit up a restaurant on the way home. Oh,

Sharon (06:28):

That’s probably a good idea. Probably a good idea.

Nicole (06:31):

Well, I remember a trip we took when Ray was stationed in Germany, to Italy, we just decided, we should say we’ve been to Italy. (Nicole: Oh, yeah) You know? So we went through Austria and we got to Italy. We were in the city of Verona and somehow we became part of the craziest traffic jam I have ever been in.

Nicole (06:46):

Oh no, that’s scary.

Sharon (06:48):

It was like, oh my goodness, picture a rotary with like six cars. It’s not six cars, hello, way more cars than that, with six lanes coming into like a central point (Nicole: Oh wow, yeah) but it’s not a circle. It’s like this big paved square. (Nicole: Wow) I know. And there’s no like, ‘go right and everybody wait for the next person?

Nicole (07:09):

Right.

Sharon (07:09):

So basically we were in a traffic jam with cars pointed in every direction, at least 50 of us. And no one could move.

Nicole (07:16):

Oh my word.

Sharon (07:17):

You know, it was like a big puzzle piece. And the people on the outside had to kind of move out first. And those of us trapped in the middle are like, ‘did we miss the memo somewhere’? Was there a turn that we all made wrong? Because how in the world is this chaos happening?

Nicole (07:36):

Wow. How are we stuck here?

Sharon (07:38):

It was so crazy.

Nicole (07:40):

Oh, that’s so stressful.

Sharon (07:40):

Just so awful. I know it. So to not have a plan leads to chaos.

Nicole (07:45):

It does.

Sharon (07:46):

It absolutely does. And there are so many people in this world that don’t even know that they were made on purpose. (Nicole: Oh yeah) That don’t know there is a plan. That, that have been told that, you know, you live, you die, your body gets eaten by worms.

Nicole (08:00):

Right.

Sharon (08:01):

Yay. That’s life. (Nicole: Yep) And there’s a whole lot of work and misery in the middle. (Nicole: Yeah) You know, there’s such good news in Christ. There’s such good news in Christ. And Paul had a plan. We have a plan. We’re gonna read about Paul and his plan. Then we’re gonna talk about how we can practically share our faith in busy lives because yes, it’s one thing to say, we should go tell people about Jesus.

Nicole (08:21):

Right.

Sharon (08:21):

It’s a little scary too. (Nicole: Yeah) And, and there’s ways to do it and ways not to do it, but let’s start with our wonderful Sweet Selah Moment (Nicole: Mm) listening to God’s word in Ephesians 3:-13. Would you start?

Nicole (08:36):

Sure. So verse one, “When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, for the benefit of you Gentiles.”

Sharon (08:45):

“Assuming by the way that, you know, God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.”

Nicole (08:51):

“As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.”

Sharon (08:55):

“As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ.”

Nicole (09:01):

“God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Holy Spirit, he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.”

Sharon (09:09):

“And this is God’s plan, both Gentiles and Jews who believe the news share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.”

Nicole (09:26):

“By God’s grace and mighty power I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this good news.”

Sharon (09:32):

“Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.”

Nicole (09:41):

“I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, has kept secret from the beginning.”

Sharon (09:50):

“God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety, to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

Nicole (09:59):

“This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

Sharon (10:04):

“Because of Christ and our faith in him we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” (Sharon: Man!)

Nicole (10:12):

“So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here, I am suffering for you. So you should feel honored.”

Sharon (10:19):

Oh man, I love Paul’s joy in the plan despite the suffering, he’s like, don’t lose heart cause I’m having a hard time. You should feel honored. I love suffering for you.

Nicole (10:29):

Some attitude.

Sharon (10:30):

I don’t say that very often. I love suffering for you. So Nicole, what do you notice about Paul’s response to suffering?

Nicole (10:36):

He’s got a great attitude here about suffering. I don’t often feel that way. I’m glad to suffer for you. (Sharon: Yeah) And I love how he said he’s been given the privilege to do this job and I just think about it. Like he was out persecuting people before, they were probably a little frightened of him. Maybe not the Gentiles. Cause he was going after Jews wasn’t he?

