The Big Idea: Just tell the story of Jesus and what he has done in your life.
Acts 2:6-7, 13-40
Jesus is amazing. Following him makes sense. Everything about him screams: “Son of God! Savior! Messiah!” But the disciples had a problem that we still face today. If you haven’t experienced Jesus firsthand, the people who talk about him can sound like they’re nuts! Do you sometimes feel tongue-tied when you want to share your faith? Afraid of sounding foolish or a little crazy? MIM president, Brett Clemmer, shares how you can talk about Jesus without stumbling over your words. Learn an easy method to tell people what God has done in your life and why you follow a risen Lord.
The Journey to Biblical Manhood
Challenge 12: Outreach
Session 3: We’re Not Drunk!
We’re Just Talking About Jesus!
Thank you. All right. Good morning. Well, I don’t know. All this fist bumping and chest bumping and high fiving, you guys are a little weird, really. I had to take about three swings to get a high five with one of you. We kept missing. Hey. I just want to make one more quick announcement. At the office, we are a crazy, wacko family at the Man in the Mirror office. We had our ugly sweater contest this last week and I did not win, even though my shirt lit up, my sweater lit up. But we would love to add another member to our family at the office and here’s what we need. We need one or two guys who have some time on a weekly basis that would like to come over to the office and help us with our facility needs. So there’s a little flyer on the table over there.
I don’t know if Pat mentioned this last week, but it’s a volunteer part-time facilities maintenance maestro, the maintenance maestro, we’ll call it. If you would like to come and be a part of our family over at the office, we’d love to have you. Most of you, or many of you know who Jim Siebert was. Jim Siebert was our maintenance and sort of grandpa around the office for years and years. And we lost him a couple years back and it just hasn’t been the same since. So we just need someone that can hang pictures for us when we need it, or fix minor things that happen inside and outside the office. So if you’re interested in that, would you please grab one of these flyers. You can come talk to me or you can give us a call at the office, and we would love to add you to our family at the office.
Hey. Everybody has one of these hand outs. Right? I just want to make sure you got one of these hand outs, and then you need to have one of these faith in life objectives cards. Grab those and we’re going to get going here this morning. Before we do that, let’s give a shout out to the Friday morning huddle that meets in Jacksonville, Florida. Brian Peterson leads a group of 12 guys who just want to provide a safe place for men to discover who they are in Christ and know that God has called them in advance to His kingdom with their lives. So it’s a big group of guys up in Jacksonville … A dozen guys up in Jacksonville that are meeting for their Friday morning huddle. Let’s give these guys a big round of applause and welcome them to Man in the Mirror Bible study.
All right. Hooray for them. Hey, we’re talking about in this journey to Biblical manhood, we have reached the last session and the last challenge. This is it. This is the apex of the journey to Biblical manhood. If you have listened to every lesson, 36 lessons, you are now a Biblical man. By the end of this session, you will be a Biblical man. You don’t have to do anything. Just listen. No. You’ve got to do the stuff too.
So we’ve been on this journey. We’ve gone through 12 different topics like manhood and the gospel and relationships and fathering and money and suffering. We’ve been through leadership, and we’re in the 12th challenge, the challenge on outreach. What we’re really going to talk about today is how to share your faith, how to tell somebody about Jesus. We have these faith in life objectives, so if you grab your faith in life objectives card, this sort of is the objectives for this leg of our journey. We’re called to reach the loss with the hope of Christ, so at the end of this leg of the journey, I’ll understand how to share the gospel and how my testimony makes an impact. I’ll desire to reach others with the good news of Jesus and I’ll look for opportunities to share my faith and step out in obedience.
We’re going to talk about, “We’re not drunk. We’re just talking about Jesus.” We’re not drunk. We’re just talking about Jesus. Some of you already know what the context of that statement might be. It’s Peter talking in the second chapter of Acts at Pentecost to a crowd who’s accusing the disciples of being drunk. And said, “We’re not drunk. We’re just talking about Jesus.” So we’re going to talk about: What did he say? What did Peter say? And then what holds us back? And finally, what do you say? And so by the end of today, I’m hoping that for those of you who have a relationship with Christ, you will have at least a pretty solid idea of how to tell somebody else about that relationship with Christ.
How many of you have tried to share your faith and have had a negative experience? Anybody have negative experience? How many of you have tried to share your faith and have a positive experience? I’m going to tell you about one of my experiences and then I’m going to actually give you some time at the tables to talk about either your positive, or your negative experiences, or maybe a little bit of both.
