Hearing the Word

St. Luke, in his Gospel, has an abundance of short stories that have powerful messages for the Christian and the Church in all generations. Today’s text, speaking on the stewardship of time, is no exception.

Today’s text is the story of Mary and Martha at the Lord’s feet. Both Mary and Martha loved the Lord, and the Lord loved them, yet they were women of different temperaments. William Barclay writes, “We have never allowed enough for the place of temperament in Christianity. Some people are natural dynamos of activity, and others are naturally quiet. It is difficult for the active person to understand the person who sits and thinks. And the person who is devoted to quiet times and meditation is very apt to look down on the person who needs to get on with the business at hand.”

There are no rights and wrongs. God does not make us all alike. He needs both kinds.

Martha was vocal. She didn’t mind speaking her convictions. She was on the go most of the time. I think of her as a nervous-type person, thin and filled with nervous energy. She got things done. Now Jesus was in her house and he needed a good meal. The Lord had many days when he was hungry, but that would not happen when he was in her house.

Her sister, Mary, was quiet and sat at Jesus’ feet. That was especially true on this occasion. What were they talking about? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I believe the Lord was describing what was going to happen. I think the conversation was extremely emotional.

Mary, I wanted to come to your house and tell you that my stay on this earth is soon over. You, Martha, and your brother Lazarus are very close friends, and as I shared this information with my disciples, so I wanted to tell you that I am going to be handed over to the Romans. The scribes and Pharisees will not rest until I am no longer here. I will be tried in Pilate’s court and sentenced to die on the cross. I will be buried, but on the third day I will come forth from the tomb. Then I will make several appearances to my disciples. However, on the fortieth day after my resurrection, I will return to my Father in heaven. The days will go by and eventually I will come to receive you to live with me in the Kingdom of Heaven forever.

In the middle of this conversation, Mary exploded and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”

This holy woman brought down on herself a solemn rebuke when Jesus said, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

How ridiculous that Martha was busying herself in the kitchen when a conversation about her eternal destiny was going on in the living room. But how ridiculous for the Christian to be so busy on a Sunday morning that he doesn’t go to God’s house to hear what his Savior wants to tell him. How ridiculous to be so busy that there is no time for a devotional period with your Lord. How ridiculous to not be involved in a good Bible study with Christian friends.

You ask what one of these conversations with Jesus might be like. Imagine you are reading II Corinthians 5:1-5: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

I join some of you who have not gotten over an illness or affliction coming to someone we love. My wife had a stroke 16 years ago. Since then, she has not walked unassisted. I have not fully adjusted to her stroke. I am not bitter, nor have I felt this was the way God planned it. However, I know she had a lot of talent that could have been used in this old world. When I look at her body and think how crippled it is, the words of God speaking through Paul assure me that the day is coming when her earthly tent will be completely destroyed, and she will have a building from God and an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

How foolish I would be to lose the comfort from these words, which only God can give me.

What a boost to my ego when I read, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). When you have thoughts that you are not worth much and few people care about you, remember these words from God. You are quite important to him. He chose you to be his. He needs you to go and do great things for him in this world. Get rid of your foolish thinking and let him show you what you can do together.

What blessings are in store for us if we will take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from him!

We Need a Savior

After you have read the text for today, what do you feel is the basic thought of these verses? I found three very important thoughts for the Christian person to take seriously:

1. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (v. 31).

2. “You give them something to eat” (v. 37).

3. “They were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34).

What is the central thought that binds these verses together?

1. The disciples had been sent out on a mission to practice what Jesus had taught them. Today it could be called a brief internship. Now they wanted to give the teacher their report. However, the crowd was so anxious to talk with Jesus there was no time for Him to be with his disciples. Jesus, seeing the impossibility of having a quiet conversation with his disciples, said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (v. 31).

So they got into a boat to try to find a place of quietness. Someone in the crowd learned where Jesus was taking his disciples, so many of them walked an estimated ten miles to meet him at the “quiet place” when he arrived.

