Posted in Faith

What’s Wrong With Being the “Crazy” Church Lady?

Woman sitting on a wall holding a bible.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Mark 16:15, NIV

I think we can all agree that evangelism, or witnessing to others about Christ, is one of the core duties of a believer.

The bible calls this, The Great Commission, as recorded in Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:18-20 and Luke 24:46-47.

But how many of us actively spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the rest of our community? Do we censor ourselves around our co-workers and non-Christian friends for the sake of their comfort?

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the parents at my sons swim practice. She was venting to me about one of the new instructors at the YMCA.

According to her the lady was former military, which made her a bit rough around the edges. Plus she didn’t like the music she played during the class.

I casually mentioned that my father is pastor (yes, I’m a pk), but he is also former military, which makes his job as a pastor difficult at times. Military people in leadership positions can often come off as too direct and offensive when leading civilians.

I assured her that the new instructor would get the hang of interacting with civilians as time went on.

Little did I know that this brief exchange would lead down a new path one I was not expecting.

I was swiftly assured that one of this woman’s many problems was that she was in fact a pastor’s wife, which made her “very religious”.

In her experience religious people are the worst. Her sister was very religious, always sharing scriptures and what not. Her sister got on her nerves.

As a Christian, I was somewhat offended and taken aback by this woman’s comments. However, at the same time, I could see her point of view.

I think everybody knows or has met that “ very religious” person or “crazy” church lady that we all try to duck and hide from.

But are these people really so bad? After all they are actively sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the rest of the world.

How often do you (myself included) share the gospel with those around you? Are we vocal about our faith or do we censor ourselves around friends and family for fear of alienating them?

Should we be like the crazy church lady when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? Let’s take a closer look at this issue.

Following the Great Commission

As a Christian I often find myself torn on how to interact with nonbelievers or people of a different faith.

It’s easy for me to talk about my faith and share scriptures with other believers, but with strangers, I would say that my efforts are less than stellar.

It would seem that I’m not the only person out there that struggles with this issue.

According to a report entitled, Reviving Evangelism, 47 percent of Christian Millennial’s believe that it is wrong to share their faith with others.

47% of Christian Millennial’s believe it is wrong to share their faith with other people.

Reviving Evangelism

Despite the fact that 86% of Christian Millennial’s feel that they can answer questions about their faith, 73% say they are gifted at sharing their faith, and 96% of them believe that witnessing about Jesus is part of their faith. (You can find a part of that report here).

While I’m not a Millennial, they are not the only generation of Christians that have problem sharing their faith.

The problem with the belief that evangelism is wrong, is that it is in direct conflict with scripture.

The Apostle Paul asks these important questions, ”How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? (Rom 10:14, CEV).”

Based on the study Millennial Christians believe evangelism is wrong for the following reasons:

  • They are more aware of the cultural climate towards spiritual conversations.
  • They believe that people today are more likely to be offended if they share their faith.

What does scripture say about how we should deal with cultural sensitivity and offense.

Dealing With The Culture

Since the time of Christ, there has been opposition to the preaching of the Gospel. The Pharisees and Sadducees sought to kill Jesus and eventually crucified him. Afterward, they sought to kill and persecute the early members of the church.

What was so wrong with the message of Christ? It was counter-cultural. Everything Jesus stood for and preached about went against the cultural norms proposed by the religious leaders.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:9, “ “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

The current cultural climate in America is one of acceptance and tolerance for almost anything and everything. That is where sharing the gospel can cause conflict between Christians and their non-Christian peers.

Unlike other countries where Christians are and can be persecuted for their beliefs with physical harm, imprisonment and other social injustices. Persecution in the US takes a different form.

While we are not imprisoned or killed for our beliefs we are often ostracized from our close family, friends, and co-workers.

You know that crazy church lady that we were talking about earlier. The one we avoid. (ouch)

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household (Matt 10:33-36, KJV).

As Christians, we are not called to just go along with whatever the culture declares right and just. Everything we do should be balanced and tested against the word of God.