Here’s my, I don’t know if favorite’s the right word, but a story from when I was younger. I was in high school and I was involved in something called Youth Evangelism Explosion. How many of you have heard of Evangelism Explosion? It’s a great program that teaches you a very simple model, a simple method of sharing your faith. And so we did the Youth Evangelism Explosion, so when kids would come and visit the youth group, we would get their information. Then we had a group of student leaders. We were in a big church outside of Boston. We had a group of student leaders and we were trained in how to share our faith and we went out in teams. So you’d have the older students would lead the team, and then you’d have a couple of younger students that were there.
At the beginning of the course, you would listen to somebody share their faith. And then in the middle of the course, the new people would start sharing parts of it, parts of the presentation. And then by the end, the younger people were doing the whole presentation and the older students were just there to coach and help address any questions that couldn’t be addressed by the younger kids. You know what they called this, by the way. Do you know what this is called? It’s called discipleship. That process of showing, telling somebody how to do it, showing them how to do it, and then helping them do it, that’s the process of followership. Right? That’s the process of discipleship and so we were learning at a young age as teenagers how to disciple younger students and how to be discipled as the younger students in this Evangelism Explosion.
I’m at these people’s house with a couple of my friends. One of my best friends in high school was this woman named Maria. Maria and I were buds. We were in all of our classes together, a lot of our classes together in high school. And we were just best friends. And so she was on the team with me and a couple of other students were on the team with me. And so we’re sitting in this young teenage girl’s living room, and there’s four of us students and this young woman. I know her parents are listening in the kitchen. What are these crazy Christian kids saying to my child? And so we go through the presentation, and so you get to a point in the presentation where you’ve shared your testimony. You’ve shared an outline of the gospel. And you’re asking the person, “Would you like to make a decision to follow Christ? Based on what I’ve said, is that something you would like to turn your life towards following Christ?”
And so she said, “Yeah. I really would.” I’m like, “Well, that’s great. I’m going to pray a prayer and I’ll just pray it phrase by phrase and you can just repeat after me, and this would be your first step towards living a life of following Christ.” And I opened my mouth and the whole time, sitting next to me had been this black Labrador Retriever. And I had my hand on the Lab’s head, and I had just been rubbing the dog’s head. And so he was as content as could be just sitting there letting me rub his head. So I said, “So I’ll pray the prayer and you pray after me,” and I opened my mouth and the dog burped. Now the dog was about this far away from my mouth. So who do you think everybody in the room thought burped? Right?
So I go, “Please pray after me. Ahhh.” And I look at the dog because I know the dog burped. And I look at the dog and I’m like, “Oh, that’s funny.” I pet the puppy on the head and everybody in the room laughs. And then the doorbell rings, and so the mom goes to the door. And I hear her say, “Oh, no. She has people over right now. She can’t come to the door,” and the people at the door are persistent. And for some reason, the mom’s like, “No. You can’t. She has people over right now. Why don’t you call later?” And so she kind of shooed them away. And so that distracted us, and then we got back to it, and then a book fell off a table. You realize you’re kind of in spiritual warfare at this point. The dog burping, or a friend coming by, or a book falling is one thing, but all three of them happening is a little weird.
We ended up, the girl persisted, “No. I really want to start my life following Christ,” and so we got through it. So we get out to the car and we always get in the car and we do a little debrief. And so we get in the car and the doors close and everybody bursts out laughing, but me. And I’m like, “What are you guys laughing at?” And they’re like, “I cannot believe you burped at the beginning of that prayer.” I said, “That wasn’t me. That was the dog.” And they’re like, “No, it wasn’t. It was you.” I’m like, “No. Seriously.” So it took me weeks to convince these people that it was not me that burped. It was the dog.
These things happen when you try to get out there and share your faith. Many of you have experiences like this, so if you look at your hand out, I want you to look at the first two questions. We’re going to do the first two questions at the top of the lesson instead of at the end. It says, “Have you ever tried to share your faith and totally bombed?” Share your story. What went wrong? Or number two. Have you ever shared your faith with someone who decided to accept Christ? Share the story. What went right? Let’s go ahead and we’re going to take about seven or eight minutes and we’re just go around the tables. Maybe one or two people, two or three people can share at your table either a story of a total … A dog burp story, or a story of a changed life that you got to be a part of. All right. So go ahead and let’s break to the tables just for a few minutes and then we’ll come back and we’ll continue on.
Okay. Let me ask this. Let’s pull it together. Let me ask this. How many of you shared stories at your table? This is really more a compliance issue. Anybody share stories at your table? How many of your stories were positive, like everything went great, stories? How many of your stories were like, you’re not going to believe the bomb that I just had? How many of you had bombs? Any bombs? Yeah. And look around. There were more bombs that good stories. Right?
