Gear Up Pt. 3 - Gear Up With The Good News

Learning How To Share The Good News Of The Gospel.

Tim Lundy
Nov 22, 2020    48m
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Are you a follower of Jesus Christ, but you find yourself afraid of sharing the gospel? This message of encouragement helps us overcome that fear by giving us a simple plan to follow to learn how to share the good news of the gospel. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: 00:09 Hey Venture, I want to commend you this weekend. You know, we've been talking for several weeks about just year-end giving, faith promise giving, and you again have responded so generously as a church. We so appreciate it. And to see our faith promise giving, we've almost met our faith promise giving for the 2020 year, and we still have several weeks to go. Now, I do want to call you to one thing though, our 2021 commitment for faith promise. And you know, we're at that point in the year, usually at this part of the year, we have everybody in the room. We kind of have that eyeball to eyeball Sunday, where I look at everyone here, I tell you to pull out your faith promise card, tell you right now to fill it out and turn it in. And there's something about being together, having the card, making it very simple, we always see amazing response that weekend. I think last year, at this time, on that one weekend, we had over a million dollars committed to faith promise.

Tim Lundy: 01:10 Now this year, as we go into it, we've got about $880,000 total committed, that's about half of what we committed last year. And so we need to have an eyeball to eyeball weekend, even though you're not here. I'm asking everybody who's a part of Venture, maybe you're not a part of the Venture family, I understand that. But if you are, I am asking you if you will, right now, if you've got the card, pull it out. Even simpler, if you've got your phone, you've got a computer, anything near you, go online, go to venture.cc and faith promise will come up, and make your commitment for next year.

Tim Lundy: 01:49 And the reason I'm being so direct, this is one of the few things that we call everybody to be a part of. I'm calling you to be a part of it, because this is the money that we give away, it impacts the world. And so unequivocally I can call you and say, you're going to be helping other organizations, missionaries, projects, people around the world. The other reason I ask everybody to make a commitment, no matter how large or small, even if it's only a few dollars, you can commit to. Getting in the game together, sharing that together, we as a church family can be marked by what we give away. And so I encourage you right now, fill it out, don't pass go, don't stop, don't do anything else, go do it right now while you're thinking about it, let's make that together. Because all of our teams, the ones that are planning for India and Ethiopia, the ones that are doing projects in the middle East, all these different things that are happening all over the world, they're preparing their budgets now for next year. And this is such a strange year with COVID, and all that's going on with it, we want to make sure that we plan well and prepare well. And you'll help us by going ahead and declaring your commitment now to that.

Tim Lundy: 03:03 In fact, before I dive in this message, will you take a minute with me? Let's just lift this up together before God Lord, I do thank you for this church, this is a generous church body, they generously give. And Lord, you know our passion to be a part of what you're doing around this planet, especially this year, there's probably more need than ever before. And as we keep hearing from different missionaries, the problems with COVID is also opening up new opportunities, people are open to the gospel, like never before. And so I pray as a church family, would you prompt us to step out by faith? I pray for everybody that's been wrestling with maybe an amount, or wrestling with whether they could really do this. I pray for all of us, would we trust you and make this commitment together? Lord, I thank you for Venture, because together you're doing something awesome in this place and around the world, and we commit this to you.

Tim Lundy: 04:01 Well, this weekend we're continuing on with this series of gearing up. And I was thinking about it, especially in light of coming into year end, we're heading into some holiday weeks, there's all this going on. And during the holidays, one of the things that you'll see that picks up dramatically, is the holiday shopping. And this year more than any other year, it's not just going in person, it's ordering online. You know, one of the companies that have been impacted through COVID, and they're expecting a great year at the end of the year, is FedEx. I love FedEx. I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and if you're a Memphian, you love FedEx. I mean, it is the company, because their worldwide headquarters is there. And when you think about FedEx, they serve over 220 countries, they literally will deliver a package to every street address in the United States, and to 220 countries on top of that. Listen to some of the stats around it. They have 170,000 employees, 675 aircraft. If you're in Memphis, literally you'll see the FedEx planes coming in and out all the time. 50,000 ground transportation vehicles, 1800 office locations, and they have figured out how to mail and deliver a package with a one day turnaround. Because they've got a commitment as a company, and part of their core commitment and value is, that every person on the planet should have the ability to send and receive a package. I mean, and that core commitment drives all the logistics of what they do.

