Sharing the Good News in today's world includes caring, sharing, & giving the gifts of hope & peace when we talk & listen to folks & build relationships in daily life. God has opened the door for every Christian to reach out & share their faith stories. Everyone who has been baptized is a walking talking role model. Each of us has a lot of control of how that plays out in real life!
As we walk on our faith journeys together, what can we do to enable ourselves to walk & talk a more Christ-centered life in a noisy culture where Christian messages could make huge differences, if our voices were heard & listeners could be encouraged, empowered, equipped to act in positive ways.
Taking positive action in today's world to make differences can be rather overwhelming - even with the Bible as a guide & Christ-centered believers around us. Then The Holy Spirit seems to lead us on "Faith Adventures" that provide hope. Adventures come in lots of forms. This time I discovered books that provided "AH HA" moments. Lots of things made sense recently when I read Biblical Equipping: God's Word in Your World. Then I read the book Me, an Evangelist? The clues & cues of "Evangelism" have come slowly while I've been serving on the NW Indiana Conference Outreach Team. It was a real joy to receive several insights reinforced by examples & ideas. Insights from the book Me, an Evangelist? provided a reality checklist of "What We Can Do" & "What only God Can Do" (pages 45-46).. .Now I say the Serenity Prayer with more wisdom!
What Only God Can Do
As evangelists, it is important for us to remember the distinction between what only God can do and what we are able to do. Only God can:
• convince people of their sin and their need for a Savior (John 16:8-9); give people faith (John 1:12-13; Eph. 2:8-9);
• defeat death and give eternal life (John 10:27-29; John 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:51-57);
• forgive sin and free people from guilt (Ps. 51:7; Isa. 1:18; Ps. 130:7; Ps. 32:5; 1 John 1:9);
• bring people to conversion and repentance (John 16:7-11; John 14:6; Acts 11:17-18; 2 Tim. 2:25);
• give people real peace (Ps. 4:8; Isa. 9:6, 26:3; John 14:27, 16:33; Rom. 5:1-2; Phil. 4:6-7); and
• give people lasting hope (Rom. 15:13; 2 Thess. 2:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:3).
As evangelists, we can:
• listen with accepting love; • build a trusting, caring relationship;
• model Christ's love by helping others who are sad, lonely, depressed, or who have other needs;
• try to understand the feelings, needs, beliefs, ideas, and hopes of others;
• pray for others;
• witness assertively when others seem open to hearing; and
• invite others to attend church or to begin a relationship with Jesus when they are ready for such an invitation.
Realizing this can be very freeing. God doesn't hold us responsible for the results of our witness! It is our job to care, to witness, and to live the love of Christ for others as much as we can. It is God's job, not ours, to bring these people into a relationship with Jesus. What a relief to leave this responsibility in God's hands!