There’s more bombs than good stories. It’s okay. All right. This is why sharing your faith is so hard, because we’re guys and one of the things that guys … One of the idols that many men have is the idol of competence. Right? We don’t want to do something that we can’t be good at. And so one of the reasons that sharing your faith is hard is because you want to be good at it. You’re not good at it. Then you have an experience where something goes wrong. You stumble over your words. You find out the … You say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Something happens, and then what that does is that just sort of inoculates you to being willing to share your faith.
There’s a couple things that we can overcome that with, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Let’s look at Acts Chapter two and we’re going to just look at a story of some guys who were sharing their faith. This was sort of a supernatural thing. The whole chapter’s great. I can’t read the whole chapter. We don’t have time. Let me just synopsize a few things and then I’m going to throw your attention to a couple versus. Jesus has died. Jesus has risen again. Jesus has gone up into Heaven. The disciples have gathered. They’re in Jerusalem. They add Matthias. They had to replace Judas, so they add Matthias. Then they’re all together in Jerusalem during the Feast of Pentecost. And the Holy Spirit comes on them. And it says, “The believers were all gathered together and the Holy Spirit comes on them and they start speaking in tongues.” They start prophesying and sharing the truth of the gospel in languages that they don’t know, but because it’s Pentecost, there’s all these people from all over … Jewish people from all over the world, all over the region, that have come to Jerusalem and they’re hearing it in their language.
Here’s an interesting thing. Chapter two, Verse five. Now they were dwelling in Jerusalem, Jews. Dwelling just means staying there for the feast. Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under Heaven. Why is that important? We’re going to see why in a second, but I want you to remember that these were devout Jewish men who were hearing this. There’s all this hubbub. The people gather. Verse six. At this sound, the multitude came together. They were bewildered. Each was hearing them speak in his own language and they were amazed and astonished saying, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?”
We just go, “Aren’t they just Galileans?” And we’re thinking that’s a region. No. This would be like going into New York City and doing this, and them going, “Aren’t all these people speaking like hicks from back woods Mississippi?” This is the Jewish metropolis, the urban elite here. They’re basically putting the disciples down and they’re using their ethnic and their regional dialect against them, so they’re disparaging the disciples because they come from a part of Israel that’s not really highly respected. So it’s not just a region. It’s actually sort of putting them down. And so Verse 12. All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They’re filled with new wine,” so they’re drunk.
That’s what they’re saying. These guys are drunk. Now think about this for a second. How crazy is this that you would be sitting there. You would be listening to a group of people who don’t speak your language sharing their faith. Speaking to you in a language that they’ve never spoken to you. And they’re doing it clearly. And your buddy over here that’s from Persia is hearing it in his language and your buddy that’s from Egypt is hearing it in his language. And your buddy over here from Syria is hearing it in his language. And you would go, “Oh, they must be drunk.” This is what opposition looks like. Honestly, it’s mindless opposition.
How could you possibly think they’re drunk? They’re so drunk that they instantly learned a new language. People will do anything to reject the gospel. They will make stuff up to reject the gospel. It’s just the way it is, so don’t be surprised. Don’t be surprised. And so Peter, standing with the 11, lifted up and addressed them. He said, “Men of Judea and all of you who are in Jerusalem, let this be known to you. Give hear to my words. These people are not drunk. These people are not drunk.” And then what he does is, he goes and he reminds them of a prophecy from Joel. Why would he remind them from a prophecy of Joel? Remember Verse five, what were they? Devout Jewish men. So what Peter was doing was, he was speaking to these men in a context that they would understand. He was using their background, their knowledge, their understanding, their own religious beliefs to help them understand who Jesus was and what he did for them.
For us, one of the things this means is that we need to remember that everybody has a context. Everybody has a place that they’re coming from. And when we’re sharing with them about our faith, we need to think about: Where is this person coming from? What’s the context? What’s the understanding that they have? Because the gospel is universal. The gospel is universal. I’ll give you another example of that in just a minute.
WHAT DID HE SAY??
So he shares from Joel and he basically is saying, “This is Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of this very well known prophecy from Joel.” And then he basically tells the story. Verse 22. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God, with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. First of all, he reminds them of the prophecy, and then he reminds them that Jesus has been here for three years. Many of you have seen it. If you haven’t seen it first had, you’ve heard it from somebody that’s seen it firsthand. You know what I’m talking about.