Tim Lundy: 05:46 You know, as I thought about that, this commitment, and of all these people that are impacting all around the world as they deliver this package. You know, I started thinking about the church, and we're talking about gearing up in the most important things we do. And guys, we don't deliver packages, but if you were going to boil it down and you go, man, what is a core value of the church? We do deliver good news, we do deliver this message of life change. We deliver in a way, and then probably the classic term for it is evangelism. How do we share with people about Jesus?

Tim Lundy: 06:29 And so this weekend, I want us to focus. Because I think it's so fundamental that we don't lose our edge,
that we don't pull back, especially in the time of COVID when people need good news the most, how do we gear up together to be able to share this well? Now, as I say that some of you, the term evangelism is a turnoff. Or maybe you're watching this, you go, Tim, I'm not even a Christian, or I'm not from the same traditions as you guys, and this is one of the topics I'm not real comfortable with. I'd encourage you stick with me, we're going to talk about maybe some of the reasons we make you feel uncomfortable. And there's parts of it, that if you look at the real heart behind the command, God's heart behind it, maybe it'll give you a new window into that.

Tim Lundy: 07:18 See, when I talk about evangelism, and not just people that are not in the church, but especially those who are in the church, a lot of people kind of shut down, or pull back with it. And there's some key objections that I'll hear from people of why we don't share, why we don't want to share our faith, why do we don't want to tell other people about Christianity. Let me give you three key objections that I hear.

Tim Lundy: 07:41 Look at the first one, of why we don't share. A lot of people say it is wrong to force your religion on someone else. And maybe you feel that way, you look at it and go, yeah, that is wrong, it's wrong to force your religion on someone. I agree with that, I think it's wrong to force religion on anyone. In fact, one of the central tenets of Christianity is that God doesn't force a relationship on anybody. So if you've ever felt like you were forced in that, man, that's missing God's heart. God gives everyone the opportunity to have relationship, but he doesn't force it on anyone.

Tim Lundy: 08:21 Now, as I say that though, there's a big difference between forcing and sharing. And some people even go so far, and it's interesting, even the millennial generation in the church, when latest surveys by Barna, about half of Christian millennials, believe it's wrong to share your faith with someone else, because that's forcing on them. And so maybe you hear that statement, and you go, yeah, if you share, and you're trying to share with the purpose of seeing someone converted, that's wrong, you shouldn't share your religious belief with anyone. And I love Tim Keller's response to that though, because he says, when somebody makes that dogmatic statement, it's wrong to share your belief like that, it's wrong to share your faith. You realize they're making a religious statement at that moment. Their belief system is that it's wrong, and so they'll make an exclusive claim that you shouldn't do it. And his point is not to be petty in it, but to point out, we all are driven by our belief system, we're all passionate about it. And tolerance used to be a thing that was really embraced in this country, and I hope we would embrace it again, that it's a two way street, that I would respect your belief system, that you respect mine. I'd respect you enough that I'd actually want to know what you believe, and you'd respect me enough that we could share that together.

Tim Lundy: 09:49 Now I think it's particularly hard with Christianity, and this is the second one that we hear a lot of times, it's offensive in this culture. And it's one thing to share religious belief, but the reality is Christianity can be very offensive in this culture. And again, some of you have had experiences where you've been offended by the way it was presented to you. I've had experiences as a Christian, I remember one time I was walking into the SAP center, and there was a guy there and he kind of had boards and he was preaching, and he literally got in my face and started telling me I was going to hell, and just kind of screaming these Bible verses at me. And I'm looking at him, and as I'm looking at him I thought, man, we may agree even on points, but this offends me. And maybe you've had that experience, where it just felt like somebody was trying to shove something down your throat. And again, I don't know the heart behind the person who was sharing with you. I will confess I can look back on my own life, there are times, man, I've done this so poorly times. I wish I could go back and go, man, I should have seasoned that a little better.

