Teachable Moments – Sharing Your Faith

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 NKJV


I enjoy reading reviews of my books, even when they are negative. I’ve improved my writing as a result of constructive criticism from readers, and I’ve learned from subjective comments to be mindful of opinions that differ from my own. It’s those subjective comments that make me look deeper into my soul and ask, “Why do I believe what I believe?”

In 1999, I wrote a series of preschool board books for Standard Publishing designed to teach very young children the concept of Genesis 1: God created everything.

One of the books, God Gives Us Beaches begins with the simple words, “Do you know that God made beaches?” The book goes on to show children playing on a beach. A variety of items are labeled in the art: seagull, pail, starfish, crab, sandcastle…. The book ends with the question, “Aren’t you glad that God made beaches?”


Here is a reader’s review:

…What a disservice to children
Ah, the mind of a child. What a beautiful thing, so open, so receptive, so ready to learn everything it can about the world. And there you are, together on a beach on a sunny afternoon, with your innocent and inquisitive young one who turns to you and asks, "Daddy, why is the ocean salty?" or "Mommy, why are crabs and people so different?"--and there you are, with that perfect teachable moment, that perfect opportunity to fill their minds with wonder over how millions of years of rivers have deposited mounds of salt in the ocean, or how species can evolve over time into other species, which is just such a beautiful and elegant idea, and you think that this book, GOD GIVES US BEACHES, can prepare you for that moment.

‘Well,’ you'll begin, ‘several thousand years ago, a big man who lives in the sky and is invisible to us and who there is no proof of but you really have to believe in, took six days to do something AMAZING....’"
A perfect, teachable moment. That phrase struck me when I read the review. As a Christian, I believe by faith that God exists, and I believe that He created the heavens and the earth. I grew up in a Christian home, and I was on the receiving end of many teachable moments when my parents associated everyday, ordinary things with the wonders of God. But not everyone grew up believing as I have. The world is filled with people whose opinions are different from my own, and -- this is important -- my days are filled with perfect, teachable moments when I can share my faith with non-believers. Sadly, I’m often oblivious of those moments, and they slip away.

Here are three questions that I plan to think about this week. Will you join me?

Peter wrote, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).

QUESTION 1: If I'm asked why do you believe in God, in what ways can I always be prepared to share the reasons for my faith?

-----

Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person” (Colossians 4:5-6 NASB).

In this passage, Paul reminds us that each person is different. Like the reviewer of my book, some people might not be receptive to the ideas of God and Jesus Christ.

QUESTION 2: If given just a brief encounter with a non-believer, how can I turn that into a teachable moment for Christ?

-----

In his article, “Sharing Your Faith,” the author, Bill Palmer, tells of a time when he was not a Christian and reacted with hostile feelings in a debate over the religious convictions of his Christian friend.

QUESTION 3: If met with resistance, what are some ways that I can share my faith without sounding didactic and preachy?




If you get stuck thinking about these questions, I suggest you read the article, "How to Share Your Faith" by Karen Wolff. She shares some practical ways to share your faith without having to say much at all.




Heavenly Father, In Romans 1:16, the Apostle Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Help me, Lord, never to hide the gospel of Christ. Give me wisdom to know how to share it with each new person I meet. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN





NOTE:
God Gives Us Beaches and other books in this series are currently out of print. You may be able to find used copies available online.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the author of "God Gives Us Beaches," but I have not received compensation for mentioning the book in this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

8 comments:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

We think we have to convince people to believe in God. Jesus didn't say to win a debate. He said to be a witness. Tell them what the Lord is doing in our lives in a natural, positive way.

Thanks for the reminder to be alert to those small teachable opportunities.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

I just stumbled on to this blog yesterday and love it. Talk about a teachable moment, you take the time to give us practical information on sharing our faith with others without coming off pompous.

I am so glad I found this blog.

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Tiffany.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.

I try to post here every weekend, so please visit again.

Have a blessed day!

Jean

Jean Fischer said...

Susan,

I always enjoy your comments and insights.

God bless you, my friend.
Jean

quietspirit said...

Jean:
Jesus will guide us through these teachable moments. He asks us to sow the seeds. God does the tough job of changing hearts.

Lily Robinson said...

I still find it odd that people get so upset over my belief in God. I don't get upset over their beliefs.

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my writer's blog. I agree that prayer should be the start of everything.

Lily

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Lily.

And thank you for stopping by my blog.

I sometimes find friends, a few family members, and even some of my readers here, to be uncomfortable with my faith.

I make it a point never to push my beliefs at others. I rely on 1 Peter 3:15 to remind me that I should be prepared to share when the opportunity arrives. Colossians 4:5-6 reminds me to listen to that inner voice, God. In every situation, He will direct me how to share my faith with others.

Bless you!
Jean

Jean Fischer said...

Quietspirit,

I agree totally with your comment. Thanks for stopping by to share it.

God bless,
Jean

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FROM BARBOUR BOOKS
I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

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I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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