And then he says, Verse 23. This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed. Not really the way to win friends and influence people, to accuse people of murdering the prophesied foretold Messiah. But Peter does it anyway. He just speaks the truth to them. And then he tells about … And then he shares a psalm that again solidifies Jesus’ identity. If you just read through the rest of this chapter, he’s doing one thing. Here’s what he’s doing. He’s just telling them who Jesus is. He’s just telling them who Jesus is and he’s witnessing. He’s giving his testimony. A witness gives a testimony of what? Of what they’ve seen themselves. Right?
When we give a testimony, when we witness, what we’re saying is, “This is what I know to be true about Jesus.” And if you don’t know it to be true, then don’t share it because it’s not going to be authentic. It’s not going to come across as authentic. We need to know who Jesus is. We need to figure out what our own personal experiences are with Jesus and with the living word of God, so that when we speak of these things, we’re speaking of things that we know about, not some outline that we’ve learned, or some script that we’ve learned. Our story. That’s what people are going to relate to.
What did he say? All he said was, “This is who Jesus is. This is my experience with him,” and he put it in the context of the people that he was talking to.
WHAT HOLDS US BACK?
So then what holds us back? What holds us back from sharing our faith? I think there’s three things. One is the fear of man. The Bible talks very clearly about the fear of man versus the fear of God. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare. But whoever trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” I think one of the things you’ve got to ask yourself is, when you’re fearful, when you’re in a situation where it’s just natural for you to start sharing what you believe. Are you experiencing fear? If you’re experiencing fear, here’s what you’ve forgotten. You’ve forgotten who God is just for a moment, just for a moment.
But you’ve forgotten that God’s way more powerful than any yuck that’s going to criticize you or laugh at you for what you believe in. And frankly, they’re probably not going to do that any. We’ve got this fear of man in us that makes us withdraw. We don’t want to look silly. We don’t want to look stupid and we don’t want to offend somebody. I hate to tell you guys, but the gospel can be offensive. People don’t like to be told that there’s one way to the Father. They want to get there however they want to get there, and the people that don’t even believe in God or believe in Heaven, they’re the people that for some reason seem to be the most upset with you when you tell them that there actually is one, and you’ve got an easy way for them to get there. You have an easy way for them to get there. So the fear of man.
The second thing, I think, sometimes is we’re broken. We’re defeated. We’re weak. We feel like, man, this person knows me too well. If I start talking to them about Jesus, they’re going to go, “Really? You’re talking to me about Jesus. I’ve seen the things that you’ve done.” But I want you to remember that the Bible was full of flawed men that God used anyway. The Bible was full of men who’ve gone through tremendous failure. Moses lost his temper. David stole another man’s wife and killed her husband, and he was called a man after God’s own heart. Peter looked Jesus in the eye and said, “I’ll never deny you,” and 12 hours later the rooster crowed. The next thing that happens is, he meets Jesus on the beach and Jesus says, “Glad that’s out of your system. Now go feed my sheep. I told you I was going to build the church on this rock, but you had to be tempered a little bit. You were probably a little bit too full of yourself there, Pete.” Now we’ve got that. But he failed, he denied Christ.
Paul. Paul killed Christians. He held everybody’s coats while they stoned Stephen, and God used him to build churches all over Asia Minor and the Biblical lands. So the Bible’s full of weak, defeated, flawed men, sinful men, who’ve gone on to do great things for God. Why can’t that be you? Why can’t that be you?
And then third, I think, and this is sort of our idol of competence, is the idea that we just don’t know what to say. We literally just don’t know what to say. What I’m going to do is, I’m going to ask Scott McCurdy to come up here. Here’s Scott. He didn’t know I was going to do this. Scott is a table leader here. He’s also a board member for Man in the Mirror. He’s my boss. He’s a business owner. But the thing that you may not know about Scott, your table probably knows, but the rest of you may not know, is that Scott is a great, what I call, gospel opportunist. So I’ve asked me to just take a couple minutes and share some experiences that he’s had.
Scott McCurdy: Morning, guys. I don’t know if I get the incredible opportunity, or I get the incredible burden to travel a lot. Living in Orlando, you know if you travel the North and Southeast of this country and if you travel Delta, then you actually take four airplane rides every day, everywhere you go, because you’ve got to go through Atlanta no matter what you do. So it gives me four opportunities to sit next to someone that I do not know. How ironic it is, is the millions of miles that I’ve flown, I’ve never sat next to the same person ever in all of these years.
