Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Power of the Sign

Around our church staff we often hear comments about “the power of the sign”. Often coming from Jennifer, our church receptionist. She often gets calls about the sign in front of our church on Niles Avenue, sometimes from our own congregants and often from persons in the community. Niles Avenue is a busy street and many people read the sign, especially if they’re caught by the traffic light at Botham Avenue as they travel toward downtown.

The risen Christ said, in Acts 1:8 that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us and, as a result, we would be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Probably, to those disciples, Berrien County Michigan, would be the “ends of the earth”. North America was totally unknown to the world at that time, but his witness has come to our community and we are blessed with thousands of Christ-followers who try to live out the love of Christ in an amazing variety of ways. We are the “signs” for Jesus! We are his witnesses!

We often think of witnesses as being when we tell someone about what God has done for us through Christ Jesus, and that is a wonderful thing. We should do it at every opportunity and with increasing skill the longer we serve him. However, “the power of the sign” is in just being there where people can see it and read it at their leisure or in the midst of their busy days. That is also true of the power of a transformed life. If God has touched your life—if you are living out your faith to the best of your ability, then God has transformed you into a powerful sign of his divine presence.

An unbeliever might sometimes view the sign with suspicion—why is she being so nice? What does he expect to get out of this? What is their real motive? But the power of the sign, if it is just there, day after day, being Christ-like, loving others through normal courtesies, casual friendliness, genuine compassion when they’re hurting, or honest appreciation for a kindness shown, is the very best witness to the power of Christ to change a life.

Not everyone has the gift of evangelism. Not everyone can put their faith into words in a way that will influence someone else to become a follower of Christ. But each of us can be witnesses for Christ as we allow his Spirit to live in us and transform us day by day into his image—not making us all alike, but giving each of us the attributes of godliness that bless the world around us on a day to day basis, each of us in our own unique way.

I am the beneficiary of those blessings on so many days, in so many ways, from so many people, who quietly go about their lives being Christ to everyone they meet. May God help each of us to always be a sign of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet. God will do his part if we will each do ours, and the result will be the gradual, but dramatic transformation of society, by his divine Presence in our very human lives.

Never underestimate the power of the sign!

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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