Friday, October 7, 2011

Evangelism Encouragement

I got to thinking about putting together a chronology of people and methods that came together in helping me find faith in Christ.

The first witness I remember came my freshman year in Texas. I had ridden my bike maybe 15 or 20 miles and stopped at my high school where I saw some guys playing football. I joined in for a bit and then cussed at being covered too tight to get open. A guy told me they were Christians and didn't like talk like that.

Summer of tenth grade I think, a guitarist in a band witnessed to me about saving faith in Jesus. I just didn't get it.

Summer of 11th grade a guy with me at a summer camp talked to me about Jesus dying for our sins and did I want to accept Him as savior. No, I didn't.

I remember being perplexed that in college, far from the open-mindedness I expected to find, Christians were ridiculed, and I was only too happy to join in here and there.

Junior year college I met a guy named Larry Isitt who began a long conversation (5 years) of why I was an atheist, what the Bible says about humanity and God...

Sometime in my senior year, two girls from a Baptist Church knocked on my door and asked me if I knew where I would go if I died tonight. I was probably a few sheets to the wind no doubt, but I answered truthfully if snarkily, "Southern California." True enough, my mom would come get me and bury me there. I just did not know how to think about eternity. And I am not sure they really asked it very well. [I need to make a note here. Some people hate the Evangelism Explosion question. Too bad. It may not be elegant, organic or whatever, but it works when the time is right. My experience is not any kind of condemnation of that method. It's just where I was... or was not... in my process of getting to know my need for God]

In grad school, a combination of Larry, Dane Conrad, Drew Barnes and two professors, Stan Hauer and James Sims, really worked me over with their positive lifestyles and intellectual abilities. You can see at this point I remember names. SOme of that is because it is closer in time, I was an adult, etc, but the single biggest factor is that the seeds that had been planted had grown and now I had a greater consciousness of the things of God, so His messengers seemed more lovely and I was paying a lot more attention.

Around that time I got my Gideon's Bible, my first Bible.

And there nearing the end of my MA in English, in October of 94, I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I put this together quickly. But I hope it is useful to you in your evangelizing, to see that the work crosses time and space and methods, and that if it were a human endeavor, there is no way to have planned the guys playing ball in Texas, the guitarist in California or a former Air Force medic in Mississippi to come together to bring someone to faith.

But the Holy Spirit is active in places and ways that are beyond our comprehension.

Those two Baptist girls do not know that I got saved.

I hope that they, and you, know that it is not important for us to know that someone accepted Christ. It is nice and wonderful to know that someone we desired to be saved is saved, even better if we are the ones who get to help them directly there!

I just want you to be the guys playing ball, to be someone nameless, faceless, unremembered along the way to someone giving their life to Jesus.

No one will come to faith unless believers are those kind of witnesses. So keep on keeping on!!

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