After I posted pictures of me at the Memphis Zoo, a friend asked me how many favorite animals I have.
My answers is LOTS!
My top two are Komodo Dragons (which have poisonous saliva) and Poison Dart Frogs. Not sure what that says about me.
But I HATE slugs. I use the word HATE here. I am sure they were part of the curse.
I am sure that Hell is full of shiny slug trails. And no salt. There is no salt to pour on the slugs in hell. I am not going to hell.
I don’t want any of my friends to go to salt-less, slug-filled hell either.
So I pray that you choose Christ.
“Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
A few friends laughed at my attempt at evangelism in this FB post. I meant it tongue-in-cheek…but then I thought about it some more.
It seems that many of our evangelical efforts are just as lame as my “Slugs are bad — Get saved” attempt:
- Get saved so you don’t have to feel guilty anymore!
- You are a terrible person and God is mad at you. Repent and serve him.
- This world sucks. Get saved so you can go to heaven someday.
- Want a nicer car? Serve Jesus and you, too, can have prosperity!
- Your child is in heaven? Get saved so you can see him again some day. You may be miserable until then, but you get to spend eternity with your kid!
- This can be the best day of the rest of your life! Salvation is available! (This one sounds like a pitch for a new vitamin or supplement, but really tells nothing about Christ.)
Many people today do not even know what some of these words mean — “Repent” “Get Saved” “Salvation”. They are church words that have no meaning in every day life. We need to find a way to share the good news of Christ in a way that people who have never been to church can understand.
Yes, God is big enough to use even our lame attempts. (Here is an article from World Magazine on the subject.)
But shouldn’t we try to stop being lame?
Jesus said the kingdom of God is among you. He said He came to give us life — abundant life. This abundant life can begin today. He said that He came to give us eternal life which also begins today. We should be living this abundant, eternal life and sharing with others how wonderful it is.
Dallas Willard puts it like this, “The kingdom of God is available to you today. Change your way of thinking.” I like that. I like that the Kingdom is available to us TODAY! Now! Not just some day in heaven.
God wants to change our lives beginning today in an eternal way. That is good news which the world (our friends) need to hear!
Although I am not as skilled at evangelism as some of my friends, I am willing to try. And I am working on getting better. I want to know the character of God so that I can share who He is and not just what he did for me, but also why He did it. I want to know Him better so I can share with people that GOD IS LOVE. He loves me! HE LOVES YOU!
That is why He sent His Son: Because HE LOVES us and wants to have a relationship with us. This is why Jesus came willingly to earth and willingly died on the cross: So that we could have relationship with the Father, not because “God was chapped and somebody had to die”.
Ephesians says that “Through him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Isn’t that great news! Because of Christ – what He did on the cross and because He rose again – we can have a relationship with GOD, the CREATOR!
Unfortunately, most people are not approaching God in freedom and confidence. They are not living in the light of His Word. They are living in darkness. They are not really living at all. They are living shadow-lives.
So how do we share this good news? How do we help people step out of their dark, shadow-lives and into the light?
There are many ways to evangelize. Some use “the Romans Road” or “the Four Spiritual Laws”. (whatever those are)
Here a few other ways. They are simply places to start. Each of you should seek God as to how you should share Christ with your friends and with those you meet. The main thing to try, to actually open our mouths and our lives and share Christ with others.
One acrostic about evangelism that I found uses phrases that begin with the letters in the work “GOSPEL”. It is a simple way to remember the basics of the Gospel:
God created us to be with him. Genesis 1-2
Our sins separate us from God. Genesis 3
Sin cannot be removed by good deeds. Genesis 4-Malachi 4
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. Matthew-Luke
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. John
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. Acts-Revelation
Intervarsity has a great tool called “The Big Story”. It is a neat tool to use in explaining the gospel. You should read about it. It is short and easy to understand. It is a great way to draw out on a napkin or any scrap of paper the story of the Bible and of what Christ did for us. And why we need a savior.
In AA meetings, when they share their story of sobriety, they suggest folks “Tell what it was like, what changed,and what is like now”. This can be a place to start in evangelism as well. Some call it sharing your “testimony”; some simply call it “sharing your story”.
- What was your life like before you came to Christ? How did you live, think, feel? What was going on in your daily life? In your mind? How were your relationships?
- What changed? And what caused that change?
- What is it like now? How are you different than before? What is your daily life like now?
I find this last method works best for me: I talk to people about what my life was like before Christ, how He came into my life and changed me, and what my life is like since choosing Christ. I share why I chose Christ and encourage them to consider Him as well.