Sharon (10:55):

Right. He was going after Jewish converts at that point.

Nicole (10:58):

So now for him to be going out there again to tell the Gentiles about it, it’s just amazing.

Sharon (11:02):

It’s amazing.

Nicole (11:03):

God’s transformation in him, but

Sharon (11:05):

I love how he’s like ‘and I’m the least likely’.

Nicole (11:07):

Yeah. And he’s so aware of it. So it’s super cool.

Sharon (11:09):

Right, and he is. Beautiful. I also love the plan itself that God, from the beginning of time wanted all people to have the riches found in Christ Jesus, not just the Jewish nation, who were his special people leading the way before Jesus came. (Nicole: Hmm) You know, I think my favorite verse is verse eight “Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” I love how Paul’s humility shines through. He calls himself the least deserving because he went after all those Christians. And I mean, he was killing them. He was dragging them from their homes. It was not a pretty picture (Nicole: No) he was really vicious. But he never seems to lose that sense of awe that God forgave him and then went on to use him mightily. It’s kind of a spiritual rags to riches story, right?

Nicole (11:57):

It is. That’s really neat.

Sharon (11:58):

I was the worst person on the planet and now God, God put me in charge of telling the world about him. (Nicole: Yeah) I mean, really? That is pretty stunning. Isn’t it?

Nicole (12:07):

That’s a huge turnaround.

Sharon (12:08):

Yeah. Paul was God’s enemy. God didn’t just save him and make him part of the family. God gave him a monumental task to do. And Paul’s just still shaking his head over it, like really? What?

Nicole (12:19):

That’s so cool.

Sharon (12:20):

And that humility enabled his heart to stay soft toward the Lord so that he followed God’s instructions and leaned on God and not himself. The second thing I love is that what he’s telling us about is the endless treasures available to us in Christ. (Nicole: Yeah) You know how in Narnia, in the last battle they enter this little shed, shack-y thing?

Nicole (12:41):

Yes.

Sharon (12:42):

And then all of a sudden it expands into heaven. Mm. And then they keep going further up, further in, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It, it never ends. It just keeps endlessly expanding.

Nicole (12:55):

That’s so cool.

Sharon (12:56):

It is the best ever. And it makes sense that a creative God would do something like that for us, there are endless treasures. (Nicole: Oh yeah) It’s not like we’re gonna be there going, wow, I’ve sat on a cloud and played this harp. (Nicole: Right) Forever. There’s going to be endless stuff (Nicole: That’s wild) because we have a creative, God (Nicole: Yeah) who’s gone to prepare a place for us. We’re not going to be bored. I love that. I don’t like boredom.

Nicole (13:21):

Yeah. Well there’s so many things on earth that could keep us entertained for quite a while. And earth is broken, you know, the world’s broken because of sin. So imagine that unhindered by sin. (Sharon: Yeah) It’s gonna be pretty great.

Sharon (13:30):

And endless.

Nicole (13:31):

And endless.

Sharon (13:31):

Pretty cool.

Nicole (13:32):

Oh, I love it.

Sharon (13:33):

Okay. How about you? What’s your verse?

Nicole (13:35):

I like that one. But I just, I don’t know. It was so cool that he’s so excited about, he kept talking about that mysterious plan. You can just see his excitement. Like he said it a couple times and then like in verse nine, ‘I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the creator of all things has kept secret from the beginning’. So I love that he acknowledges God as the creator of all things and how the secret has been kind of like brewing (Sharon: Percolating) from the beginning, now he’s like, it’s here! Here’s the secret!

Sharon (14:00):

It’s here! I get to tell you. Yeah.

Nicole (14:04):

It’s so good.

Sharon (14:04):

Yeah. And he really was the missionary to the Gentiles. (Nicole: Yeah) From the beginning. So it’s like, wow, what an assignment.

Nicole (14:10):

Oh yeah. And this is so important for us as Gentiles, as non-Jewish people.

Sharon (14:14):

Yeah, we ought be really grateful he said, yes.

Nicole (14:17):

This is really amazing. I just love his enthusiasm.

