Sign of the Times
By Brad Hewey
Have you noticed a modern sign of the times? Brad talks about how signs can point to God and how we should be living signs.
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We drive by ads and billboards everyday as businesses and advertisers are vigorously competing for our attention. There’s certainly no reason why Christians and church groups shouldn’t make their information available to the masses as well. The last several years I’ve noticed a difference in the way many churches (with their signs) have gone more mainstream, in terms of a more “in your face” approach. A church sign used to be a very simple black and white display of name, service time….and, if room…announcement of DVBS or special service. But signs for many churches have decidedly focused on using irony and wit to grab the attention of passing motorists. For instance, I drove by a church last week where the sign stated “ If you’re looking for a sign from God…this is it!”
Marketing a Statement of Faith
I’m sure you, like me, have scratched your head at some of the phrases that have popped up on church buildings these last few years. It seems a push for making a statement for faith, sometimes borders on being over the top, or even inappropriate. As Christians living in the age of grace, we have many liberties to weigh in on the left or the right; on a thousand different topics, approaching this or that from a slightly different doctrinal opinion.
For years I viewed the more humorous varieties of signage as unnecessary, or possibly irreverent. Isn’t there a better way to attract someone to Christ than the need of resorting to a play on words? Humor is certainly a big part of our lives and one of the emotions God created, but when it comes to the matter of salvation, shouldn’t a more serious approach be more desirable?
As Christians, we are called to mature in faith, we are to allow the spirit of God to continually work and move. When that happens we quite often see that God is using various things for his glory, in ways we would not have imagined. Humor, wit, and irony have their place.
Brooklyn Bible Verse
Signs come in many forms and are not just something we see on or in front of a church building. Several years ago I was in New York City for a few days for work. I had some downtime, and decided to spend a few hours across the bridge in Brooklyn. I wanted to get a sense of what life might be like for the working man in a city like Brooklyn ; where folks were living life every day, just across the bridge and in the shadow of the glitz and glam of the “Big Apple”. I spent some time driving around a few neighborhoods, walking in a few areas. The types of homes, the small businesses, inhaling the distinct feel of a city that lived and breathed in a real life fashion.
As I was on the ramp and rounding onto the bridge back to Manhattan; there just to the right, was a massive factory wall, with a larger than life bible verse painted onto the bricks. I was both surprised and elated at the same time. What a perfect place for a witness to God…the bridge back to one of the largest cities in the world. How many countless thousands would see this message in the run of a single day. Undoubtedly a witness to millions over the years.
Many Signs are Signs of the Times
In our modern world, it’s very difficult to interest new people in attending church. It’s quite often difficult to retain professing believers in many cases. It’s a sad reality, but invariably the only message relating to God that many folks may ever see, is the message displayed boldly on a sign.
A few years ago, a co- worker who was an avid sports fan was talking about the previous nights televised football game. As I walked by his office he said “who is this John guy”? I had no idea what he meant, so he explained that at the last few games he noticed some guy in the stands holding a sign that read “John 3:16”. I chuckled and said that it was a reference to one of the most well-known bible verses of all time( from the book of John) and proceeded to share the verse. I told him lightheartedly that he needed to brush up on his Bible reading. I remember my sense of surprise that someone like him, educated and seemingly well rounded, was not at least aware of John 3:16.
It would only be a couple of years later that Tim Tebow and his drop to the knees gesture known as “tebowing”, took the sports world by storm.
Clearly the masses of adoring sports fan could not ignore the phenomenon that hit YouTUBE and Twitter. “#Tebowing” – to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.
Tim Tebow trademarked his own move in 2012. Thousands around the world were posting photos of their own Tebow stance, dropping to one knee in the midst of whatever and offering up praise to God. Some might argue it’s a gesture for show, that it draws attention to one’s self; but just consider the witness to the world of television sports fans and beyond from one man’s desire to acknowledge God during part of his game play.
Signs don’t have to be in a billboard form. Any display of or witness to Gods power and love is a sign to others. I remember when my kids were young, I would read my bible and study after they were in bed. It dawned on me that they seldom saw me read my bible. I began to leave my bible, my books and study materials lying around on the couch or coffee table, just so they might see that dad had been spending time with God. It wasn’t for my glory, but for a testimony to the importance of being in the word, Gods word.
Christians know from personal experience, it’s sometimes what we show, what we do, that bears a witness more powerful than our words can convey. At the very least, our actions should serve as the door opener to conversation that would then present the opportunity to share thoughts about Christ….the message of salvation.
Today as we walk, drive, or cycle…let’s keep an eye out for Christian signs. They may be bold and in your face, like a brightly striped gospel tent. They may be subtle and easy to miss. But they are there, and they play an important role and serve as a powerful witness to the masses of struggling souls that are lost in sin, or weighed down in a backslidden state. Let’s use signs for Gods glory, and let’s BE SIGNS ourselves, that bear testimony to his life changing power. Let’s live this day, to make a difference in our lives, and in the lives of others.
2 Corinthians 4:10 “Always bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in us”
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
Images Courtesy Of:
Brooklyn Bridge – Foundry
Sign from God – Pinterest
Sign – StockSnap
Tim Tebow – Ed Clemente
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