This Month's Messenger

Greetings Fairview Heights!

 “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8b

These are the last words of Jesus to his disciples just before he ascended to heaven.  This was true of the disciples then, and it is true of his disciples now.  We don’t often think of ourselves as witnesses, but if we make our commitment to Jesus known to those around us, we are the example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  This is a great honor, but also very scary.  As people listen, watch and judge us, they will consider Christianity as a faith to follow, or they will leave it behind.  I don’t want to over dramatize our  influence in the world, but neither do I want us to shirk our obligation to live out our faith both in the light and in the dark.  It is true that there have been times when I have not left a good impression or even a good word as an example of my faith, but I must not let this   failure effect my next opportunity to reach others.  There are also times when I have been able to make a positive impact on the company I have kept, and I imagine God smiling down on a humble but faithful servant.

So, what are some ways we can make a positive impact on those around us for Jesus?  What are some concrete examples we can exhibit to those who cross our paths?  What should we be considering doing as members of FHBC to show people what it means to follow Jesus?  Here are five simple ways we can practice being a Christian witness.  You may have some other ideas, you may even have some better ideas, but at least consider these five ways you can be the witness God has called you to be.  First, WALK, not only the church’s neighborhood but walk your neighborhood. (Thank you to all how have already started to walk!)  How many of us know our neighbors?  How many of us have at least looked at, prayed for, or walked by the houses around our church or around your block?  It is good to become a familiar presence in our neighborhoods.  You don’t have to introduce yourself to all your neighbors, but we all should at least know the houses which surround our church and neighborhood, and maybe even meet a few of the neighbors.  As you become familiar with the neighborhood, I encourage you to ACKNOWLEDGE the people you meet.  Perhaps you could smile and maybe even say “Hi” to some of the people you pass by. I have noticed that when I look someone in the eye, smile and greet them, I almost always get a smile and “Hi” back.  Not always, but at least I let the other person know I   recognize and see them.  I let them know they are important enough for me to say “Hi.”  The third thing to do is LISTEN.  Listen to the Spirit of God.  Jesus says to his disciples in Acts, just before the quote above, that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes and that is when they will be his witnesses. That power has already come.  We celebrate  Pentecost, because the power has come, and we know we can confidently be God’s witnesses.  But we need to listen to the Spirit as we pray, study the scripture, and interact with other people.  Once we listen to others, we will know what they are looking for and, if we have found an answer, we can share the hope we have within us.  You can’t help but hear about a tragedy almost every day in the news. Yet, as  followers of Jesus, we believe there is hope through him for the world.  We need to KEEP hope alive.  We need to celebrate wonder, beauty, and joy in our lives with those we meet.  The smile we give to others is just the beginning of sharing the hope that is within us, and God wants us to share that hope.  Finally, SHARE.  Through blessing, encouragement, and    service, we can brighten the world around us. We can experience and share the peace, which we receive from God during the chaos of this life.  We are blessed not just for ourselves, but to share the blessings with others.  It is in the WALKS of our life, Walking the neighborhood,  Acknowledging others, Listening to the Spirit and others, Keeping hope alive, and Sharing our blessings that we can be the witnesses God has called us to be.

~Pastor Danny Moore