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By Jay Ashbaucher

The other day a guy told me his fishing story. He was fishing alone in a boat and he caught a smallmouth bass. Not an ordinary smallmouth bass, but one big enough to have it mounted and hung on his wall. He told how he finally landed it after quite a good fight and a certain degree of finesse, since he was using a thin line. After securing it in the net, he was so excited that he let out a scream of ecstasy. He couldn’t wait to get home and show his fish and tell his story. In fact, he couldn’t keep from telling the story to others. In the telling, he did say to me that he wished he could say the fish was a nine pounder, although, at six and a half pounds, to him, it was a good size fish and worth talking about.I would venture to guess that most of us have been so excited about something we could not keep from telling others what happened. Maybe you saw or experienced something on a vacation that you just had to share with people when you got home. One person told me of their white-water rafting experience. The water was high and wild and they were thrown out of the raft. They sank under the water and thought this was the end. They felt they were going to drown, but they survived. Survival stories are always interesting. I get excited to tell others about a fantastic and unbelievable play I saw at a baseball game. “You should have seen this play”, I’d say, “it was amazing.” Some of our experiences require the telling—we can’t hold it in.The Bible tells a story of men who were telling things that were unbelievable, however, many people actually believed what they said. There were others who were jealous of their success and who wanted to stop their telling of the story. They arranged to have a conference with some of these men and threatened to have them punished if they continued to say these things. To back up their threats, they later killed one among them who would not stop. One of the things these men said to their persecutors was this, “We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).What was it that those men, and women, could not stop talking about? What did they see and hear? They saw a man who was killed come back to life again. They saw many amazing and good things that this man did in the times they were with him. They heard things he said that made them want to hear more. Their relationship with him forever changed their lives. Of course, you have guessed who I am talking about—it was Jesus. He was the Messiah who had come to save people from all that is bad in the world, to show them a different way to live, and to guarantee them a glorious future in a perfect and evil free world to come.

Recently, I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to their statement that they could not stop speaking. I find that more often than not, I am reluctant to speak about Jesus. Why is that? Perhaps the same is true of you. There are many possible reasons for not speaking. Maybe we are ashamed to say anything because we know we are not living the way he wants us to, and we would come across as hypocrites by telling what Jesus means to us. Maybe we are fearful of being rejected, laughed at, or persecuted. Or maybe Jesus is only a religious belief, and we have not experienced anything exciting that he has done for us, or is doing in us.

I have decided that I want to experience more of Jesus in my life. I pray daily that he will direct me into his love and way of life, and that I will experience things he is doing in me. I am becoming more aware of the ways he loves me, and how he is working in my life. I figured I would start speaking about these things by telling a few trusted people. I tell my wife things God is doing in me, and I have a friend with whom I tell these things, and he shares his stories with me. I pray daily for opportunities to tell others. I know God will help me get better at this.

Jesus went to a country where people did not know anything about him and the God he knew. He came across a man outcast from his town who was alone, friendless, angry, dangerous, raving mad, and his evils were destroying his life. Jesus healed him and the man wanted to go with Jesus. However, Jesus told him to go back to his people and tell them what Jesus had done for him. This he did, for he could not help but speak of what he had experienced (Mark 5:18-20). That is what I want to do. How about you? Checking the internet, I found that the world record smallmouth bass is currently 11 lbs. 15 ozes. Speaking of fishing, let’s go fishing for people who will hear what we have to say (Mark 1:17-18).

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