Tim Lundy: 10:59 There's a core part of the gospel, and the Bible recognizes this, that's always a little offensive because it speaks to the condition of a person. And so in order to share good news, you do have to point out bad news. And we don't always like hearing it, especially if it's delivered in the wrong way. I mean, imagine this, if somebody ran up to you and they go, hey, I've got good news, I have such good news. Look at this, I got this pill, this pill cures ugliness, in that good news? Now quick, take it. How would you feel in that moment? You'd say, wait, wait, what are you saying about me? And I think a lot of times that's how the culture feels about Christians, they feel like we're on the other side of the gym, and we're kind of over there taunting them. You know, we're looking at them. We're kind of U G L Y, you ain't got no alibi. You're ugly. Yeah. Yeah. You're ugly. And they're looking at us going, oh yeah, well you're hypocrites. Yeah. Yeah. You're hypocrites, or whatever response they would do. See, that's why it's so important, the good news does point out bad news. We all are ugly, that's what sin is, it's spiritual ugliness, it's spiritual fallenness, it's spiritual brokenness. And I think it's so important, anytime we're talking about it. It's not a case of, oh, we're the good people, and those are bad people. We're all ugly, in fact, the only one who's good, the only one who's beautiful, is Jesus. And the core of what we believe, is that Jesus shares his goodness, he shares his forgiveness, he shares his healing, with all that's ugly in our lives. That all of us share that together.

Tim Lundy: 12:53 Now, some people, even when you share it in those terms, some people will reject it. That's always going to be the case. Some people will always scoff at it. In fact, I love how Paul puts it, Paul was probably the strongest evangelists that ever walked on this planet. And he never got offended that people rejected, he recognized that came with the territory. Look how he puts it in First Corinthians, he says, "Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching." Look how he describes it. He says, hey, when we share this, man, I know it sounds foolish to so many people, but God uses it to save those who believe. "It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven." The Jews looked at him and said, hey, you've got to show me more signs than this, prove it to me. "And it's foolish to the Greeks, (the Western world) who seek human wisdom." They say, this doesn't make sense. As you look at this though, Paul doesn't get offended, Paul doesn't get overly defensive. He just presents the good news, and he recognizes some people are open and will embrace that.

Tim Lundy: 14:08 There's one last thing that I hear of why we don't share, this may be more common, I'm not good at it so I leave it to the experts. I'll hear that with a lot of people, they go, Tim, I don't know what to say. I'm terrible at it, I get tongue tied, I'm not good. You guys are pastors, you guys are the church, you guys are the experts, you share. And I understand that, I mean, I've had the advantage of going to seminary, I have the advantage of talking about this stuff all the time in it. But the core part of living out our faith and owning it, is if we're going to be as effective as a FedEx in delivering packages, it's going to take all of us sharing the good news as you've experienced it. In fact, you might be the perfect person to share with the person that God's put in your path, better than a pastor, better than a church. And there's this responsibility in it, because you could look at it and you go, yeah, but Tim, some people have the gift of evangelism. And I agree, I look at those, especially, that are really effective. I'm always amazed at their ability to engage people in these kinds of conversations, but that doesn't resolve us from any responsibility in it.

Tim Lundy: 15:21 I mean, look at the other gifts in scripture. Scripture talks about the gift of compassion. I could look at that and go, well, I don't have the gift of compassion, so I don't have to show any compassion to anyone. No, that's not true. The scripture talks about the gift of generosity. I can look at it and go, well, I don't really have the gift of generosity, so I don't have to give anything. No, we all have responsibilities, and here's the reality for all of us, we're called to share the good news. Now, why do I say that? Well, if you were going to boil it down, look at how Jesus puts all of scripture in Matthew. When Jesus was asked, what's the greatest command, he boils it down to two things. He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus says this real simple, it comes down to, if you want to boil everything that they believe down to two things, you love God, and you love others. And if you put everything that we're called to do through those grid, and especially when you put, why should I share with others through that grid? I'll tell you two reasons. The first reason we do, is because we love God and we want to obey him. Because we love God, it really is that simple. God's a God who went on mission, God loved us so much, he always was sharing the good news. God loved us so much that even when we reject him, even when we were enemies against him, scripture says, he sent his son to die for us. It's just fundamental to who he is. And there's a core part of it, when I start balling all of it down and I go, man, do I love God? If I love God, I'm going to be like him. And if he's a God on mission, then I'm on mission. I want to reach people too, and I want to obey him