Sharon (14:20):

Right, yeah. Yeah. Cause when you think of Jesus’ commission, first Jerusalem and they were in Jerusalem. Then Samaria, they did, they went out to Samaria. (Nicole: Yeah) And Judea to the uttermost parts of the earth. Bam. So Paul’s doing the uttermost.

Nicole (14:33):

So don’t forget like these three places and then there’s everywhere.

Sharon (14:36):

Right. Right. So he’s got this huge mission, but we’ve still got it. (Nicole: Yeah) Cause there’s still a lot of people that haven’t heard of Christ. Yep. Okay. So we all have this commission, but we’re not all wired like Paul.

Nicole (14:48):

No.

Sharon (14:48):

Right. I mean, Paul had no wife that we’re aware of. At least at the time he was serving, he, some people think he was widowed. Some people think he never married. And he had the energy level of, I don’t know, ten people in one. Right. (Nicole: Yeah) And the ability to get stoned and beaten up a lot and (Nicole: Keep going) keep going.

Nicole (15:07):

That would discourage me.

Sharon (15:08):

Yeah. Yeah. We’re not all wired that way, some of us are shy. Right? Some of us are overwhelmed with triplets and aging parents. Right?

Nicole (15:17):

Umm. That’s true.

Sharon (15:17):

I mean super busy lives. So let’s talk, let’s talk about the shy person first, Nicole. (Nicole: Okay) How in the world would someone who really gets tongue-tied and who, you know, blushes at the drop of a hat, how do they go about sharing the gospel? We talked about how everybody’s made on purpose. (Nicole: Yeah) They’re his poems. (Nicole: Oh yeah) God made them quiet. How do they share? What would you tell ’em?

Nicole (15:42):

Well, I think, I mean, when I was younger, I was really shy. I know, no one will believe that, but actually kind of an introvert.

Sharon (15:49):

I do, sweetie.

Nicole (15:49):

I’m not really a true extrovert, but what I’ve found through some of my shyer, quieter moments was that we’re not all called to stand and preach and give these long, you know, explanations about Christ. Our lives, if we’re faithful in following him, reading our Bibles, going to church, just living out what he’s commanded us, people are gonna notice. (Sharon: Umm hmm) And they’re gonna ask us through relationships and quieter conversations and then you can give your, the, you know, the reason for the hope within you.

Sharon (16:17):

Right.

Nicole (16:17):

And I found that true in my own life. It’s easier to have those relationships and those one-on-one conversations with people I know.

Sharon (16:23):

Yes. Yes.

Nicole (16:24):

You know, a patient at a dentist’s office when I used to assist, I would, you know, get to know them a few times and then share my faith. But it wasn’t a first time thing. You know, it never came right away.

Sharon (16:32):

It took time.

Nicole (16:33):

Yeah.

Sharon (16:33):

Exactly.

Nicole (16:34):

So I think for that shy person, don’t feel like you’re not being used if you’re not speaking to a group of, I dunno, a hundred people at a local, you know, women’s retreat.

Sharon (16:42):

Right, right. Or even speaking to the person in the dental chair the very first time.

Nicole (16:46):

Right.

Sharon (16:47):

God softens hearts.

Nicole (16:48):

Absolutely.

Sharon (16:49):

And sometimes we have to wait until that heart is softened before they’re even gonna hear.

Nicole (16:54):

Yeah, for God to do his work.

Sharon (16:55):

Right. Exactly.

Nicole (16:56):

If they have like a crown or something and they’ll come back for three visits, you’ve got some time.

Sharon (16:59):

Exactly. And we can trust God with that.

Nicole (17:02):

Yes, absolutely.

Sharon (17:03):

I can remember a woman that I knew in MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers) a long time ago, she was not a believer. (Nicole: Yeah) And I shared a ton with her about God, because I was one of those people, right? But nothing moved her at all. She had a set idea in her mind that Christians were contented cows, chewing on their cud, basically.

Nicole (17:22):

Oh, wow.

Sharon (17:23):

Isn’t that interesting? She’d been taught it in college. And that basically, basically that we had no sense of adventure and we just wanted a safe way to live. And if we believed we’d get heaven, that felt safe.

Nicole (17:33):

Hmm. Interesting.

