The primary Scripture I used yesterday was 1 Peter 3:15: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 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…" (NIV)
I think it's worthwhile to spend some time thinking about what it means to 'set apart in your heart Christ as Lord'. If you have made a commitment to follow Christ, how should your life be different? Should your decisions be different? Should you spend money differently or give money differently? Should you use your house, cars, or stuff differently? Should you be more committed to some activities and less to others? Are there things you need to start doing and others you need to stop doing?
It's not about a list of 'to do's' and 'don't do's'. Rather, it's about answering the question: If Christ is Lord in my life, is there any area I am not turning over to Him and letting Him have?
As far as always being prepared, I urge you to continuously learn more about yourself and our world in order to be fully prepared to engage those who are curious about your spiritual life. I like the way Peter puts it here, because people do ask why you have hope. They want to know what makes you different...able to handle a mess but do it with a sense of peace or joy. They notice, and sooner or later, if you treat them with gentleness and respect, they'll throw you the ball. Are you ready to carry it? If you feel like you could be more prepared, let me give you some resources.
First, Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleburg. This is the best, most user-friendly study I've ever read about how to naturally share faith issues in a way that is unique to your own personality and experience.
Secondly, the book that inspired our last series - The Unexpected Adventure. We have a few copies of this at our resource table. These are very short, engaging lessons on how some folks invested in others and had spiritual conversations in the process. Each day is very inspiring.
Finally, I am hoping that over the next few months every leader and core PCC'er will read No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke. This is the best book I've ever read about understanding the culture that exists today and engaging the people around us in a non-threatening way. It is well-worth the investment! Click on the link to order a copy for yourself.
The bottom line is that we all can always improve ourselves. I hope these resources help you become better prepared.