Friday, November 25, 2011
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Get up crazy early. Stand in a long line. Spend hours in bone-chilling cold. Try to avoid being trampled by a stampeding crowd.
Oh, that sounds like a lot of fun doesn't it? Oh, what a way to spend the day after Thanksgiving! Or any day, for that matter. Yeah, guess what? More people than we can count—that's what they do. The news is filled with the countless stories of Americans doing just that. As you hit the stores, you try to scoop up the "door-busting" bargains offered in the wee hours of what they call "Black Friday." For some people it's more like black and blue Friday.
Now, Black Friday veterans have told me it's not just a crunch, it's also a rush. It's all about recognizing these short-lived opportunities and aggressively going after them before they're gone.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Black Friday Bargain Fever."
You know, that rush—recognizing short-lived opportunities, going after them before they're gone. Why, that should be what it's like to tell people the Good News about Jesus—that He can erase your sins, love you without strings. He can guarantee you heaven. It's all about recognizing the opportunities we all have regularly to bring up Jesus, and realizing that those windows of opportunity won't last long. Oh yeah, and going after those opportunities aggressively.
That's part of the Bible's description of how to live smart. It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 5:15-16. Here's what it says, "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise (okay, living smart), making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Another translation talks about "buying up the time." Just like those Black Friday shoppers, going after it with this passionate sense of urgency. It's not going to be there long. Grab it while you can.
When the bargains are gone, well, you lost a little money. When the Jesus-sharing opportunities are gone, it can cost you the eternity of someone you care about. Because in the words of the Bible, "he that has the Son has life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12). If you've got Jesus, you've got life forever in heaven. It's up to you to share that life with those around you who don't have Him and don't have that life.
Now, what creates a natural opportunity to talk about your relationship with Jesus? Well, it might be something happening in your life, it might be something happening in their life, or it could be something going on in the world. Anything that legitimately provides a natural opportunity for you to reference some difference that having Jesus has made for you.
More than anything, I think what opens natural opportunities to talk about Jesus is praying for them. You can't be around me too long without learning about the three-open prayer based on Colossians 4:3-4, where Paul says, "Pray for us, that God will open a door for our message." And then he says, "Pray that we'll proclaim it clearly as we should." So, you say, "Lord, open a door." That's a natural opportunity to bring up Jesus. And then, "Lord, open their heart." Get them ready. If you're going to get me ready to talk to them, get them ready to hear about Jesus. And then, "Lord, open my mouth." Give me the words, give me the courage, give me the approach to use.
You know, if you start to pray that three-open prayer, and I guarantee that God will answer it. You don't have to say, "Lord, if it is Your will." It is His will. "Lord, open a door." "Lord, open their heart." "Lord, open my mouth." When you ask God for open doors, then open your eyes to look for them. They'll be there, all over the place, because God really wants you to tell the people you know about His Son.
It's exciting to live the adventure of discovering life-giving opportunities. And it's costly to miss them...really costly.