Tim Lundy: 17:18 And guys, there's no way you can slice the New Testament, there's no way you can slice Christianity, and cut it up in a way that the core command to go out and share this good news is not always there. It's just so fundamental to everything Jesus taught. It's so fundamental to everything that church is about. And the reality is it needs to be fundamental to our life, because we love God. Do you know the difference between have, to and want to, is love. There's a lot of things that I can kind of chalk up to, I have to do that. But when I love someone, man, I want to do that. There's a lot of ways I serve my wife, a lot of menial tasks. And I don't look at all of those and go, oh man, I just love that, or I'm great at that, and I want to do that, it doesn't come naturally in it. But when I add that element of, but I love her, and because I love her, it's not just to have to, I want to. And I do think there's a fundamental part of this, man, do we love God? Do we love him enough, man, that we want to be like him, we want to do the things he did, we want to obey the things he calls us to do.

Tim Lundy: 18:41 And then you add the second part of that command, because we love others. And here's the core word I'd say, we just want to help them. Man, don't you want to help other people? Don't you want to love people enough that you'd go, yeah, I'd love to help their life. Look how Jesus put it, a fundamental way to help them. "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them." He's looking out at all these people, "Because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." He just saw, their lives are disjointed. their lives are not working. "And then he said to his disciples..." Look how, when he's moved to compassion, look what he wants to happen. He says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Isn't this interesting, as he saw these people, their lives are broken, they need help. And he goes, hey guys, here's the fundamental thing I want you to do, there's more people out there that need help than there are people to go help them, so will you start praying now that God would send laborers out into the harvest. And when he uses that term harvest, he's specifically talking about the gospel, he's specifically talking about people coming to Jesus. And it really does get as fundamental as this, there's no better way to help a person than introduce them to Jesus Christ, and they have a relationship with him.

Tim Lundy: 20:22 I'll just say that unequivocally, of all the ways that we want to help as a church, and hear me, when I say that we want to help in tangible ways. That's why we're giving away money every week, we're giving away money to people who don't have rent right now, who can't pay medical bills, who've been so impacted by COVID. We're giving away money to help drill wells around the world for villages that don't have water. We're sending food to places that have been decimated. We're building schools, we're rescuing young women who are in sexual slavery, and children who've been enslaved in it, and inviting them into a new life. We're educating, and feeding, and training, we're doing all these tangible ways, and I believe all of that is a part of the gospel. But I'm going to tell you, on top of all that, there's nothing that will help somebody more than them having a relationship with Jesus. It not only changes this life, it changes eternity.

Tim Lundy: 21:24 And I'm thinking about it right now, I can't fathom personally going through this last season without Jesus. With all that's gone on with COVID, and guys, I have pretty good life, but COVID's been hard, it's been stressful. And I find myself down some days, and afraid, and then I get frustrated with all that's going on, and I look at it and I literally couldn't fathom what it would be like to not have Jesus in my life. And for those of you who don't have that, my heart aches for you, because I know what it means for me. And I also know this, I'm not afraid to die. I don't want to die, but I'm not afraid to die, because I'm right with God. I'm not saying I'm perfect, there's a big difference, I got a lot of that ugliness in my life, but I'm right with God because of Jesus, and that changes my eternity. Guy's, I want that for every person on the planet, man, to have God and be in relationship with him right now because we desperately need it. And to know that eternity is secure, because you're right with God, because of what Christ did. Don't we want that for everyone? Don't we love people enough that we'd want to share that? So how do we do this?

Tim Lundy: 23:10 And in this final part guys, again, this whole series is real practical, it's pretty simple. There may be parts of this that you look at it, and you go, I know that, I know that. It's not a matter of knowing, it's a matter of how are we engaging? How are we actually gearing up and doing? And so I like to make things real simple, I've got five P's, five P's for how do we gear up with the gospel?

Tim Lundy: 23:30 Let me give you the first one, pray. Pray, it always starts with prayer. If you did nothing else coming out of this message, but started praying, man, that'd be a great step. Now, what do you pray for? First, you pray for yourself to love others. You pray, literally, and I pray this all the time. Because here's what I realized, do you when I stop sharing, it's usually because I've stopped caring. I just get so tired, and I get frustrated with life, or I get so busy. And the reality is, I kind of love people in concept, but I don't really love people in reality. And so people start becoming an interruption in my day, instead of an opportunity. So I have to pray this all the time. I'm like, God, give me a heart to love people like you love people, help me see them like that.