When Jesus and his disciples landed and saw the crowd, the disciples were angry. However, Jesus had compassion on them.

To be alone with Jesus in a quiet place for prayer and to study His word is important. No Christian can grow in his or her relationship with Jesus unless they take this time to talk with him and let him talk to us. These words cannot go overlooked. Yet, for our purposes today, they are not the central message of the text.

2. Having compassion on the crowd, Jesus began to teach them. What was he telling the crowd? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but I believe some of his points were: I am the promised Messiah whom God has sent to save the world. I am going to suffer and die as payment for the sins of the world. On the third day I will rise from the dead. Through my resurrection, victory will be won over sin, death, and the devil. If you will in faith receive me as your Savior, you will be saved for all eternity. While you are here on earth, learn to love one another.

Whatever they might have been discussing, Jesus taught so long that the disciples suggested he quit so the crowd might get some food while the stores were still open.

Then Jesus said, “Why don’t you feed them?”

The disciples replied, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (v. 37).

Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have?” To which they replied, “We have five Ð and two fish” (v. 38).

The text goes on: Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves and the fish. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people and they ate. They were all satisfied, and there were twelve baskets left over (v. 41-43).

This is a familiar text that has been used millions of times throughout history as a basis for sermons. It teaches Jesus’ power to do the miraculous. It also tells us to feed the hungry. However, these are not the primary thoughts of our text for today.

When then is the central thought of our text? You guessed it.

3. When Jesus landed and saw the crowd, he had compassion on them. Why? Because they were like sheep without a shepherd (v. 34).

This is the high point of the text. We need a Shepherd!

The crowd left Jesus’ presence well-fed. However, if they had not received him as their Savior and Lord, they were a people to be pitied, for they were still sheep without a shepherd.

At this point the Word speaks to us. Without Christ we are like sheep without a shepherd. Where can we turn when faced with the real crises of life? How will we handle our problems of serious illness, death, poverty, and war?

Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham comments that, in Israel’s case, Herod their king was off in his palace carousing with his cronies, winking at pretty girls, and beheading prophets like John the Baptist. What did he care about his people?

We can point to certain leaders in our own land who served our land as temporal shepherds: Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves and F.D.R. who had a heart for the people in the midst of the Great Depression. It was a brave move to establish the Social Security program that has been criticized from the beginning but has remained a blessing for millions of us.

We do not overlook such leadership. However, beyond these earthly problems no human can answer our true problems. We need a Shepherd. This was well seen in Germany during the days of Adolf Hitler. Martin Niemoller, the famous German pastor, said it well when he told Hitler that the destiny of the German people was not in the hands of Hitler but in the hands of Almighty God. This comes from the heart of a man who had a Shepherd, one whom even the powerful dictator could not conquer.

Without Christ no matter how much of the material we possess, we are like sheep without a shepherd. We do not know how to live abundantly or die victoriously.

Back to our first question: “What is the central thought of this text?” Human beings need a shepherd. That shepherd is Christ Jesus who puts meaning into our lives reaching far into eternity.

God Is . . . Life

As a parent, it is important to me that my children make good choices. Whether it is the friends they choose to be associated with or the kinds of things they put in their bodies, it is important that they make good choices.

When it comes to decision-making regarding values Ð what is right and what is wrong, what is smart and what is not so smart Ð you want them to make good choices.

We have a father in heaven who looks down upon us, his children. The longing of his heart is that his children would make good choices. He authored a song for us today about choices. It is in the book of Psalms (which means songs), and it is the first one.

It appears that, as people living under God, we are faced with choices. Three verses in this song talk to us about those choices. The first two verses tell us about two ways one might choose to go.

The way of the wicked (sinner, scoffer). The wicked is another way of saying the ungodly. We often think about murderers, pornographers, and so on. However, when scripture talks about the wicked, it is referring to those who have chosen to live life without God. Those who might say “I don’t need God to tell me how to run my life.” Their attitude is one of independence, not needing God. Those with this attitude are referred to as the wicked.

