6 December 2016

Romans 15:17-21

…Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand”.

In this letter to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul is sharing Christ, his faith and the focus of his ministry.  This is not unlike one of my friends forty years ago.  Through his sharing his understanding of his faith and especially through the way he lived his life, I became interested in following Christ.  Others increased this interest, my youngest son, my wife’s grandmother, my sister and others.  None of them “preached” in the sense of telling me “what you need to do is __________”.  Instead, they preached to me through their lives, attitudes and the way they treated others with love and respect.  They had something I wanted so decided to seek it out.

Through some small group studies, I began to understand that I needed to go back to the beginning to learn what Christianity was all about.  That was when a friend invited me to attend a Disciple’s Bible Study. This 32 week study started with Genesis and involved reading most of the Old Testament, all of the New Testament and a workbook that helped explain what we were reading by putting it into context. As a group, we would meet once a week to view a video and discuss the scripture and try to understand how it related to our everyday lives. This put the stories in perspective and helped me understand what Christianity was about. Through this I began to develop a strong faith in God and a better understanding of my relationship to God and Christ. This has changed my life and has given me a greater purpose for my life.

My wife Barbara and I decided to try to help others in their searching for God by facilitating Disciple Bible Study classes here at Coronado.  For years the church has offered these classes and hundreds of people from many denominations have taken advantage of these classes to help them better understand Christianity and their faith.  Another opportunity came through my profession as a dentist.  Mission opportunities both local and out of the country have given us a chance to be used by God to draw others to Christ.

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying “Preach the Gospel at all times and, if necessary use words.” I was drawn to Jesus by the lives of others and I suspect that the way we observe other Christians acting has a bigger influence on us, either good or bad, than the words that we preach.