Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are you a bridge builder?

Acts 1:8 (NCV) But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world."

After Stephen’s death (Acts 7:58) the church in Jerusalem fell under great persecution. During this time persecution, Christians were scattered from their homes in Jerusalem into the unfamiliar areas of Judea and Samaria. As they stepped out of their comfort zones, they took the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. Jesus’ command to "be His witnesses in all of Judea and Samaria” was unfolding and the fulfillment of scripture was happening right before their very eyes.
The early Christians were passionate about spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to everyone even though they were experiencing great persecution. It didn't matter what being a Christ follower cost them. They didn’t run and hide when times got tough. Fueled by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit they were open to His leading and guidance. They knew they were not alone; Jesus promised and then equipped them to be His hands and feet.
As Christians in the modern world, we are still commanded by Jesus to be his witnesses. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone and we should always be ready to talk to anyone who may be seeking. God has placed several opportunities in my life to talk to others about how Jesus has changed my life. I have to be honest here, there were times I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to speak to someone or heard His voice telling me to walk up to someone and just start talking and I chickened out. Have you ever done that? I thought it was just me talking to myself – but as I began to draw closer to Christ I realized it was the Holy Spirit guiding me towards people.
I’ve always prayed for God to open doors of opportunity for me to share my faith with others. When He does this, I make myself available and let Him guide the conversation. It could be helping an older woman at the grocery store put a heavy object into her cart, or a saying “hello” to a busy mom waiting for the gas to finish pumping. I have no idea how God has chosen to use these experiences but just a simple gesture or smile and cheerful conversation can build a bridge for Jesus to walk across.
Allow me to share an example from my own life, a few years back a co-worker was going through a very difficult time. Because of the nature of our working relationship, we became friends and I had the opportunity to support and encourage her through this rather tough season of her life. Because we shared similar experiences, one day she asked me a very pointed question about how I finally turned my life around. At this moment the Holy Spirit gave me the words I needed to tell my friend about the love, hope, and healing I found in Jesus Christ. She listened to what I had to say. Because I had built a relationship with her, she trusted me to tell her the truth. She saw the way I lived my life and she had heard stories about my past. Although I didn’t pray with her that day I planted a seed. Who knows, maybe one day I will have the opportunity to pray with her to accept Christ as her Savior. That’s not up to me. For now I just continue to seek God’s face and ask Him to give me opportunities to share His good news.
So are you willing to use your life to build a bridge to Jesus? Perhaps there is someone in your life God is leading you to build a relationship with? He will direct your path. Just like my example, it was over a year before I finally told my friend how my life was forever changed by Christ. All we have to do is build the relationship to tell people about Christ, He can walk over the bridge. Ask God to give you the willingness and courage to step out and then let Him direct you from there.

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