Living out loud. It is one of the key values of the Bridge Church. What do we mean by “living out loud?” To answer this question, we are going to take a look at the Old Testament.
In the book of Deuteronomy, there is a key passage known as the Shema. It goes as follows, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This prayer—a declaration of God’s unity and sovereignty—is uttered by millions of Jews each day. Following the Shema, there is a section telling the Israelites how, in light of that declaration, they should live.
First, believers should love God with all of their being—heart, soul, and mind. This is usually all that people remember. But, they are missing a crucial part! The Israelites are also instructed to teach what they know about God to others. In fact, scripture says that expressing your faith should be a daily and public occurrence!
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Living in America, we don’t usually bind scripture to our foreheads or paint it on our doorframes, but we can be verbal about our belief in Christ. When we are getting our morning coffee, we can say “God bless you!” to the person behind the counter. We can comment about God’s goodness to people we sit next to in the park—“What a beautiful day God’s blessed us with!” We can even go out to dinner and offer to pray for our server. All of these declarations communicate something to people. They say, “I am a spiritual person,” or “I believe in God.” We call these declarations Shema Statements.
To a person who is searching for God or open to spiritual things, Shema statements can be a springboard into a conversation about Jesus! You never know who is listening and who will respond to the bit of “spiritual bait” you present them with.