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Let’s play a quick game.  I’ll give you a famous quote and you tell me who said it.  Oh, by “tell me” I mean, “You try to guess it in your head.”  Ok, here goes, “Preach the Gospel wherever you go and if you must, use words.”

Go ahead…I’ll wait.  I know, many of you are replying, “Yeah yeah, it was…it was…..”  Others of you are thinking it’s St. Augustine (sorry, he said, “words sound but actions thunder”‘ and the much lesser known but very powerful, “The church is a whore…but she’s my mother.”  Really, he did.  Look it up.  Crazy, I know.).  Some of you quickly answered, “I have no idea what it means let alone who said it.”  …we’ll get to that too.  Many others of you are nodding your head and just waiting for me to give your answer, “St. Francis of Assisi.”  There’s only one problem with that…he never said it.  Read the link and search it for yourself.  Man, that was incredible to me.  I have used that quote for years.  Bummer.

So, back to perhaps the more important point.  What does it mean?  Quite simply, “The Gospel” mean “Good News”.  What good news?  Well, that Jesus dying on the cross (even though He had never sinned) was payment for ALL of our sins.  He was the perfect sacrifice as up to that point you had to make different sacrifices for different sins (a ram for this, a sheep for that, perhaps a bird or two for these things etc.).  However, nothing could take away all of your sin.  Jesus however became the sacrifice that was, perfect.  He was without sin, blemish, transgression…he was perfect.  For those who accept Him being sacrificed on their behalf, He was/is payment for all of their sins.  Now, when they die and are judged by God He does not see their sin…only the sacrifice of Jesus.  Ever know where the phrase “Lamb of God” came from?  Boom, right there.  That is not good news, that is GREAT news.

What happens is that you basically make a deal with Jesus/God.  You say, “Look, you died for me…so I’ll live for you.”  Therefore you switch places with Him since He took your place on the cross.  Thus, you spend (or should) your life trying to live as Jesus would.  How was that?  Jesus loved people and met their needs.  The greatest of their needs was salvation but He healed, loved, represented those falsely accused, and even made some wine to save a wedding party.  Thus, we are to do the same.

Most people take this to mean, “Go, tell everyone that they need Jesus.”  Which some do.  They use their words.  Well, some do, most don’t.  They get nervous, anxious, “don’t want to offend”, and end up doing nothing.  I have a different approach.  Without going super theological and getting much deeper (already a hodgepodge post combining theology, logic, and quotation history) I trust that God is working through me, because He said he would.  Therefor, I go and love people.  I serve people.  I try real hard to meet their needs.  I then trust that 1 Peter 3:15 is true and people ask why I do what I do.  Then I have the right to speak.  Waaaayyyyyy too many people just tell everyone what they believe before they’ve earned the right to do so, causing more harm than good.

So, preach the Gospel (Good News) wherever you go and if you must, use words (your love FOR others should be on display much more than your ability to argue better THAN others).  People in need (which, by the way…is everyone) aren’t looking for a good debate, they are looking for help, for comfort, for love.  Ok, well then, if St. Francis of Assisi didn’t say it…I will.  I just did.

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