My friend Kristen branched off from her first blog (which is great) to start a second one about Bible study and thoughts on God and scripture. Earlier this week she issued a challenge to all of us out there in the blog-verse to participate in an inductive Bible study and then post their thoughts on their own blog so that the other participants can read and get others' perspectives.
So without further adieu...
2 Timothy 4:1-8
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
I'm giving you advice and guidance but this isn't just coming from me - these are things that God wants from you, too.
Share the Gospel, the good news, the Word of God. Know it so that you'll be prepared when someone needs to hear it - and not just when its most convenient and comfortable for you.
Comfort people, teach them, encourage them, give guidance, even correct them when necessary, but always have patience and love when you do.
Don't wait, act now. People won't always be receptive to the Word, or to you. Instead, they'll rely on themselves and focus on people and things that tell them what they want to hear, whether its the Truth or not.
Don't allow yourself to slip into that way of thinking and living also - be aware and alert. Don't let your faith waver if you happen to encounter hardship. Be diligent in your work for God and His calling for you.
I'm not always going to be here to guide and help you. I've lived my life for God to the best of my ability and I've been diligent in my faith. God is faithful to us if we are faithful to Him. For living my life for God, He will reward me with a place next to Him in Heaven. He does and will do the same for everyone who truly loves and obeys Him.
Stop coasting. Stop waiting for the "right time". Stop assuming someone else "more qualified" will take care of spreading the Word. Stop thinking EVANGELISM is some intimidating endeavor taken on by only the most mature, sober-minded, well-equipped Christians.
Listen to people. Encourage them. Give advice when you have it. Comfort people. Be a friend, a confidant, a companion. Really truly love people and take interest in them and their lives. THAT is evangelism. Share your faith. Live in a way that shows God through your actions. Don't be afraid to ask people about their faith and their relationship with God. Pray for people. Pray with people. Don't put it off. Don't hope the subject will come up "on its own". Don't wait for someone else to bring it up first.
Someone may be in desperate need of a friend to talk about God with and He might put you in their life for that reason - why not reach out? Don't let opportunities to show and share God slip through your grasp. They may not come again.
Even when people are unreceptive - and they will be, make no mistake - even when you're turned down and you're struggling, stick with it. Be persistent. Don't get discouraged. Continue to love, comfort, encourage - Trust God. He won't give up on you. Don't give up on Him. He keeps his promises.