Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 15, 2014

sense the nudge, speak the words

In the course of every day, and especially in the course of every week, you and I rub shoulders with people who are in need of an encouraging and possibly, life changing word. Undoubtedly, we have walked right by many of those opportunities without speaking the needed word into another life.  Our list of excuses can be long as to why we didn’t: too busy, another appointment, unsure of what to say, the problem was none of our business … any of those sound familiar?  But the fact is, we have felt that gentle nudge and kept right on going without speaking words that were needed.  When I think of how Jesus interacted with others, His timing was perfect, He spoke into lives, He slowed down to care and He met people at their point of need.  Last week as I wrote about Zacchaeus, Christ gave me a great picture of stopping to care when others would not have.  My thoughts today are about sensing the gentle nudge of God’s leading and then acting upon it.

I can illustrate this by a simple story. It came from a book entitled JESUS, Pure and Simple, by Wayne Cordeiro.  My point is: Speak when you sense or see a need and feel His gentle nudge.  Pastor Codeiro leads a large church in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was to lead worship one Wednesday, and decided to stop at a park to practice his guitar. Upon finishing, he began to put his guitar in the case when he noticed a homeless man by him on the bench. His first thought was to head back to the car, but instead he said, “Hey, how are you doing?” And that is where this story began!

I really didn’t want to know because I had a midweek service to do. “Okay,“ he said. “You sounded good on the guitar. I’m just learning the ukulele. Want to play some together?”  My first thought again was to stay on task.  I needed to get back to the church, plus I didn’t want to play with a beginner.  But I glanced at my watch and saw that I could spare a few minutes.

I took out my guitar, and we stumbled through a few songs.  The man started grinning, and that got me to grinning, and the more we played the more we both started to enjoy ourselves.  When the set was finished he asked, “What do you do?”  “I work for God,” I said.” “You work for God… Wow!  What a great job!” he said, “You think He knows about me?”  That began a great conversation about Jesus and about this man’s life—nothing earth shattering, but just enough to introduce the man to the love of Jesus.

The next week I went to the same park again. The man I played with wasn’t there, but at the same bench sat another man. “Hey, I remember you,” he said. “You played guitar with Smitty on the ukulele.” “Oh,” I said, “I never caught his name. Smitty, huh?  Nice man.”

“Do you know he died a few days ago?” I was shocked. “He what? I was just with him!”  “Yeah, a massive heart attack. We all miss him here at the park.”  It wasn’t the midweek service that God had in mind. It was talking to Smitty about Jesus.  Life happened along the way … Eternal life.

I’m not expecting that you or I will minister to a homeless man this week (although we may), but I do know that we will rub shoulders with a lot of people.  And some of those people undoubtedly will need a fresh encouraging word. It may be a word about eternal life, or just help for the journey.  The important thing is that we sense the nudge and speak the words. We won’t do it perfectly like Jesus, but we can do it effectively.

This week, if you feel Him nudging you to stop and speak, do it!


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