November 16, 2022
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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. Doesn't that sound like fun?
What a way to spend the day after Thanksgiving! Or any day for that matter. Guess what? More people than we can count, and that's what they're going to be doing on that "Black Friday" whenever it comes around. The news will be filled with countless stories of Americans doing just that. Although more and more are going online. But still, they'll hit the stores, and they're going to try to scoop up the "door-busting" bargains offered in the wee hours of Black Friday. For some people it will be more like a black and blue Friday maybe.
Now, Black Friday veterans have told me it's not just a crunch, it's a rush. It's all about recognizing these short-lived opportunities and aggressively going after them before they're gone. (I'll be sleeping.)
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Black Friday Bargain Fever."
You know that rush! Where we recognize short-lived opportunities, and go after them before they're gone. Why, that should be what it's like to tell people the Good News about Jesus. He can erase your sin. He'll love you without strings. He can guarantee you are going to 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. Yeah, and going after those opportunities aggressively.
That's part of the Bible's description of how to live smart. Did you know that? It's in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 5 beginning in verse 15. Here's what it says: "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise..." Okay, that's living smart. Here's living wise: "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 the passionate sense of urgency. It's not going to be there long. Grab it while you can.
When the bargains are gone, you lose a little money. When the Jesus-sharing opportunities are gone, it can cost the eternity of someone you care about. Because in the words of the Bible, "He that has the Son (that's Jesus, the Son of God.) 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, who don't have that life.
Okay, so what creates a natural opportunity to talk about your relationship with Jesus? It might be something happening in your life, or in their life, or something going on in the world. Anything that would legitimately provide 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 3-open prayer based on Colossians 4:3-4. Here's what Paul says, "Pray for us, that God will open a door for our message." And then he says, "Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should."
So, you pray, "Lord, open a door." That's a natural opportunity to bring up Jesus. And then, "Lord, open their heart." "Lord, get them ready. And 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, the approach.
If you start to pray that 3-open prayer, God's going to answer it. You don't have to say, "Lord, if it's Your will." It is. He wants to open a door, open their heart, and open your mouth. So, start praying that. Learn it right now: "Lord, open a door." "Lord, open their heart." "Lord, open my mouth." When you ask God for open doors, then you open your eyes to look for them. They'll be there, all over the place, because God really wants you to tell people about what His Son did for them.
It's exciting to live the adventure of discovering life-giving, life-saving opportunities. And it's costly to miss those opportunities - really costly.