Grace For The Journey
It seems in our post-Christian culture that the courage (or perhaps even willingness) to share our faith is becoming rare. Why is that? Why is sharing our faith so challenging for most people? I suspect the answer is “sharing your faith” or “evangelizing people” are such nebulous phrases. What does that mean? When do you do it? What do you say? How do we teach people how to do it? How do we normalize it?
A couple of weeks ago, I was headed home after some meeting and needed to stop at the grocery store to pick up some milk. On my way to the dairy section (in the back of the store, of course) I briefly made eye contact with someone walking past but kept heading for the milk. A few minutes later I was up at the checkout, and that person was in front of me. The cashier started removing groceries from the bag and it was obvious he didn’t have enough money to pay for everything. I had some cash on me so I pitched in $20 to help pay for the order. The person looked at me and said: “Are you one of those Christians?” I said, “Well, yes I am” and he replied: “I could tell something was different about you when you walked past me.” The whole situation caught me completely off guard and I didn’t have time to share the Roman’s Road of Salvation. I did, however, mention how much God deeply loved Him, sent Jesus to pay for our sin debt which none of us could pay, and invited him to church. I never saw him after that.
Evangelism that night was so incredibly simple. I only had to walk through a store, pitch in $20 for some groceries, and share a short statement about the gospel. Most of the time, it’s not quite that effortless. It usually takes some action, intentionality, and a little courage to shift the conversation towards God.
There are numerous ways that have been developed to help you share your faith, and all of them are helpful and have a place. Allow me to share a very simple way to engage in evangelism that is easy to teach and easy to execute. Here it is:
Begin by praying for the people around you and ask God to open up opportunities to speak into their lives
Listen to your family members, neighbors, co-workers, and friends to discover what their needs are, or where God may be working in their lives.
Eat together with them. More than enjoying a meal together, this allows you to slow down and spend time with the people in your life who need to hear what Jesus is doing in your life. (Food always makes everything better too!)
Serve those needs you hear about or recognize? Do something about it. Fix something, pay for something, or help with something. Meet a need in a practical way.
Share your story. Meeting those needs often earns you an opportunity to share what God is doing in your life. You don’t have to tell them the story of Jesus from birth to resurrection, but telling them about your own life can open up conversations that lead back to Jesus.
The first letters of each of the above phrases spells the acrostic B.L.E.S.S. What does that look like in real life? I do not try to follow this exactly but let the Lord work out the process. Here’s how this has looked for me in my daily contact with people. One of my neighbors knows I am a pastor and asked me one day, “What is a Mega Church?” I explained it to him and told him that any size church has one concern to preach and present Jesus Christ as God’s answer for life. He didn’t respond very positively, and moved shortly after that, but I continue to pray that the little seed that I had opportunity to sow grows into an understanding faith. Another person told me when his brother died, he wanted to talk to me about faith and eternity but never did and that he regretted it. I briefly had opportunity to relate the truth that we all will die, that the most important thing is being ready for that time, and shared how Jesus’ death and resurrection helps us be ready. Other people apologize when they cuss in front of me. I have never quoted Scripture to them, but have communicated to them that we all do things we are sorry for, that is just a part of our nature; but God can give us power to change those things through what Jesus did on the cross and through the empty tomb. In every opportunity the people knew I had faith not just from the things I did but from the things I said.
B.L.E.S.S.ing those who come into my daily life takes time but allow people the freedom to come to me with faith questions energizes my own faith and encourages me to keep being a faithful disciple and servant of the Lord. In God’s timing this yields fruit. Let me encourage you to develop your own way share your faith so that you will B.L.E.S.S. those you come in contact with. God will use it to strengthen your faith and it might even affect the overall spiritual temperature in your church?
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”