My calendar says it’s January, but the weather has been steamy and tropical here in Houston since last spring. Local forecasters claim that temps are going to drop dramatically next week. Most Texans don’t own traditional winter gear because we don’t have traditional winter weather. We just throw on a sweatshirt over shorts and flip flops and hope the cold snap doesn’t last more than a couple of days. I plan to wear my new Christmas hoodie during the wintery blast. It’s a beautiful dark green and it simply says, “and the soul felt it’s worth.”
You may recognize that phrase from the song, O Holy Night. The full lyric reads,
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”
Isn’t that a beautiful summary of the gospel truth? Having personally struggled to measure my own worth this past year and counting the numerous conversations I’ve had with others who desperately long to feel worthy, this simple phrase reverberated loudly as it filled my heart and mind. The worth of our souls is dependent on the presence of Jesus Christ. When we recognize the power of the gospel message and the universal need for worth, we are compelled to share that monumental message with a weary world through gospel conversations. That sounds lofty and complicated, but it’s not. Real life conversations can spring from a simple message on your hoodie, sharing a meaningful quote or scripture on social media and inviting input, sharing what you’ve discovered about Jesus today with your co-workers at lunch, or sending a text to a friend who is struggling.
Another key to striking up a gospel conversation is being available to share our story of how Christ has given us worth. The Lord will honor your willingness to share even if you don’t always feel prepared or capable. I have an ongoing joke with my friend, Lori, our wonderfully gifted Worship Director. When she is planning a worship service and discovers that a key player cannot participate, no matter the task, I always pipe up, “I’m available!” Sometimes she will assign me to welcome the congregation, read a scripture or offer a prayer. Other times she giggles – when she knows it’s a task beyond my capabilities like a missing drummer or vocalist. We both agree that while I sing loudly and joyfully, I cannot carry a tune even in my backpack. This Christmas Eve I worshipped with Lori and the worship team safely from my seat as we sang O Holy Night, but I laughed to myself as it increased in range and difficulty, and I enthusiastically butchered the final verses. (If you haven’t heard Steve Mauldin’s rendition in a while, I encourage you to look it up as an example and for a good laugh!)
Lori came down with a sore throat the next day, but we were all grateful for her availability when it mattered most. Only those near me had to listen to my version of the song. Which brings me to my final encouragement for sharing the gospel truth in everyday life – listen to those around you…even if it’s difficult! Most people want to feel like they have been heard. That’s why they repeat similar stories over and over. When you take the time to listen, even when their story is hard or you’ve heard it before, you earn their confidence and open the door for having spiritual conversations.
Regularly engaging people in gospel conversations requires us to recognize the power of the gospel message, embrace simple ways of sharing gospel truths in our day-to-day life, be available to share our story, and listen to others with patient curiosity.
Here’s something to be curious about – I just checked my weather app and it says it feels like 85 degrees right now and there’s a freeze watch posted for tomorrow night. Welcome to January in South Texas, y’all!
by Lisa Malstrom – Communications Director
Real Life Ministries Texas