I think I have told most of my blog readers about this in person, but just to verify that everyone knows, I will quickly give a background on this issue for me.
It is really not easy to be a Christian in the Navy. Especially when you are as conservative as I am. I was the kid who grew up in Fundamental Independent Baptist Church's most of his life, and to join the Navy where all anyone ever seems to want to do is go drinking every Friday night, it's probably a no brainer that it would be a hard life to live being such a committed christian in the Navy.
Don't get me wrong the Navy does make it's attempt to ensure that it's Christians are spiritually edified, but for the Conservative Baptist that I am, the Navy has a hard time providing for my needs. Let me explain...
On a ship we have Chaplains...most of you probably already know this. Navy Chaplains do the best they can at ministering to people, but they can't really be completely open in their evangelizing. They have to be relatively "open minded" when it comes to their interactions with people of other faiths. Anyways...Chaplains often make their services like modern christian services are these days. Praise and worship music with people raising their hands and swaying, I don't really want to judge, but this often makes me very uncomfortable.
I struggle big time with going to the services on my ship, because of how uncomfortable I get. I go mainly because I think about the other christian on board the ship, and what they'll think if I don't go to the services. Anyways...let me get to the point at hand. During the service I often look forward to the preaching because the worship time makes me so uncomfortable. So when Chaplain Benefield gets up their and starts preaching, that is the time during the service that I most look forward to.
So yesterday, as you know was Sunday, at least it was in Japan. Ha Ha! Anyway...I of course went to the service. Well, for this underway we have been on some really crazy hours, and I hadn't been able to get any sleep the night before...so to say that I was tired during the service... would be an understatement.
Even when it came time for the sermon, I was having a hard time staying awake. Chaplain Benefield was speaking on "Reaching People for Christ." During most of the message, I was dosing, and I was beginning to feel really badly about it. Anyway...toward the end when Chaplain was bringing the sermon to a close, and he started quoting a pastor from a church he used to go to. The Pastor had told the people that "Millions of people were dying and going to hell everyday" and he apologized in advance before he said it...but he followed with "and most of you could care less about them."
After this Chaplain paused for a long period of time, as he often does to allow the truth's he's putting out to sink in. One thing I realized is, that he's right. I can say all I want that I'm trying to reach people for Christ...but I often make no attempt whatsoever. I just kind of skate along, going to church every Sunday, and reading my bible, but not really telling others about the Christ that saved me!
After the service I was feeling pretty convicted, but as often happens, I left and allowed myself to forget what I'd heard...but God wasn't going to let me off that easy.
Later on in the day...God got my attention about it, from someone I would least expect to hear it from. There's a new guy in my shop, who's actually gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble since he got here, so I wouldn't think that anything he would say would I listen to. But as I've said before "God has a sense of humor!"
He was talking to me about some things he's been struggling with, and he was basically asking for advice. This is one area that I have dropped the ball with since I joined the Navy. I often, in order to not offend, will water down my faith when I talk to people. I don't want to upset people, so I intentionally don't speak out as much as I should about my faith. So he's asking me for advice, and I'm not really giving it to him. I'm just kind of telling him some things that anyone could tell him. Like, saying "just stop." He's telling me..."I need more than that...ya gotta give me more than that." So he starts talking about what he thinks is wrong...and I'm agreeing with him all along the way, he's basically figured it out for himself.
So then he looks at me and he says something like "if you knew that, why didn't you tell me." He keeps going and telling me that I know all this stuff about God, and how to help people, and I'm just sitting their..."skating by." He's like...what good is God's word doing in your life...if you are not telling people about it. He's like...your just holding it in their...for yourself. While he's saying this I'm thinking "Wow, God... you really know how to get my attention don't you!"
God was definitely speaking to me, and he was using a guy that I would least expect to hear it from. This is an area where I have seriously dropped the ball. I've been soaking up God's word, and allowing it to work in my life, but not telling anyone about it. I shouldn't say I haven't told anyone about it, because I know how I have once in while, but I haven't done it nearly as much as I should have been. This is one area of my life that I know God has been working on trying to get me to fix, but I've not really gone into action about it.
This is something that I know we could all use a little encouragement about. It makes me think of a quote from a Movie. The quote is "Money is like manure, it's not really worth anything...unless it's spread around." I think you can sort of apply this to the current situation. Money being "God's word." We can accumulate God's word into our lives and soak it in, but if we let it just pile up in our hearts, and in our lives, we can allow it to become stagnant, and we become unfruitful. The way we can bear fruit in this area is if, we spread God's word around tell others about it, that is where God's word really starts working!
I know this is one area that I have been praying about quite a bit, and I pray that it will be an encouragement to you. I'm not going to begin to tell you how to go about doing this, because I just learning this too. But I hope that by sharing this with you, I was able to encourage you to start taking action!