Harrison Bader, a Gold Glove Award-winning centerfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, learned that Meramec Elementary School in Clayton, Missouri, was dealing with staff shortages and needed some help, so he volunteered to cover a Physical Education class. However, he told reporters later, “Being a substitute science or math teacher, even at that level, would be above my pay grade.”
In other news, drivers on a Tennessee highway recently encountered a cast-iron skillet said to be the world’s largest. It was being hauled on the back of a flatbed truck to the Lodge Cast Iron store, which is building a Lodge Cast Iron Museum. UPI is also reporting on a 225.13-pound ball of human hair that has broken the Guinness World Record. (Click on the link to see the picture at your own risk . . .)
Then there is this bit of good news / bad news in the news: scientists say the sun will one day explode and kill us all, but not for another five billion years. However, some scientists also say our planet’s oceans will be vaporized by energy from the sun a mere billion years from now. Other experts disagree, claiming that our planet could host life for at least another 1.75 billion years.
So far I’ve not helped you solve any practical problems you might be facing today, but I enjoyed sharing news I found interesting in the hope that you agree. My friends know that I am just as ready to talk about a good book I read or a movie I enjoyed. And don’t get me started on my grandkids . . .
“Pleasure has no relish unless we share it”
A study by the University of Pennsylvania tracked the circulation of almost seven thousand articles from the New York Times over a three-month period. They found that positive articles were shared more often than negative ones. Another study reported that “we share our positive daily experiences 70 percent of the time.”
Virginia Wolff was right: “Pleasure has no relish unless we share it.” Albert Schweitzer agreed: “Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.”
This week, we’ve focused on ways to respond redemptively to a culture that is “falling apart at the seams,” according to New York Times columnist David Brooks. We have noted the importance of humility in sharing God’s word with our lost friends and family members, and we have focused both on the urgency of compassion and the compassion of urgency in doing so.
Let’s close our series by centering on the well-known fact that the Christian “gospel” is literally “good news” (from the Old English god spel, translating the Greek euangelion, meaning “good news”). But let’s add this less-known fact: the Old English spel means not only “news” but also “story.” The gospel is a “good story” that has changed our personal story. Now we have the privilege of sharing that story with others so it can become their story as well.
“I have the most amazing job on the planet”
In John 4, Jesus met a woman who came to Jacob’s well to draw water. However, as he told her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again” (v. 13). Then he offered her the opportunity to experience “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (v. 14). Given the choice, she understandably wanted the latter (v. 15).
It’s our job and privilege to give everyone we know the same choice.
Don Mansfield became Albania’s national director for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in 1991. The country had been officially atheistic for decades and had been entirely closed to missionaries until the borders opened that year. When he made his first visit to the country, three young men approached him, asking questions: “Where do you come from?” “What do you do?”
Mansfield told them, “I have the most amazing job on the planet. I get to tell people how they can know Jesus Christ.”
The leader turned to look at his friends. “Wasn’t it five minutes ago, we were talking, and we said, ‘We have got to find someone to tell us about Jesus?’” he asked them. Turning to Mansfield, he said, “Will you tell me about Jesus?”
Your truth will become their truth
Christians living in our postmodern, relativistic society are often warned that sharing their faith is the intolerant “imposing” of their values on others. Since being branded “intolerant” is the cardinal sin in our culture, it’s tempting to keep our salt in the saltshaker and our light under a basket (Matthew 5:13–16).
In addition, many Christians are unsure whether they know enough to be able to explain and defend their faith with skeptics. They know the basics of salvation but fear being embarrassed by questions they might not be able to answer.
The answer is to return to the “gospel” as a “good story.”
In a culture that measures truth by relevance, your experience with Jesus will be relevant to others to the degree that it is relevant to you. If you met Jesus this morning in his word and worship, surrendering your day to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and asking that his “fruit” be manifested in your life, your prayer will be answered. Others will see the difference Christ makes in your life and will be drawn to that difference for themselves.
Your truth will then become their truth as they experience the truth.
The compelling question
Knowing Jesus and then making him known has never been more vital for the future of American Christianity than it is today.
My dear friend Kerby Anderson’s outstanding call for us to “equip the next generation with biblical truth” makes the compelling case that young people today know less about the Bible than previous generations. They are more likely to believe that other religious beliefs lead to heaven and are less likely to share their faith as a result.
By contrast, the more we truly experience Jesus, the more we will want to share him with others. The more the gospel becomes our “good story,” the more our lives and our words will tell that story.
So, here’s the question: When last did Jesus change your life?
NOTE: There are just four days left to reserve your seat at the virtual book launch Q&A celebrating the release of my latest and most pivotal book, The Coming Tsunami. During the Q&A we’ll look at Critical Race Theory, one of the four major “earthquakes” I talk about in The Coming Tsunami that are seismically shifting our world. So I hope you’ll join us for the Q&A. Please pre-order your copy of The Coming Tsunami to reserve your seat. Thank you.
P.S. Amazon has dropped the pre-order price to $22.50. Amazon also offers a pre-order price guarantee, meaning that you’ll pay the lowest pre-order price offered before the book releases (even if you’ve already pre-ordered). If you pre-order through Amazon, be sure to visit TheComingTsunami.com afterward to register for the Q&A event.