Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be Prepared to Give an Answer

Waco always gets excited when a new restaurant comes to town. As citizens of Waco, Susan and I get excited, as well, at the arrival of a new restaurant.

When Five Guys Burgers came to town, we told everyone about how we loved their huge burgers that we were introduced to when we lived in the DC area. When Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant came to town, we told everyone to request their spicy jalapeno ranch dressing to dip their tortilla chips into. Susan and I love to spread the good news about new and exciting restaurants that we have experienced.

When we experience a new restaurant that we love, people will ask us: “What did you order off the menu so that I can try it too? What is so good about the place?” And Susan and I have an answer at the ready, to tell them about the wonderful service we received from our waiter or the amazing Cajun French fries that we enjoyed.

The same is true with our Christian faith. People will ask you: “What do you think about Jesus? What is so great about St. Alban’s?” And if we do not have a good answer ready, then our experience rings hollow and we do not have good news, truly good news, to share.

We need to be ready to share the good news of what we have found in Jesus Christ, news about what we experience in this place called St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. So I invite you to do this little exercise: on an index card or a slip of paper, write down a short answer, a very short answer, to just two questions:

1. Why do you follow Jesus?
2. Why do you go to St. Alban’s?

When you have the answers to those questions in your proverbial hip pocket, then you will be ready to share the good news at a moment’s notice. As Paul writes, in his First Letter to Peter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (3:15).”

Spend some time at the “restaurant” that we call St. Alban’s. Order something new off the menu. Give yourself room to experience Jesus in this place and to accept his invitation to follow him. Then, be prepared to give an answer, a short heartfelt answer, about the reason for the hope that you have.

Sharing a new place to break bread is wonderful; sharing a place to break the Bread of Life is even better.

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