Starting off on the wrong hook?

In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus begins to reinforce his inner-circle of disciples by convincing a few fishermen that he was worth being followed.

Some might see Jesus’ choice and say he started off on the hook. Fisherman? Why not a highly respected public individual like a priest or even a temple guard? Why not start off with a well-noted scribe of Moses’ Law or even a beginning-student that had been properly trained by a well-known rabbi? How could someone expect to change Israel (not to mention the gentile world) in the most needed way by starting off with a few blue-collar, temperamental, untrained and unknown fish-net throwing people?

Apparently Jesus wasn’t worried about meeting the credentials of what they or we might think when it comes to who’s worthy of his calling. As it would be said later – Jesus chose them, they did not choose Jesus (John 15:16).

You see, when it came to his inner-circle of disciples, Jesus started off on exactly the right hook! He started off by telling Simon Peter to do something that went against conventional wisdom. Think about it, a carpenter telling a fisherman how and when to catch fish? But that’s exactly what happened…and Peter listened. Boy did he ever listen! And so did James and John. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. What mattered is that they didn’t take any “bait” – they took the truth when it was presented to them.

When an individual shows a willingness to hear the word of God and follow it, then that person is starting off on the right hook with Jesus; a hook that would make fisherman of men out of these new dedicated disciples; and a hook that can do the same thing with us.

We don’t need to let first impressions keep us from making an effort that can have lasting effects.

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”” (John 5:9-10)

#discipleship, #evangelism, #impressions

No matter what language we speak, people understand what our clothes say

I had the opportunity to have a small, but good, spiritual conversation with a stranger today. How so? It was all because of the clothes that I was wearing!

I had already started the conversation with small talk while I was waiting on my family. I was alone. He was alone. So I decided to try to be friendly. He decided to be the same in return.

After the small talk, the conversation led to the man saying, “I noticed the way you are dressed. Did you go to church today?” (He had also “been to church” by the way.) From there we were able to have a pleasant conversation about the Bible; and because of that conversation I was able to invite him to the church’s services. After my family and I left the restaurant I thought that it was neat that I got to talk about the Bible simply because of what my clothes said to him.

Now my purpose with this post isn’t to say that clothes make the person, that clothes determine the value of one’s soul, or that clothes are even close to being the first thing that we should allow to make a spiritual impression on us; far from it (James 2:1-4; Luke 20:46; Matthew 23:5). My purpose is simply this – no matter what language we speak, people understand what our clothes say.

Clothing is often worn to make an impression on others or because it’s made an impression on us…that’s why certain name-brand tags can double, triple, quadruple, etc. the price of a shirt or a pair of pants. So clothing talks, no arguments or doubt about it. Not only does the kind of clothes we wear talk, but so does the way we wear them. On top of that, the amount of clothing we wear says that much more!

Many Christians, both men and women alike, will be tempted this summer to wear “clothing” that is not fitting of God’s calling. If fig-leaf bikini’s didn’t work in Eden (Genesis 3:7, 21), then no bikini, regardless of the material that’s used, will work outside of Eden’s garden. God uses water to save us through Jesus (1 Peter 3:21), but God doesn’t use water to change wrong to right. The temptation to “look good” and the call to be dressed in and dressed with righteous isn’t the same thing! (Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 2:12; 1 Peter 2:24)

If we know that “dressing up” says something to the general public (and we know that it does), then by default we should know what the lack of clothing also says (and we know that it does whether we want to admit it or not). So don’t forget – when it comes to modesty, whether we think about it or not, when we’re in the public, people are ease dropping on what our clothes, or the lack thereof, are spiritually saying to them all of the time.

I will be full of joy in the Lord, my soul will be glad in my God; for he has put on me the clothing of salvation, covering me with the robe of righteousness, as the husband puts on a fair head-dress, and the bride makes herself beautiful with jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

#clothing, #fashion, #good-influence, #impressions, #modesty, #righteousness

First Impression or Lasting Impression?

None of us always make a good first impression. Sometimes we give a bad first impression intentionally, and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s being done.

Have you ever gotten the wrong first impression about someone? Those odds are about as good as someone else getting the wrong first impression about us!

What made you change your mind about them? Wasn’t it time? Was it not keeping that first impression from being the last impression?

This may be a completely subjective thought, but I think lasting impressions can be more important first impressions. Why’s that? It’s because people tend to be influenced over time and not instantaneously. Influence takes time and time leaves lasting impressions.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to first impressions as God’s people. I’ve worked with the public since I was a teenager, and I know it’s much easier to keep a door open than it is to try to get someone to open that door. That’s why when it comes to first impressions God’s people are encouraged to:

Be wise in your behaviour to those who are outside, making good use of the time. Let your talk be with grace, mixed with salt, so that you may be able to give an answer to everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 – BBE)

But we all know we make mistakes, and we all know that despite the fact that we’re not very flexible we still somehow manage to insert our foot all the way up into our mouth. That’s why we should remember the value of a lasting impression.

We never know when five minutes, five days, five months or five years may turn into an opportunity that can change a life for an eternity. And that’s an impression that I’d call lasting!

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.” (Romans 14:7 – NKJV)

#christianity, #impressions, #influence, #mistakes, #opportunities