JUST TELL YOUR STORY
I despise religion. I hate what it does to people.
Religion is defined as �a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.�
Jesus said it this way in Mark 7 �Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Religion is the DEAD FAITH of those now living. Christianity is the LIVING FAITH of those now dead. There is a world of difference between those two.
That�s why I hate religion. Nothing is turning the world away from Jesus more than religion. Religion is a stronghold, a mindset if you will, that is a counterfeit relationship to God.
Religion speaks of duty, obligation, rules, and regulations. Jesus spoke of liberty and freedom. That is what Christianity brings. Not licentiousness or lasciviousness to engage in sin, but freedom from sin. That�s why Jesus came, to destroy sin and its power over our lives.
American Christianity is in trouble. Why do I say that? Check out these statistics from George Barna. Allow me to highlight some of the gory details. In his study of 16-29 year olds� views of Christianity he found that:
Researchers said �That�s where the term 'unChristian' came from. Young people are very candid. In our interviews, we kept encountering young people - both those inside the church and outside of it - who said that something was broken in the present-day expression of Christianity.�
According to a recent book by Tom Bissett, 85% children raised in the Church leave the faith when they go to college.
We�ve got trouble�.right here in River City. Our kids don�t know what Christianity is all about. We�ve dragged them to church but have neglected to teach them the reality of Jesus. �Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.� We�re losing our kids.
Last Sunday I was speaking in a church that is long on rules. You know the type, good preaching, holy living, but full of Christians who are lacking joy. The Joy of the Lord is your strength. I call it puckered-face Christianity. So many of us try and share Christianity with a frown on our face.
We are told in the book of Revelation �And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
It is our testimony that impacts hearts. We must learn to tell our story.
As I was speaking to the congregation I was suddenly hit with an idea. �I would like to take a survey. If you used to struggle with smoking but the Lord gave you victory over cigarettes would you please stand up.�
A few folks sheepishly shuffled to their feet.
�If you have ever been delivered from alcohol, would you please stand.� I continued as a few more rose out of the pew and some of the smokers raised their hands as double-delivered.
�Stand if you have ever been delivered from a dirty mouth.� Now the folks were beginning to chuckle as some hardened cussers looked at their spouses and giggled.
One by one I reminded them of what Jesus had done in their life. �Anger, fear, greed, gossip�� I continued. Soon nearly everyone in the building was standing�and smiling. The joy of the Lord was present.
�Don�t you understand, that is what a lost and dying world is looking for? They are looking for the power, a sign that Jesus is real. You have risen to your feet this morning and testified to the miraculous power of Jesus in your life. �They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony�� For heaven�s sake, go outside of this building and tell someone what Jesus did in your life. Your testimony has power.�
Instead, we try to �lead people to Christ.�
I came to Jesus as a result of my sister being miraculously healed of cancer twenty-two years ago this month. She was a �new� Christian, who had been raised in �religion,� but she had come to KNOW Jesus and she began to tell everyone what Jesus had done in her life. That was all that she talked about. The Lord used her testimony and radically-transformed life to woo me to Him.
I hear all of the time from Christians who don�t know how to �share their faith.� They always seem to be afraid that they don�t know enough, or won�t use the right words. They think THEY have to close the deal. �Help me Coach. I want to be bolder, but I am afraid I won�t be able to answer all of their questions. I �m afraid I won�t know what to say.�
You see, they are worried about all of that �religious� stuff they have learned in church.
Here is my advice. �Tell them what you know. Don�t tell them what you don�t know. Tell them what Jesus did for you. Talk about Jesus. Admit that you don�t understand all of the rules and regulations, but that you know that Jesus is real. Tell them what He did in your life! Let your story tell the story.�
When Jesus healed the blind man the �religious world� wanted the formerly-blind man to explain it. He didn�t get bogged down in the law, and the religious tradition. He simply shared what he knew to be true. ��one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.� He told them what he knew, not what he didn�t know.
Unfortunately, Christianity is being identified by what it is against, rather than by the transforming power of Jesus. When we teach a Christianity full of rules and regulations we lead them from one form of bondage to another. It is called legalism, the �leaven of the Pharisees, in other words, �Jesus plus our man-made rules.�
There is a big difference between following rules because the Bible says so, rather than following rules because Jesus changed our heart. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.
I�m not a softy. I stand against evil, I don�t believe in cheap Grace. I stare the Devil in the face and then I speak about Jesus. I tell my story. There is nothing like the power of a transformed life.
Jesus has the power to deliver, to set the captives free. That is why He came. Let YOUR STORY lead them to Jesus.
Psalm 51:12-13 �Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.�
How do I know? I once was lost and now I am found. I was blind and now I see.
me tell you my story�.�
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Coach Dave Daubenmire, founder and President of Pass The Salt Ministries www.ptsalt.com and Minutemen United www.minutemenunited.org, is host of the high octane Pass The Salt radio show heard in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1999 Coach Daubenmire was sued by the ACLU for praying with his teams while coaching high school in Ohio. He now spends his energy fighting for Christian principles in the public domain.
came to Jesus as a result of my sister being miraculously healed of cancer
twenty-two years ago this month.