Tag Archives: evangelism

Undelivered Invitations

mailmanWhen I was a pastor I used to fantasize about being a mail carrier. I figured the pay would be about the same and the pressure exponentially reduced. The weight of mailbags wouldn’t compare with the charge of souls. I knew a couple of the privileged class of postal workers and they seemed so much less stressed than me. Lots of fresh air, a can of mace for un-neighborly dogs, and home for dinner minus the onus of what didn’t get done that day. What’s not to like?

If you’re a mail carrier and your daily task is a tad more challenging than I’ve indicated, I apologize for misrepresenting you. I’m sure, unlike the temperate climate in my West Coast city, harsh weather can be a pain, not to mention menacing home-alone-canines, full cans of pepper spray notwithstanding. And I presume that, unlike the olden days, fewer and fewer of your customers give you a fruitcake at Christmas.

But all things considered, you have to admit that when carriers of all things postal finish emptying their bag, they pull into the garage without a care. That is, unless they don’t empty their bag. Woe to the mail delivery person who fails to deliver all their boxes and letters!

A pedestrian metaphor to be sure (pun intended), but consider the follower of Jesus with his/her bag full of God’s party invitations. Not that difficult a job really. Just out delivering the mail, bad weather and snarling dogs aside. We don’t write the Maker’s mail or pay the postage. We just have to­­––I mean, get to––distribute it to those that God wants at his party. We don’t have to throw the party or pay for it. Jesus took care of all that. We’re not even charged with convincing the invitees to come. That’s the Spirit’s job. Pretty simple when you think about it. Just deliver the invitations with a smile.

But consider those Christians, of course we’re talking about those other Christians, whose bag at the end of the day (i.e. at the end of their life) is still full. Maybe they got distracted with opening their own mail, with inclement conditions, or the threat of ankle-biting Pekingese, but when they arrived home their mailbags are still full of undelivered party invitations.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds!”

What? You haven’t yet ordered, read, or reviewed on Amazon The Other End of the Dark? Well, okay, but you really should…


The “Jesus Bus”

jesus-busDo all roads lead to God? “No,” says William Paul Young, “but God is willing to travel any road to find you.”

My friend and I were meeting at the baseball stadium to watch my San Francisco Giants play. Parking costs as much as the ticket, so I decided to take public transportation. From my house there isn’t one bus that takes me directly there, so I had to take one bus and transfer to another, which dropped me off right in front of the ballpark.

Though I believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, there might well be a number of ways to Jesus. Creation, conscience, culture, crises and even some aspects of creed (religion) are like those buses that lead people to — the “Jesus Bus!” They can serve as vehicles that can bring us to The Vehicle that brings us to God. It’s necessary for devotees of other religions to “transfer” from their former way to The Way in order to get all the way to the Father. How and when they make this transfer, and even what the process of transfer looks like is so far above my pay grade that I can only speculate. Continue reading

Tour Guides, Matchmakers, and Show-and-Tell

hard-sellSalespeople scare me. I usually avert my eyes when they’re lurking near. I figure if our eyes don’t meet they can’t guilt me into buying something I don’t need. Car salespeople are the scariest. The “I’m just browsing” response doesn’t seem to persuade them to leave me alone.

I’ve noticed people using the same eye-contact-avoidance tactic when the God topic comes up in conversation. They can tell when we’re just trying to make a sale. Having been marketed into a comatose sales stupor they just can’t stand one more pitch. Their brains tune it out.

We know that salvation is free of charge and it’s not like we get a cut from every “sale” we make, but, if we’re honest, we are rewarded for making the pitch. The kids who compete for top magazine sales don’t get paid for their efforts, but the winner wins a prize––a pony in my day, today it’s more like a video game console or an iPhone. OK, so we don’t get a Playstation 4 for witnessing, but at least in the back of our minds we consider the admiration of our peers and an at-a-boy (or girl) from the Father. Aside from what this says about our relative spiritual maturity, our “customers” can detect motives as subtle as these and want no part of what we’re “selling.” While we may not ever be entirely rid of such ulterior motives, lest our witness is rejected off-hand, we should daily submit to the Spirit’s test for pretense. Continue reading

I Need Your Help! 

writers-blockI’ve begun writing a book about sharing our faith with pre-christians and I need your help writing it!