That means that there are parts of our faith that will make us unpopular with the world around us.

In a culture where you are expected to accept the status quo as true and accurate or else be branded as a bigot or intolerant it can be hard to stand on your faith.

However, the only way to stand against the culture is to continue to stand on your faith and your beliefs as Christ did.

Which means that our faith will cause us to be persecuted and will cause us to lose friends and family.

Dealing With Not Wanting to Offend Others

Man holding a sign that says Jesus facing another man.

…but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

1 Peter 2: 7-8

All Christians need to understand that the gospel of Christ is offensive to those that do not believe. The only way you can not offend someone with the gospel is to not share it.

This is just what the enemy wants is for us to be silent about our faith because we don’t want to upset or disagree with someone.

This is the exact reason why the “overly religious” Christian is treated with such disdain by non-Christians and even fellow believers.

Could it be that being around those people causes us to be convicted because we aren’t sharing our faith enough?

Have you ever stopped to think about how often the world freely and often offends Christianity? Yet, we remain silent because we don’t want to offend those around us.

We should not be afraid of offending people. Because that is going to happen. What we should instead be focusing on is the way we share the gospel with those around us.

How We Should Evangelize

Two women sitting on the couch facing each other.

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

We know that the gospel is going to be offensive to those that don’t believe.

While this may be true, that doesn’t mean that we have to present the gospel of Christ in an offensive manner.

The reason why most people run from the “crazy” church lady is because of the way they share the gospel.

Even though their intentions are well meaning they often come off as rude, preachy, and unauthentic to other people.

Instead when we evangelize we should strive to do the following:

1. Be Kind and Respectful

We should follow Peter’s advice.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15,NIV).

We should be able to present the gospel of Christ with humility, gentleness and respect. Not with condemnation and self-righteousness.

When the religious leaders brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus he did not yell at or berate her. Instead, he forgave her of her sins and told her to sin no more (John 8: 1-11).

When you are acting like a jerk or snob nobody wants to listen to what you have to say.

2. Don’t Argue With People

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful ( 2 Tim 2: 23-24, NIV).

As I stated earlier the gospel is offensive and many of the moral standards taught in the bible go against the cultural norms. There are times when you will run into people that will challenge and attack your faith.

If you can not defend the gospel in a calm and respectful manner, then walk away from the conversation. This allows you to maintain your integrity and ability to try to witness to this person again.

3. Be Real and Authentic

You don’t have to act super spiritual to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with non-Christians. The best way to share the gospel with someone is to share your own testimony with them. This makes you real and relatable.

Jesus, even though he didn’t sin, was still able to relate to his disciples and the people that followed him because he knew the struggles we as humans faced. His life here on earth may have been a sinless one, but it was not without hardship.

4. Keep It Simple

Don’t try to complicate the message of the cross. Keep it simple. Now is not the time to give a lesson on theology. Start with Christ and end with Christ. Cover the who, what, when, where and why of the Gospel.

5. Have Compassion & Patience

As we grow older and mature in our faith we can often fall into selective amnesia about our past life before Christ. This can lead us to be impatient and our compassion towards the unbeliever begins to wane.

We are called to care for our fellow man whether they come to accept Christ or not. Jesus had compassion on the crowd of 5000 people that had come from far and wide to hear him speak.

I can guarantee you that there were people in the crowd that were not his disciples and had no desire to become his disciple. I’m sure their were a few religious leaders hiding in the crowd.

But Jesus took compassion on the crowd regardless of who was in it. He took 2 little fish and 5 loaves of bread and feed them all.

Remember we were all once sinners. Someone had to have compassion and patience with us. We should extend it others as well.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for tips on how to share the gospel without being offensive you can read this article .

Personally, I think most of us don’t share the gospel because we are afraid to be classified as the “crazy” church lady or that super religious friend that doesn’t get invited to anything.

But it seems like maybe the “crazy” church lady or that religious friend is exactly who we should be. Just the kinder, gentler, and more compassionate version.

I’m not saying that you have to quote scriptures every 5 minutes or that every conversation that we have should be about Christ.