I used to rent a car. Now I don’t rent. I do Uber. Now Uber gives me a whole new opportunity to meet someone new as well. There’s one story that comes to mind and I have literally thousands of them. The word for me this year, that God kind of laid on my heart was, engage. I don’t know that he’s going to take that one off my heart. It just means, just put yourself out there. So in Texas, I was Uber-ing from one location to another. It’s kind of ironic. Everywhere I go, pretty much all the Uber drivers are men. But in Texas for some reason, there’s a lot of women Uber drivers. And I’m from Texas, so that means they’re probably hard ass women and not afraid of you. Excuse my language there.
Anyway, this lady picks me up and one thing leads to another. There’s a lot of times when I decide I’m not going to say a dang word and it never works out. So anyway, we start talking and one thing leads to another. In the middle of the conversation, I just said, “How are you doing with Jesus?” We hadn’t even broached that subject at all. And she almost pulled off the road. It was just one of those things. My gosh. She started crying and she began to start sharing. She told me that she just recently had become an Uber driver because she had been a stripper for six years, and that she had a son and she was struggling. Of course, she said, “I’m not making near as much money, obviously.” Anyway, it was just the most incredible opportunity that I had to sit there and share with her and witness with her.
Back then, and when I say back then, just many months ago, there was a tip already built into my Uber app, which they’ve since taken off. So I already knew that the fare was going to have a 20% add to it when I got done. We drove for about an hour and 20 minutes, so it was a pretty good fare. She was telling me she was having a hard time. She didn’t know if she was going to be able to make her rent this month and what have you. When she let me out, we sat, we prayed. I very seldom carry any cash on me at all, and if I do it’s like $200 or less, just for whatever. And I reached into my pocket and I got my billfold out, and I just pulled out of my billfold whatever it was that was in my pocket and I handed it to her. And I exchanged email addresses with her, and I said, “Please stay touch with me because I’d like to continue to pray for you.”
Three days later she wrote me and she went on and on about what a blessing it was for us to meet and what have you. And she said, “You don’t know this, but I’m about to share this with you. That day truly, I did not know if I was going to be able to make my rent payment and we were going to be kicked out of our apartment.” And she said, “Between the tip that you already had built into the Uber drive and the cash that you gave me when you exited the car, it was the exact amount that I needed to make my rent payment. And I just wanted to thank you and thank God.” So there’s just one story.
Brett Clemmer: Awesome. Thank you, Scott. I think we need to change the name of this lesson if we could on the video to Witnessing to a Stripper in an Uber car. That will get more people to tune into the Bible study. Yeah. Please tell me that did not make it on the tape. This is a great example of just being ready to share the gospel when God gives you the opportunity. I want you to notice a key thing that Scott did. I’m going to come back to it in a couple minutes. But the key thing that he did was, he was ready with a question. What was his question? How are you doing with Jesus? Some form of that question you’ve got to have ready to go so that you can just tell the story of Jesus and what he has done in your life. That’s our Big Idea. Just tell the story of Jesus and what he’s done in your life. You don’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to be a theologian. You don’t have to be a motivational speaker. You can trip over your words. Just tell the story of Jesus and what he’s done in your life.
Let me tell you. I’ve been coming to this Bible study for 17 years. There’s not a guy in there that doesn’t like to tell stories. You guys love to talk. Trust me. We love to talk. We love to tell stories. We love to talk about that crazy experience we had in college, or that thing that happened at the football game, or that thing that our kid did. Right? We tell stories all the time, so add a story to your repertoire. It’s the story of Jesus and what he’s done in your life, and be ready just to tell that story when, like Scott, you get to be a gospel opportunist. And I earnestly am praying that it will never be with a stripper Uber driver. I am earnestly praying for that. McCurdy’s the only one that could happen to safely. I don’t know about any of the rest of us.
What did he say? He told them his experience with Jesus in their context. What holds us back? It holds us back when we have a fear, when we have a fear of man. It holds us back when we’re weak and defeated and just don’t feel worthy of telling the story, and it holds you back when we don’t know what to say. So what do we say? We just tell the story of Jesus and what he’s done for us.
Let me give you another quick example. This is from Rolling Stone Magazine. I’m not going to tell you who it is until the end. Some of you will know who it is. The interviewer says, “I’m beginning to understand religion because I’ve started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?” And the musician said, “I think that’s normal. It’s a mind blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people. But the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between grace and karma.”
He said, “Tell me more about that.” He says, “Well, I really believe that we moved out of the realm of karma and into one of grace.” And the interviewer said, “Great. Thanks. That didn’t make it any clearer for me.” And he said, “You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. Or in physics, in physical laws, every action is met by an equal and opposite one. It’s clear to me that karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all of that as you reap, so you will sow stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.”