Tim Lundy: 24:20 And then you start praying for divine appointments. God as you're bringing people across my path, open my eyes to an opportunity to plant a seed, to just point people to you. And as you do that, there's probably more of these happening than you realize, when you start praying, you start seeing them, they're there all along, but you start seeing them. And it can be something simple as, maybe somebody at work on a Monday morning, they look at you and they go, hey, what'd you do this weekend? Instead of looking at them and going, Oh, nothing, or I watched the game. What if you just told them, you know, actually I went to church? Well, we couldn't go to church, but I watched it online, because it's pretty important part of my life, man, I so need that. See in that one moment, you took a question and you go, hey, can I just give you a window in my life, and see if God uses that as an opportunity. When somebody shares with you, something that's going wrong in their life, instead of just kind of going, oh man, that's a bummer. Man, use this as an opportunity, hey, can I share with some hope I have in my life? Can I share with you who's getting me through during these times? Maybe somebody shares a mistake they've made, you can share a mistake you've made, and what grace looks like in it. Pray for divine appointments, those kinds when they come along.

Tim Lundy: 25:39 Pray for specific people by name. Man, write down people, man, people that you want to see come to Jesus. Pray for them faithfully, having it written down and praying by name. What I do is I'll write down the name, and then every time I pray for them, I put a dot behind their name. And it just gives me a reminder, man, I want to keep lifting this person up. And then instead of just praying for people, I'd encourage you, this is a step of faith, but pray with people as God opens the door. You'd be amazed if you ask somebody, as they're sharing with something going on in their life, or something going wrong. If you just stopped for a moment, go, hey, you know what? Prayer has made such a big difference in my life, would you mind if I prayed for you? And the worst they'll say is no, I'm not comfortable with that. Do you know what most people will say, yeah. I'd love that. You'd do that? You might have the opportunity to pray with them right there, sometimes they're not comfortable in that setting. But if you come back later and then ask them, hey, I've been praying for you, how did that go? You know, as pastors we meet every week, there's about 30, 35 churches, we get on a zoom call. And we get with our county supervisors, we get with the county attorney, a couple of weeks ago few of us met with Dr. Cody, and we're meeting because we want to use the opportunity to be able to engage them about how all of this is impacting the church, and to be able to speak up for churches and what we need. But do you know, when we're in those meetings with them, we always are looking for opportunities. And we'll often say to them, hey, you guys are in such a hard role, could we stop and pray for you before you leave? Could we pay for something going on in your life? And it just gives an opportunity to go, hey, can we share with you a window of what we believe, and what's important to us?

Tim Lundy: 27:25 The first thing is pray. The second thing, prove, you've got to prove the gospel. You go, well, Tim, if I could prove it, it's make it real easy. How do we prove what Jesus said is true? Well, we're the proof. Look how Jesus put it in Matthew 5, he says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Jesus said, you're the salt, you're the light, you are my witnesses. You're it, you're my proof, you're my delivery system of this whole thing. And it's not just delivering a message with our mouths, it's delivering a message with our lives. Guys, as I say that, it's not perfect lives, but it's forgiven lives, it's inviting people in. How do we do that? Two ways.

Tim Lundy: 28:25 One, you prove it in the way you live your life. You prove it in the way you live your life. And again, I would say it doesn't have to be perfect lives. I did a funeral last week with Chip Ingram, together, we had the privilege of sharing for our friend, Rick Robossi, who was a member of this church. And if you knew Rick and you knew his story, Rick didn't live a perfect life, but boy he lived a powerful one. And he used his life, and he used his mistakes, as an opportunity to point people to Jesus and the power of grace.

Tim Lundy: 29:02 We use our work-life, you know, one of your best testimonies, especially here in the Valley where people value leadership, they value work, they value an ethic, where you come at it and you work hard, man, it's a powerful testimony. Did you ever think about your work, is pointing people to Jesus, in the way that you conduct it. In fact, I don't want you to just hear it from me. Aaron Anderson, he's a member of our church body, works at a large tech company here, and he knows the environment of it. Because it can be tough in those kinds of companies, but he's passionate about his faith as well. I want you to listen to his testimony.

