From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 21, 2020
Subject: It's January 21; Good Morning Union

“Always be prepared…”          1 Peter 3:15

(first of all “be prepared” for the -1 temperature outside!! Dress warmly and be careful on the ice. Good news for the non-winter lovers- this is the last day of the cold spell. Warming tonight and tomorrow- which also will bring snow- and by the weekend it is supposed to be in the 40s!) Ok on with GMU!

I’ve heard this used by others (and sometimes myself too unfortunately) as the text to challenge people to know their Bibles SO THAT they can defeat someone in a theological argument. I’m sorry I ever did that. My goal in life now is to never try and defeat anyone in a theological argument, but always “be prepared” to help others see the beauty I have found in following Jesus, the light He has shown me on the journey, and the Light He has shown me in His Word.

Now this verse has taken on new meaning for me. I always want to “be prepared,” but for what? Here’s what I found in this verse again this morning as a reminder:

  1. First, before I can “be prepared” the verse prefaces that phrase with “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” So I conclude at this point in my journey, that to “be prepared,” I have to first decide my level of commitment to Jesus. I’m guessing there is some correlation between the level of my decision to “set apart Christ as Lord” of my life and my “preparedness!”
  2. And what am I to be prepared to do?“  ”Give an answer.”
  3. To whom? “to everyone who asks you.”
  4. Asks me what? “to give a reason for the hope that is in you.”

So I am to “be prepared,” by “setting apart Christ as Lord,” SO THAT, and here is the cruncher- “WHEN SOMEONE ASKS ME,” I will “be prepared” to answer their question. And what is their question?—“Tell me the reason for the hope that is in you?”

My conclusion-- live my life, with Christ as Lord, SO THAT my life looks different enough that someone might ask me, ”What is it that make you so different (in a good sort of way!), and I will tell them of the hope that is in me. THAT, my friends, for me is “witnessing” as I see it.

I’m not standing on some street corner guilting or frightening people into loving Jesus so they don’t burn in hell. I’m loving Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life, and my life does look different. When someone asks, I will tell them of the hope that gives me purpose and focus and peace in spite of all the junk this world is throwing around. It gives me direction and an anchor through the storms of life.

And one more thing—the verse concludes- “Do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.” It’s not in-your-face power threats; it’s an in-my-heart connection that will be evident SO THAT when people see me they see Jesus and I share with them, WHEN THEY ASK, the reason He works so well for me. God will take it from there and do as He wishes, when He wishes, how He wishes—My “job”- set apart Christ as Lord of my life, and then be prepared.

Have a great day making Him Lord,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day:      “Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith in God.”

PS        Christ on Demand- 7:30pm in Rees Hall Chapel. Join Amber and friends for 30 minutes of praise and the Word.

PPS      Don’t forget, this is Mission Emphasis Week. If you are thinking about being a student missionary next school year, NOW is the time to start the application process. You need to begin by February 1.

PPPS    Thanks for all those who help with the “Feed the Kids” project yesterday. We packed 6342 meals for kids in orphanages and refuge camps!!

PP.S     Our “Go Fund Me” page is now up (thanks to Maxwell Bromme!). for the family who had the house fire close to campus, We set a goal of $1000 and we’re over half way there already. Participate this week as we help this neighbor family with their loss.