sharing the gospel

“Asleep in the Light” sung by Marc Martel

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Marc Martel

The old Keith Green song, “Asleep in the Light” gets a new audience with this amazing video by Marc Martel.  Marc came to prominence via YouTube recently when he recorded “Somebody to Love” as an audition tape for a tour with Queen.  There have been over 5.6 million hits on that recording on YouTube!

What many may not know is how his music also has been devoted to honoring Christ.  Hope you are blessed by his amazing talent, but more so by the message of this powerful challenge from Keith Green to step out there for Christ and serve Him with our words and actions!  Here is Marc’s version…

Measuring Spiritual Growth

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When a follower of Christ decides to check his progress, what criteria must he use to do so?  For the small business or the large corporation there is an easy way to measure success by checking out the “bottom line”.   They can determine whether or not they are making progress by seeing what their labor is producing relative to their goal, profitability.  For the small child, anxious to see evidence of growth, pencil marks on a door frame serve that purpose well.

But how do we measure our progress as believers?  We have a difficult time determining what the “bottom line” is since we are dealing with intangible issues.   Hearts and lives cannot always be measured by objective standards.  Yet we cannot ignore the need to evaluate and determine whether we are indeed growing just because the task is subjective.

Since our goal as believers is to grow to maturity in Jesus Christ and to introduce others to Him, it only makes sense that we should ask ourselves some probing questions about the presence our absence of some markers that point toward spiritual maturity.  Here are eight categories we can use to assess whether we are living up to our commitment to be fully devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus.

 Satisfaction with Our Portion.  Have you learned to be content with the knowledge that the Lord Himself has promised to be your portion?  It is extremely difficult to resist the constant barrage of influences around us telling us to be more ambitious, to settle for nothing less than the best.  With our children, our homes, our jobs and in every imaginable way, we are flooded with thoughts that suggest that what we have and who we are is not enough.  When we have been given life in Jesus Christ, we can learn to be satisfied and rest in Him.

Sensitivity to Sin.  Am I more aware of aspects of my character that are unworthy of Christ now than I was before? One of the most obvious evidences that we are growing to maturity in Christ is the extent to which we are aware of the presence of sin in our lives.  The closer we get to Christ, the more His light exposes the areas darkened by sin.  Therefore, we should be recognizing more areas of our lives which need to be changed to be more like Christ and become more sensitive to our sin.

Servant’s Heart.  Do I have a heart to serve others and to love them as Christ does? Whenever we walk with Christ, a strong impression He makes upon us is the presence of a servant’s heart.  We cannot escape the fact that He came to serve and that to follow Him we must also develop the spirit and attitude of a servant.  Maturity in a believer will always be characterized by a servant’s heart.

 Scriptural Soundness.  Is what I believe based upon the teaching of the Word of God?  The marriage of belief and practice is such an alien concept in our society that an editorial in the local paper some years ago expressed dismay that evangelical Christians were dangerous because they allowed their “religious beliefs” to influence their social and political thinking.  Do we dare plead guilty?  We better!  Our beliefs must be biblically based and practically expressed.

Submissive Spirit.  Am I willing to yield what I want for the sake of others?  Until we find an attitude in our lives which willingly submits to others, we will not be able to function in the unity of the Spirit nor enjoy the bond of peace which maturity in Christ promises.

Strategy for Reaching Non-believers.  Are we concerned enough about those who do not know Christ to invest ourselves in developing a strategy to introduce them to Him?  We should always be looking for ways to share the good news of salvation in Christ with an ever-increasing circle of non-believers.  The tendency most of us have is to divest ourselves of most of our relationships with those who do not know Christ.  We need to build up more regular contact with those who need to meet Him.

Stewardship.  Am I growing in my understanding of the biblical truth that I am just a manager of the resources that God has entrusted to my care?  Am I giving faithfully to the work of the body of Christ so that I can share in the blessing of knowing the joy of obedience?  When a church is mature, its people are generous and faithful, often sacrificial, and seldom need to be reminded of their responsibility in the area of personal stewardship.

Stable Prayer Life.  Is my personal prayer life growing and the content of my conversations with the Lord giving evidence of a deeper walk with Him?  The depth and breadth of the prayer life of the body of Christ serves us well in determining something of the spiritual vitality and health of the congregation.  Prayer must be an integral part of our personal spiritual lives which adds to the richness and depth of our corporate experience of prayer.

What’s your criteria to measure your own growth?  If we want to be the kind of follower of Christ who “measures up”, who is growing to maturity, we need to ask ourselves questions like these.  By the grace of Jesus Christ, we are not what we once were, but we are not yet what we are going to be!  Through Christ, we are to continue to grow up, to mature, and then by acknowledging the truth about our progress, we can continue on in the right direction!

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ! (Ephesians 4:15)

Taking the discussion toward Christ at Christmas

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This week I found this helpful tool by a friend of mine, Donald Whitney.  Most of us want to talk about Jesus Christ during the Christmas season but are not always sure how to get things moving in that direction.  Here is a great way Don has prepared for ordinary folks like us to elevate the conversation and Jesus at the same time!

Ten Questions to Ask at a Christmas Gathering

Many of us struggle to make conversation at Christmas gatherings, whether church events, work-related parties, neighborhood drop-ins, or annual family occasions. Sometimes our difficulty lies in having to chat with people we rarely see or have never met. At other times we simply don’t know what to say to those with whom we feel little in common. Moreover, as Christians we want to take advantage of the special opportunities provided by the Christmas season to share our faith, but are often unsure how to begin.

Here’s a list of questions designed not only to kindle a conversation in almost any Christmas situation, but also to take the dialogue gradually to a deeper level.  Use them in a private conversation or as a group exercise, with believers or unbelievers, with strangers or with family.

1. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
2. What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
3. What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
4. What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
5. What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child?
6. What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?
7. What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?
8. Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?
9. Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?
10.
Why do you think Jesus came to earth?

 Of course, remember to pray before your Christmas gatherings. Ask the Lord to grant you “divine appointments,” to guide your conversations, and to open doors for the gospel. May He use you to bring glory to Christ this Christmas.

Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney.  All rights reserved. For more short, reproducible pieces like this, see http://www.BiblicalSpirituality.org