A deacon and pastor from the local church were standing by the side of the road, pounding a sign into the ground that read: “The End Is Near! Turn Yourself Around Now – Before It’s Too Late!”
As a car sped past them, the driver yelled, “Leave us alone, you religious nuts!”
From the curve they heard screeching tires and a big splash. The pastor turned to the deacon and asked, “Do you think the sign should just say, ‘Bridge Out’?”
Sometimes Christians want to speak to people about the Christian faith. In our heads we arrange the words, and they come out exactly as we’d like, but others hear something totally different. They just aren’t familiar with the language we use.
ChurchSpeak is Christians using a language we have come to know, love, and appreciate—including good words from the Bible. But it’s not a language all people know, love, appreciate, or understand.
Jesus used parables with the crowds and at other times quoted the Old Testament and at other times asked Socratic questions of his disciples. Paul mastered the art of communication by understanding his different audiences—antagonistic Pharisees speak a different language than curious intellectuals.
Through Jesus, we have “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Let’s be sure to speak those words in the language our audience can understand. And as we do, there will be a time and place to teach them more about the words we understand.
PRAYER: Speak to others through me, Lord Jesus, heavenly Prophet. Use my words to teach, correct, encourage, and guide others in your saving way, helping me to speak so that I am understood. So that you are believed. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Think of 5 biblical, theological words that you know but 6 out of 10 people on the street wouldn’t. Words like justification, atonement, oops, okay, I just took two of them. Can you think of 5 more? How would you replace those words with your own paraphrase?