“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).

It’s a great feeling to be prepared. When I prepare my heart and mind to preach the Word, I am excited to bring the message. When I am doing a project that requires tools and I have all I need, I look forward to the work. What about being prepared every day to share the hope of Christ with people? Are we prepared? Opportunities to share Christ don’t come with an announcement like, “Get ready. Someone with a need is coming to talk to you, and you need to point them to Christ.” God’s Word through Peter helps us to make the most of daily opportunities. Peter first stresses the need for us to “honor Christ the Lord as holy.” Being prepared begins with our walk with Jesus…how we love Him and talk to Him in our hearts. Witnessing doesn’t start with “knowing five steps to convince someone.” It begins with our relationship with the Lord himself. As we walk in His Spirit, people will come across our path, and the Lord will nudge us to share with them the hope we have been given. The other day I got a haircut, and the barber and I were the only ones in his shop. We started talking about life and the importance of good values. He asked me questions, and it was a joy to point him to the Lord Jesus as the source of wisdom, peace, and hope. After the barber cut my hair, I asked him if I could pray for him and he agreed. We bowed our heads, and I prayed for him to get to know Jesus and experience His presence! As I left the shop, I remembered praying in my devotions earlier that morning that the Lord would open doors for me to share Jesus. I thanked the Lord for answering prayer! A major part of being prepared is simply praying that we would be ready to see the opportunities when they come. I confess that I have missed many of these opportunities, but I know that the Lord is merciful and helps me be more sensitive as I walk with Him each day. And, Peter tells us one last thing about being prepared. Make sure you share “with gentleness and respect.” If we come across as “above others” or “knowing it all,” people will react to our pride and will miss the message. The truth is that we who witness are just as needy of the grace of God as the one with whom we share. May the Lord prepare us today to always be prepared to be His witnesses.

Pastor Mark Boucher

What Are We Afraid Of?

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

There is healthy fear and unhealthy fear. I remember one day standing on the edge of a cliff hundreds of feet high and feeling the wind blowing hard around me. A wave of fear swept over me and I stepped back away from the edge. This was healthy fear! The Bible speaks of fear many times as something good. For example, Proverbs 19:23 declares, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied.” Fearing God through reverence and worship is critical to our growth and blessing. However, we also need to be aware of the effects of unhealthy fear. Many people avoid seeking or encountering the Holy Spirit, as if he were some Halloween figure. Why is this? Some answers I have heard go like this: “The Holy Spirit may ask me to do something I don’t want to do,” or “I’m afraid of releasing control of myself to anyone or anything,” or “The Holy Spirit might embarrass me in front of my friends.” The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to his son in the faith, Timothy. From the letter we discern that Timothy struggled with timidity and fear. But, Paul encouraged Timothy by reminding him of what the Holy Spirit is about, and what the Spirit deposits into our spirit. He is not the author of unhealthy fear! The Spirit is the one who desires to fill us with the wonderful fruit of power, love, and self-control. Through the Holy Spirit, the power that controlled Jesus as He lived and rose triumphantly from the grave dwells in us! Don’t let “I was afraid” be the excuse you give to God for not letting Him give you all you need to live full and fruitful. Pray today (as I do) and say, “Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit right now. Help me to depend on You and not to make any decisions outside of Your will. Use my life as a witness that Jesus is alive!” Don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit. He knows what is best for you…and he knows what he is doing!

Pastor Mark Boucher