In Between Sundays

Sharing My Faith, Part 1

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As Christians, we have surely been around the people who we want to share our faith with. It can be scary, right? We start this long list of reasons why they would never listen to us. After that list, we start to contemplate the thought of, “do I know enough about the Bible to answer their questions?” After a short adrenaline burst of almost doing it, we move on. We think it would be too awkward to bring that topic of “religion” up again. No way. Then discouragement comes. If you are a believer in Jesus, you have probably felt all of these things at some point. I am going to begin a series of blog posts about my victories and failures of sharing my faith. I will start with a total fail.

It was my freshman year of college. I was playing football and getting acclimated to the newfound freedom and life that comes with moving out of your parents’ house for the first time. This is where my faith truly deepened. With that much freedom and lack of accountability, I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to follow Jesus or not. Along with the decision to truly follow Jesus and make my faith my own came the natural progression of needing to share my faith. I was around too many people on a daily basis for me not to share my faith. If Jesus truly is everything that I say He is, and the number one thing in my life, then it should naturally come up in conversation. People talk about what they are passionate about.

I decided to simply take baby steps. I had a sticker on the outside of my computer, which said “Reject Religion, Embrace Jesus”. I thought this quote would not only be a good reminder, but if anyone was curious to ask, it would be a great conversation starter. I definitely had an answered prayer that I still haven’t forgotten to this day. I was talking with some friends in my dorm room. One guy sees my computer and asks, “What does your sticker mean? I don’t understand.” Wow, what an easy opportunity to begin to talk about Jesus. This is the perfect pitch in slow pitch softball. This is the wide open pass in the end zone and all I had to do was throw the ball in the general area. I didn’t even have to hit the wide receiver.

I totally failed. I just stared at him until another person started talking about something else and we joined in. I didn’t even say anything. I should have said something to the effect that Jesus is different because, out of all of the other religions, He is the only one that came down from the mountain to be with the people He loves. Religion and other deities would have each person climb a perilous mountain just to get to god. Jesus wants your heart, not the rules that you live by. Jesus wants glad submission because He is good, not rules that merely say, “do this and don’t do this.” I wish I would have said something like that to start off the conversation. Instead, I just stared at him.

My fear of man paralyzed me. I was far more worried about what he or the group was going to think rather than being faithful to Jesus - who was supposed to be more important to me than others’ opinions. You may be thinking to yourself that I will soon tell of redemption where I later talked with him about Jesus and he gave his life to Christ. Nope, not even close. To be honest, I don’t even remember his name! What I do remember is that I needed to know Jesus much more. My devotion needed to be richer. I also experienced the grace of God in that moment. I found myself relating to the apostle Peter. Peter also became paralyzed with the fear of man and rejected Jesus.

I learned in that moment that God is calling me to be faithful far more than He is calling me to be successful.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

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The cultural holiday of Halloween is officially upon us. What does this mean for Christians? For believers, cultural norms should be measured by God’s truth. Of course there are some gray areas. For example, the Bible says as much about Halloween as it does unicorns. So, what should we do?

Christians can react to culture in 3 ways: receive, reject, or redeem. Mark Driskoll, who lives in Arizona, has taught this and I find it to be very thought provoking and helpful! I will explain these options in regards to Halloween and you can prayerfully and carefully make your choice.

Receive: This would mean to take the holiday of Halloween as is. Is it a sin to dress up, go to parties, and pass out candy to strangers? Jesus attended plenty of parties in New Testament times, after all. In response, the religious elite complained that He was hanging out with sinners. Thankfully, He still does to this day! Jesus went to those parties and he never sinned. He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard, so you could imagine some of the things going on at those parties. The Bible also says for you to live by your conscience (Romans 2:14-15). If any of this would make you uncomfortable, you don’t have to receive every part, but maybe some parts. Instead of dressing up as a zombie, someone could dress up as a firefighter, police officer, or superhero.

Some would receive the holiday as a way is to reach people who don’t know Jesus. This is the one time of year where it is socially acceptable for your neighbor, who you presumably don’t know that well, to come up to your door and ask for candy. If this happened in July, things could get weird really fast and the cops will probably be called.

Reject: This is where a person totally rejects the holiday because of it origination. Black cats originate in Voodoo. Jack-o-lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits that may come to your home. The saying “trick or treat” originated from the idea that someone on Halloween would come to your door and say, “you will get a trick if you don’t give me a treat.” The “trick” I am speaking of is casting a demonic spirit on the person’s home to play tricks on them. The idea of zombies is literally a demonic spirit possessing a deceased person’s body to make a mockery of the resurrection. The origination, and even some of the things practiced today in association with Halloween, would lead people to reject the holiday completely. They would look to verses like Romans 13:12, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Christians who reject Halloween made a much lesser known holiday on November 1st called “All Saints Day.” Instead of dressing up as a zombie, devil, or witch, they would dress up as Jonah, Moses, Peter, etc.

Redeem: This is when a person sees the holiday and turns it into something that can be used for good. Just as God redeems us, Christians can redeem things and days as well. One example would be Christmas. We don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth. The Bible says that the shepherds were out in their fields when Jesus was born, which would be very unlikely during the winter months in Israel. December 25th actually started out as a pagan holiday called Saturnalia. Christians wanted to redeem that holiday since they were already off of work and began celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. Christmas trees and even gift giving were pagan in nature, but Christians turned the holiday around to worship and celebrate the God of the universe. A pagan holiday was redeemed into a Christian holiday celebrated by billions around the world.

Prayerfully and carefully consider these 3 choices and what the Lord would have you do this Halloween. Make a choice that doesn’t violate your conscience and show grace to those who choose differently!

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