Good Connection, Poor Reception

“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.” – Paul, the Apostle

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This is the Enoshima Observation Tower a.k.a the Enoshima Sea Candle. It is located on the island of Enoshima in Fujisawa, Japan and measures 130 ft. in height. What first caught my attention about this steel lighthouse was its inverted conical shape, which is the opposite of how typical cone-shaped light towers are built. But what inspired me to write this devotion was the fact that it is also used as a telecom tower holding many antennas for mobile phone reception.

Back in 2002 Paul Marcarelli was better known as the “Test Man” for Verizon Wireless. His famous line “Can you hear me now? Good.” was synonymous with having clear and uninterrupted wireless coverage anytime, anywhere.

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Nothing can be more frustrating when telecommunicating than having poor reception. Not to mention constant dropped calls in the middle of conversations. Trying to maintain a good communication without a reliable connection and clear reception is not only impossible but to some degree dangerous. It’s like driving on a dark road at night during a heavy blizzard.

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As lighthouses for God, we are to shine His light through selfless deeds, but we must also convey the message of the Gospel in a clear and concise manner. In other words, we need to be able not only to connect with people but to communicate the Good News, whether verbally or in writing, in a way that those who have little to no theological background can easily understand. Far too many preachers are either corrupting the message of the cross with personal interpretations (bad reception), diluting it with inspirational speeches (distorting static), or making it difficult to understand by using too many theological terms (overloading data). Consequently, they lose the attention of non-Christian listeners as well as new converts within the first 10 minutes of their sermons (sort of like a dropped call). But not only the clergy, spiritually mature lay people as well tend to speak Christianese when witnessing to their family members and friends. Some use what I call Biblical Morse codes while others just mumble Scriptures out of context. These reception-less messages are detrimental to the spiritual health and growth of the listener. In fact, they can actually make a difference between heaven and hell.

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Using theologically infused speeches and literary works may be a practical approach to discipleship and when ministering to other seasoned Christians. Likewise, Christian terminology is only beneficial when fellowshipping with other Christians. However, neither one is recommended when the goal is to reach lost souls for the Christ. I personally feel that biblically hyperarticulated messages confuse rather than clarify the Gospel for the unchurched. For example, most unbelievers will think of “conversion,” “justification,” and “sanctification” very differently than those who have experienced spiritual new birth and have been discipled. As a matter of fact, telling someone that in order to enter heaven they must be “born-again” may produce the same perplexing response as that of Nicodemus. Or, they will most likely interpret it as what most non-religious people already do which is, “becoming a religious nut.”

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Many Christians today have no problem mingling with unbelieving friends, family members, or even strangers. What they find quite challenging is establishing a good spiritual conversation, or “reception,” with them. Hence, the many books, videos, and courses on Personal Evangelism. However, even the newly converted soul can effectively communicate the message of salvation by simply sharing what God has done in his/her life personally. There is no need to enhance the Gospel with eloquent words or religious jargons in order to declare its truth and power. The message of the cross is quite simple. Along with our personal testimony, all we need to convey are 4 basic things.

  • That we are all born morally and spiritually imperfect (Sin). This sin is what separates us from a holy and perfect God.
  • That Jesus came to pay for our sin by dying on the cross (Ransom) so that we could be free from its consequence (eternal death/hell) and enter into a personal relationship with God. (Reconciliation/Atonement)
  • That If we repent of our sin and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior we are made right with God. (Justification)
  • And that as a result, God promises us eternal life with Him in His kingdom (Salvation) and helps us to live an earthly life separated to love, please, and serve Him (Sanctification). 

This can be communicated without using the theological terms in parentheses. But before we even attempt to do so it would behoove us to first pray to God and ask Him for the right words and attitude to witness. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to effectively share the Gospel with others when you use a clear and simple message that is backed up by the only network that supersedes all others. In fact, it is the most reliable communication network in the entire universe. It’s called HSP (Holy Spirit and Prayer). With God’s help, we can achieve excellent Communication with clear Reception.

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Prayer: Holy Father in heaven, let your light shine brightly in and through me. That it may be reflected not only in my actions but also in my speech (and writings). Holy Spirit fill me with a greater passion for lost souls and grant me boldness and grace to declare the Good News with the right attitude, motive, and words.  In Jesus name I pray, amen.

SCRIPTURES
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.” -1 Corinthians 2:1 
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” – 1 Timothey 4:3
“For The Spirit of Holiness shall teach you in that hour what it is necessary for you to say.” – Luke 12:12 (ABPE)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Act 1:8 (NLT)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.

 

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14 thoughts on “Good Connection, Poor Reception

  1. Thank God we can communicate with Him and that’s right He has no busy signals. The Lord is easily accessible to us because of what Christ did on the cross. God’s love is communicated via Jesus! Love you sweetheart, your wife, Mari.

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  2. AMEN & AMEN!! “HIS LIGHT” AND NOT OURS. And unfortunately, the messages that so often is heard often become lost–family stories, personal stories. church member’s stories, and that’s okay at times. But if the congregation becomes nothing but an audience, and the worship music beforehand becomes entertainment, the CROSS is missed. Thanks again Joe for the truth!

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    1. Thank you, Mel. My heart continues to break as I witness what you so aptly describe as the cross being missed. Perhaps in the wake of so many disasters and the growing lawlessness, the church body will wake up and actually live and share the true Gospel.

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  3. This topic seems to be going around lately. I guess that shows how important it is! How often young or weak, lazy Christians expect God to do all the talking through the words of a pastor or learned clergy. But this is an important lesson to any of us who pray-on-the-fly in our overly busy lives. Thanks ever Joe.

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    1. Thank you, April. This surely should be a very popular topic since we are undoubtedly in the last days. We need to stop playing church and actually be the church by proclaiming the truth uninhibitedly. For that, we need to “connect” with Holy Spirit first and then “go tell it on the mountain…”

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  4. This is sooo good Joe! I recently cut off communication with someone I found was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She was using tons of “religious jargon” in an effort to appear as if she was a Christian. Yet, her prideful attitude clearly showed she didn’t grasp that she was a sinner. She was too busy talking about how sinful everyone else was; and she was wrong in that area too. All we need to do to witness; is to ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Then we just need to share what Jesus did for us! I loved this post, and I will be sharing it this week at The Silver Lining at http://www.facebook.com/angelaslittleattic. Also, I suggest you look into submitting your blog posts to some Christian magazines for publication, They are professionally well done and full of truth. If I ever start a Christian magazine, I will come looking for you! God bless you and your ministry, in Jesus’ name! 😊💙✝️

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    1. Thank you, Angela! This particular devotion has ministered to me more than any other. I have learned throughout my Christian journey that no matter how much I love people and want to see them saved, God loves them even more! So, I don’t have to “dress up” the Gospel message to make it sound any more convincing, life-changing, and inviting than what it already is. As Paul said, the Gospel is POWER unto salvation for all who believe.” Our job is to just share it through personal testimonies, acts of kindness, and proclaiming its truth. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit and the recipient’s response.
      To be quite honest I never considered myself a writer. I just pen from the heart. But I have been greatly encouraged by family members, friends, and fellow bloggers like you and that is why I am actually working on self-publishing my first devotions book. I am currently re-editing and formatting all my devotions while designing the book and its cover. If all goes well, I should have it by Christmas.

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