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Devotionals by Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting and hear everyone talking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. - 1 Corinthians 14:23

Being a Christian has never been easy. In the early days, Christians were treated cruelly, and large numbers lost their lives. Even when they were not physically assaulted, Christians were often grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. For instance, they were accused of being cannibals because when they took communion they talked about eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Lord Jesus (see 1 Cor. 11:23-26). They were also accused of being atheists because they did not worship the pagan gods. Perhaps worst of all, they were charged with incest because “brothers” were marrying “sisters.” Christians were basically defenseless against such charges. They lacked both the means and the power to stand against the authorities arraigned against them.

But in other situations, Christians could do something about the charges leveled at them. For example, people visiting the worship services where Christians were behaving in an apparently unrestrained and eccentric manner, were understandably confused and offended by what they saw. Paul said, “If unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting and hear everyone talking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy” (1 Cor. 14:23). In situations such as that obtained for the early Christians living in a hostile environment, there may not be a lot that Christians can do about charges of being wicked on the basis of misunderstanding or malicious misrepresentation. But they can respond to accusations of being “crazy” when they conduct their worship without a thought of how they appear to unbelievers in their midst!

Paul’s solution was straightforward. First, if God has given you the gift of ecstatic speech, then use it in worship, but not in such a way that unbelievers will think you are crazy. One way to do this, of course, is to exercise the gift in private devotion, but if the gifts are to be exercised in a public worship service and unbelievers are present, then at least explain to them what is going on. In modern parlance that means to be “seeker-sensitive.” Second, ensure that your worship services are conducted in such a way that unbelievers will be ministered to, so that “as they listen, their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, ‘God is really here among you’ ” (14:25).

Paul had unprecedented experiences of the Lord (see 2 Cor. 12:1-10), yet he was remarkably level-headed about corporate worship: “In a church meeting I would much rather speak five understandable words that will help others than ten thousand words in an unknown language” (1 Cor. 14:19). These twenty-four words should be borne in mind at all times in the contemporary church.

There is a place for private worship. There is also a place for public proclamation. Both should be dear to the hearts of God’s people and integral parts of their Christian walk. If people call you crazy for that kind of lifestyle—so be it. If they call you crazy for anything else—make changes!

For Further Study: 1 Corinthians 14:13-25

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.

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About Telling the Truth

Telling the Truth exists to make available sound biblical teaching, practically applied, with a view to producing lives that glorify God and draw people to Christ. The whole of our ministry is to encourage, console, strengthen, teach, and train.

About Stuart, Jill & Pete Briscoe

Stuart Briscoe uses wit and intellect to target your heart, capture your attention and challenge you to grow! You will find his logic compelling as he brings a fresh, practical perspective to the Scriptures. Born in England, Stuart left a career in banking to enter the ministry full time. He has written more than 50 books, received three honorary doctorates and preached in more than one hundred countries. He was senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for thirty years, and currently serves as minister-at-large.

Jill Briscoe was born in England and found Christ when she was 18 years old. She never looked back. Upon graduating from Cambridge University, she began working as a teacher by day and had a vigorous street ministry to the youths of Liverpool by night.

She met Stuart at a youth conference and they married in 1958. In the 50 years since, Jill has become a highly sought-after Bible teacher and author who travels around the world ministering to under-resourced churches and speaking at international seminars and conferences. Since 2000, she and Stuart, who was formerly senior pastor of Elmbrook Church for 30 years, have had the joy of equipping and encouraging believers across the globe in their roles as ministers-at-large for Elmbrook.

Jill has authored more than 40 books including devotionals, study guides, poetry and children's books. Her vivid, relational teaching style touches the emotions and stirs the heart. She serves as Executive Editor of Just Between Us, a magazine of encouragement for ministry wives and women in leadership, and served on the board of World Relief and Christianity Today, Inc., for over 20 years.

Jill and Stuart call suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin their home. When they are not traveling, they spend time with their three children, David, Judy and Peter, and thirteen grandchildren.

Pete Briscoe leads Telling the Truth, a multi-faceted media ministry he shares with his parents Stuart and Jill Briscoe, broadcasting Bible teaching across the United States on more than 500 radio stations and across the world on the internet and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, to help more people come to know Christ and experience fullness of life in Him. Pete also served as senior pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Carrollton, Texas for nearly 30 years after completing his seminary training at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Pete and his wife, Libby, have three adult children and find great joy in experiencing the Life of Christ each day

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