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IN THE CARPENTER’S WORKSHOP: Parakeet pipes

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.  The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). ~ John 1:40-42

What a marvelous story of faith and sharing this is!  Even more, it is an example for every Christian in discovering the key response to meeting Jesus.

Somehow in the centuries since this simple exchange of biblical proportions, many Christians have forgotten the very reason they have found faith.  Our first response after meeting Jesus is to introduce him to someone else.  Pure and simple.

The world of faith changes every time this happens.  It is spiritual.  It is magical.  To introduce our family and friends to Jesus is the most important thing we shall ever do.

Many Christians come to church and worship, even serve on boards, and they have not discovered the basic requirement for being a disciple of Jesus.  They are faithful in giving and attending, but something keeps them at arm’s length from personal sharing of the faith God in Christ has given us from heaven.

They don’t sing of Jesus to those who need to know him.  Read this story of a non-believer who did more than we as believers sometimes do.

The evangelist David Pawson tells a story about a parakeet that sang hymns.  He belongs to an old lady in Cardiff and can sing a whole verse of ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus!’

When visitors come to this old folks’ home, they hear a little voice singing ‘What a friend we have in Jesus.’  They look around and there’s this budgie in a cage, and for some reason they push money through the bars.  And the lady who owns it sends the money to a missionary in Africa.

That parakeet is doing more than most church members, because it is actually praising God every day and supporting a missionary in Africa.  The old lady has sent over $300.

It was only a budgerigar — it wasn’t a believer — and there are an awful lot of budgerigars in church, saying the creed, singing their little hearts out and filling the pews.

When you believe the good news, you can’t simply hold onto it like a treasured possession.  For God’s kingdom to come, Jesus must rule in the hearts of his people, and we must be the ones who go out and spread the good news.

There is a change in thinking, a shift of priority which must happen in America.  From holding salvation as a precious gift to sharing it with others is a giant step for us all, but a step toward which God calls every one of us.

I call it parakeet pipes.  Singing away every day about Jesus, and putting into practice the words we sing on Sunday morning will make forever possible for many people.

 

We have heard the joyful sound:  Jesus saves.  Spread the tidings all around.

The lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on.

I will go if you lead me.

Christ for the world we sing.

I love to tell the story, the old old story of Jesus and his love.

I’m gonna live so God can use me.

Make me a servant today.

As the father has sent me so send I you.

Make me a channel of your peace.

A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify, a never dying soul to save and fit it for the sky.

 

This shift will transform God’s kingdom and his churches which proclaim it.  Singing about faith is one thing, and an integral part of worship.  Putting those lyrics into action are quite another.

People in other countries know this and practice it.  Churches in Korea and Japan are expanding at dramatic rates.  Perhaps it is because they know that coming to faith is a life and death matter to them.

It seems that when it is dangerous to be a Christian, people don’t take it for granted as much as those of us who are comfortable.  Part of the reason we know about faith is that the Romans persecuted the early church so that Christians fled to safer places.  And, as much as some would like to deny it, this country was founded mainly by Christians.

Parakeet pipes are what the church needs.  We must sing with all our little hearts in places where people can hear.  And we must tell others about Jesus so that they can sing. 

As one of our favorite hymns proclaims, “Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of your tone.  As you have sought, so let me seek your wandering children, lost, alone.”