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We can’t help it

In times of crisis, promises delivered are keenly felt.

When status quo is threatened and normalcy changes, some people thrive and others just want to feel comfortable and secure.

A life in Christ doesn’t rest in familiarity, comfort or security the world offers. A restless faith that longs for heaven roots itself in Christ’s promises and embraces every storm in life. God’s track record keeps a seasoned faith on the right narrow road – even a worldwide pandemic. A crisis need not be avoided at all costs or endured but embraced.

In times of crisis, God does his best work.

Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who was crucified, died, and was buried, miraculously rose again. His disciples — ordinary, uneducated men — proclaimed this news and the religious leaders could not take this anymore. Their status quo was being threatened.

Peter in a crisis

Peter and John were arrested by the Sanhedrin and placed in prison. Placed in front of the religious authorities, they were asked to explain themselves. (Acts 4)

If there ever was a time to trust God’s promises it was now.

And God delivered.

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!”

Acts 4:8

The Spirit filled Peter with the courage and the ability to witness to the power and name of Christ.

He trusted Christ’s promise (Luke 12:11-12) that he would be given the words to say whenever placed before rulers and authorities.

Peter was an eyewitness. He saw and heard the Messiah.

  • The Lord told them what was going to happen when he arrived in Jerusalem.
  • He told them what was going to happen three days after his death.
  • He told them what was going to happen to equip them to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8).

Proclaiming what they knew and believed was a Spirit-filled response from a life changed by Christ.

“For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:20

Receiving a new nature in Christ, the disciples could not help but speak, but it was completely unnatural. It took something outside of themselves.

It took a miracle.

The same Holy Spirit that enables all believers throughout the generations is the same Holy Spirit that is living and active today.

The Spirit miraculously equips souls set apart by faith to profess his name to the world.

We believe therefore we speak. (2 Cor. 4:13)

Its doubtful that we will be arrested like Peter and John and placed before rulers and authorities. But it can be just as intimidating when placed in front of a small group of friends or co-workers to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ. It’s easy to be mute when God provides opportunities to profess our faith to neighbors or family members.

“Silence when we ought to speak amounts to denial.” 

Acts: The Peoples Bible by Richard D. Balge, Northwest Publishing House, 1988, p. 53.

If faithful believers who have placed their trust in God’s promises keep quiet rather than proclaim the gospel are they denying what God had equipped them to do?

Is staying silent a sin?

Perhaps faithful believers have had a tendency to sweep silence under the rug along with a few other sins. Not participating in verbal evangelism can be shrugged off by saying, “Oh well. Proclaiming the gospel is just not me.” What may keep us from personal evangelism is choosing to carry the guilt of remaining silent when we know better.

We tend to ignore the small still voice within us that persistently reminds us of what God’s Word teaches. Pastors faithfully preach and teach the need to proclaim the gospel. Personal devotions implore believers not to remain silent.   

Are we like the Saducces whenever we hear messages that we don’t like or may disrupt our status quo?

Do we unintentionally bury or imprison the call of the great commission with the hope it will go away?

Proclaiming the gospel in a COVID-19 world

I’m following the news and it seems that the voice of racial inequality has gained an audience. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have allowed people to call a time-out and listen. The public has seen the videos of a few misguided and emboldened cops who have taken justice in their own hands.

The protesters could not keep quiet when they vividly saw and heard injustice.

Societal change accelerates through adversity. A crisis can do that.

Peter and John’s world had turned upside down.

It wasn’t because they watched their rabbi, the promised Messiah, be crucified and buried.

It wasn’t because he was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven.

It’s because Jesus delivered on his promise.

God’s presence, the power of the Holy Spirit, radically enabled them to speak. They couldn’t help it. Remaining silent was no longer an option.

In times of crisis, believers gain an audience to hear a message of true hope and peace that is found only in Christ.

The Holy Spirit has equipped us to convey this message to the world. It’s not that believers must proclaim to gain salvation, but simply can’t help it.

We can go to the Lord in prayer;

When life appear chaotic and when our emotions swirl with doubt and fear – when our sense of security is threatened, our souls can rest in you. In life’s storms, unsure foundations reveal cracks and some crumble. It is during storms, when peace is threatened, true peace can be revealed through your Word. Embolden those who rest in you to fearlessly give reasons for the hope we have in Christ. With a broken and contrite heart, we confess those times when we have remained silent. Renewed in the knowledge that our sins are fully forgiven, we put forth a willing spirit that grasps your promises and acts upon your will. With a grateful heart bursting with joy, equip our hearts and lips so that we can’t help but profess your name to the world. Thank you for the privilege of being your messengers. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Personal evangelism training in a COVID-19 world.

People are searching for hope, security, and peace. Opportunities are abounding for people to hear the Good News. Change is accelerating which is going to cause congregations to adapt in their outreach strategies. Personal evangelism is rising in its importance to spread the Word.

With those changes in mind, Praise and Proclaim is adapting its outreach initiatives to help our members engage, invite, and proclaim the gospel.

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