Better Together: Sharing your hope with others.
Everyone wants to leave a legacy. But the only way to make an eternal impact is to bring someone else into God’s family. Did you know that if you’re a Christian, you are an ambassador of Jesus Christ? You may think you’re not qualified to do this because you don’t have the right personality or you lack certain character traits. In this message, we discuss six things that give you the confidence to share your hope with others.
Something To Talk About:
How do I share my hope?
- Live it: It’s a phrase that we hear often in church or from mentors and peers, but it can be difficult to articulate what that really means. Living your faith is not something that is only confined to the four walls of the church, like volunteering in the nursery or leading a small group. Instead, it’s an everyday, outward expression of your love for God and what He is doing in your life. It’s a choice that we must make, and it impacts everyone around us. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:12, “Live properly among your unbelieving neighbors . . . They will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God.” People who like what they see in you are likelier to listen to what you say.
- Learn it: We must know the Word of God. We must make time to sit down and curl up with our Bibles. We need His Word inside, in our minds, and in our hearts. Knowing God’s Word goes hand in hand with trusting God and praying. Read His promises, and then have great faith in God that they will come to pass. In God’s Word, we will gain wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in our lives through His instructions. You could know about the hope that is in you and still have a hard time expressing it. But 1 Peter 3:15-16 says, “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect” (GNT). As people see something different about your life, you must be ready when they ask, “Why do you live the way you do?” And then you share “with gentleness and respect” what you have learned.
- Apologize for not sharing sooner: There may be people you’ve known for 10, 20, or even 30 years in your life. How do you break the ice and talk about Jesus with people you’ve known for a long time? You apologize and say, “You’ve been a good friend for a long time, but for some reason, I haven’t told you about the most important thing in my life. I’m sorry. I wish I had told you sooner.” You’ve known them long enough to know you don’t want to spend eternity without them. The Bible says, “The righteous person is a guide to his friend” (Proverbs 12:26 GNT). Guiding your friends correctly means caring enough about them to want them to spend eternity with you in heaven.
- Listen first. Ask questions: Many of us are much better at talking than listening. While pretending to listen, we have not heard anything said on more than one occasion. Part of living out our faith positively is to create, build, and sustain meaningful connections with others. In so doing, we reflect the image of God and, hopefully, pass some of His love on to the world around us. A huge part of establishing connections is done through listening. To engage someone in conversation, you must stop asking questions that only require a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, you have to start asking open-ended questions that allow someone to share beyond a one-word answer. If you want to go deeper into your relationships and better understand your kids, spouse, and friends, then you need to put some more thought into how you phrase your questions. Proverbs 20:5 says, “A person’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out” (GNT). It tells them you’re interested. It proves you’re paying attention. Asking open-ended questions shows people you’re willing to give them your time, focus, and love so they can be heard and understood.
- Share your stories: Everyone loves a good story. Gripping stories can launch us to the edge of our seats, cheering for the underdog to win the big game. They bring us to tears when injustice befalls the innocent. And they make us sigh with content when everything turns out alright in the end. Jesus told 38 parables, or stories, during His three-year ministry. He used storytelling to relate to us and communicate three facts about Himself: Jesus has a purpose for your story. What we think is boring about our stories can be what people relate to and what Jesus uses to draw them to Himself. Our story of how we met Jesus is our greatest tool to reach those far from Jesus and teach them to follow Him step by step. Following Jesus is not a religion; it’s a relationship. When we tell others about Jesus and how he has changed our lives, we share more than words — the most valuable gift, the good news about Jesus.
- Bring them to worship: When we invite others to church, we agree that faith in Christ is the most important part of life. We are putting our feet to what we believe. To see the greater purpose: When we invite others to church, somehow the Lord does a work in our hearts and shows us that all of this isn’t just for us. We are often so egocentric that we forget that “church” has a greater purpose. The Church is the bride of Christ, saved by His blood (Acts 20:28). When the Church gathers, we gather to worship in truth and spirit. We gather to be equipped by the Word of God and leave to go into the world to share the “Good News.” When we fail to invite others regularly, we can lose sight of what church is all about. When we are engaged, we begin to see the greater purpose.
- Biblical hope is not just a feeling. It is a settled, determined expectation on something/someone outside of yourself. What is the source of biblical hope?
- Hope is essential: Have you ever been in a situation where you felt all hope was gone? Are you going through such a time right now? To get through it, who/what do you rely on most? If you endured a difficult trial, what would you tell someone just entering one?
- Hope is essential, eternal, and found only in Jesus Christ. Agree or disagree and why?
- Hopelessness may arise because of many reasons, but one reason is just not knowing the truth. Agree or disagree and why?
- In which ways do you easily share your faith with others? Which ways are more difficult?
- What do people see in you that is a reflection of the hope you have in Jesus?
- Try to spend a whole day focused on listening rather than talking. What difference does it make?
- What do you communicate to someone when you ask a question and then listen to the answer with focus and interest? What would be an example of a wise question?
- What is your story of how you met Jesus? How could Jesus use your story to help others know Him?
- Who is the one person you could share your story with today? Not sure who that person is? Share it with us here.
Take One Thing Home with You:
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” – Psalms 27:13 (NIV).
The biggest problem we have in the world today is that so many people have lost hope. There seem to be many hurts, problems, sicknesses, troubles, financial woes, family problems, world issues, political concerns, etc. It seems the world has no hope.
Apart from God, it is an awful, hopeless place. We must bring the Word of God with all its hope to someone who does not know it is real. When we bring hope, we bring life. One of the ways we fail to share the hope within us is when we don’t take the necessary steps to show people we care about them.
We can show our abundant hope by inviting neighbors for a meal or dropping off cookies at their house. Maybe we can give gifts to those struggling financially to do yard work or offer to watch kids for an afternoon. Perhaps sending a small gift to someone you know to encourage them could open their heart to the message of hope you have within you. Share your hope by loving others.