Sharon (17:34):

Yeah. So that’s how she believed. So one time casually, I was saying to her how frustrated I was that God was making me, maybe apologize or do something I didn’t wanna do. Um, because I didn’t wanna do it. Right? (Nicole: Yeah) And I wasn’t even trying to convert her at the moment, although I did my best to convert her and it didn’t do any good. So anyways, just casual conversation. Like a week later she’s taking a shower. (Nicole: Yeah) And God reminds her in the shower that I said that and how that doesn’t sound like religion always makes you warm and fuzzy, like a contended cow, chewing a cud. Sharon was downright uncomfortable about her God.

Nicole (18:14):

Wow.

Sharon (18:14):

And then she started to think, okay, so maybe I’m wrong about Christianity. Maybe there is a God who sometimes makes you uncomfortable.

Nicole (18:22):

Right.

Sharon (18:23):

And then she accepted Christ.

Nicole (18:24):

Oh my word, I love that.

Sharon (18:26):

Isn’t that the most stunning story, but it all came about not by my purposeful witnessing, but by my lifestyle. Yeah.

Nicole (18:34):

Just talking about God as you would for anything.

Sharon (18:36):

Exactly. So don’t let Satan, the accuser, say, ‘Oh, you didn’t share the four steps’.

Nicole (18:43):

Right. You didn’t walk him through the Romans road. Is it highlighted in your Bible?

Sharon (18:49):

Yeah. Exactly. Sometimes, especially for a shy person. (Nicole: Yeah) God will use you.

Nicole (18:56):

Oh he does. He brings about these situations where you are going to feel him leading you.

Sharon (19:00):

Right. Right.

Nicole (19:01):

And it’s not gonna be like everyone else.

Sharon (19:03):

No. Well, how about we go back to another situation. Maybe somebody that is chatty by nature, but they have triplets. I really made it hard. I figured twins wasn’t enough. They’ve got triplets.

Nicole (19:13):

My goodness.

Sharon (19:13):

How about, what’s the worst age? One and a half. They’re a little too young to discipline, but they get into every stinking thing. Although also the first months of life would be really awful too with triplets. You’d be feeding them all the time. Anyways, and you’ve got aging parents that need your help.

Nicole (19:29):

How is there time?

Sharon (19:31):

Yes. How in the world do you even think about witnessing?

Nicole (19:36):

This poor person with all these people?

Sharon (19:37):

I know, I’m feeling really sorry for her.

Nicole (19:39):

Oh yeah. It’s so easy to, first of all, it’s easy to let the things of life totally crush us and weigh us down. But it’s also easy to let that guilt take over. And there’s sometimes where we are not go to be affecting 20 people a day with God’s love.

Sharon (19:56):

Amen.

Nicole (19:56):

And it’s okay to have these seasons where we are unable to physically leave the house to witness to others. But God gave us those three triplets and those aging parents to witness to. (Sharon: Yes) And even if they, I mean, they, the triplets don’t know Jesus yet. And maybe your parents don’t, but by serving and loving them, you’re showing Jesus, you’re being his hands and feet in that quieter, unglamorous, exhausting time.

Sharon (20:20):

Right.

Nicole (20:20):

And you know that first hand with your own sweet Dad Gamble?

Sharon (20:23):

Yes.

Nicole (20:24):

You showed him love through serving and he accepted Jesus right before he died. So we see that play out, you know, but it shouldn’t keep, you know, there’s many little things. We, if we still want more, I found that when I, with my little ones in that season of endless nursing at midnight, you know, my phone and social media, you could post something cute on, you could post something nice on Facebook.

Sharon (20:44):

Something to encourage.

Nicole (20:45):

Yeah. Yeah.

Sharon (20:46):

Yeah.

Nicole (20:46):

And there’s there’s groups out there too. Oh, you had mentioned, and you reminded me about that group, the Midnight Moms. It’s a Christian group, but they’ll pray for each other. And pray for…

Sharon (20:54):

I love that.

Nicole (20:55):

Isn’t that beautiful.

Sharon (20:55):

In the middle of the night when they’re blurry-eyed.

