Last Thursday, this group of girls gathered at our place for another Scripture Memory Challenge! This time, our verses (all 37 of them) were centered around the Gospel, and sharing the Gospel with others!
I really can't do justice to our evening together with just a handful of photos and comments... wish you could have joined us. I felt like God tremendously blessed everything - the timing, the topic, the conversation, even the general spirit of everyone. We had a guest join us this time and she exclaimed to us, "I wish my youth group was like this!" We truly are blessed to have so many girls striving to live vibrant Christian lives. Another girl mentioned to me afterwards that she wasn't originally super excited about this topic being the theme of our Challenge, because she thought she pretty much had it down, but then realized there was a lot more to learn! She said, "I think this has probably been the best challenge yet!!"
Our approach towards memorizing Scripture together over the course of the last several years has changed. Sometimes we've memorized a book together, with each girl taking on her own chapter, other times we've memorized long passages, such as Psalm 119, and sometimes we've selected a theme and pulled verses from all over the Bible that aid us in understanding that given topic on a deeper level. Sometimes we've quoted together, sometimes alone, and sometimes in front of a lot of people, but always, I have felt the blessing of God on our times together: the development of accountability, diligence, perseverance, encouragement for one another as we work towards a common goal, and at the last - a great feeling of success and rich fellowship as we learn how to incorporate into our lives what we now have memorized. :)
I had put together a list of common objections or questions that people have when discussing Christianity, and Dad had the idea of putting them on the back of photographs, so that each girl could pick a photo of a person that caught her eye, flip it over to read the question/statement, and answer it with a verse from our memory list. It was great!
One of the questions was,
If God is love, why does He let bad things happen to good people?
First, there are no good people, according to the standards of God's law.
Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"
And we know that suffering is a result of sin:
Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
However, sin was dealt with at the cross, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: " [I Peter 3:18] and John 1:12 says, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" If we receive Christ, we have the hope of spending eternity without the painful consequences of a fallen creation.
A few more statements that we answered with Scripture:
I’ve never sinned.
I John 1:8-10: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Yesterday I talked with a young Mexican lady in a park who had never even heard of the 10 commandments before, and as we went through a couple of them, she didn't think she had ever broken one. However, she did agree with me that the Bible is true, and so I reminded her of a few verses such as Romans 3:10
and Romans 3:23
, and shared with her that if we could indeed obtain perfection here on earth, then Jesus Christ died in vain! Our salvation would be by our own works, our own merit, and not by the grace of God.
I think there are a lot of roads to Heaven! John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
I’m afraid I won’t know what to say when I witness.
Are you saved? If so, then you know enough to tell others! We did a quick survey to find out of the girls we had Thursday night, how many were lead to Christ because someone (parent, friend, pastor, stranger) shared the Gospel with them, and I believe it was something like 80% prayed to receive Christ because of someone else spoke with them about it! And be assured, the people who spoke to them about their relationship with Christ probably didn't know everything about "how to witness", but they were, nevertheless, willing (praise the Lord for that) and God clearly blessed their efforts!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God.
Go, because it is commanded.
Meditate on these verses:
Jeremiah 1:8-9 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Exodus 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
One more thing here - if you don't know how to answer someone's question, consider getting their email address or phone number and say something like, "I don't know the answer to that, but I would be glad to let you know as soon as I find out." This not only relieves a little pressure :), it expresses sincerity and genuine concern for the person with whom you are talking.
I’m not as bad as a lot of people. I’ve never killed anybody!
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
How does some man dying on a the cross have anything to do with me?
I Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
II Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
A couple days after our Challenge, I was talking about the topic of witnessing with a friend while we were out hiking. She told me after that conversation, her dad and she were at a gas station and got in a great conversation with the lady at the counter, then went home, highlighted a bunch of verses in a Bible, and went back to give it to her to read. She said it was not just an opportunity to witness, but the beginning of a relationship, which I was very glad to hear :), because it is our lives that will be the strongest testimony of the Gospel! We absolutely, undoubtedly should be verbally sharing the Gospel with the lost, but even more importantly, our lives should manifest the Gospel by what we say, where we go, how we spend our time, what we wear, what our relationships are like with our parents, siblings, and friends, what our goals are in life and of course, whether or not we are passionate enough about what we believe to share with others what has transformed us. After all, we are the Christ ones: the Christians. We are the ambassadors of Heaven! May our prayer be, "He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30
Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted;
Not I, but Christ, be seen be known, be heard;
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.
Frances E. Bolton
Thank you, Hannah Hanson, for all of these photos!
Labels: CHALLENGES, SCRIPTURE MEMORY, WITNESSING