The wicked is associated with the word sinners. It is someone who is missing the mark of God’s intentions for his or her life. It is the picture of the marksman taking aim with his bow and arrow, and missing the target. God has offered direction for life, but those who say they don’t need it are sinners who miss God’s purposes for their lives. They totally miss the mark by going their own way, finding themselves far from God’s way for life. It is like the shooter missing the target.

The scoffers are the cynics who poke fun at religious things. They don’t need God telling them what to think or do with their lives. Surrendering oneself to God’s care is looked upon as something only for the weak. They would say, “That is not for me.”

These are the ways one might choose for oneself. In this psalm those ways are called the way of the wicked. Some people choose that way.

However, another way is outlined here, as well. It is the way of the Lord.

“Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1, 2)

In this passage the word delight does not simply mean a good feeling within, like being delighted with a granddaughter’s precocious ways. Instead, it is associated with doing something in response. Happy is the one who delights in the law of the Lord: he does something with it.

The law of the Lord referred to here is not only the Ten Commandments, as we sometimes think when we hear the word Law. It is really the Old Testament way of saying the Bible as a whole Ð the Torah. The Torah described for Israel what God had done for them in Egypt – saved them by grace – and how they were to live in response to that as his people. There was wisdom in living his way. God had the right instructions for making life work. This was called the law of the Lord Ð the Torah. If we were talking today, it would be the Word of God, Scripture, the Bible.

Happy is the one whose delight is in following the plan that God has laid out in his Word – the way of the Lord.

To summarize, we have two ways from which to choose: the way of the wicked and the way of the Lord.

The third and fourth verses of this song give us two pictures of a life. One pictures the life of one who chooses the way of the Lord and the other the life of one who chooses the way of the wicked. I suppose you might call these pictures the results of what is chosen. The psalmist describes two results, two kinds of people in the world.

As these psalms originated in an agricultural society, the songwriter uses two interesting pictures taken from a farm.

The first picture is the result of choosing the way of the Lord. Happy is the man who delights in the way of the Lord; he is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit and never withering, prospering and filled with life.

To be planted is to be solidly placed and deeply rooted. The winds may come, the storms may hit, but the tree continues to stand strong. That is the way of the Lord. The tree not only grows stronger, but its beauty also grows, because its roots are deeply nurtured by the stream of water flowing nearby. Even throughout a dry spell, the tree retains its beauty and does not wither. Furthermore, it bears much fruit and makes life taste better for those around it.

That is the way of the Lord. Those who stay in tune with the One who is eager to share with us and show us what makes life work through His Word, end up beautiful, strong, and able to face anything.

Then the songwriter gives us a contrast: “Not so the wicked . . . they are like chaff.”

Although I don’t know much about farming, I have read that in biblical times, after cutting the grain, the farmer would take the wheat into the threshing floor. He would leave the remains lying on the floor to dry. Then on a breezy day, he would come in with a winnowing fork and throw it up into the air.

(Remember that John the Baptist also talked about the winnowing fork. He described the Christ as one who would separate the wheat from the chaff.)

The wheat is surrounded by husks known as chaff. When the farmer would throw that pile into the air with his winnowing fork, the wind would hit the chaff and be blown away by the wind while the grain would drop to the floor.

It is a funny thing about chaff. It is at the mercy of the wind. It just blows about aimlessly, never quite landing, never sure where it is going to end. Chaff is considered worthless and not good for much. It does not produce anything except perhaps a bit of anguish for the farmer when the chaff would land on him. I used to go threshing when I was a kid. I remember how it would stick to me on a hot day.

The way of the wicked’s life can be pictured like one of chaff: floating around, never quite knowing where it will land, and never really producing anything useful. Never living God’s purposes for your life.

The way of the Lord is like a tree Ð beautiful and strong, the songwriter says. However, the way of the wicked is a “chaff-like” life.

Another verse to this song gives us different endings for each of these choices.