Aaron Anderson: 29:42 Well, hi everyone, my name is Aaron Anderson, I'm an executive at a tech company here in Silicon Valley. I know a lot of us, when we hear about expressing our faith at work, have many different ways of thinking about that, some bring a bit of fear and apprehension. And I like take a different angle to this, which is, you know, expressing our faith through our actions. And, you know, I don't believe it's a coincidence that some of the best organizational strategists are Christians. You look at Ken Blanchard, a best-selling author, and his book Leading At A Higher Level. You look at Patrick Lencioni and his books, The Advantage, or The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. You know, both authors are very clear with how their faith has influenced their organizational strategy and design, and influenced their perspectives they have about healthy organizations, and high-performing companies.

Aaron Anderson: 30:42 And you know, I think as we go about our day to day, you know, leveraging that thinking, and evidencing our behaviors in a way that lineup to our faith, ends up creating healthy organizations. You know, we hear a lot about, you know, authentic leadership, bringing our authentic self to the workplace. And this is our opportunity to bring our authentic self and our being to our workplace through our behaviors. Now this may show up in many different ways, it may show up in how you, you know, focus on development and growth in your team, and trying to get the best out of individuals, and putting their needs above your own. It may show up in terms of how you promote an inclusive environment, and promote diversity, knowing that we're all loved by God. And it may show up as well in your integrity, we all know a work from home has maybe given some people the opportunity to maybe expense a little more than they should have, or to take some leniency that they may not otherwise take while they're in the office. And it's important for us to live that high integrity life, and show our values and behaviors.

Aaron Anderson: 32:02 And what happens, inevitably, in what I've found, is when you do this, people reach out to you and say, you know, there's a little something different about you. Explain to me why you're investing so much time in others, or why you have these views? And it gives you an opportunity to share how your faith drives your decision-making, and, you know, it gives people an opportunity to see that linkage between your faith and your actions. And generally, when they see your actions line up with your faith, it's a pretty good testimony.

Tim Lundy: 32:33 Man, I love the way he put that. And I love that he's not only telling us about it, actually living it out. See the way we live our lives, is part of the proof of why would anybody want to listen to our message? And not just the way we live our lives, but the way we love others, man, we need to be known for our love. You know, it's interesting to me how the word evangelical has changed over the last 10 to 20 years, especially over the last a few years. I mean, when you hear evangelical now, it's usually spoken of as a voting bloc, and how we'll vote. You know, the core of that word, evangelical, evangel, right in the middle of it, it's right there, it's good news, it's being a messenger, it's being known for that. Guys, I think if there was ever a time for the church to step forward and go, we want to be known for how we love the world, we want to be known for this message that's shaped our lives. And maybe we're not living it perfectly, but we are living as forgiven people, and we can demonstrate what grace is about.

Tim Lundy: 33:50 Third thing that you do, you have to prepare. Prepare. You prepare time with God every day in the Bible. If you're not taking in the living word, you're not going to have a living message. And so that's why the message from a couple of weeks ago, man, daily time with God prepares our hearts, prepares our lives, for it. You need to prepare your story of why you believe, that you have a unique story of what Jesus has done in your life. Have you ever sat down and prepared how you would tell somebody? How you could tell it in simple terms? And then you need to prepare a simple presentation of the good news.

Tim Lundy: 34:28 If somebody were to walk up to you today and go, hey, could you tell me from the Bible how I could have a relationship with God? What would you say to them? Would you know where to go? Would you have passages that you could point to? And again, I'm not saying that to demean. I'm just talking about, if we took a little bit of time, and just said, hey here, if you knew these three verses, if you knew this section of scripture, here's this Bible study, taking some time to prepare. With the expectation, somebody will ask. Look how Peter put it. Peter says, "If you worship Christ as Lord of your life." If you're living your life in a way that people go, huh? "And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it." Always be ready.

