Welcome and thanks for participating in day 9 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays as these thoughts will build off of one another. 

 

Day 9: Food for Thought

 

 Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit. – Pope Francis

 

 I’m in Williamsburg, Virginia as I write this with a few of the pastors from ARISE. We are having meetings with one of our elders about church planting… preparing and planning for our new ARISE Riverview Campus

 

 .I’ve been to Williamsburg a number of times, and while there are a lot of great restaurants, there is one that stands out. It’s called “Food for Thought.” The décor features biographical pictures of inventors, scientists, and social leaders while the walls display thought-provoking quotes used to set the tone. They put discussion cards on the tables to help spur thought-charged conversation. Food For Thought’s food is DELICIOUS! Their menu is full of classic American dishes, ethnic foods, and seafood. I had the meatloaf, and it was AMAZING!… 

 

 Their witty and fun environment was evidenced by this “warning” we found written on their menu: With its omnipotent wisdom our government requires that restaurants reprint their menus and post the following shocking information: “Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions.” Also be warned that poking yourself in the eye with a fork may impair your vision and drinking steaming liquids could burn your tongue.

 

 Gotta love their sense of humor!

 

 If you ever come to Williamsburg, you should definitely check it out! It’s a fun and unique atmosphere, and of course, great food. 

 

 Honest question – Do you think you might come to Food for Thought if you were planning on coming to Williamsburg anytime soon?

 

 We all have testimonies – Testimonies of our favorite restaurants, our favorite movies and our favorite memories. A rapidly growing American business is based on testimonies…  We call it reviews… Google asked me tonight if I wanted to leave a review for Food for Thought… a testimony of my experience.

 

 Humans love testimonies because when we are uncertain, they show us what to do. Don’t know if the restaurant is good?… Check their reviews! If everyone else likes it, it must be good. In psychology this is called “social proof.” The law of social proof is why sitcoms use laugh tracks. If you’re not sure if that scene is really funny… the laughter of a crowd makes it appear funnier.

 

 Social proof is particularly powerful when we face feeling of uncertainty. 

 

 The best, most powerful social proof is your testimonies with God. We often focus on our salvation testimony, but if you’ve been a follower of Jesus Christ for very long you should have MANY testimonies you could share. When someone is facing an uncertain situation in life, your “review” of God’s guidance, mercy, power, healing, etc. can be incredibly impactful. 

 

 If God and His principles has healed your finances, then share it with someone whose finances are uncertain.

 If God and His principles has healed your marriage, then share it with someone whose marriage is uncertain.

 If God has helped you forgive someone and move on from a painful past, then share it with someone whose needs to forgive.

 

 We live in a world full of hatred, bitterness, arguing, and rage. The apostle Paul was once such a person. He passionately and violently opposed those who disagreed with him!… sounds like some Facebook friends I have… Uncertainty is a big reason for frustration and anger…

 

 Yet, after Paul encountered Jesus, he left his life of violence and became a man of humble surrender. He stopped persecuting and became the persecuted. That’s a radical change. A change Jesus caused. A change a lot of us need to learn from.

 

 Sometime people try to argue that Christianity is a violent religion, but consider this… after the violent Paul became a Christ follower, he couldn’t find anything in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles to justify violent or angry opposition to those who now violently opposed him. Under the Old Covenant, violence at your enemies was endorsed… eye for an eye… But under the New Covenant, Jesus said to turn the other cheek….

 

 Paul shares his testimony 3 times in the book of Acts. It was common for him… and it was common for the early church movement. The “social proof” of the testimony of the saints spread across the Mediterranean like a great public review of a restaurant.

 

 This is the power of your testimonies. But Testimonies… not testimony. We all know we should share our salvation testimonies, but one of the things that spread the message of Jesus like a plague was that God had an active relationship with His people. This relationship led to many testimonies of God’s goodness… and these testimonies were shared house to house, across the world. It was old school Google reviews… Like telling you about Food for Thought… Taste and see that the Lord is good…

 

 If it worked for you, then it may work for us…. It worked for Paul, It worked for the early church movement, and it will work for you.

 

 JOIN THE MOVEMENT by sharing your testimonies of God’s continual goodness to someone who’s dealing with uncertainty this week.

 

 Esse Quam Videri,

 Pastor Brent

 

 Meditate and reflect on this verse and questions: 

 

 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” John 9:25

 

1. In what ways has God been good to you? What specific testimonies do you have?

2. How could these testimonies be used to encourage someone else? Especially an unbeliever who may be dealing with uncertainty?

3. What do you think is the power of social proof during the Sunday worship experience? 

 

 Pray: 

 

 – Pray that God sends people your way who need to hear your specific testimonies.  

 – Pray that God uses you as a positive “social proof” and “review” of the goodness of God.  

 – Pray that God sends a mighty revival to ARISE and uses our church as an example of hope to the community.

 

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