Thanks to Eagle Brook Blog for our graphic today!
Always be prepared. That’s the gist of 1 Peter 3:15.
The Boy Scouts are famous for the “being prepared” mantra. While I believe we need to be ready for certain eventualities, I also believe that preparedness needs to be extended beyond the physical.
So let me ask you, are you prepared to “give the reason for the hope you have?” Sure, you think. I can talk about Jesus for a bit, and then I’m covered. But are you really?
Let’s be honest: some people don’t want to hear about how Jesus has changed your life. They just don’t. Those people probably aren’t going to ask you about the hope you have. For those people in your life, you will have to “be Jesus” for them. You will have to live out your faith every moment that you are around them. Perhaps somewhere down the road you will be able to talk about the life-changes that have happened. Maybe. More than likely you will have to wait on God’s timing–No pushing, no lecturing, no preaching…just living in a way that honors our God.
Friends, you also have people in your life who wonder about you. They want to know about God, they may not be conscious of that want just yet. They wonder how you can find the positive in the negative, how you can be pleasant to the less-than-pleasant, how you can show love to others, how you can draw others to you. Those people are watching and wondering and waiting. Watching to see how you handle certain situations, wondering how you can be the way you are day after day, waiting for the chance to talk to you. I encourage you right now to think about your friends, your acquaintances, your work-mates, your work-out buddies, your fellow school parents. Somewhere in all those people is a someone who needs to hear about your life. That person or persons want to know how you have been changed. He or she longs to experience that hope that you have. You are the one to tell him or her. You are the one to show him or her. You are the one.
Now that you have those persons in mind, you’ve got to get your “presentation” together. You’ve got to know how to tell your story without being long-winded or boring. When I attended a conference on speaking , I learned that I generally have two minutes to give my story before I start losing someone’s attention. Two minutes! That goes by fast, believe me! So, here is my challenge for you: practice your story. How are you going to prepare yourself to speak about the hope you have? I can honestly tell you that it isn’t easy to speak with someone about God–by that I mean that it isn’t easy to narrow your focus to only a two-minute presentation! Here is my recommendation: Tell in a sentence or two about your life before Christ. Recount your salvation experience in a couple of sentences. Then pick two areas in your life where real life change is noticeable. Speak of those two areas, using three to five sentences each to describe the difference. If you time that out, you should be right at two minutes. Too long? Cut your presentation down. Too short? Find places to add more detail. But keep your answer for the hope you have at two minutes. Practice, practice, practice so that when the opportunity strikes in whatever situation you will be ready to give an answer that glorifies God and points directly at Him.
So, now you are thinking about being prepared in spiritual things. How about we get prepared for dinner? Kyle’s Favorite Beef Stew is a yummy meal that can be prepared in sections. Brown the meat and dice the veggies the night before (I did not saute the mushrooms in wine–I merely opened a large can and threw them in). Add everything to the crock pot when you first get up and set it on high. Before you head out the door, turn it down to low. The crock pot will do its’ thing all day, and you will be prepared for a fantastic family meal. Pair it with a fresh green salad or a favorite cornbread recipe. Perfect ending to your busy day–your family will love it, and you will love that dinner is pretty much prepared for you when you get home.
Doesn’t that look delicious?