Tim Lundy: 35:21 And so you want to pray, first of all. You want to live a life that's proving out this faith. You want to prepare for it. Number four, you then want to present it. You got to present it, you actually have to share it. Now, as you share it, here's what I'd encourage, listen, and learn from them first. This is probably the biggest protection from running in and presenting in a way that people feel offended, or I just got in their face. Did I talk to them and find out where they were coming from first? Do I know them, and we have enough relationship, I know what you believe. I mean, think about this, let's say you had a neighbor, a next door neighbor, who's a devout Muslim. And they invite you over for dinner, and they said, hey, we want to talk about what we believe. And as you sat down, you're going, man, this will be exciting. And then for the next hour, they share with you their belief of Islam. They walked through the five pillars of it, and why each of them were important, and what you need to do to prepare your life when you stand before Allah in judgment. And if you listened to the whole presentation and then you got to the end of it, and you said, man, I really appreciate that. Now, can I share with you what I believe as a Christian? How would you feel in that moment if they looked at you and said, here's all you need to know, you're just wrong. You just trust us, this is the right way, and you're wrong. Now, will you believe? How would you feel? Honestly, wouldn't you maybe be a little frustrated? You' go, they didn't even give me the opportunity, they didn't care. And I would say the same is true, that often we get excited about what we believe, because it is good news. But do we love people enough to listen to them first, to find out where they're coming, to from to hear their experience? So that when we share, it wasn't just all an information dump, it was actually an exchange. So when you're preparing, prepared to listen.

Tim Lundy: 37:35 And then in that presentation, you need to share openly when given the opportunity, God's going to open some doors, and when he does, don't be afraid to share, no matter who it is, or where you are. And I was thinking about the actor, Steve McQueen. When I was a kid, Steve McQueen was like, for me, the coolest actor out there. I remember seeing him in The Towering Inferno, and then Bullet, and I remember The Great Escape, I mean, just all these cool movies. And he had quite a reputation in Hollywood, he grew up in broken homes, had had a series of abusive stepfathers, ran away from home. And through a large part of his life, he tried to fill the void of that with alcohol, and with relationships, and he was known kind of as this partier in Hollywood. Until he reached a point in his life, he was taking flying lessons, he loved to fly. And the guy that was teaching him flying lessons, he just kept noticing something different about this guy's life, peace, or a genuine joy he didn't have, and he's thinking I'm a Hollywood actor. So finally he asked him one day, he said, what is different about you? And in that moment, that pilot had prepared to be able to share, because while they're flying there, he shared with him about Jesus Christ. About how he had changed his life, and what he had done for him, and Steve McQueen just took it in. You can imagine the shock the next Sunday, when on Sunday morning, he woke his wife up and he said, hey, get dressed, we're going to church. She said, we're going to church? He said, we're going to church. And over the next several weeks, as he took it in, and he came to Christ. A little bit later, he found out he had cancer, and in his fear and wrestling with it, he called Billy Graham. He had Billy Graham come see him, he says, I want you to walk me through this, I want to make sure I'm secure in this. Billy Graham walked him through a number of verses, and again, he prayed, and wanted to know with absolute surety that he was God's child. As a cancer got worse, he went into the clinic. And as he was in that cancer clinic, you know, as nurses would say, not a person would come in his room that he didn't share with them about Jesus. One day the nurse walked in and he had had a massive heart attack, and on his chest was the Bible that Billy Graham had given him, and it was open to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, I that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." See, he was up in a plane with a pilot, who when given the opportunity, shared the good news. That it's good news for anyone, no matter what you've done, no matter what your life. Will you share when you're given those opportunities?

Tim Lundy: 40:51 And as you do that, here's the final part, just leave the results to God. We don't have to convert anyone, Steve McQueen didn't get saved in that plane that day, he wasn't ready for that yet. But somebody shared, somebody put a seed, and that seed came to fruition out of it. That's all God calls us to do, none of us has ever saved anyone, only Jesus can do that, but all of us can share with how they can experience him.

Tim Lundy: 41:26 Final point I would say then, is partner. Partner. Don't do this alone, partner with your family and friends. I mean, have you ever talked about it as a family? Have you ever sat around the dinner table, and you go, hey, as we're doing this together, maybe you're doing catechism, maybe you're reading through the New Testament together. As you're doing all these things, have you ever stopped and go, hey man, who would we love to see come to Jesus? How, as a family, could we love our neighbors better? What are some things we could do? Have you ever gotten together with your friends, or with your life group, and you go, man, who are we praying for? Who are we thinking about? See, so often this dies because we try to do it alone, and it gets so discouraging alone, partner.

