There was a man sent from God to bear witness to the Light…
I know how easily skeptics and seekers will say “Yes!” to a Christmas Tea, whereas they might run the other way if you invited them to a Good Friday Service. I’m speaking at one in Milwaukee tonight (pray!) and our little Bible study is hosting one Thursday (please pray) and we are only inviting skeptics and seekers. And they are coming — SO MANY we may even have to change venues. WE ARE SO EXCITED IN ANTICIPATING THAT GOD, IMMANUEL, WILL MEET US.
At that tea, and we have told them, women will share how Bible study has impacted their lives and then we will have a sign up for a January “Investigative Study on Jesus” using seven lessons from John’s Gospel by Rebecca Pippert. (PLEASE PRAY)
The whole idea of being a witness may terrify you, but it may be, as is unfortunately common in America, that you have been a victim of terrible methodology. You’ve been told to be quite unnatural in the way you do it, to have a canned plan, to be an extrovert, to buttonhole people.
NO! NO! NO!
Rebecca Pippert says “Our theology must shape our methodology.”
Let me tell you a story. A woman whom I will call Rose plays pickleball with Twila and me. The first time we invited her to something (I was speaking on the dock in the summer at a “docks-ology” service”) she had an almost a violent reaction of No thank you, not for me, never, ever ever. Then she shoved the invite back at me.
But the Lord has been showing us to love, love, love her the way He does. She’s come to some suppers where we have asked questions designed to lead to meaningful conversation. We’ve been listening to her. We’ve been asking her more questions, for questions, as you will see in the Rebecca Pippert video, are vital in getting to hearts, loving well, and arousing curiosity. So, this year we took the plunge again, inviting Rose to the Christmas tea. This time I sent Twila to her with the invite. 🙂 She asked Twila: “Will it be religious?” Twila told her that, “Yes, because Christmas is a religious holiday and there will be women sharing how the Bible study has impacted them.” Rose thought about it overnight and then said, “I’m not into Christmas or Jesus, but my friends are, so I’m coming.” Is that not the dearest reaction? Her heart is melting because of love.
And you know what? We aren’t pretending to love her, we really do. She has a lot of spunk, a sense of humor, and some wounding that would do a lot of people in. But not Rose.
Pray for Rose! (God knows her real name!)
When God sent John to bear witness, it was a message of repentance — something we must all do every day, turning from our false lovers to Him. And certainly we must have clean hearts before we reach out to others.
God sent John to bear witness to the true light, and He also sends us. We must learn from Jesus how to do it — to pray, to go where they are, to love, to ask questions that will arouse interest, and to watch His Spirit melt their hearts. How else does our theology shape our methodology? We must be “incarnational,” just as God came to be with us in the flesh, so must we spend time with skeptics and seekers, in the flesh, loving them into the Kingdom.
And thank you so much for your response to memorizing the prologue. Our own Nancy suggested putting it to music might make it easier for you and gave this link.
Review portion in regular font, new portion in bold.
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2) He was in the beginning with God.
(3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
(5)The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
(7) He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light,
that all might believe through him.
(8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. How are you doing with memorizing and how are you feeling about it?Are any tips helping you?
Monday: Review John 1:1-5 and get started on John 1:6-8.
I sometimes get e-mails from our silent bloggers, and there is a silent group doing this Advent study together. They are also e-mailing one another with their insights. I want to share an insight that Jen shared as we review one verse from last week: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Keller explains that the reason some translations say “comprehend” and some “overcome” is because the complex Greek word means both. Here is the insight Jen, who is taking seminary classes, had:
3. How does this help you understand and apply John 1:5?
4. Read John 1:6-8
A. What observations do you have on this passage? Comments?
B. Meditate on “there was a man sent from God.” What thoughts do you have on this?
C. From what you know about the life of John, how was it so clear the he knew he was not the light but was sent to bear witness to the light? (See John 1:29-34)
5. Challenge question: Some testimonies are “all about me” and others bear witness to the light.
When you share your testimony, how do decrease so He can increase?
Tuesday: Watch this short video from Rebecca Pippert and share your notes and thoughts. Then an optional but fun 11 minute video from Rebecca is also there — she has such a story about witnessing that will increase your faith and make you laugh!
Tomorrow share how far you’ve gone with your memory work by writing it out — so keep memorizing!
5. Rebecca Pippert stressed asking questions, like Jesus did. The farmers she spoke to learned to ask, during this drought: How are your crops? How are you dealing with this? Have you found a way to deal with this that makes you better instead of worse. Now — think of someone God has put in your path — and think of some questions you might ask the next change you get. What are they? (Now pray for an opportunity — and be alert to others. If any chance happens this week for you to be loving, natural, and question asking — share it here to encourage us all. But for now, share questions you might ask.
6. Pray here for opportunities to bear witness and for alertness to see those opportunities.
7. Write out your memory work.
8. Do you have any new insights on this passage?
9. What is your take-a-way and why?