A CALL TO GET INVOLVED
In the past few years I felt the need to help fulfill Jesus’ Commission through sharing the Good News with others – anyone and everyone. Easier said than done… Much easier. The problem I had, and even still have, is, I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself, I really didn’t know what to say, and I wasn’t sure how anyone would respond. I used to be the guy people would approach and live to regret meeting me. Once when I was about 13 I accepted some literature from an evangelist only so I could take a lighter, burn in front of him, and then toss it at his feet. I hated God back then, and I sure the heck had no respect for anyone who was religious. To me, they were brain-dead and brain washed. I just figure, and I still do today, that I am going meet people who are going to treat me the same way. Not too encouraging.
HEART OF A LION, HUMBLE AS A LAMB
A few years ago there was this elderly man who stood quietly in the commuter station where I caught my train. He looked like he could barely stand, but every day he was there – a cane in one hand and a hand-written poster in the other. They were the worst posters ever – jammed packed with black letters on a Kelly green background. Completely illegible from a distance. But maybe that was the point – you had to get close to read them. Patiently he waited for anyone who would stop to speak with him. One day I was that guy.
The man told me that in order to have the courage to evangelize we need to pray to be humble like sheep, but have the heart of a lion. I pray that quite often. He also said the heavens and angles rejoice for every soul we win. He was so excited when he spoke, especially when it came to the rejoicing angels. I envisioned the angels dancing on clouds right beside him. I was encouraged. I wanted to win souls for Christ. After missing several of my trains, about 20 or 30 minutes, he was done… he had nothing left to say, so he quietly packed up and slowly shuffled away.
When I think about wining souls for Christ I think of Matthew 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents. In this parable a noble gives each of his servants money to invest. Each servant received an amount according to his abilities. Later the noble asks the servants to give a report on the money they made – all but one double the noble’s investment. For me the minas represents the souls that we connect to Christ – I started with one soul, my own, and I want to reach many more souls. Until I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ I will have no clue how many souls I touched, but I hope Christ will show me a multitude of people. We all want this.
A COURSE TO DESTROY COMPLACENCY, FEAR AND LOATHING
This course is designed to help people, regardless of how shy you are, to win souls through evangelism and witnessing. It will also help you show God’s love just by being available to pray for people. Yes, perfect strangers. (It is amazing how many people who light up with joy when I ask them if there is anything in their lives I could pray for.) There are two parts to this course: how to break free from your comfort zone, and how to start evangelizing.
The comfort zone is a deadly zone. It is an incubator for complacency, and as complacency grows a wall is built that keeps us from seeing outside of our own personal world. For instance, we have our favorite T.V. shows, so on week nights we curl up with our family on the couch and watch T.V. On Saturdays we may associate with our close friends, and on Sunday it’s Church, then football for the rest of the day. This is our personal world, and it is not as though we don’t want to invite anyone in – we just don’t think of it. Everything is comfortable, because everything is familiar, because everything is routine. We have succeeded in life – we have attained the status quo. Do not disturb the status quo. Wrong! Let’s knock the status quo over and use it as kindling.
Or, maybe we are financially strapped, wondering how we are going to pay rent. We end-up so stressed we forget about our Faith in the Lord. We are so wrapped up in trying to resolve our own issues that we do not have the time to focus on the Good News. We forget to bring our petitions to God. Our fears consume us until we are no longer Christ-centered. Fear has won! It separated us from the Lord. Essentially, God is no longer first in our lives. He has taken second place to our other priorities: our comforts, close friends, and stresses. God wants to be first.
“… I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods…”
— Exodus 20:5
Heed this warning on how complacency can lead to spiritual death:
“… I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
— Revelations 3:1-3
Eventually, complacency leads to death.
“…because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth…”
— Revelations 3:16
No one wants to be spit out by Jesus. We want to be in the Book of Life and dressed in white.
DESTROY your comfort zone. Tear down your walls and engage people. Do not worry about the uncertainty that lies outside of your walls, because we will be given another feeling of safety and comfort that is far greater than the one we created for ourselves. An evangelist has a comfort zone, but this zone exists in the Holy Spirit, and covers the entire world. It even covers the universe. So if you are floating around in space and you happen to bump into an alien, make sure you ask him, or her, if they know Jesus.
Our new comfort zone lies in the hands of Jesus.
Regardless of the Truth some of us are still stricken with fear, and that fear may cause us to forget the Holy Spirit is with us. When fear strikes, pray. If that doesn’t work, march forward anyway – speak to that person you are prompted to speak to. We do not have to feel bold to speak with someone: we just can’t let the fear grip us, nor stop us from our Gospel testimony! If you have a prompting, then speak. Trust in the Spirit doesn’t always mean that you can level mountains just with a stare, but that through anything He will see you through.
In the Bible, fear and anxiety are prohibited by God several hundreds of times. Love and Faith are commanded several hundreds of times. Probably this repetition is because we so often need the reminders of His Will. Prone to follow our feelings, we are susceptible to disobedience even after we are saved; even after we are committed to obedience; even after we have enjoyed Holy Spirit indwelling. But if you let your concern for the ultimate destiny of the person outweigh your anxieties and fears: you are simply obeying God Himself.
YOU NEED TO TAKE ACTION! Action is practice.
WHERE TO START
Depending on how extraverted you are, you can start with one of the lessons in the section Breaking Down Barriers. Gauge what you are comfortable with and select the lesson that matches. If you walk down the street with your eyes glued to the sidewalk, then you may want to start with Lesson 1. If you say “Hi” to most people you pass on the sidewalk, then you may want to take it to the next level and make a contact with someone. If you have no issues meeting new people, then start with either Lesson 3 or 4.
The bottom line is, before you walk you have to crawl, and it doesn’t need to be glorious. The fact that you are doing something means that you are committed to Jesus’ cause, and you must really love Him to do this. So, do not question your heart or your faith.
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:18-20