Several weeks after the resurrection, some of the disciples were arrested and jailed for preaching and healing in Jesus’ Name. If Emory U is any indication, words have more power than any of have guessed. To this point, people have been offended by words and then painted signs with their own words. “That’s your opinion,” or “that’s your truth….” But the situation in Acts 5 contains more than words. Many have been healed and changed by those words—“throngs of them, bringing the sick and bedeviled. And they all were healed” (5:16).
Off to jail. During the night an angel shows up to let the disciples out and then locks the doors when they leave. The angel gives them directions:
“Go to the temple” (the place where they arrested you a few hours ago) “and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life” (vs. 20).
Note please. They are to talk about “the Life.” The word is capitalized. Their curriculum was not catechism or the Commandments—Ten or 644—but The Life.
“Every day they were in the Temple and homes teaching and preaching the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”
What is that “Life”—what does it look like after deleting the rhetoric and rules? My take away is the disciples are instructed to use all the words that describe what has proven valuable to them—what works in places where stained glass does not exist.
The following words are important for the witness, entrepreneur, CEO, pastor or blogger to understand and to actionalize. (Okay. I made that word up.)
“In a world everything is a tap or a click away, what matters is not what is taught or sold, but how it’s delivered, and how that made someone feel as she walked out the door.” (Bernadette Jiwa, Marketing: A Love Story. ©2014)
A phrase I have used in church growth/marketing seminars for many years is true today, but now must happen within ten seconds:
“Tell me why I should care!”
“In a world of finite time and infinite choices, it’s easier than ever before to rationalize walking past. The only way to matter is to first determine what matters. You need to give people a reason to stop and listen to your song.” (Bernadette Jiwa)
“Tell the people…about this Life.”
I’m drinking coffee from Indiana mixed with chocolate from Paris. The chocolate is from a Paris tea-coffee shop from which our niece brought us the gift. At the opposite end on the rue (street) is the Arc de Triomphe. I don’t know how to say “wow!” in French.
Think about the major path of pedestrian traffic in your city.
My guess is that most people at the Temple, on Champs-Elysées, or Jefferson Street, have little interest in what you or I believe. Unless! They believe our belief will make their lives better and we know what getting through their day is like.
If an angel instructed you to “Go to (the center of the mall?) tell the people everything about the Life….” What would you say about the Life that answers your friend’s question, why should I care? What about The Life lived in your skin this week?
This paragraph grabbed my soul:
“The American evangelist, Dwight L. Moody arrived in London in 1873, initially for a few weeks, but stayed two years. In that time almost three million people heard him preach. His influence on the Guinness family was immense. He introduced them to the Holiness Movement, and encouraged them to ask God to revitalize their ministry with the power of the Holy Spirit.” (P 89, Genius of Guinness by Michelle Guinness ©2005.)
They did what Moody suggested and their ministry was revitalized. Three generations reached around the world from China to North America with good news about the Life.
It’s about the Life.
2016 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer
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