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Writing Jesus’ Speeches
Posted by Clare
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A bright young Christian just left my office after asking, “How do I prepare myself to be a life-long follower of Jesus?” He’s been practicing the 10 second rule, but has been struggling to have a time of regular devotions. It just felt lifeless and mechanical. But, he really wants to figure out how to think and act like Jesus.

So, I gave him this assignment; write one of Jesus’ speeches.” “How do I do that, and on what topic?” he asked. So, I pointed him in this direction, “What spiritual, moral, or biblical questions do you have?”

“Well, I have been wrestling with this question lately; is it wrong to listen to certain kinds of music and if so, where do I draw that line?” “Perfect,” I responded. “Start there.” “Do you mean Jesus talks about music lyrics in the Bible?” “No”, I said, “But start with these ideas in mind.”

What would Jesus say?

There are many very clear teachings of Jesus on many topics. But even with those, Jesus often doesn’t give us much guidance as to how Christians actually put them into practice in real life. So, if you want to be a follower of Jesus and teach others to be followers of Jesus, you will want to have a personal position that you hold to with conviction and passion, on all things Christian.

It makes me super nervous when people say things like “Jesus would never listen to that kind of music.” While that could be true, we have to be careful about putting words in Jesus’ mouth on topics he’s never addressed. However, it is possible to say, “based on a number of biblical principles and teachings, and on my observation of people and human nature, here’s what I believe on that subject and why.” When we’re able to articulate a thoughtful, biblical response, it causes people to take the wisdom of God far more seriously.

Where to begin?

1. Write your questions. Make a list of questions you’ve always had about moral, spiritual, theological and biblical issues. (I have a running list that I keep in my Bible and I’m still adding to it.)

2. Pray for wisdom. Before you begin to write or think deeply on a subject, ask God for the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to guide your thoughts, research and writing. “When the Holy Spirit comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13a

3. Research. Begin reading scripture, search the internet, read books and seek out the wisdom of others.

4. Begin writing. Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It also gives me something in the future to refer to when mentoring others and helps me remember why I believe it! So, I begin writing what I’m coming to believe on an issue; however, view my first draft as “wet cement”.

By wet cement, I mean it represents my preliminary thoughts, on the subject. As I write and think I want to be open to the Holy Spirit giving me a new idea or even raising a new question. How many of these new ideas are the Holy Spirit’s or mine? I’m not sure. This is an imperfect process.

As I continue to write, I’m always asking myself questions like, “I’ve been told the Bible teaches that, but does it? Do I really believe what I’m writing? Can I teach this with confidence and conviction? Why or why not?” How does that work in real life? (The School of Jesus chapter in The 10 Second Rule book will give you more direction on this process.) Is this a clear command of scripture, or a “wisdom issue”?

5. Get godly counsel. I often email my first, or second draft to several mature Christians I know for their comments and questions. This serves as a “speed bump” to warn me of ideas I’m having that may not square with scripture. Often their comments force me to re-evaluate or clarify my position. When I’m done, these “papers” vary from a few bullet points to a half dozen pages.

6. Practice your elevator speech. An “elevator speech” is a term used to describe a presentation of an idea you could deliver in the time the elevator door closes until it reaches the top floor. So, I’ll drive down the road and say out loud what I believe on this topic as if I’m explaining it to a friend. My goal is to have a brief explanation that covers the most important points that I can deliver with confidence and grace.

Here’s why having an elevator speech is so critical. When a topic comes up with your family, friends or someone you’re mentoring, and you don’t have a thoughtful, biblical answer, most of us will either remain silent, or just shoot from the hip, quoting something we thought we heard from someone else. Anyone who wants to influence the people around them to think and act like Jesus will want to hold their own personal convictions which are biblical, thoughtful and gracious.

“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.” I Peter 3:15

Next week, I’ll give you an example of one of “Jesus’ speeches” I recently wrote in response to the question, “Can un-ordained Christians serve communion to their own family, or to a small group of Christian friends, outside of the church?”

Question: What topics or questions do you have that I could help you answer in future blogs?

Following Jesus in Real Life


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Comments (6)
  1. Steven R. Lewandowski said...

    I would be curious to hear (read) your thoughts on women teaching in the church. Is it Ok for them to teach Sunday School to a coed class, children, or other women only? Is it Ok for a woman to preach? What is the biblical role of a woman with regards to preaching or teaching?

    • Clare said...

      Thanks Steve, give me few weeks and I’ll post something.

  2. Julie said...

    Clare–I love the “elevator speech” idea. So often we have opportunities to give our view on a subject, but haven’t pulled our thoughts together. By the time we get our thoughts together on the spot, we missed the opportunity. Preparing an “elevator speech” is a great idea! I could see this being especially valuable as we form our Christian response to items in the news. Preparing an “elevator speech” while something is still a hot topic will allow us to give an articulate response when the subject comes up in our daily lives with our children or people in the community. Thanks for continuing to bless us with your blog.

    • Clare said...

      Thanks Julie. My wife and I were taking a few days off and somehow our conversation drifted to the recent ruling by the Boy Scouts to allow gay scouts, but not gay leaders to participate. I had a knee jerk reaction as a former scout, but when I voiced it to my wife she raised some thoughtful ideas that made me realize I have a “speech” to write.

  3. James McNaughton said...

    I also think the “elevator speech” is a great idea.

    The question that came to mind when reading this blog was the issue of eternal security. The denomination I belong to believes that a person has the ability to reject Christ after s/he is saved and that they will not find heaven a place they enjoy.

    I believe “once saved, always saved” because I don’t believe Jesus rejects us for any sin. We didn’t gain salvation by our behavior and we don’t lose salvation because of behavior.

    Yet, I can find verses to support both views.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this matter.

    • Clare said...

      James, I’ll put the “eternal security” question on my list. However, you are correct. Serious Christians have differed on this question since at least the 4th century. Thanks for the suggestion.

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