Tim Lundy: 42:11 And then partner with your church, partner with us. In fact, one of the key things we're going to do, is equip you. Going into this next year, how can we equip better? How can we gear you up, to be able to do this better? How can we do things in partnership? In fact, not just in January, but during the month of December, we want to partner together. In fact, if you look in your notes, finishing out, here's three ways that I'm going to call you to do this. The first one, I want you to talk as a family, or with your friends, about how you're going to put this in action. How are you going to do this? And secondly, I want you to partner to serve at the Winter Wonderland Christmas Festival we're going to have. You go now, what is that? Here's what we're doing as a church, we can't do our normal Christmas service, we've got limitations. But we can host 200 people on this campus, outdoors. And so we've made a commitment as a church staff, we're going to have a Winter Wonderland Festival. It's going to have Christmas trees that are decorate, we're going to have lights in places. We've got a synthetic ice rink, an outdoor ice rink that's coming. We'll do the hay rides with it. We can host up to 200 people per session, and so for over six nights, from December 17th to the 22nd, we'll do two sessions a night. And try to get as many people that are not just in Venture, but especially from the community, to be able to come on our campus and experienced Christmas in some way. Because here's the reality, people have had a lousy year. People don't get to make many family memories even this year, I mean, people are struggling in so many ways. And if we, as a church, could just offer something to them, and say, hey, come here, come enjoy this, come experience. Christmas, come make a connection with us that maybe you wouldn't have made any other time or any other way. We want to serve you, with the light of Christmas, in a really dark year.

Tim Lundy: 44:19 As we do that, here's what we're going to need. We need you to help us. We need you to sign up. You can see the link in your notes, maybe as a life group, or as a ministry, or as a family, you say, hey, we want to decorate one of those trees, we'll pick a theme, and we'll decorate it. We want to serve one of those nights, we want to be one of the volunteers. We want to help in some way, because we want to get in the game and serve our community, come partner with us in that.

Tim Lundy: 44:49 And then secondly, with that, we also want you to get your gift boxes. We've got little white gift boxes, and we're putting a big candle in every one of the boxes, some candy, and then you might want to put a gift card or something else in it. And on it, it'll have a decal, and have some instructions, that'll link people to our digital Christmas Eve service. This year we're going to offer a digital Christmas Eve service, it'll be online, it'll be available all day Christmas day, that they can come together as a family, and engage that together. And instead of being able to come here and have a candlelight service here, we're sending out the candles out there, so that you'll have a candle in your home. There's a key part of the service, we'll light it together, we'll share the fact that Jesus is the light of the world, and what he does in really dark days like this. Now we've ordered those boxes and candles, and as we sat down as a team, we started going, how many should we get? Maybe get a thousand, a thousand for our church family. Maybe 2000, 3000, I mean, we've got all the people coming to the festival. You know what? We bet large, we went 4,000, 4,000 boxes. Hey, if FedEx can deliver 4 million packages a day, our church can deliver 4,000 of these boxes. We can give them away, give them away to your family, to your friends, give them to anybody that it's a simple gift. And in that gift, there's an invitation for them to engage our service, and to hear about the light of Christmas. Guys, it doesn't really get any easier than that. We're going to do some in Korean, for our Korean congregation. We're going to do some in Mandarin, for our Mandarin congregation. We're going to translate those services, so that when they engage it and they go out, they can actually hear it in those languages. See, there's ways we're going to be able to reach the world we haven't been able to, and we need you to partner with us, as we share this good news.

Tim Lundy: 46:48 Guys, I think if there was ever a season, and I'm not just talking about the holiday season, I'm talking about the season that our world is right now, where people need good news, it's now. Let's gear up, let's commit, let's share it together.

Tim Lundy: 47:09 Let's pray. Father, I thank you, I thank you that you're a missions God, that you went on mission to come save us. Lord, I thank you that you call us to do the same. And I pray, I pray for this season that we're going into, I pray for this Christmas season. Lord, would you use these tools, would you use these boxes, would you use this festival, would you use anything that we do to point people to Jesus? Lord, would you use our opportunities, the divine appointments that you're putting across our path? Would we share with an openness, but also with courage. Lord, we long to see people experience what we've experienced. And so I pray that for everybody who's hearing this message, that they would know that Jesus Christ loves them, died for them, has paid all for them, and is willing to forgive them right now. Lord, may that message beyond our mouths, may it be lived in our lives. And we pray this in Christ' name. Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600