Nicole (20:58):

Right! (Sharon: Yes) And I would use, for me personally, I would, if I woke up in the middle of the night, I would say, ‘hey, I’m nursing this kid for the next nine months, gimme your prayer requests’. And at 2:00 AM, I’ll pray for you when I’m up. And I used it as a time to pray. Cause I could do nothing else.

Sharon (21:10):

That’s a great idea while you’re nursing and what a peaceful thing for a baby to have the mother yielded to God while she’s nursing.

Nicole (21:19):

Oh, that’s a nice idea.

Sharon (21:20):

Isn’t it?

Nicole (21:20):

Instead of grumbling when you’re awake again.

Sharon (21:21):

Instead of going like, would you hurry up? I wanna go back to bed. (Nicole: Yes) Oh, I love it. I think that’s absolutely beautiful. So we can get involved with false guilt sometimes. (Nicole: Oh yeah) If we’re, if we’re willing, you know, God will give us the chances.

Nicole (21:36):

Yes he does.

Sharon (21:37):

He really will. As we go?

Nicole (21:40):

Yeah. He will, exactly.

Sharon (21:40):

Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, let’s get down to you and me cuz we don’t have triplets.

Nicole (21:43):

No, we don’t thank goodness.

Sharon (21:44):

And neither of us are incredibly shy at the moment anyways. So how do you share? But you’re still busy. I mean, how many dogs do you have in your house right now?

Nicole (21:52):

I currently have five.

Sharon (21:54):

Yeah. I thought so. How many children?

Nicole (21:55):

Four.

Sharon (21:56):

Yeah. Okay. So you are busy nonetheless. So how do you go about, in your busy life, sharing the gospel?

Nicole (22:04):

Yeah. It kind of goes back to that daily living and through my kids too. I find that like whatever I’m doing with them, just using those opportunities as they come. (Sharon: Yeah) I don’t sit down and say, okay, I’m going to do this to witness today when I go here, I’m just living life with my children. But God keep me open to who I can minister to. (Sharon: Yes) Sitting at the basketball game, the person next to me, should I talk to them? Do they look discouraged? Or when we have play dates with, they go to public school. So if we have play dates with other families who don’t know, Jesus, just be ready to, you know? They ask me what I do for work. And I say, oh, I do podcasts for Sweet Selah Ministries. That obviously leads into …

Sharon (22:38):

Oh, Sweet Selah! It’s kind of handy isn’t it?

Nicole (22:41):

It is. It’s a great gateway to talk about Jesus. Or, let’s do something on Sunday. Oh we go to church Sunday, do you want me to bring your daughter too? So I find that when I don’t try so hard (Sharon: Yeah) but I’m open, God, show me as I go through life with these kids and puppies.

Sharon (22:55):

As you go, it’s as-you-go witnessing.

Nicole (22:58):

Yeah.

Sharon (22:58):

And it’s, I think it’s a legitimate, absolutely legitimate way to do it. I really do. Yeah. I think Vacation Bible School is another great (Nicole: Oh yeah) method, that our church does that is wonderful as well.

Nicole (23:10):

They do a great job with that. And I love that one of, I think, it was sweet. Donna Perkins did this great little mom’s devotional during VBS one year. Cause we’ll drop off our kids and we don’t have enough time to go too far. So what do we do? It’s like, oh, okay. We’ll just, and she had a little space where us moms come sit and talk very informally. And she’d answer questions she read the Bible.

Sharon (23:29):

And talk to the moms, yes. That’s great.

Nicole (23:31):

They weren’t Christians. I just thought that was such a beautiful way to witness.

Sharon (23:34):

I love that. That’s beautiful.

Nicole (23:35):

Any way we can.

Sharon (23:37):

Any way we can. That’s right. We don’t necessarily have to, you know, walk to Turkey.

Nicole (23:42):

Right.

Sharon (23:45):

You know, I’ve worked in Christian ministry for a long time. And so quite a while ago I realized that almost all my friends were Christians, almost every activity I engaged in was Christian. And it kinda shook me a bit. I’m like, uh, so how am I witnessing to people? So I did make some changes, to try to do a better job. So first I set aside Tuesday and I always pray for two or three people who don’t know the Lord in my circle, relatives, neighbors, um, the postman, whoever God puts on my mind. (Nicole: Righ) You know? And it actually makes me more aware of those people. (Nicole: Yeah) People I bump into every day so that I keep them in my heart and I’m just more ready if I ever get asked.