If he truly is our Lord and Savior and we are really grateful for all he has done for us we shouldn’t be afraid to share what he’s done for us with the world around us.

When you eat at a great restaurant you gladly tell your friends, family, and even strangers about it. We should take that same attitude with us about Christ.

He is depending on us to go out and share the gospel with the whole world.

How do you feel about evangelism? Do you know any “crazy” church ladies or gentlemen? Have your feelings or beliefs on evangelism changed? Please share your stories with me in the comment section.

Don’t forget to hit the like button and share this post on social media. If you’re not already a subscriber consider subscribing to my blog.

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Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith, Lifestyle

You Can Study The Bible With These 5 Easy and Effective Acronyms

Only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily.

American Bible Society, March 2018

In a recent study performed by the American Bible Society, it was reported that only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily (March 2018).

As a Christian I find this number to be quite alarming. It is apparent that many of us are not reading the word of God as we should, let alone studying it.

Can I be real with you for a moment?

Reading the Bible, let alone studying it, can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you are a new believer or you don’t know how to study.

After all the bible is made of 66 books divided into two sections the Old and New Testament.

The Old Testament consists of books of history, poetry, and prophecy, while the New Testament consists of the Gospels, Letters, and 1 book of prophecy.

Where does one even start? Do you just open the bible and just start reading whatever page you land on? (If you’re a new Christian I recommend starting in the book of John.)

Then you have to decide what version/translation of the bible you want to read: NIV, KJV, ESV, NLT, HSBC…It can all be a bit much.

Once again if you’re a new Christian I would recommend an NIV, NLT, or ESV Bible.

Luckily for us, there are a whole host of Bible apps that you can use for free that will let you read different versions of the bible.

So that part shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

But wait… isn’t it the Pastors job to teach us what’s in the bible on Sunday mornings?

So why do I need to even read or study the bible outside of Sunday morning service?

I’m glad you asked!

3 Reasons Why You Should Study Your Bible

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

1. God Commands Us Too

Yes, it is the pastor’s job to share the word of God with the congregation, but it is also the job of the congregation to study the word of God on their own.

In Deuteronomy 11:18-20, ”You shall, therefore, lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”

Note that it doesn’t say the Pastor is to do these things it specifically says, ”you”.

So as you can see we are commanded by God to study his word so that it becomes a part of our hearts and gets ingrained in our souls. That way we can share it with all that we come into contact with.

2. The Word Shows Us How We Should Live

When I was younger our pastors often referred to the Bible as our Basic, Instruction, Before, Leaving, Earth (BIBLE).

The bible has everything that a Christian need to live a life holy and acceptable to God.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 says” All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

The Bible contains information on how we are to handle our finances, our relationships with our children, spouses, and neighbors, what to do when others treat us poorly, etc.

Whatever you need can be found in the word of God.

3. It Will Change Your Life

In my opinion, this is the most important part of why you should study your bible. If you are struggling with sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, reading and studying the word of God will slowly begin to erode all of that stuff away.

Romans 12:2 says,” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The key part of this verse is the renewing of your mind. If we want to see real change in our lives we have to change the way we do things.

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.

When you constantly study the word of God and are in a relationship with Christ it will slowly (and sometimes quickly) change the way you think about and see the world around you.

How can the word of God change you? Simply put the Word of God is not just a book that you read.

It’s not just words on a page that don’t apply to your life and everyday situation.

Hebrew 4:12 states,” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Another interesting finding from the study done by the American Bible Society (March 2018) showed that people who studied their bible regularly:

  • Showed more loving behavior towards others,
  • Were more generous with their time, energy or financial resources,
  • And were more willing to engage in their faith

Reading the Word of God regularly is an important part of our Christian walk with God.

Now that we know why it’s important for us to read and study our bible let’s look at a few helpful acronyms that will help you study.

5 Easy Acronyms That Will Help You Effectively Study The Bible

In general studying, the Bible falls into 3 main categories: topical (word) study, chapter study, and character study.

