Posted on Sun, Apr 10, 2016
-Pastor Bob Norton
Recently our son Matthew was promoted to assistant manager of a Harkins Theatre in Prescott and we were elated with his progress and good fortune. We have included his good news in recent letters and conversations with those who know and love Matt for good news is for sharing. When the early church experienced the risen Christ in those seven weeks after Easter they could not keep quiet. “Christ is risen!” became their victory shout and overwhelming joy filled their hearts.
This good news sharing is what evangelism (Evangel means “good news”) is all about. And along with worship, evangelism is the primary opportunity and responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ. Now let’s be clear…God Himself is the Evangelist, but He invites us to share in the action and partake of the joy. When I meet a grim Christian, I can be sure that this person is not into good news sharing. Good news sharing brings the joy.
The apostle Paul was a good news sharer and a man of great joy. While on vacation in Athens, he “was sharing about Jesus and the resurrection” and the unbelievers got a little confused. They thought he was talking about foreign gods, one called “Jesus” and one called “resurrection”. He took some time to straighten things out and “a few men believed and became followers of Jesus” (Acts 17:18, 34). Paul was overflowing with joy. Later, he said, “For I am not ashamed of the good news it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, for the Jews and also for the Gentiles” (Romans 1:16). Paul learned that good news sharing pays it forward so that others can know the blessings of God also.
Christ followers are to put in a good word for Jesus every chance they get. One missionary in Africa told that the culture he served did not have a word for “thank you” so when a missionary doctor brought healing to the village afflicted with an eye disease the only equivalent they had was to say, “we will tell your name!” That was their thank you and our thank you to Jesus is to share his name with all who will hear.
More times than not, people believe after hearing multiple witnesses for Jesus. I have a friend, Bob Tuttle, who was doing personal good news sharing in the Cook County Jail in Chicago. An inmate believed. When Bob returned the next day, he was so joyful. The inmate perceived this as conceit and said, “Now listen, Tuttle, don’t you get a big head, just because you were number 25!” Bob said, “What do you mean?” The man replied, “I believe it takes 25 separate witnesses to lead a person to Christ…just because you were #25 don’t get a big head.” Sometimes in our good news sharing we are number 7, or 13, or 21…and then sometimes we have the enormous joy of being #25!
We can start by simply inviting people to church or we can pray and ask God to give us divine appointments. These are people whom God has prepared to hear the good news. When Robin goes to the market for grocery shopping I always ask upon her return, “Did you have any divine appointments?” Often, she sees people she knows who need a word of encouragement or an offer of prayer. She knows it’s not a coincidence but a “God incidence” that she went down aisle four at just that particular time . That divine appointment is one more step toward the Savior who loves them and can fulfill the deepest desires of their hearts. God is so good. He invites us to be good news sharers and so experience the fullness of His joy!
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