And he says, “I’d be in big trouble if karma was going to be my final judge. I’d be in deep do-do.” He didn’t say do-do. “It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the cross because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.” And he goes on to explain even more of his belief in the gospel. And that was Bono in 2005, making a very clear statement in the context of the audience that he was talking to. They all know what karma is. Everybody knows that karma is. So he took this concept that everybody understood, and he said, “That’s great and that make sense, but grace, grace doesn’t make sense.” But in its not making sense, it makes more sense. It makes better sense. The interviewer was just pulled into this conversation. He just gets more and more pulled into it. You have the opportunity to have conversations like that. How do you do that? What do you need to know?
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
First of all, you need to have a good gospel overview. Here’s a really quick outline of the gospel. Creation, fall, redemption, glorification. Four steps. What does that mean? Creation. And there’s a global sense to it and there’s a personal sense to it. Creation. God created everything. God created everything. He created the world. He created the universe, and it all comes from God. The fall. When God created the world, He gave man an opportunity to be in a relationship with Him and man chose not to be in a relationship with Him. Man chose not to depend on God. Man chose to rely on his own best thinking rather than God’s best thinking, and he disobeyed God and broke that relationship with God. And ever since, we’ve been fallen. And that had an effect not just on the man, but on all of creation.
And because man is not in right relationship with God, cars break down on the highway and people get cancer and children die and wars happen, and all of that comes from living in a fallen world. We live in a fallen world. Nobody will argue with you about that. We live in a fallen world. They just don’t have a reason for it.
Redemption. Into this fallen world, into this broken relationship between man and God, God says, “I’m going to repair that relationship,” and he’s not going to use karma to do it. He’s not going to say, “I’m just going to look for a few good people who are good enough to be in a relationship with me.” Instead, what He does is, He sends His own son to bear the penalty for man’s broken with God, and He uses his own son to restore that relationship. God takes His own responsibility to pursue us, even though it wasn’t His decision to put us into sin. We make our own sinful decisions. God pursues us. He comes after us. The Bible is full of this promise of redemption.
And then in the New Testament, that promise is fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus came to Earth and He paid the penalty. The result of that is glorification, which is a fancy word for saying we get to live forever in Heaven with God. We get to experience the presence of God for eternity. That’s the global picture. What does it look like for me personally? Well, God made me. But even though God made me, I want to do my own thing. And so I sin. I lie sometimes because I want to have my own way. I’m prideful. All the things that are negative about me, they’re my responsibility. I don’t put that blame on anybody else. That’s my responsibility. I’m a sinful man. But because of Jesus, Jesus redeemed me. Jesus is the only hope that I have of being the kind of man that God originally made me to be, and so I’m choosing to follow and obey Jesus because the things that Jesus tells me to do are the things that make my life the kind of life that I want to live.
They make me focused on other people’s best interests and not my own. They make me be the kind of father I want to be, the kind of husband I want to be, the kind of actor in the world, agent for change in the world that I want to be for good, because God sent His son, Jesus, to die for me and in following Jesus and accepting that gift, now my whole life is different. And because Jesus then not just paid the price, but conquered death and rose from the dead, I’m going to share that with him too, and I’m going to rise from the dead too if Jesus doesn’t come back before I die. I’m going to rise from the dead too, and I’m going to life with Him in eternity. That’s my glorification. So it’s a global, and you have to personalize that. But there’s a global truth and then there’s the personal truth, but it follows this pattern, creation, fall, redemption, glorification.
You have to make your story. What’s your story? My story is that I grew up in a Christian home. I was five years old when I slipped off the pew at First Baptist at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and tottered down the center aisle, and they lowered the baptismal the next week so I didn’t drown when the baptized me. I don’t know if anybody could even see me. The pastor might as well have been pantomiming a baptism. And then I grew up in a Christian home. I grew up going to church and then I went to college. Did not walk with God during college. Pursued all my own best thinking. I wasn’t a terrible person. I wasn’t. I was a pretty good guy. I belonged to clubs. I was president of my fraternity. I had a good time, but I was not walking with God, and I was miserable by the end of college.
And then I got out of college and I started going to church because I was living with my parents and I was trying to be respectful, honestly. Met a girl. Found out she was the preacher’s daughter. That was cool. Married a preacher’s daughter. And we struggled for the first several years of our marriage to have a life centered around Christ. We were both in that same place. We both knew all the right things, but we were not really following God very closely. And then God … I can’t really say He got sick of it, but God took this opportunity when I was trying to wreck my life through materialism and trying to build a software company, He used that opportunity to speak to me through my wife who said, “Look. You’re a distraction in my life. We’ve got to figure this thing out because we’ve got two kids at home, two toddlers at home, and I’m practically a single mom, and I don’t like the life that we’re living right now.”