Topical studies focus on a specific topic or concepts such as love, marriage, parenting, tithing, etc. When doing topical studies it is important for you to study these terms in context.

During a chapter study, you pick a specific chapter in the bible to study. Some popular chapters are Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13, Daniel 3, and Hebrews 11. These chapters can be studied in one setting, but are best studied in small sections or multiple study sessions.

Character studies are some of my favorite studies because I get to learn more about some of my favorite Bible characters like Samson, David, Paul, Esther, Ruth and of course Jesus.

Bible Journaling is an effective way to study the bible no matter what type of study you are doing. You don’t need anything fancy to use as your bible journal.

A simple spiral or composition notebook will work just fine.

Even though all of these methods are slightly different they all have the same basic backbone: choosing a scripture, chapter, topic etc, writing down your observations and some form of personal interpretation.

All 5 of these acronyms have already been covered in great detail by other bloggers.

Instead of rehashing what’s already been done I have provided a brief overview of each acronym and provided the link to the original blog post if you would like more information.

Without further ado here are the 5 easy acronyms that you can use to study the Bible.

1.SOAP

SOAP stands for S-scripture, O-observe, A-application, P- prayer.

I believe the SOAP method is currently the most popular acronym. Whenever I am on pinterest I always see pins for this study method.

2.WORD

WORD stands for W-write, O-observation, R-relevant, D-declare.

The WORD method does not simply end with prayer, but as part of the prayer you declare the applicable parts of the scripture over your life, which I thought was pretty neat.

3.APPLE

APPLE stands for A-attributes of God, P-promises of God, P-principles for life, L- lesson learned, E- example to follow.

The APPLE method is excellent for studying the Psalms. Unlike, the other methods this one has you look for the attributes of God and his promises.

This kind of study can be useful for learning scriptures on healing, finances, God’s provision, or doing a study on the Character of God.

4.REST

REST stands for R-read, E-engage, S-savor, T-Take charge.

The REST method is best for topical bible studies. For example if you wanted to learn about forgiveness, tithing, baptism, love, etc.

This one doesn’t have an observation section, but instead directs you to meditate(S-savor) on the scripture or passage that you’ve read. Once you’ve meditated you write down what you believe God is speaking to you through the scripture (T-Take Charge).

5.SALT(Y)

SALT(Y) stands for S-supplication, A-absorb, L-learn, T- Thanksgiving, Y-you.

This study method begins with prayer (S) and ends with giving God thanks(T). I like that you can add the Y, which causes you to examine how the verse applies to your life.

If you’re crunched for time this bible study would work well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a more in depth bible study.

Final Thoughts

Taking time out of your busy day to read your Bible is an important part of any Christians day. Spending time in the word of God is essential to our growth as Christians and can radically change our lives if we let it.

While studying the Bible can seem intimidating it doesn’t have to be. Using any one of the 5 acronyms above can greatly enhance our time spent studying the bible.

Have you tried any of the acronyms above to study the bible? Maybe I’ve missed one or you know of another method. Please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith

Finding Comfort In God’s Word

I think everyone has that moment in their life that they will never forget. That one moment, that one incident that will forever alter their reality and changes that person for better or worse.

If you haven’t had that moment in life trust me you will.

For me, that moment took place four years ago on a dark cold January night, much like tonight. As I think about it our bedroom was set up in almost the exact configuration.

I remember laying in my bed next to my husband. Anxiously awaiting the news he had to tell me. News that would forever shatter the happy world I once knew.

I had an affair and I have daughter she will be one next week…words no wife wants to hear. A situation no wife wants to bear.

At that moment, four years ago, my life changed. It was the worst day of my life and without a doubt the hardest year of my life.

And even though I found myself broken emotionally and mentally. God was there to comfort me spiritually.

Even in the midst of my pain and my anguish God was there through it all. His word was a constant light shining into the darkness.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

When I felt like the wounds would never heal He reminded me that He would heal my heart.

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

When low self esteem tried to take me to the pits of depression He said…

…You are fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful…

Psalm 139:14

I cried many tears and had many sleepless nights, but…

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

And years later the weeping has subsided and has been replaced with His joy.