I chose Christ not to get to heaven, or avoid the slimy slugs in hell, but because my life on earth WAS HELL! I was living in darkness, through a storm-filled mess of my own making. I was miserable living in my choices. Here is my story:
I heard the message of my sin and need for salvation at a church in high school. A friend had invited me to go to her youth group with her. I listened to the message and saw changes in her life. Iwent down to the front of the church to get saved one evening. I was baptized. I know I was “saved” in that I was going to heaven. But I did not decide to actually serve Christ until a few years later.
I changed a few things and learned how to talk like a Christian. But there were still ugly things in my life. There were ugly things in my home. My mom drank way too much. She was abusive sometimes. I never dated in high school and was a nerd who spent lunch hour reading classics because I was afraid to go in the cafeteria. I won state-wide math contests, but had few real friends. The church where I got “saved” was not big on discipleship. I went to college not really knowing much about the Bible, God, or how to have healthy relationships. And I began to make bad choices.
I began partying. I was uncomfortable in most every thing and had trouble making friends, even in the sorority I belonged to. My sophomore year, I got stuck in a six-girl room with a gal who loved Adam Ant and another who loved Jesus. What a group! I was sleeping around, angry, afraid, couldn’t sleep, didn’t like many of the folks I hung around with … in short, I was miserable.
But I had found one friend, my roommate Sally Staires, who loved Jesus. She had joy and peace no matter what was happening, even when she got stuck with me for a roommate in the Kappa house. I saw her life, her joy, her kindness.
I wanted what she had. I did not care about heaven. I did not care if angels or demons were real. I did not care about hell. I wanted peace! And I saw that Sally had it and that she loved Jesus. She showed us in her own life that He was the answer. Yes, she was going to heaven when she died, but Sally was living eternal, abundant life here on earth and I wanted that!
THAT is real evangelism, That is what resulted in my changed life, not preaching or ideas of heaven and hell. Not fear of what is in hell.
I began to serve Christ. I started going to church and really praying. I quit doing the ugly things in my life. I started treating people better. Sally’s family owned a Christian Camp and they hired me to run their swimming program that summer. I grew so much in that short time.
I met Ron and we got married. Over the years, we have struggled and had our challenges. But God was with us the whole time. Divorce was never an option. We prayed together only sometimes and were not perfect in the way we raised our kids. But we know the One who is perfect. We attended church and tried to teach Truth to our seven children. And through all our trials and struggles, God has helped us make it. He helped us through many moves and job changes, church issues, money problems, dealing with addiction in our families, the deaths of both our moms and dads plus a nephew, and trials too numerous to mention. But we had an overarching peace and love and joy.
Because I know His Word is Life, I have memorized a few books of the Bible and meditated on the teachings of Paul. I have read through the whole Bible many times, not because I should, but because I want to know more and more about God.
I love to worship! Oh! How I love great worship times lifting our hands and hearts to Lord in song! He alone is worthy of our praise and adoration!
A few years ago I began studying using the Inductive Study Method taught by Precept Ministries. I learned truth from God’s Word in a deeper way than I had ever learned before.
When we faced a year of trial after trial, including Andrew’s death, I knew who God is, not just what He had done. (There was so much more that happened in the months before Andrew’s death, but those are not my stories to tell.) I knew I could trust Him in all things. I could trust that God is good and kind and loving and merciful and wise and just and compassionate and powerful. I could trust Him to love me through everything. I learned that His grace really is sufficient for me.
Mostly, I knew that through all things, He would be with me and He would give me peace and joy and hope. He would give me eternal life beginning today. And I knew that He holds no grudges; forgiveness is available for everyone who asks!
I knew that, even in the death of my son and the other trials we faced, God is good. I have the joy, peace, and abundant, eternal life I saw in my friend Sally all those years ago. If you have looked back over my blog from this past year, I think you can see that Ron & I have been able to walk in that peace and joy. I am grateful for a loving God, who cares for us in all things.
For those who do not yet know Christ, He is waiting! He wants you to know Him. He loves you and cares about your life today not just where you will go when you die. Peace, Joy, Hope, are all available to you today in Christ. Ask God to do for you what He did for Sally so many years ago and what He continues to do for her and for me. Ask Him to come in to your life and to give you His life, His eternal Life in Christ.
If you do, let someone know about it. Find a good Bible teaching church and get involved. God can and will change your life if you let Him.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matt 7:7-8 (NIV)
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:20 (NIV)