And so some guys from our church that we were going to, even though we weren’t really … We were active, but it was going through the motions. But some guys pulled me into a small group and we read a book together. It was called The Man in the Mirror. And reading that book and going through that experience with those guys put me in a relationship with men who wanted to follow Christ and wanted to be the kind of men that God made us to be, and it changed everything. And since that time, since that first year of having to look inwardly and be honest about my own sins and my own pride and my own lust for the pleasures of life, all that kind of stuff, in relationship with those guys it totally changed my focus from focusing on me to focusing on God. And when I started focusing on God, I started being the dad and the husband that my wife deserved and my kids needed, and it changed everything for me.
That’s my story. I’ve seen what Jesus does in a man’s life because He’s done it in mine. And I’ve seen what Jesus does in a man’s life because I’ve seen it in guys around me and I love to tell you that story. Then the third thing you need is, you need some good questions. You need the: So where are you at with Jesus right now? How are you doing with Jesus? Pat has a version of it. He says, “Where are you on your spiritual journey?” I’ve heard Pat ask that question probably 100 times at least. I was in a loaded taxi cab with a bunch of Christian leaders and a taxi cab driver, and there’s five of us in the car plus the taxi cab driver. We’re all talking about this Christian conference that we’ve been to. We’re all talking to each other, ignoring the cab driver.
Finally, Pat, I could see him. He was sitting in the middle of the back because he was trying to be a servant. Sitting in the middle of the back and he’s getting more and more flustered, and more and more flustered, and finally he goes, “Guys.” And everybody shut up. And he goes, “So,” I don’t remember the cab driver’s name. “Lou, where are you at within your spiritual journey?” You could’ve heard a pin drop in the cab. Lou starts stuttering. I felt so bad for Lou. Five guys right out of a Christian men’s conference. Did we pull over and the guy kneel by the side of the taxi cab and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior? No. But Pat moved him another step because Pat had the audacity to tell the Christian guys to shut up about their men’s conference they’d been to and focus on the one man in the car who needed to hear the gospel more than any of the rest of us, and take a minute to tell him about what Jesus had done for him.
That’s all. You just got to have some questions. You’ve got to have a question. Where are you at in your spiritual journey? Where are you at with Jesus? Figure out what those questions are for you. And then the final thing I want you to remember is this. It’s not up to you. It’s not up to you. All you have to do is be faithful. God handles the rest. You don’t convert anybody. You have no power. All you have is responsibility. But you have no power. And the fact that you have no power is great news because it’s not up to you. All you have to do is share and then let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does. And it may be in that moment, but you may just be planting a seed that somebody else waters and somebody else harvests. Or somebody else may have planted the seed and you’re just watering.
And then once in a while, if God really likes you a lot, he’ll smile on you and you’ll get to be the one that does the harvest. And then the real had work begins because then the process of growing in your faith and discipleship starts after that. But if we’re going to reach out to people, if we’re going to share our faith, we’ve got to know what the gospel’s about. We’ve got to know how Jesus has impacted our life. We’ve got to have a good question or a couple questions that we can call on to start the conversation. And then we just have to remember that it’s not up to us. It’s up to the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s how it works.
We’ve got just a few minutes left, so here’s what I want to do. I want to give you some time to pull out this testimony worksheet. I don’t have one up here. The testimony worksheets are on there. If you have not done this already, hopefully you’re working on a copy that you’ve already started. I’m going to give you five minutes. I don’t want you to talk to each other. I just want you to look at that testimony worksheet and start filling out the three sections in it and begin to write your story of Jesus and what he’s done for you. So take about five minutes and then I’ll do a quick wrap at the end.
All right. If you’re watching this online, hopefully you took enough time to work on that testimony worksheet. I did not give you guys enough time here. But let me just share a couple things really quick. At the end of that story in Chapter two, it does not say that Peter shared all of this stuff and then at the end of the speech, a bunch of people came to Christ. What is actually says, it concludes the story with this. It says that he stayed and he pleaded and he argued. If you look at different translations, it says things like warned, solemnly testified, spent a long time using many, many words. I just want you to realize that Peter didn’t just give a great speech and everybody went, “Oh. Now we understand. We’re going to come to Jesus now.” No. He stayed and he answered every question. And he pleaded. And he used many words. It takes time to help somebody understand the gospel.