The first ending is not so happy. It is the way of the chaff. The wicked will not stand in the way of judgment. They will not stand in the presence of God. You see, that is what they have chosen. They are ungodly and do not want God. The way of the wicked will not stand with the righteous because the wicked have no relationship with God.

Isn’t it interesting that the song begins with the word happy, and ends with the final word for the wicked Ð perish? The way of the wicked will perish.

As I said, the song begins with the word “happy,” or another way of saying it is “blessed.” Blessed is the person to whom God has given a sense of well being in the presence of God during the worst or best of times. The person who is in a right relationship with God delights in learning and living his Word. He meditates on God’s Word by slowing reading the Bible, even memorizing parts of it.

When studying God’s Word, let us slowly chew on it, like a cow chews its cud. Slow down! Let the Word get into you. We’re not called to get into the word, but to let the word get into us. Reading the Bible is not to be a speed reading course. After all, what is the hurry? If I order a $50 steak dinner, I’m not going to gulp it down. I am going to chew slowly and savor every bite.

That is what we are called to do. It is the way of the Lord, and it leads to the state of being happy in the Lord.

This psalm presents us with two ways, two pictures, and two endings.

Whenever we read a song (like this one) that has been saved for us, we must ask this question: What does the author Ð not just the human author, but the divine author as well, the Holy Spirit Ð have in mind to move us toward? What is his encouragement here? What is he looking for from us, the listener?

The answer is really quite simple. God wants you to choose HIM, for to choose him is to choose life. You see, this God, who wants you to choose him, went to great lengths to make you his own. He gave his only Son at the cross to restore that broken relationship between God and you.

So his song cries out to those of us who listen this day: Choose me! I know what makes life work. After all, I invented it and designed it, didn’t I? I ought to know what makes it work for you. Draw near to me. Open my Word, read and reflect on it, and you will have life. I will change your life for the better and you will find real happiness.

The choice is yours. God would never force himself upon your life, as much as he would like to. But if you want to be like a tree Ð strong and beautiful Ð stay tuned in to HIM. Choose God’s voice Ð His Word Ð over the others.

A People Person

In St. Luke’s Gospel are three short stories where Jesus talks about important topics that help us as we grow in the Christian life. They are:

1. Loving Your Neighbor

2. Hearing the Word

3. Deepening our Prayer Life

Today we will center our minds on the first of these three topics, Loving Your Neighbor, from Luke 10:25-37.

An expert in the law of God asked Jesus, “What must I do to be saved?” It was a common question in that day, and it is a common question today. People are concerned about life after death. This life is brief, and we wonder if there is not more to life than we experience here on planet earth. We have some very difficult times here, and so we hope something better is waiting for us after death. So this man’s question was not unusual.

“What must I do to be saved?” is a theological question. Theology is a study of God. It is necessary for any person who teaches God’s Word to have a good understanding of Christian theology. Otherwise you come up with some peculiar teachings that are not true to what the Bible is telling us. Let’s stop right here for a minute and talk about theology.

The theological seminary is an important institution for the church. It is where people are trained to be teachers of God’s Word. If that school is not faithful to the Word of God, the church will be fed on false teachings. This has happened often and continues to happen today, especially in some of our schools with prestigious names. When the pastor has been trained in a theology that is in conflict with the Bible, he comes to the congregation with some heresies. This departure from scriptural teachings is disturbing to some of the laity, and thus the pastor is in trouble.

Let me use an example. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. But let’s say the student is taught by one of the professors at the seminary that the resurrection of Christ is a myth. He really didn’t come forth physically from the grave. Then the student is ordained and finds himself in a congregation that has been very traditional and orthodoxed. Hoping to give the congregation an update on the Bible, the pastor says one Easter morning, “Once our fathers believed the Easter story as recorded in the Bible, but now modern research has discovered that the resurrection story in the four gospels is a myth. Jesus did not rise. His spirit lives, but not in his body.”

