One of my favorite things to do is participate in our Alpha group each semester. I love being around people who are exploring faith and trying to decide what they believe about Jesus. From the very beginning of our church, we have strived to create an environment where people can come and take things at their own pace. We will nudge, ask questions, and pray for you; but at the end of the day, you have to make your own decision to follow Jesus.
From the time I first made a decision to follow Jesus, I had an internal desire to share his Good News with other people. My mom recently found and showed me a little booklet I made when I was in early grade school. The booklet shows the plan of salvation and offers people a decision to follow Jesus at the end. She said that I used that book on my grandpa. Apparently, I told him if he didn’t turn to Jesus, he would go to hell. How would you like your seven-year-old grandson telling you to turn or burn?
I’ve gotten more gentle with my methods over time. Over the next two days, Peter is going to give us a much better approach—one that’s much more in line with how we do Alpha as a church.
Remember, Peter is writing to a group of mistreated followers of Jesus. They lived with constant threats and concern for their lives. As mostly peasants and slaves, the majority of them were constantly mistreated. Somehow, even against this backdrop, they were called to influence those around them with compassion and love, and be a shining light for Jesus.
Peter encourages the Christ-followers to be eager to do good. Have you ever noticed how a person who is eager to do good sticks out? My kids’ responses to my requests to take out the trash or clean the dishes span a wide range. Sometimes I’m met with the look of disgust, and other times they are compliant. What’s really surprising is when they do it without being asked. That’s being eager to do good.
An employee, a friend, a child, a spouse, a house-worker who is “eager to do good” shines. Their life sticks out because it is uncommon.
When we live like this, we will still encounter moments when we’re treated unjustly. When we find ourselves in unjust situations, Peter reminds us that our applause, approval, and advancement comes from God. Every eager-to-do-good moment of your life is captured on God’s feed.
We don’t need to live with fear; instead, we replace our worry with worship. What if I could make a choice to turn every moment of worry into worship? When I don’t know the future, I can trust and thank God that He has a solution in mind. When your boss skips over your hard work, you can still give glory to the God who sees it all. You can replace your fear of lay-offs with a trust in the Lord who has you in His hands.
When we live like this, people will ask us questions. Our neighbors, family members, co-workers, and friends will be curious. Then, we are called to have a response to their curiosity. Have you ever noticed how certain people’s lives have a way of making us ask questions? Sometimes their lives are confusing in a weird way. Other times people are so different that you want to get close and know why!
Where does this come from? It comes from a real and abiding connection to the living God. It flows out of friendship with God. It is the result of a deep awareness of grace. The life that piques curiosity is filled with the HOPE of Jesus’ ability to sustain us in the most difficult of circumstances.
Let’s all put down our judgmental approaches and recognize that the greatest gift we can give the world is a flourishing relationship with God—one where we’re ready to do good and we trust God to bless and reward our faithfulness.
“We don’t need to live with fear; instead, we replace our worry with worship.”
So good. Such a practical way to give our worry to God. Jesus, give me a heart that is eager to do good and that trusts You with my worries.
“What if I could make a choice to turn every moment of worry into worship?”
Needing to remind my mind and heart that God is above anything I may fear.
I have seen many people who really stand out as they are always eager to do good and continue to inspire me. I pray for wisdom and to always be prepared to share my hope in Jesus in the way that can lead more souls to His kingdom!
So good. Praying for patience as well when talking to others since it’s not always an easy conversation. Love Alpha, highly recommend!
Even slaves and peasants could know that God would see and reward their good deeds. They could worship and not worry, and so can we. Once again, God is on the side of the oppressed, seeing those who are overlooked, and calling them to look up.
Thank you Pastor
Thank you Andy for these thoughts.
Such a challenge to be a person who will attract people to Christ. So many fears and caution in us. So many distractions and lies!
May the Holy Spirit fill us with passion and compassion as you prayed. May He empower His church and promote change and transformation around us and in us like He did with these first believers!
Thanks Pastor Andy for this reminder today: 1 Peter 3:13-15(NLT) “Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks you about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. ”
– I often think about my recent life experiences and how I can share them with others in a way they can understand and relate to. It is sometimes difficult as people I have witnessed to can’t personally relate to what I have been through. A lot of people I have talked to think that bad things only happen to other people they don’t know, see bad things only on the news, and in movies. They don’t think that hey…my friend was really hurt but instead they often deny what happened to me which makes it difficult to relate my story to others. I’m working on a better way of articulating my story to others using the Bible’s interpretation so that I can shine my light for Jesus. I am eager to do good and spread God’s blessings so others may be saved by God’s grace.
God, today I want to turn my worry to worship. Amen
A needed reminder today that God’s got this. I don’t have to solve all the problems. I can lay them down and trust. Thanks!
“…the greatest gift we can give the world is a flourishing relationship with God—one where we’re ready to do good and we trust God to bless and reward our faithfulness.”
Father, help me to grow in my intimacy with You. May I live my life in such a way that people notice the difference, notice the HOPE I have in You. And may that cause them to lean in and seek to develop their own relationship with You.
Thank you so much Pastor Andy! Your daily encouragement is a hug help, that I’m now able to learn more of God’s words. Many people asked me before, how come you are so nice or why you did it for others without expectations. I usually just smiled… after reading your blog, I know I should explain to them and give God the glory!
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