Nicole (24:20):

Yeah, I like that.

Sharon (24:21):

And I also teach a course called Christianity Explained every few years. And that came out of the feeling of, I just, I’m not, with my personality, which is a teaching/talking personality. (Nicole: Yeah) What can I do? And it’s a six week course. And it’s, it’s just what it sounds like you explain Christianity.

Nicole (24:39):

That’s great.

Sharon (24:39):

You don’t push it. (Nicole: Yeah) You explain it. But as you explain it, you also explain how you can become a Christian.

Nicole (24:44):

Right.

Sharon (24:44):

And Nicole, almost every time I’ve taught it, people have accepted Christ.

Nicole (24:47):

Wow.

Sharon (24:48):

Because they’re in the Word, they’re in an environment where there’s no question off limits. No one’s making them say anything. (Nicole: Right) But they’re learning what it really is.

Nicole (24:57):

That’s great, I like that course.

Sharon (24:58):

I love Christianity Explained. I really do. And the other thing that’s been fun for me now that I’m old Is to discovering how long term relationships can evolve to people finding Christ like 20 years after I’ve met them. (Nicole: Oh wow) Where you’re like, so over thinking, you’re gonna convert them.

Nicole (25:15):

Right.

Sharon (25:16):

But you just faithfully stayed married and loved Jesus. And that, just the long term doing of it. It can really bear fruit eventually. It’s kind of nice.

Nicole (25:28):

That’s so encouraging.

Sharon (25:29):

So, yeah. Yeah. I love it. So, well, how do you help your children share their faith in respectful, but good ways.

Nicole (25:35):

Yeah. So on the way to school every day, either if it’s Josh or me, we always pray with the kiddos. Cause again, they go to a public school. So it’s a little bit, um, it can be tricky at times and we always ask God to give them courage, to be able to share God’s love to their teachers and their classmates. And so we’re not always telling them to, you know, go with a certain message to preach, but just to be kind, you know, sit with the kid who is lonely.

Sharon (25:57):

Yes, yes.

Nicole (25:57):

There was a kid that was kind of being a little rough with Charlotte. And I said, you know, he probably needs a friend. Don’t let him hurt you. And you know?

Sharon (26:04):

Right. Yes, boundaries, but.

Nicole (26:05):

Maybe be nice to him and say, you forgive him. And, he actually ended up coming around. It was very sweet.

Sharon (26:10):

Aww!

Nicole (26:11):

But just showing them and asking them to be a blessing to their teachers.

Sharon (26:11):

Be nice.

Nicole (26:11):

But they’re kids, they’re gonna be rough and rowdy some days and not listen. But as much as they can, be a blessing so the teacher’s like, oh, you know, you listened and you say yes, yes, whenever…

Sharon (26:22):

Yes. Yeah.

Nicole (26:23):

It’s just those little things again in their life that show. (Sharon: Yes) And be ready to talk about God, if someone asks them.

Sharon (26:29):

If someone asks them again, that’s kinda the key and that’s a verse I love. That verse has really kind of molded how I do this thing. (Nicole: Yeah) It’s 1 Peter 3:15. It says this, “But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.” (Nicole: Ooh) There’s so much in that verse.

Nicole (26:55):

There’s a lot. Yeah.

Sharon (26:56):

First of all we have to start by setting apart Christ as Lord.

Nicole (27:00):

Yes.

Sharon (27:00):

If he is not Lord of our lives, if we are not walking with him, abiding with him, doing that Selah time in the morning of meeting with him, we’re not going to be in the right place to answer questions.

Nicole (27:13):

That’s a great point. Yeah.

Sharon (27:14):

Right? We’re not, we talked last week about all the issues.

Nicole (27:17):

Yes.

Sharon (27:18):

If we’re all about the issue, that’s, you know, stuck under our craw and somebody is open to hearing about Christ, I’m more likely to go to the issue.

