Initial Words

“What’s that symbol tattooed on your back?” I asked the girl I worked with.  I knew, I thought, what it was, but had not seen one that elaborate.  “It’s a pentagram,” she replied.  “I’m a Pagan.”  “Oh, well I don’t judge,” were my initial words.  She said, “I know.”  I wasn’t exactly sure why she said that, but she did.

Because of my cautious and prayerfully planned out approach to the inquisition, I found out later it’s what I “didn’t say” that allowed for an ongoing conversation concerning her beliefs and spiritual practices vs. my own to take place.

Now, you may find it odd knowing a Christian is even talking to a Pagan, but I ask you, “Why?”  Jesus was misunderstood for talking to tax collectors, or prostitutes, and he about gave the so called “religious leaders” of his day, a heart attack if he dined with them.

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and misfits?”

Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Mat. 9:10-13 (MSG)

Why venture outside of your comfort zone, and talk with those who choose to live a different lifestyle than you?

Because they need to know, see, and hear the love of Jesus as much as anyone else, perhaps more!

They need to feel what is authentic and that might help them reject, cast off, Satan’s cheap substitutes or imitations of what is real.

So what was it that I “didn’t” say to the self-proclaimed Pagan?  After hearing what she was, I didn’t say, “Oh, I’ll be praying for you.”  She explained hearing those words infuriates her, and she refuses to listen to anything else a person who says that has to say.  She said it immediately makes her feel as if her choice is wrong.

Say a prayer before engaging one that you know is living a life less than what God intended.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your tongue, as you dare, or take a risk to speak words of life to them.  Your initial words may be the only ones they hear, but hopefully they’ll stick around to hear more, and perhaps even dine with you.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jesus on Facebook

Charlie 333I read something this past week, and well, it bothered me.

It is becoming increasingly clear that one is being forced to stand up for the One they believe in, or for what they believe in.  Moral issues are being thrown in our faces.  There is open talk about what some call right, and what others call wrong.  Used to, you could stay quiet and say, “What they do behind closed doors is their business.”  Today, the doors are being ripped off their hinges and the whole world can now see what individuals believe.

What bothered me was some people’s response to this “In your face” attitude, and so I pondered, what would Jesus’ response to this be?  You don’t have to look very long in the word of God to find the answer:

Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”  Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Mat. 9:10-13 (MSG)

The truth is; God gives man freewill, so who are we not to?  Are we greater than God?  If you see something on TV or on Facebook, you don’t agree with or like, and can’t find something “graceful” to say then just scroll on.  I do that whenever I see post about dogs and cats.  “Change the channel” if you will.

Is Jesus on Facebook?  No, but we who claim to be His followers are.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Drawn by Love

Jesus 1I once had a neighbor, who on the way to the hardware mega store asked, “Why are you so different?”  I had helped them with several needs after they had moved into their new home.  He asked, I told him.  The truth appealed to him and his wife, and they accepted Jesus.

Do people in your world know you believe in God?  Can they tell you have accepted Jesus Christ and you live your life for him?  Do they think you are a Jesus freak, or a normal person who happens to love God, a lot?

Jesus hung out with people, who the Pharisees judged as “sinners”.  Jesus called them people who needed his love.  This means that even though Jesus spoke about his Father in heaven, and believing in him, the people still wanted to be around him.  They were drawn to him, because he showed love.  Jesus met them where they were.  He didn’t change his actions or message when in the presence of people of the world, but turned up the love!

Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. (Joh 17:15-16 MSG)

We would be wise to follow Jesus’ example.  People will be drawn to us because of our love, and then they will be interested in hearing our message of Jesus.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved