Prince, Paul, and the Power of Personal Witness for Jesus Christ

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I never met Prince.  I never attended a live concert where he performed.  I have seen video clips of him in concert and I have enjoyed a lot of his music.  Prince was prolific as a composer and powerful in performance.  He was one of the best musicians of all time, which is what brings me to the point of this piece.  I read that in 2003 Prince converted to the Jehovah’s Witness.  His introduction to the faith reportedly came from another of one of the greatest musicians of all time, Larry Graham.  Reportedly, Prince derived great satisfaction in attending worship and walking through neighborhoods, knocking on doors and witnessing for his God.

In a real sense, Prince and the Apostle Paul had something in common.  Both found great meaning and purpose in not only finding and accepting God, Prince through what he knew as Jehovah, Paul through Jesus Christ.  Both men not only gained spiritual satisfaction through their faith, but also felt compelled to tell others about what the Lord had done, was doing and would continue to do in their lives.

The message I will preach this Sunday will focus on the importance of the personal witness.  My intention is to draw parallels between Prince and Paul.  I realize there will be some well-intentioned Christians who may take offense as the notion that Paul and Prince had anything in common, and I do not intent to start controversy.  However, I believe that the Jehovah’s Witness Denomination has found something that many other Christians could learn from, the power of the personal witness!  Yes, some snicker and laugh at Jehovah’s Witness followers for walking so slowly and continuing to knock on doors where people are already baptized, converted and committed Christians, but you know something, at least they are out in the street, unashamed to be public in their witness for God.

The Apostle Paul came to the faith late, but once he did, he was all in!  Every one of his letters to many of the churches of his day were evangelical and a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.  If you are in the Detroit area, I hope you will stop by the Plymouth United Church of Christ, Sunday at either 8:30 or 11 AM to hear me witness for the Lord and challenge the church to witness for Jesus in every location and venue we as individuals may be.  If Prince could witness as a musician, surely, you and I can witness at work, at play and on every other level of life.  Listen to a portion of a powerful witness for Jesus from the Apostle Paul to the Church at Philippi:

Philippians 1: Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. 20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What makes you most fulfilled when telling someone else what the Lord has done for you?
  2. What is most challenging or frightening about witnessing for Jesus?

 

 

Prayer:

Lord, you have done so much for me that I want to tell the world what a difference you have made in my life.  Jesus, I admit that before I realized the depth and magnitude of your power and love, I only knew smalls bits and pieces of your glory, grace and goodness.  Free me today from my fear in sharing the story of my salvation.  Loose me from my fears of what others might think.  Untangle my words and show me how to be a better witness for you.  Free me so I might tell the world that your kingdom is near, your power is overwhelming and your love is all encompassing.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

 

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Php 1:18–26). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.