Nicole (27:27):

That’s true.

Sharon (27:27):

Cause that’s in my brains at the moment. Right. But if I start my day setting apart Christ as Lord, revering him, putting him mentally in the place he belongs always , as Lord and King and me under him. Giving my day to him to do with it, what he wants. (Nicole: Right) Then that start has me in a position if he should choose to show me a softened heart.

Nicole (27:53):

Right. Because then we’re listening to his leading and not like, well, I have to witness to four people today saying this.

Sharon (27:58):

Right. Right. There are very few people that are called to do that. Some are, and I respect them. They’re like the prophets, slightly unpopular, but awesome.

Nicole (28:07):

That’s a tough job, I’ll tell ya.

Sharon (28:08):

It’s a tough job. But I admire people that have been told that by the Lord. But most of us, it’s an “as you go”, it’s a 1 Peter 3:15. I really believe it is. And for that, be prepared to give an answer to those that ask for the reason for the hope you have. Well, that means they have to see the hope.

Nicole (28:25):

Right.

Sharon (28:25):

So if we’re living hopeful lives and ask, and when they ask we need to be prepared. And the way to be prepared is not necessarily to have those four steps, although that’s handy, (Nicole: Right) it’s more to be prepared by being a surrendered vessel. And that only comes from walking with God.

Nicole (28:44):

Yep.

Sharon (28:44):

So the best thing we can do is surrender our hearts to God every day, fresh again, and say, if there’s someone you want me to speak to today, I will mess it up unless you help me.

Nicole (28:58):

It’s a guarantee unless you show up.

Sharon (29:00):

So please help me to see the opportunities to respond appropriately, open and shut my mouth. You know, that kind of prayer?

Nicole (29:08):

I pray that one a lot.

Sharon (29:08):

Oh my goodness. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Cause sometimes you don’t wanna say too much. (Nicole: Right) Right, which can be a little bit? And then always, this last part, do this with gentleness and respect.

Nicole (29:20):

Yes.

Sharon (29:20):

There’s no call to be harsh. (Nicole: No) These are people that don’t know Jesus.

Nicole (29:24):

Right. They don’t have that.

Sharon (29:25):

They have that chaos. They’re in the Verona traffic jam. (Nicole: Right) They don’t have a place at the wedding table. Right? (Nicole: Right) They’re lost. They need gentleness and respect for their own histories, where they’ve come from, the hurts that have damaged them along the way. I mean, we have to see them not as sort of a convert to put on our little convert necklace. Look, I have seventeen. You know?

Nicole (29:52):

Exactly.

Sharon (29:52):

We have to see them as real people with real needs and innate poems that God made.

Nicole (30:00):

Oh yeah.

Sharon (30:00):

They’re still poems. They don’t know they are yet.

Nicole (30:03):

They’re missing the Spirit in themselves, in their poems.

Sharon (30:05):

Right. Exactly. So that gentleness and respect has to be there too. This is like, I’m gonna pray this verse to close us up because I need to shut up. So, let me pray it for us all as we witness. Father, would you help us to set apart you as Lord in our hearts day by day by day, to always be prepared, to give the answer for the reason, for the hope we have. Give us gentleness, give us respect for whoever we’re talking to. Oh, Lord, help us to make the main thing the main thing, sharing who you are in a lost world, telling them there is a plan. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Nicole (30:48):

Well, listeners, I hope this challenges you in a good way to pray for those who don’t know the Lord and always be prepared to respond when asked about the great good news we have in Christ and those endless treasures for those who believe. We’d love to hear from you, how do you share your faith in these hard days? Write us and let’s chat. You can find us @SweetSelah.org/podcast and leave a comment at any time. We’d love it if you would leave a review as well on your favorite podcast app, this helps more people find us. And donations are always appreciated as well at SweetSelah.org/donations. Have a great week in Jesus and see you back next week for Episode 71, My Heart, His Home.

Speaker 1 (31:30):

We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. The Sweet Selah Moments Podcast is a cooperative production of Word, Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be found at SweetSelah.org. Thank you for joining us.

 

You can download and view the transcript here.

Leave A Comment

*