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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Preaching the Gospel

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Matthew 10:7-15
 
Bare feet in the sand, “Sent”.
 
Jesus’s instructions to his followers are as relevant today as when he sent them out to proclaim the message of the kingdom of God.  But perhaps our hearts sink at the prospect of witnessing for our faith.  Increasingly in society, having faith, practising faith and witnessing to it are widely misunderstood and considered strange.  In any event, faith is considered personal, private.
 
But the key to all evangelising is revealed in v.8: “Freely you have received; freely give.”  Our vocation – whatever our role or ministry, whether we are an ordinary Christian, an ordained priest or religious or even an Archbishop or the Pope – is to grasp the great gift of the gospel of salvation: to appreciate its free, unmerited and undeserved nature and therefore to be filled with the joy of the evangelist.
 
An evangelist or witness is simply someone who has freely received the joy, hope and love of the gospel and who in their turn freely gives the joy, love and hope of the gospel.  Yes, it’s challenging and difficult, but we have the Holy Spirit and he gives us wisdom – as well as tact, sensitivity, intelligence, understanding, knowledge and patience.  And courage.
 
We are just ordinary men and women, workers in the vineyard of Christ.  Our task is always to be prepared to share with others the reason for our hope, joy and love.  Our challenge is to be filled with hope, joy and love which speaks to others’ hearts.
 
Lord, teach me to be a joyful, enthusiastic and convincing witness of the truth, goodness and beauty of the gospel.
 
Chris

from Bible Alive

 

Art Source: sent soysi.files.wordpress.com
 
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St Paul in Antioch

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Acts 13:13–25
Preaching the gospel for the first time in Antioch
 
Paul was gifted in many ways, but one thing he excelled at was proclaiming the gospel.  He was a herald of the gospel message and here he is preaching his first recorded sermon on his first missionary journey.  It is a masterclass on how to witness and to proclaim the gospel.
 
At the heart of Paul’s work was the proclamation of God’s great work of salvation.  It was this message which compelled him to proclaim it from the rooftops, as it were.
 
When Paul was given the opportunity to preach by the synagogue leaders in Antioch, he seized it.  We too need to be alert to opportunities to preach and to proclaim the gospel, opportunities which arise more often that we might expect.
 
We need to be alert to such opportunities and the Holy Spirit will make us sensitive to them, chances to speak about our faith.  The Spirit will also guide us in what we say, keeping the tone light but sincere, but we should be ready for the chance to talk about Jesus, his life and his place in our lives.
 
Believe that the Spirit has prepared the hearts of those to whom you get the chance to speak and you will see minds opening to your message.  The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of all our efforts at evangelisation – this was true in the early Church and is still true today.
 
Lord Jesus, I pray for the grace and wisdom to share my faith with joy, enthusiasm and clarity, and to be an attractive and appealing witness of Christian faith.
 
Chris
 
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Our Gifts

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Luke 19:11-28
 
We are not unlike the servants in the parable: we have been entrusted with many gifts and we are awaiting the return of our King.  
 
We are not to be like the unproductive servant and entertain unworthy and erroneous thoughts about our heavenly Lord.  God is for us and is delighted with all our efforts to produce fruit for his kingdom.  A fruit that is especially pleasing to God is love: love for our God and love for our neighbour.
 
We must not hide the wonderful gifts that we have received, but use them.  Each of us has received special and unique gifts from God with which to serve him in his kingdom.  We have nothing to fear because not only are we richly blessed with every spiritual gift, we also have the power and grace to exercise them.
 
Today let us dedicate our lives to being good and faithful servants, eager and keen to be obedient to our Lord and King.
 
”Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my intelligence and my will — all that I have and possess.  You, Lord, have given those things to me  I now give them back to you, Lord  All belongs to you.  Dispose of these gifts according to your will  I ask only of your love and grace, for they are enough for me.” (St Ignatius of Loyola)
 
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