Archive for November, 2017

Yesterday I spoke about making sure we speak to others about Christ using words and language that they will understand (in Talking plainly). But I for one find it difficult at times to find the right words to explain how I feel or what I believe, which as you can imagine, makes it difficult when I try to talk to others about Christ.

Having said that, maybe talking to those who don’t know Christ just in my own way may make Christ seem more approachable and real to others, as I’m nothing special, I’m just a human being just like them.

So how do we mange to talk to others about our beliefs when we can’t find the words? Who better to help than God! We pray, and ask God to help and guidance, as He can give us the words we need for every situation.

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood. ~ William Penn

The project I’m responsible for at work just now, involves designing and developing a new website to provide our customers with a simple, and easy to understand way of communicating with us. This includes ensuring that the information/text the customer will be presented with is written in Plain English. i.e. It is written with the reader in mind, using non-technical terms that are clear and concise in meaning.

To give us the best chance of ensuring that what we are developing is written in way our customers will understand, we’ve held several customer forums, and have completed some online training provided by the Plain English Campaign (www.plainenglish.co.uk). For those who have not heard of the Plain English Campaign, here’s an extract from their website explaining their purpose:

Since 1979, we have been campaigning against gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information. We have helped many government departments and other official organisations with their documents, reports and publications. We believe that everyone should have access to clear and concise information.

From the customer forums we held, we quickly realised that some of the words/terms we frequently use when we communicate with our customers, are either unclear or meaningless to our customer. This got me thinking about how we as Christians, and Salvationists, communicate God’s message to the people we come into contact with.

Do we use words that others won’t understand?

Do we use abbreviations or jargon that those unfamiliar with the Salvation Army will not know or understand?

I think most of us, if we’re honest, would answer ‘Yes’ to both those questions. But we’re not alone, even Jesus found at times he had to simplify his language so that the disciples understood what he was trying to tell them!

In John 16:25-29, we read:

“I’ve used figures of speech in telling you these things. Soon I’ll drop the figures and tell you about the Father in plain language. Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. First, I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father.”

His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.”

There are many people all around us: in our church; in our communities; our school; places of employment etc, who all need Christ. So just as Jesus had to speak plainly so the disciples understood and believed He was the Son of God, maybe we too need to review how we communicate God’s message to others, so they will believe in God.

There are people living in the world out there…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ;
There are children crying and no one to care…
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.
And they’ll go on hurting in the world out there,
And they’ll go on dying, drowning in despair,
And they’ll go on crying, that’s unless we care:
They need you, they need me, they need Christ.

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. ~ Matthew 5:46-48 (The Message)

God expects us to love everyone, even those who we may think are unloveable. We won’t get a reward if we love everyone, nor should we expect one, as if we love everyone, we are simply doing God’s will.

So no matter how difficult if may be to love everyone you come into contact with, ask God to help you see the good in each of them.

Following on from Saturday’s post Too Scared, I feel it’s appropriate to share the following:

Just as I asked each of us to take time to talk to the homeless, today I’m asking each of us to go that one step further…to got to extremes to help them.

If they were our family or friends, we’d go to extremes to help them, so why not the homeless – In God’s eyes they are brothers and sisters, so let’s treat them that way.

Our bodies are made up of many parts. None of these parts have the same use. There are many people who belong to Christ. And yet, we are one body which is Christ’s. We are all different but we depend on each other.

Romans 12:4-5 NLV

That’s a well-known, and much repeated passage of scripture, and there’s a good reason for that – sometimes we forget, that we are all equally important and worthy of God’s love, and therefore He needs us to work together for Him.

If we don’t work together as one for God, how can we expect others to believe Christ can change their lives for the better!

I recently read this article on the bbc news site and found it a hard read – It was quite upsetting and it really challenged me to consider how I treat homeless people.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-42003888

Yes, I’ve stopped and given a few coins to some homeless people sometimes; Yes, I’ve also bought a sandwich and a drink for a few as well; But have I ever really taken time to speak to them? My honest answer is, no I haven’t – Just like two-thirds of other Scots, I haven’t taken the time to stop and engage in conversation with a homeless person.

I was recently in Glasgow city centre during the day for the first time in a while, and must admit to being quite shocked and saddened by the number of people sitting/lying out in the streets homeless, on what was a chilly morning.

Who am I to judge these people, as just like me they are human beings! The difference been them and me is they have lost everything, including all hope. What can be worse than losing all hope and having no-one to talk to?

Why do we feel afraid to speak to homeless people? What reasons do we have to feel afraid of them? Personally I think it’s probably just another sad indictment of how society is these days – The fact that the article on the bbc website states that younger people are less likely to stop and help homeless people does seem to confirm this.

What has our world become, that we aren’t willing to try to help those at their lowest?

Let’s take time to help anyone who needs help, regardless of whether they are our friend, a neighbour, a colleague, someone we meet in the street or a homeless person.

If ever you want to remind yourself what you need to do to be more like God, this photo should remind you.

Make it your aim each day, to be more like God.

Who do you stand up for? Yourself, your beliefs, your friends and family?

I hope you stand up for yourself, but I also hope you stand up for your friends and family, your beliefs, and also those you don’t know, but who are being mistreated.

Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others. ~ Nicky Gumbel

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:7 (NIV)

Wouldn’t it be great if, no matter what was happening in our life, we could be 100% sure what the outcome would be?

Well, while we may not know exactly how events will turn out, we can be sure that Christ is there with us.

Ever feel like you don’t really belong?

Ever thought that you are in the right place, that you are where God wants you to be?

So when you feel like giving up
Cause you don’t fit in down here
Fear is crashing in, close your eyes and take my hand yeah.

We can be the kings and queens of anything if we believe.
It’s written in the stars that shine above
A world where you and I belong
Where faith and love will keep us strong
Exactly who we are is just enough
Exactly who we are is just enough
There’s a place for us

Remember there is a place for each and every one of us!