Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Personal Mission Field Workshop

Seen and Heard

You can break the spiral of silence.

Welcome to the PMF Workshop for the week of December 28, 2020. I’m your host, T. M. Moore. Each week we provide teaching, encouragement, and resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field. By adopting the perspectives and practicing the disciplines we present in the Workshop, you can become more consistent and effective in realizing the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom in your daily life.

Today’s Workshop is entitled, “Seen and Heard.” Our text is Acts 4.29:

“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 

Breaking the silence
Nearly a generation ago, John Stott published a little scold entitled, Our Guilty Silence. He was reacting against what had become a widespread reluctance on the part of Christians to bear spoken witness to our Lord. What seemed like it might be a great revival and awakening in the ‘50s and ‘60s had, by the 1970s, begun to shut down. Christians just were not speaking out about Jesus, sharing their testimonies and proclaiming the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom, as the generation before them had done.

Many writers and Christian leaders today complain about the lack of consistent evangelism on the part of believers. The guilty silence John Stott identified nearly fifty years ago has deepened in our day. Now believers are caught up in what sociologist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann referred to as a “spiral of silence.” In a spiral of silence, the views of those who fail to speak up become caught up in a vortex of silence, where they are overwhelmed by other, bolder, and more persistent voices.

The effect of being caught in a spiral of silence is to fear speaking up. So many other voices are clamoring for attention, loudly proclaiming their views and ideas, and dominating all the media of communication, that it can be very hard to break out of the grip of silence to offer a differing point of view.

But we are called to be witnesses for Jesus, and this means talking to people about Him, even at the risk of being rejected, scorned, or held in contempt. When Peter and John stood before the angry Sanhedrin, which was determined to impose a spiral of silence on them, they explained that they had to obey God rather than men, and that they could not help but speak about what they had seen and heard, and thus what they knew to be true.

Their example is instructive for us as we consider what we must do to break out of the guilty spiral of silence that is keeping us from fulfilling our calling as witnesses for the Lord.

What we’ve seen
The first step in recovering our witness is to be sure of what we’ve seen, and to see it more clearly day by day. Peter and John had seen Jesus. They’d walked with Him for three years, during which they came to know Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. They spent forty days with Him following His resurrection. They had eaten with Him, listened to His teaching, and declared themselves ready to serve in His Kingdom. They had seen Jesus, and they continued to see Him as they read and taught His Word to the multitudes who were responding to the Gospel.

We need to ask ourselves: Have I seen Jesus? Have I really seen Him? On the cross, dying for my sins? Fulfilling all the righteous requirements of God’s Law for me? Bearing my sins in His own body down to the depths of hell? Rising again for my justification? Seated at the right hand of God, my King and Lord and Shepherd and Strength? Have I really and clearly and without a doubt seen Jesus?

And do I continue to see Him each day? As we read and meditate in the Scriptures, we expect to see Jesus there, for He told us that all of Scripture is about Him (Jn. 5.39). So it doesn’t matter where we’re reading in the Bible; we wait on the Lord Jesus to show Himself to us, to reveal some aspect of His greatness, wisdom, power, or love, so that we may be increasingly transformed into that same likeness.

If we’ve seen Jesus, and if we see Him daily, then we can’t not talk about Him with others. Jesus is the most beautiful, loving, strong, forgiving, patient, and unchanging Person you’ll ever see; and as you see Him increasingly, day by day, you’ll want others to know about Him as well.

What we’ve heard
We must also consider what we’re learning about Jesus from our fellow believers. I’m always edified when Susie shares her morning devotions with me, for her journal is filled with cross-references for her reading, and these have the effect of adding instruments to the symphony of revelation in which Susie sees Jesus, and then shares what she’s seen with me.

We all hear sermons, and sometimes those sermons give us insight to new things. We talk with other believers who share their experiences with us. As we listen to others, sharing with us about Jesus, we need to pay careful attention and consider what we can learn from what others have seen and heard about the Lord.

Preparing to speak
And we need to prepare ourselves for daily speaking about the Lord. We can do this by praying back to Jesus what we have seen and heard of Him; by making entries in a journal to help us in meditating on the Lord; and by sharing what we’ve seen and heard with other believers, beginning with those in our Personal Mission Field.

The more we pray and journal and talk about what we have seen and heard about the Lord, the readier we will be to break out of our guilty spiral of silence and tell the Good News of Jesus to those who don’t know Him.

See clearly. Hear gladly. Prepare daily. And then seek the power of God’s Holy Spirit to overcome the spiral of silence and initiate conversations that can lead to a witness for the Lord. Don’t worry too much about what you’ll share about Him. Just start a conversation, and wait for the Spirit to recall the things you’ve seen and heard; and before you know it, you’ll be filled with the Spirit’s power, and talking about Jesus freely, confidently, and with love.

Tell us about what’s going on in your Personal Mission Field. What challenges are you facing? How has the Lord been leading or using you? Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your Personal Mission Field stories, and we might be able to use them to encourage one another in the Personal Mission Field Workshop.

For the Fellowship of Ailbe, and for the Personal Mission Field Workshop, this has been T. M. Moore.

We ask the Lord to move and enable many more of our readers to provide for the needs of our ministry. Please seek Him in prayer concerning your part in supporting our work. You can contribute online by using the
Contribute button at the website; or you can send a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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