No, things aren’t how I want them to be, but they’re not as bad as they could be either.

When I found myself struggling with trusting those that I had once held so close He reminded me of where my trust should lie.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we are in consumed by the darkness in our lives, we often overlook the promises of God.

You know, human nature is funny that way, when we need him the most we often pull away from God. But it is in those times that we should draw closer not farther.

It is in His word where you will find hope for your tomorrow. It is in His word that you will remember that trouble won’t last always( 1 Peter 5:10). It is in His word that you remember that He is near the broken-hearted(Psalm 34:18).

You see no matter what you are going through God is there to comfort you. Waiting for you with outstretched arms.

For those who believe, the word of God provides us with light and hope in the midst of the storm.

Maybe you have a favorite verse that brings you comfort and hope. Please share it in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith

Are You A Man/Woman After God’s Heart?

Israel had many kings, but no King was a famous as it’s second King, David. Before he was a king, David was a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. He was the youngest of his father’s sons.

In 1 Samuel 16, we find the story of Samuel’s journey to anoint the next King of Israel. He passes over Jesse’s first two sons believing that God would choose them as king. But it is here that God reminds him that God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart of a man (1 Sam 16:7).

I can imagine that he was probably picked on quite a bit with 7 older brothers in the house. But it was this little brother that was anointed by the great prophet Samuel to become the next King of Israel.

In Acts 13:22, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. (NIV)”

David -A Man After God’s Heart

Many of you may already know the story of David, if you don’t I encourage you to read it. David was a great hero and ruler of Israel. He was also an adulterer, murderer, and he failed to discipline his children.

Yet, he was still considered a man after God’s heart. Why? This has always been a question the puzzled me. After all, how could someone who had committed such terrible sins still be considered a man after God’s heart?

In my mind I couldn’t reconcile the sins that David committed with the heart of God. If you take after someone your just like them, you copy them, you walk like them, you talk like them. Isn’t that what it means to take after someone?

It wasn’t until a yesterday while I was listening to a preacher talk about David that I understood what this scripture was saying.

It wasn’t that David’s heart was like God’s, but that David was chasing after the heart of God. In spite of Davids shortcomings David always wanted to please God.

Is that our main goal as Christians to please God or to please men?

Even when David sinned and was confronted by the prophet he confessed and repented (2 Sam 12:1-14). He didn’t harden his heart, like some of us would have done.

When David challenged Goliath it wasn’t for fame, glory, or the hand of Saul’s daughter. He was indignant that such a man would challenge God’s people and make a mockery of His God (1 Sam:17).

When is the last time you’ve been indignant when the world makes a mockery of the things of God? Did you stand up for it or just keep silent?

When the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel King David danced with all of his might before the Lord. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him because he was dancing for God (2 Sam 6).

When God blesses us, do we give him the glory and tell others about what he’s done for us?

Unlike his predecessor Saul, David was obedient to God. The last part of Acts 13:22 says,” … he will do everything I want him to.”

Are we obedient to the holy spirit when he tells us to buy the person in front of us groceries or to give more in the offering this week?

How Do We Become Men/Women After God’s Own Heart

Being a man or woman after God’s own heart does not mean that we are perfect and it does not mean that we will be without sin. It does mean that:

  1. We need to have a relationship with God.
  2. We need to focus on pleasing God.
  3. We should be quick to repent and turn from our wicked ways.
  4. We need to stand up for the things of God, even if it means we have to stand alone.
  5. We need to to be obedient and committed to the teachings of Christ.

All of these things can be accomplished by reading Gods word and developing a personal relationship with Christ our Redeemer. David had a personal relationship with God. He trusted God in spite of the difficulties and the challenges he faced before and after he became King.

Because of Jesus, we are able to develop a relationship with God, without the sacrifice of animals, like David did. So, let us strive to be men and woman after God’s heart.

Remember that God looks at the heart of a person. Ask yourself today am I a man/woman after God’s heart?

If you have any other tips or insights please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro