Sunday, 28 January 2007

Encouragement...and spreading the word

Are you a Christian? Would you say yes if someone asked you? Would it be the same answer depending on who's asking that question?
Do you find it hard to tell people you know about what you believe? When jokes about Christians crop up, do you speak up, outraged by what you hear or do you stay quiet and hope no one has noticed you haven't said anything about it? When people ask you what you did at the weekend, do you tell them that you went to church...and had fun (hopefully!) or do you lie about going to church on Sunday and say, 'Nothing'. I know which action I'd take and it would probably be the second option.

I just want to encourage all of you who are Christians who are finding it tough to tell your friends and people who you meet about what you believe... and to everyone else who's a Christian, who seems to feel like they are feeling alone in their faith, at school, college or work and wish that they could have Christian friends who they see every day - to encourage them and to talk about stuff you wouldn't be able to with your non Christian friends, like how God is so amazing and reading the bible together and stuff... And to anyone who wants to read it, Christian or not (though they may not appreciate it at all)

In this society, it is very hard to be someone who believes in the resurrection and what Jesus did for us. Recently in the news, Christians have been criticized a lot. We are often stereotyped as losers and freaks, due to many programs on the TV, from My Family to The Simpsons. Any Christian believer today knows this is not true. In the news, the articles tell how the Church of England seems to be falling to pieces, as they show the numbers attending church dropping every year.

But if you've ever been to a Christian youth event, like Soul Survivor, or been on a Christian camp in the summer, or a gathering with many churches in your area, though there are some people who aren't Christian there, there are thousands, even millions of people like you, around the UK and around the world, who believe in what Jesus has done for us. You are not alone, no matter how the press has dictated to the world that Christianity is dying and the numbers of us are dwindling, it's not true. You, who are reading this, are not alone in believing what you believe. No matter how much people may take the mickey out of our belief and try and squash all our hopes of sharing the gospel with them, you are not alone in suffering for your faith (if you do).

These are some Bible verses, written after Jesus's death and ressurection, most of them by a man called Paul, who wrote many of the books in the New Testament. You probably know about him but I'll tell anyone who doesn't. Because Paul told people about what he believed and witnessed to many, he was in prison for most of his life. But instead of moping around and languishing in self despair that God did not care about what happened to him, he wrote letters to the growing churches around the Roman Empire, encouraging them, sometimes lecturing them how they were pushing the LORD out of their lives and how to basically run a church......

But anyway, I hope these will encourage you...

'Do not be surprised if the world hates you.' 1 John 3 v 13
'Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.' 2 Timothy 2 v 3

'So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord...' 2 Timothy 1 v 8-10

'That if you confess with your mouth,"Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in hiim will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10 v 9-13
I know its hard to stand up for what you believe in. I do, I find it so hard to lose all of my anxiousness and tell people. But we can't do this on our own, we need God's help to give us the courage. But often telling people what you believe isn't enough, we need to show that God is at work in our lives and back up what we say with our actions.
  • Is He at work in your life? Ask Him now if you haven't already to come into your life and to change you. Let His light shine through you and apply his words in the Bible to your life.
    Pray that God will fill you with love, so you can love people, anyone..your friends, smile at people you've never seen before, act like Jesus would have done. You've heard His stories, He hung out with people everyone else loathed - do the same.
  • Make that person who's shy, who's being picked on, feel welcome. Ignore what people say about them. Get to know them.
  • If someone looks upset, ask them what's wrong, hand them a tissue, if they tell you their situation decide in your heart to pray for them. If you see them a few weeks later, ask them if they're feeling better.... there are so many ways to show this love, for more ways ask an elder Christian, because it would take too long for me to describe them all (!).
In a book I read recently by Beth Redman (who's Matt Redman's wife and an evangelist) called Soul Sista (sounds cheesy but a very good book) she says that evangelism doesn't mean becoming a 'Bible basher' and always quoting verses from the Bible. These small ways, of showing your love to people you know and to the ones you've never met before, will make them question... "what is it about that person? Why do they pay attention to me? Why are they always so kind and optimistic...why?"

But remember, you can't do any of this on your own. We are miniscule compared to God. It's by his power that many Christians across the world believe Christianity's message and become his followers. We need to pray, that we can be an example to others, of what a Christian actually is.

If you've read all of this and agree with me.... THANK YOU!! If none of this really refers to you and you think it was a waste of time reading it, I'm sorry for disappointing you. But please, if you know someone who's really struggling at the moment with being a Christian and telling their friends they are, please forward this to them. Because we're all brothers and sisters, we're all children of God.

'You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus...There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' Galations 3 v 26, 28 29.

You see, we're all related as we're a family in Christ! We need to encourage one another. Unless you are a very mean and very hateful sibling, how would you like it if you saw your sister cry because she feels lonely, or your brother slowly drift away from what he believed in, until he became bitter and did not want to know his Father anymore?

I've been really filled up with the Holy Spirit and its stirred me up. But if what I say offends you in anyway, please e-mail me back and say what it is. I've never felt so passionate about my faith before and since I became a Christian when I was eleven I've had many ups and downs. Some of you will probably be thinking: ' Well, she's got a lot to say' or 'What a load of rubbish.'

But the point of this message is to encourage people and I'm going to keep it short... please please please give this e-mail address to any Christians you know (and if you don't think anyone you know needs encouragement at the moment...send it anyway. You never know, they might find it useful!) and think about the bible verses and what they're saying to us - we should tell people what we believe and not be ashamed of the cross.... I wish every person who is a Christian in the UK would get this message and spread the word about Jesus.

God bless and thank you again for reading it (if you did... lol).

Your sister in Christ, Imogen xxx

P.S. Sorry if this blocks up your computer if it takes ages to arrive

P.P.S. If you didn't like what you read or found it really offensive, please send me an e-mail to let me know that you don't want to receive anything similar to that again... but if on the other hand you want me to send more messages like this to you directly, please e-mail me to say yes.

If you passed this website on and your friends want more messages like this sent directly to them in the future, ask if they can e-mail me their addresses so I can send it to them directly.

And please reply anyway if you've got any feed back or prayer requests, for anything at all... or just want to chat about things, please drop me a line at ....

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