Don’t feel like they’re supposed to get it like that. There’s some resources that are out there. There’s a great article in this book from NCMM called How to Disciple Men that Pat wrote the forward to, called How to Share Your Faith, so that’s a great article in there. On the Man in the Mirror website, you can look up an article. I think it’s called How to Talk About Jesus Without Sounding Like You’re Nuts, which is a great article on some tools. There’s these Reach Three cards, which you can get on our website for free, I think maybe just the cost of shipping. I’ve put some on the tables as well. I want to really encourage you guys. Take these cards. Write the name of three people that you would love to share your faith with. And then write those names down. All I want you to do is pray. Just pray for those three people. Pray for them every day, and watch what happens over time. God’s going to put those guys in front of you. The right question is going to flow out of your mouth beyond your control, and the next thing you know, you’re going to be telling the story of Jesus and what he’s done in your life.
But it starts with prayer, so pray for those guys. I want to start encouraging you also at the end of every one of these. I want to encourage you to do three things next week. First of all, I want to encourage you to bring a friend. A man is more likely to come to the Bible study if another man invites them. A man is more like to come if another man invites him. Nobody is going to see an ad for The Man in the Mirror Bible study and decide to come. So invite another guy to come. Bring him.
Second thing is, share one thing you learned with somebody that you know. Share one thing you learned with somebody you know. Why? Not so that they learn it, but because when we tell other people things, it helps us remember them more. So think about something that you learned today and every week, and start making a habit of just sharing that one thing. Maybe it’s a coworker or a Christian brother or another friend that you have. Just say, “Hey. I want to tell you something I learned this week at the Man in the Mirror Bible study.” It’ll help write it on your heart. And if they’re going, “Wow. That sounds really cool. Where’d you learn that?” Then you can do number one. You can bring a friend the next week.
The third thing that I want to invite you to do is, I want to invite you to become a partner. These sheets are on your tables. I know Pat mentioned it last week and I really want to encourage you to become a partner. But I’m adding a wrinkle, because what I’m going to ask you to do is not just become a partner, but become a member of the Man in the Mirror Bible study. When you become a member, here’s what happens. First of all, we’re going to give you a card with your name on it. So if you’ll become a partner, $30 to $50 a month. I know for some of you, you’re so rich that’s an insult, but $30 to $50 a month. Get your card and then when you come in the door, you just wave your card at Steve. You don’t have to feel guilty about not putting your three bucks in because you already paid. But you can wave your card at Steve and you can see. And you can bring a friend with your card. They can get in on your card once. Then they need to get their own card. So you can become a member.
Also, when you become a member, you’ll be a partner with Man in the Mirror, so we’re going to send you two CDs to your house every other month that are going to have messages from past Bible studies, you can listen to in your car or at your office. You’re going to get monthly specials. We send out a mailer that has discounts and free resources that you can get access to. And then finally, and this is probably the biggest benefit, you get to go to a No Man Left Behind training for free when you’re a partner. And there’s one coming up in Orlando in March. I think it’s $109 is the normal price to come to one of these trainings. You can grab some guys from your church and come and learn about how to build a disciple making ministry for every man in your church. But you can come for free. Your little membership card will get you in for free and we’re going to know that you’re a partner.
You’ll be on our regular partner list and you’ll get a card that will get you into the Bible study early. So if you go to mimbiblestudy.org and you click on donate and you fill out the donation form there, we’ll send you the card. Or if you fill out this form that we have on the tables today and turn that into us, we’ll send you a card and then you’ll have that card that you can walk into the Bible study with and not feel bad about walking by Steve and not giving him your three bucks. That’s my challenge to you. We’d love to get you on board with us for a dollar a month. Basically, the money that we collect … Just so you know, the money we collect on Friday mornings pays for the donuts. Doesn’t even pay for the room, so we really need to get some guys on board with Bible study partners that we can do that.
Let me pray for you real quick and then we’ll get you out of here. Father, thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done in my life. Thank you for the opportunities that I have to tell people about the change, the impact that you’ve made in my life, the brothers that I have because we all follow you together, and the experiences that I’ve had with my brothers that have changed me and the changes that I’ve seen in their lives as well, the impact that it’s had on my family, on my marriage. Lord, please Father give me more opportunities to tell people that story. Give me the right question to ask to start the conversation and give me the confidence that comes from knowing that it’s not up to me, that all I need to do is share my story and you’ll take over from there.
And Lord, I pray that for every guy in this room, that you would just help us to tell the story of your son, Jesus, and what He’s done in our lives, and that you would give us boldness and confidence as we do that, that confidence of Peter. Lord, be with these guys the rest of this day and this weekend, Father. And we ask that you would walk before us, Lord. Protect us. Guide us. Lord, be with us. Help us to experience every day, Lord, and use us to build your kingdom and bring you glory. In Jesus name, amen. Love you guys. Have a good week.