I’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.
With the story of Rahab’s “salvation” as a backdrop, let’s now see who does the actual saving and how he does it.
Walls crumbling at the sound of shouts and trumpets? Not bad in the miracle department! Was it the perfectly articulated shouts or the trumpets’ tone that did the trick? I think not.
Remember how God told the Jews to march around the city walls for seven days without saying a word? No speaking for a week! Now that would be a miracle for me! I mean, not a word whispered between marchers, not a shout up to the Jerichoans peering down from their ramparts. What was that all about? My guess is that the Lord was reinforcing the point, “Put me first, do what I tell you, rest your mouths for the moment, and let me do the rest!” Continue reading →
It will come as a surprise to you that I’ve been known to rant once in a while. I like to think that most of my rants are for good reason, especially if what I have to say is true – well, what I think is true. I have to admit that some rants of mine are – to coin a phrase – “preaching to the choir.” Sometimes I think I’m just looking for an “Amen” when I’m telling people what they already know and believe!
Now that I’ve presented myself sufficiently humble by confessing my own proclivity for the periodic unnecessary self-congratulating rant, I feel free to confess the sins of other preachy souls. I refer to those behind pulpits and podiums as well as those in front of microphones and keyboards whose ravings only strike a chord in those who already agree with them and who will shout a hearty “Amen!” if not donate a few bucks to their coffers.
This is one of the reasons I can’t spend much time listening to political talk radio (from either the left or the right) or to whip-‘em-up preachers whose only message is about how bad everyone but them and their audience is. They don’t seem to actually care to convince anyone of anything, but are lobbying for standing ovations for their rephrased sound-byte-laden abusive speeches about how stupid their detractors are. What they say and how they say it makes their fan-filled audience feel better about their moral and intellectual superiority to all those idiots who disagree with them. Everyone cheers for the argument that they all already agree with and the pundit or preacher, as the case may be, feels like a superstar! Preachers notorious for this kind of pulpit pounding make surly disciples and push not-yet-christians further away from Jesus.Continue reading →
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22
“One by one, these disciples would infect the nations with grace. It wasn’t a call to take the sword or the throne and force the world to bow. Rather, they were to live the contagious love of God, to woo the nations into a new future.” Shane Claiborne
Most pre-Christians think Jesus is all right, but his Church, not so much. Go figure! Could their antipathy have anything to do with how we (Incoming pun!) cut off communication with the world? You have to admit that after what Peter did, Malchus couldn’t very well “hear” the good news, at least not from him!
Some of the stories in the Bible were included to show us how not to do things. Abraham’s lies, Moses’ temper tantrums, David’s adultery, and Peter’s sword slinging for instance. Everyone makes mistakes, kings and apostles included. Continue reading →
When 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 letters doesn’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 mailman or woman and your daily task is something more difficult 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 pain, not to mention menacing home alone canines. No doubt, 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 finishes emptying their bag, they home without a care. That is, unless they don’t empty their bag. Woe to the mail delivery person who fails to deliver all the mail!
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 angry dogs notwithstanding. We don’t write the mail, address it, or pay the postage. We just have to – rather, 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 don’t even have to convince people to come. That’s the Spirit’s job. Pretty simple when you think about it. Just deliver the invitations.
But consider those Christians, of course we’re talking about those other Christians, whose bag whose bag at the end of the day is still full. Maybe they got distracted with pouring over their own mail. They could’ve been deterred by inclement conditions or the threat of snarling dogs, but when they arrived home their mailbags are still full of undelivered invitations.
Every true Jesus follower wants to share his/her faith with others, but many feel too needy to do so. They’re waiting till they have total “victory,” complete physical health, an all-star family, and a respectable middle-class (or above) lifestyle. I propose that sometimes the best witnesses are often the neediest ones. That’s Part 1. In Part 2, I’ll share how some of the most effective church planters and missionaries are ones who are the least adequately resourced and go out, as did the original apostles, with little to nothing.
My point, in both cases, is that, rather than a curse, our neediness is often a blessing, a benefit to embrace when embarking on our mission to sow kingdom seeds in our culture. I propose that some of the best witnesses and most effective apostolics are the neediest ones.
I came to Jesus when I was 17. The next day, not knowing any better, I started telling people about how he’d begun to wreck my life for the good. Since I hadn’t known the Lord long enough to acquire a spirit of superiority it was truly one beggar telling other beggars where to find bread. As I developed a more advanced spiritual sophistication my story became less effective and I had less fun in sharing it. The joy has returned in these last few years to which I attribute a more impoverished condition of my life. I think it has something to do with being divorced, cancer-ridden, and living on disability. I’m poor enough again to reach other poor folks. Please don’t feel sorry for me, I’m making a positive point here. Continue reading →
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Proverbs 26:4-5
“I don’t believe in any of that Jesus stuff. It, and all religion, is made up by people who want to control other people.” I was in Golden Gate Park with my dreadocked-hippie-christian friends. They make pancakes on a camp stove and bring hot coffee for people living in the bushes. We make friends and share with our friends about our Other Friend. Some are passing through to other hippie-traveller enclaves, Rainbow Gatherings, or just living on the road indefinitely. Others arrived in the Haight-Ashbury decades ago looking for meaning and found something else. Continue reading →