I want to address the issues that people have, the obstacles that we face, as well as the joys we experience in “showing and telling” about Jesus. I want to be able to speak to your struggles and concerns as well as incorporate some of your good stories in my next book. So, please share!

If, off the top of your head, you’re having a tough time coming up with your own issues about sharing your faith I offer some pump-priming ideas that you may be able to identify with (or not). Though I’d love to hear what you have to say in your own words (via WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or even email* if you prefer), if you prefer to copy and paste one or more of these statements in a response, that’s cool too.

  • I love sharing my faith and do it every chance I get.
  • I’d share Jesus more often if I felt like it made any difference at all. No one seems to care.
  • I’d share more if I knew what to say.
  • I’m not sure if what we call “evangelism” is even valid in today’s post-modern culture. Does it even matter what people believe if they have some form of spirituality?
  • I don’t how to begin the conversation.
  • People will decide to follow Jesus without our help. The Spirit is the one who convicts and saves.
  • I’d talk more about it but I’m afraid of looking like a fool.
  • Most evangelism approaches sound like a sales pitch; and people aren’t buying.
  • I don’t “witness” very much, but when I do, I love it!
  • My sole form of evangelism is inviting people to church.

So, if none of these apply to you, please tell me what does.

Also, send me an anecdote of how you shared your faith with someone and it turned out to be an amazing experience. (Maybe your story will end up in my book! With your permission, of course.)


Thanks for your help!

Speaking of books, if you haven’t read The Other End of the Dark, I hope you will consider getting it. I’ve been told that it’s pretty good; albeit, entirely by people who owe me money! Even if you don’t like the book, you benefit Freedom House by buying it and using it as a coaster.

One Thing Leads to Another

Water splash

This is the final piece of a multi-post theme on how to love people toward Jesus from the story of the rescue of Rahab the prostitute. The others are called:

We come now to look at the far-reaching impact we make when we touch even one person…

Rahab wasn’t the only one saved the day the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. She cut a deal with Joshua’s scouts that included her parents, siblings, and their families. It occurs to me that if all she cared about was her own salvation, Rahab could’ve simply gone back with the scouts and left her family to die in the attack. It didn’t seem to enter her mind to leave her loved ones behind. She pled for their rescue along with hers right from the beginning. Continue reading

Friends With Prostitutes

rahabWe’ve been talking about the prostituted woman, Rahab, and her encounter with the two Jewish spies, and what this story teaches us about our part in God’s Friendship Quest

I love the fact that the very first “convert” in the Promised Land was an idolatrous prostitute! If that doesn’t show us something about God’s wide and wooly welcome, I don’t know what does. Rachel Held Evans said, “The Gospel isn’t offensive for whom it leaves out but for who it lets in!”

I’m sure glad he let me in.

As I said before I don’t think the scouts went to Rahab’s house to buy sex. Maybe they thought they’d blend in better at a house of ill-repute. With the male foot traffic in and out of her house, two more would raise no immediate suspicion within the community. Continue reading

Rahab’s Red Rope

red-ropeThere’s a ministry in India that rescues and re-trains sex slaves, called “Rahab’s Rope.” Its founder says: “The rope in the story represents Rahab’s rescue both physically and spiritually, and there is a high probability that Rahab made the rope herself. Our hope is that, just as the rope that Rahab made represents her rescue, the skills taught to the women at our women’s centers will represent their physical and spiritual rescue as well.”  

The British Royal Navy used to weave a scarlet thread throughout all their rope. No matter where you cut it, this red thread could be seen. Figuratively, you might say that God wove a scarlet thread––the story of sacrifice––to run throughout the entire Bible and that wherever you open it you’ll find the sacrificial blood of Jesus represented. It appears in the sacrificial system, in prophecies, in the narrative of the cross itself, and in the teaching of the Apostles. If there’s a prominent theme in both testaments, it’s Jesus’ bloody sacrifice. Continue reading