The faithful believers in God’s Word resent this teaching and either the preacher or members of the church will be making ready for their departure from the congregation. There can be no compromise on the physical resurrection of Jesus.

At the present time, some churches in mainline Protestantism are being told by pastors, professors, or church leaders that the gospel of Christ can never be changed. However, the Law of God can be adjusted to make it less offensive to our present-day culture. Thus teachings like same-gender marriages and the ordination of practicing homosexuals is permissible. Today we have the results. Congregations are divided and some are leaving the denomination that has officially accepted this anti-biblical teaching. This shows that theology is important. All who teach in the church Ð laity or clergy Ð need to be theologically trained.

This short lesson on theology must be applied to our text lest we are led to believe that we can work our way into heaven. It is an excellent example of how Scripture must be interpreted by Scripture.

Notice how Jesus answered the question from the expert in the law: “What must I do to be saved?” He replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

Jesus took him back to God’s Word. The answers are found in the Word of God. That is worth remembering today. The lawyer quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. “ÔLove the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ÔLove your neighbor as yourself.'”

Jesus replied, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” Stop here and you could say that Jesus is teaching that salvation is by loving God and our neighbor. But the expert in the law had a second question. “Who is my neighbor?” Our Lord told him a story. It is a well-known story. We know it best as the story of the Good Samaritan.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ÔLook after him,’ he said, Ôand when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In this text, Jesus shows the importance of the Law of God. It cannot be changed to accommodate culture. Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).

Paul also helps us to understand the purpose of the Law when he writes, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (Galatians 3:24-25).

We see that the story of the good Samaritan is more than a moral lesson that we can save ourselves. It helps us to understand the relationship between the Law and the Gospel. This is another example of knowing some good theology. Had the Law been able to do its work in the heart of the lawyer, he would have fallen to his knees and said, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. I am lost and helpless.” Then his first question Ð What shall I do to be saved? Ð would have been answered: “Jesus, please save me.” He needed a Savior and so do we. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved ” (Acts 4:12).

Having brought us to Christ, the Holy Spirit moves us on to see that everyone in need is our neighbor and our love should reach out to all. St. Paul says, “The love of Christ compels me to love God and humankind.” The Christian becomes a people person.

Yes, God teaches us to love others, but this can only happen when we have first experienced God’s love for us. Then the love of Christ empowers us to love our Heavenly Father and all he has created.

How Can I Best Say Thank You to America

This Fourth of July weekend, our thoughts turn in a special way to our nation. How fortunate we are to enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have as citizens of the United States of America!

When I was a boy, my father showed me the building where he received his formal education. One building, two teachers, and eight grades. Were he alive today, he could have attended his great grandson’s graduation from Harvard University. His other six great grandchildren have or will have degrees from some of the best universities in the world.

Our family is not unique. You have your stories to tell that are equally as exciting.

All this causes me to ask how I can best say, “Thank you, America; thank you very much!” I have concluded that the greatest contribution I can make to this land is to minister to its greatest weakness, which is declining in spiritual life.

How is that done? For me, it is to point my family and friends to Jesus Christ. He is the only Lord and Savior of the world. Without a close relationship with him, our nation, like all others in the past, will not long endure. In our text today, Jesus teaches how we can make this contribution.

During Jesus’ three-year ministry, many people became his followers. They listened to his teachings, saw his love for people, and watched him perform many miracles. Now it was time to send them out to share with others what he had given to them. He told them they would have a variety of experiences. Some would be good, others bad. They would meet many families who wanted to know more about Jesus, and there would be others who had no desire to learn about Christ. Jesus said, “I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.”

There was a little more evangelism training on how to make a call, and then they were on their way. They were to wrap on the door of a family and greet them with the words, “Peace to this house.” If the family was receptive and invited them into their home, this should be their place of abode while in this village. In that home, they were to share the Gospel with these people. If some were sick, they should heal them. After a few days, they were to leave the family by telling them that the Kingdom of God was near to them and soon Jesus would visit their village.

