This weeks congregation bible study introduces the 17th chapter of the book of Acts. In this chapter Paul skillfully finds the common ground with a group of non-believers. His speech is a model of eloquence, tact, and discernment.
With that on my mind I went out in service this morning.I have a return visit with a women at a tourism booth at the zoo here in Tuxtla. I get there and I’m thinking, “I gotta pull a Paul and somehow tie this tourism and natural beauty of Chiapas in with the Bible.” So throughout the conversation I’m looking for my in. The conversation with Anabeth went something like this.
“Have you drunk Pozol?” (A local beverage), she asked.
“Well, you know that means you’re going to marry a Chiapaneca.” (A women from the state of Chiapas)
“That wouldn’t be such a bad thing. There are a lot of beautiful women from Chiapas. Have you ever been married?”
“No, not yet. I’m looking for a good Christian man. That is something that is very important for me! You know I don’t want to be unevenly yoked.”
As soon as she said that I thought, “Yes! There’s my in!” Trying to think of all the things Paul did I continued,
“That’s very commendable that you are trying to follow what the bible says about marriage. You know the bible tells us how important it is that God be involved in our marriage. Look at this scripture in Ecclesiastes 4:12.” After reading it I asked, “Who do you think that third cord is?”
“That’s right we need to have God in our relationships. I noticed that you mentioned you want a GOOD Christian man. You know the bible teaches that we must worship God in spirit and truth. So the question is: are all Christians today good or true Christians?”
“No, some aren’t really Christians. The bible talks about there being sheep in wolves clothing.”
“Very good! I see you read the bible often. In your opinion then how can you identify a true Christian today?”
“Mmm… His attitude, the way is treats other people, and if possible I would like to hear his prayers, I think that is important.”
“You know that’s right,” I said as my partner slid me a copy of the March watchtower which discusses that very topic – the value of going in twos. “Do you know what the word Christian means?”
“A follower of Jesus Christ?”
“Exactly! So as followers of Jesus that means we need to worship who he worshiped and praise who he praised. Notice these points brought out in this magazine,” I said and began flipping through the magazine.
“Ah, yes this is very important. I’m very interested in finding a true Christian man.”
“Well, if you’re looking for a true Christian man what do you think you need to do for yourself first?”
“Hmmm… I don’t know,” she said looking at her workmate.
“If you want a good true Christian what do you think he will want?”
“Ahh… I need to be a good Christian women.”
“That’s right and to do that we need to worship God in a way that he approves. (Recognize that expression?) Here I have this book for you. Look at this chapter,” I said showing her chapter 15 of the teach book.
After reading through the questions in the introduction and explaining how the book works she said, “Yes I’m very interested in knowing this.”
“I’ll tell you what, Anabeth, I have some friends waiting in the car now so how about I come back next week on Tuesday and we look at this chapter.
“Okay great idea!”
I felt really good and encouraged after this call. I was able to remember what I had learned in the meeting the night before and apply in my ministry. The meetings really do serve as an invaluable training tool. Furthermore, there are so many precious gems of teaching we can learn from Paul and the other accounts in the book of Acts.