“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” This just happens to be my favorite time of the year. The temperatures are finally beginning to moderate just a little bit in North Texas. This means we might not have any more 100-degree days. I know there are people who love the heat, but I am not one of them. I love the crisp fall mornings and cooler days! Not much longer now! (I also love the holidays between now and the end of the year.)
It also means its time for football. And I really love football. When I was a kid I dreamed about playing Quarterback for the Crimson Tide and Bear Bryant. I could tell you everything about Alabama football, the players, their positions, their numbers and even where they lived. I knew the formations and the plays. I met the Bear once, but never got a call from him about playing. You asked “why?” The truth is I wasn’t a very good football player.
I still love the game today. I love to watch. We have a number of young men in the church at Lewisville who play and we will attend several games this year. We will catch as many as possible, from little league, all the way to High School games. College games on Saturday will be a part of the schedule as much as possible. If we’re not home to watch the Alabama games we will record them or try to watch them from out of town. In Texas that means a lot of ESPN GamePlan. And I also love the Dallas Cowboys (and not just since moving to Dallas). I have since the days that Lee Roy Jordan left Alabama to come to Dallas.
All of my life it has been easy to talk about football. I have always been able to talk to people who are perfect strangers about football. It’s easy because I love it so much.
Another topic I will talk to anybody about is my family. I am very thankful for my heritage. Everywhere I go someone seems to know my dad, my brother, my uncle, or another Preaching relative.
I also love to talk about my wife and my children. Laura has stood beside me and been my rock for twenty-nine years. I’ll talk to anybody about her. I am proud of Amanda, Jeremy, and their mates. It is easy to talk about them and how thankful I am for them. By the way, in within the next few weeks our first grandchild will be born and I will be glad to discuss little Evie with you at any time.
All of my life it has been easy to talk about my family. I have always been able to talk to anyone about my family because I love my family so much.
I happen to know that I am not the only Christian who loves to talk about football and family. There are thousands of others who feel the same way.
So that brings me to faith. I love my Lord more than I love football or family. But I have not always been so ready to talk to people about Him. There have been times in my life when I was not comfortable enough with my level of knowledge to talk to people about Jesus. There have been other times when I have been afraid of how people would react. Would they think I’m some kind of religious weirdo, would they think I am too condemning? There have been times that I have reasoned, “I talk to people about Jesus all the time when I preach, so why should I do that when I’m away from preaching?”
None of these arguments seem to be very convincing. I know people who express their faith in ways that I probably would not. There is a guy who preaches on the street corner down in West End. I don’t think I would do that. I don’t believe that burning books is the way we should express our faith. I don’t really get into sharing my faith by sending emails and telling people, “If you really love the Lord you will forward this to everyone in your address book!”
While those would not be my choice of getting the message out, I’ll have to confess that they are better than my way when I failed to say anything. In recent years I have done better. As a matter of fact, these days I talk to just about everyone about Jesus. The truth is that it is easy talk about family and football, or fill in the blank with your choice, because of how much we love them.
Doesn’t it follow that if we love Jesus we will be willing to talk with anyone about Him at any time? There are opportunities placed before us every single day. Think of how many people we run into on a daily basis that need to hear the Good News. Here are a few suggestions that might help.
(1) Remember that we have the greatest news in the entire world. The Gospel in the “power of God for salvation.” (Romans 1:16) The Gospel has an amazing ability to change lives (Hebrews 4:12). These scriptures and others make it clear that we have a life-saving and a life-changing message.
(2) Work on building relationships with people that you see on a regular basis. We have become friends with a waiter in one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants. I have invited Eric to church and he has committed to coming. Now we always ask to be seated in Eric’s section. He often asks me what I am preaching on Sunday. I believe with the Lord’s help we will reach Eric with the Gospel.
There are numerous other places to build relationships with people (the grocery store, the ball game, our children’s school activities, in addition to people at work and in our neighborhood). Take time to talk to these people and others about the church. Be sure you always speak positively about your church family.
(3) Live the Christian life every day. I know there are people who are shy and there are Christians who are slow to talk to others about anything. But all of us can show Jesus to those around us by the way we live our lives every day (1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 3:1-4). There are many people around us who are starving for the message of Salvation and they don’t even realize it. They know they are hurting, they know something is missing, they know they are empty, but they don’t know how to fix their brokenness. We can share the answers to all of life's questions by the way we respond and react to life.
Dear Father, help us to talk about Jesus and the saving Gospel as much as we talk about football, our family, or anything else. Help us not to be ashamed of the Gospel or afraid to share it with those around us. Dear God, help us build relationships with people in our lives so that we can give them the life-saving, life-changing Good News. Help us, Lord to show the world around us what it means to have Jesus as the center of life. In the blessed Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.