I’ve been running for the past five years or so, and while I wouldn’t consider myself a professional by any means, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over the past few years—like how to stabilize my breathing and how to run at a steady pace. Similarly, in the Christian life, we have many lessons to learn. I like to think that a lot of the lessons I’ve learned in running apply to the Christian life as well.
Do you usually write or speak when you communicate with another person? With rapid advances in technology and widespread use of social media, you probably switch back and forth between those two methods more than you realize. You write an email or text. You send a voice message or video. You write something to post on a social media platform. You comment on a friend’s picture online. You talk to your family. You give a presentation at work. Back and forth, back and forth. We are constantly communicating and doing it in so many ways simultaneously.
God has blessed us all with different talents, and sometimes, it might feel like other people’s abilities are better or more useful than your own. I know I have felt like this at times, and I recently felt this when I was with my family and our pontoon boat broke down.
I’m coming up on one year of marriage and let me tell you—it has been great, but it’s also been hard. We got married during a global pandemic and spent almost our entire first year of marriage in our one-bedroom apartment. We were both working from home and quarantined from friends and family for quite some time, so we were together quite literally all. the. time. There were definite blessings to this—when else would we have gotten to spend this much time together?—but it definitely tested our brand-new marriage.
Reaching out to others about Jesus Christ requires learning about them, their perspective, and the place that they are coming from. Most important, it requires intention. Read an excerpt from Faith That Engages the Culture by Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa below to see how important intentional engagement is when witnessing to others.
As a mom to two children under the age of five, I am constantly in the throes of laying groundwork for what I expect and teaching boundaries in a world that doesn’t seem to expect boundaries at all. However, as I have conversations with moms who are in the later stages of parenting, I am starting to understand that conversations about boundaries and expectations aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!
In our house, we are navigating these conversations about boundaries and expectations using the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 to shape our framework. As we work through difficulties with sharing toys or taking turns, the fruit of the Spirit gives us a great framework and simple language to use to help our littles understand how to treat one another. Inevitably, we face many moments when our actions (both on the part of the children or the parents—or both—in our house) not only need an apology but, more important, these moments need forgiveness.
In John 15, Jesus uses a vine and its branches to teach us about spiritual growth. Our spiritual fruit is the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In order to bear spiritual fruit, we have to be connected to the vine. Sometimes, even though it may cause suffering, we have to be pruned. God’s pruning process produces a bountiful harvest.
I’m so glad it’s summer.
There are many reasons for this—sunshine! patio dining! sundresses! But the number one reason is that it’s simply not winter.
This is an adapted excerpt from Connected to Christ: Witnessing in Everyday Life by Mark A. Wood.
There is so much to say about Jesus that it can be hard to find a place to start. But because there is so much to say about Jesus, there’s something in Jesus’ story to share with everyone. You can be confident that there is something in Jesus’ story that relates to the person you are conversing with because Jesus’ story connects to every human being. Your challenge as His witness is to determine something to share that is meaningful for and interesting to the other person. You can do that by seeking out a point of connection between Jesus’ story and the other person’s story.
My son, who loves to spend time drawing, has a hard time with his drawings not turning out exactly how he envisioned them in his mind. For a long time, he would only spend time drawing if I was going to draw with him and draw everything the ‘‘right way.’’