Saturday, September 7, 2013

Evangelism Musings 09/07/13

If you're looking for evangelism opportunities, they are everywhere. Sometimes, they involve spending a day handing out gospel tracts at a large event. Sometimes they involve spending a day at a large event trying to have conversations with people about the gospel. Sometimes they involve street preaching and publicly proclaiming the gospel in the open air. Sometimes they involve being in the right place at the right time (aka God's sovereign hand) to share the gospel with a coworker, a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger. Sometimes they involve inviting a friend, coworker, or neighbor to church where you know the gospel will be preached. This I know, gospel opportunities come in many shapes and sizes (many packages). I would recommend not limiting yourself to one avenue. I also know this, if you don't make your life about sharing the gospel, you won't be ready when the opportunity is in front of you.

Several years ago now, I wrote my own gospel tract because 1) I was (and still am) in awe with the work God did in my life. I was amazed that in one moment I went from being a slave to sin, powerless against its effects to being a new person, free in Jesus Christ. I knew I did nothing to accomplish this on my own, and God did everything. I wanted to tell others about it. 2) I knew that if I had some ownership in what was written in the gospel tract, I would be more likely to hand it out to people (and that has proven to be true). Click here to read the contents of the gospel tract. We (Greg and I) are about to order our third printing of this gospel tract. We order them 500 at a time, which means 1,000 tracts have been distributed up to this point. I mention that because most of them have been distributed one at a time (literally) through encounters I have had with strangers in daily life. I thought I would share some of those encounters in this post.

One day, on my lunch break at work, I went to a local grocery store to run an errand. While I was there, an elderly lady in front of me in line (her name is Kathryn) discovered that she had lost her keys. A thorough search ensued by the staff of the store and by Kathryn, but to no avail. She had a spare set at home, so I offered to give her a ride to her apartment (where she knew a friend could help her get into her apartment and then drive her back to the store with the spare key). We chatted a bit on the way home, but she was quite distraught and could only focus on what might have happened to her keys. As she was getting out of the car, I handed her the gospel tract and explained it was something I had written and wanted her to have. Convinced that God had sent me there (I agree), and that I must be her guardian angel (not so much), she thanked me profusely for the ride home and for the gospel tract.

One Sunday afternoon on my way home from church, I stopped into the local gas station for something or another and noticed they had very ripe bananas on sale. Noticing they were just right for banana bread, I took them to the counter to purchase. The clerk (a young man about 20 or so) asked me what I was going to do with the bananas and I said, "Make banana bread." Jokingly, he said, "Well, I get off at 3:00. I'll see you then." Not one who likes to see an opportunity slip through my fingers, I promptly went home, made some banana bread, cut it up and put it in a container, and showed up at the gas station again shortly before 3:00. I wrote out a card to the young man (I made sure I got his name from his name tag before I left the first time). The card went something like this. "I hope you enjoy the banana bread, but the kindest thing I can do for you is leave you with the best information I know--the gospel. Here's a gospel tract I wrote and want to share with you." Needless to say, he was a bit surprised that I actually baked him banana bread, but he gladly took it, thanked me, and even shared with me a few weeks later that he was touched by the gesture, and that he read the gospel tract (and called his mom to tell her about it).

This past Thursday morning, I was heading out to work and realized that if I didn't stop for gas within a couple miles, I would run out of gas. I pulled into the nearest gas station (not my usual one even though I was less than a mile from home). I went in to purchase a bottle of water, and as I came out of the store, an elderly gentleman stopped me and asked me if I knew where the VA clinic was. I told him I did. He said, "Am I close?" I told him he wasn't. It was on the other side of town from where we were. I tried to give him directions, but he was unfamiliar with the area, and it was hard to explain how to get there from our particular location. It is a newly built clinic, and his GPS device wasn't recognizing the address. So, even though I was on my way to work and he was going the opposite direction of the place of my employment, I heard these words come out of my mouth: "Follow me, sir. I can't seem to tell you how to get there, but I can show you." He followed me over to the clinic. I got out of my car in the parking lot. He thanked me, and I handed him a gospel tract and said, "I want to give this to you. It's a gospel tract that I wrote, and I like to give it to everyone I meet." He thanked me, said "God bless you", blew me a kiss as he passed in front of my car, and went into the clinic, and I went off to work (still made it on time too).

As you can see, my little speeches I give as I hand people gospel tracts are not flowery or eloquent or the same every time (I literally make it up as I go). But, I figure if God has gone to the trouble of divinely orchestrating a meeting with these strangers (people I would never meet otherwise). The least I can do is put the gospel into their hands. God will do the rest.

I tell these stories not to boast of my adventures but simply as a reminder that gospel-giving opportunities exist everywhere everyday if we're looking for them. So, grab your favorite gospel tract (or write your own). and keep your eyes open for opportunities.

P.S. Christian, feel free to leave me a comment and share some of the ideas you have for sharing the gospel in everyday life so I can learn from you.

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