If, on another call, the people showed no interest in what the witness had to offer them, they should simply warn the indifferent that the judgment day is coming, and move on to someone else.

When the seventy-two followers returned to Jesus, they came with great excitement saying, “Lord, even the demons submitted to us in your name!”

The commissioning of witnesses for Christ continues today. The message of sharing the Law and the Gospel never changes, although the method of how we share Christ with the world might change from time to time.

During my ministry at Nazareth, we became involved in Evangelism Explosion with James Kennedy as our leader. Dr. Kennedy placed great emphasis on the house call. People were sent out from our church with a trained leader to talk with people about their relationship with God. The people being visited had signed the visitor’s list at our congregation. Seldom were evangelism teams refused admittance to the home. In fact, the vast majority returned to the church for the report session with great enthusiasm. Today, I am told many people would refuse to let uninvited strangers into their homes, so this might be one change in sharing the Gospel.

Dr. Kennedy used to tell us that we had to earn the right to share the Gospel. We can witness to some people better than others. Another good tip was to develop a sensitive ear. Some people want to know more about Christ, but do not know how to approach the subject. One of our trainees shared his experience with such a person.

It was a cold, winter morning when the seeking man arrived at work. “It’s a hell of a morning,” Lee said.

“It’s a beautiful morning!” Jim responded.

His coworker replied, “You and your damn religion.”

Jim replied, “No, me and my friend, Jesus.”

The conversation ended there, but later in the day this man apologized to him. Then Jim had an opportunity to talk to his seeking friend about Christ and the Gospel.

I believe many people are spiritually hungry. The fields are still white unto harvest, but it is also true that we walk among a “den of wolves.” They resent being confronted with their relationship with God. But we must remember that Jesus never said discipleship would be easy. I have received more criticism for this kind of witnessing from staunch church members. “This isn’t Lutheran,” they have said to me. I would reply in different ways. One reply was, “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.” I cannot imagine a person trusting Christ and never sharing that faith with others.

Verbally sharing our faith in Christ is witnessing Jesus-style. Bringing some food and talking about the wind and weather might be some kind of witnessing, but it will never save a person. No wonder many of our churches are declining in church attendance and membership. We make little or no direct attempt to reach the lost.

One day I had a visit with Don about the faith. He wasn’t a member of our congregation, but visited occasionally. He asked if I would come to their home some evening, which I did. Entering the home, I was graciously received, and Don, his wife, and I sat in their living room drinking a cup of coffee. After the small talk was over, I began to share the Gospel with them. I approached the subject by asking them, “Have you come to that place in your spiritual life where you know for sure that, if you died tonight, you would go to heaven?” Neither one had that assurance. As we continued talking about sin and grace, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection, Don’s wife graciously excused herself, and Don and I continued talking.

When it was time to leave, Don followed me to my car. As we stood in his driveway, he asked what would be his next move if he should want to become a Christian. I replied, “Just ask Jesus to be a part of your life, and then find someone who knows the Lord to help you get started in your relationship with God.”

Not long after, Don appeared in my study and told me that he asked Christ into his life that evening. He then began a serious study of God’s Word, attended church regularly and heard the Gospel, and sought out some Christian friends. Today Don continues to grow in his faith and is a dynamic witness in the business community.

Think what could happen in this country if confessing Christians would only get serious about sharing their faith on a continuing basis. If the President of the United States is a Christian, and at the right time and place he shares his faith story, what a powerful witness that would be for the Christian faith. Witnessing must never be done in an obnoxious way. This is why every church that calls itself evangelical should be in the business of teaching their membership how to witness.

In the opening of this sermon, I talked about the opportunities God has given us by permitting us to live in this nation. We owe God and this nation much. And the greatest contribution Christians can give to America is to introduce others to Christ. My father did this with his eighth-grade education. I pray his grandchildren and great-grandchildren will do the same with their highly-trained minds.

Thank you, America! Thank you very much!