Let me begin by saying two things: 

1) I don't know exactly how to word what I am about to ... word...

2) I don't know exactly what I am going to say is necessarily all true.

Ok, this is probably the time when you are ready to stop reading.  Please don't!  Perhaps we can have a discussion about this, simply by having you place your replies on our website, on this blog.  Then I can respond to what you say.  Here it goes:

Do you feel like there are less Christians in the world than ever before?  It seems like there are less and less who are openly Christian, than openly against Christianity.  Read the comment section of any liberal or even non-liberal article and you will see the 'in-your-face' hatred to all that is Christian.

Is it because there are less Christians in the world?  Or, is it because the Christians are just afraid to speak up?

I will admit that in my first conversation with those I meet, I don't say to them, "Hi! My name is Greg and I am a pastor of Centennial Evangelical Lutheran Church!"  If they ask me what I do, then I tell them.  But, I don't offer that up in the first conversation.  Perhaps I am wrong in that, but I have seen in many occasions how people have actually - literally and physically - backed away from me...like I have some kind of contagious disease they will catch if they continue to talk with me.

But, that doesn't always happen.  There are times when someone will come and talk with me.  They ask me what I do.  I tell them.  Then they continue to tell me about their church; where they go; and how much they love their pastor (as if I am trying to steal them away). 

I have noticed there are many who also react positively to me and my occupation instead of reacting negatively, and trying to leave the conversation as quickly as possible.

Does that mean there are less Christians?  Or, does it mean that Christians are less likely to be seen?

I think of the story of Elijah. (1 Kings 18:16-46).  He had a battle against the false god Baal.  Elijah's God is the one and only true God.  It wasn't a fair battle.  Of course Elijah won.  Was he happy about it?  Well, he ran away and complained to God...I am the only one left! (1 Kings 19:10). Waa Waa Elijah!  Ok, that is not what God said to him.  God told him of these thousands upon thousands who refuse to bow to Baal but instead follow the true God.

There may have been less believers than there once were, but there were way more than what Elijah thought.  Could the same be true with us?  Are there less Christians?  Or, because of how our world is...that you can't say anything against what anyone else believes (yeah, try actually doing that...you would have to constantly keep your mouth shut)...that there are more Christians than we even know?

Here is where I could be all wrong in this.  That is why I will say it this way...I PRAY there are more Christians than what we know.  Yes, Jesus said there is still room in heaven.  But, he never said it was empty!

And, even though Jesus may never open our eyes to see exactly how many believers are in the world, one day we will see that truth...as we will be standing next to all those believers of Jesus.  But, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  Who knows, maybe without you even knowing...your neighbor or your coworker, or the person standing in line with you is already a believer.  Start up a conversation.  Encourage those who you find out are believers in Jesus.  Don't be afraid to speak your faith.

There are ways to do it.  Perhaps it is just to do something simple like what my wife did today.  She was given a shirt for her birthday which said, "Jesus loves this hot mess."  It is humorous; but it may open a conversation.

And, if you are blessed, maybe that person who you talk with...doesn't know Jesus...just yet! :)