I am currently in Ohio for the 328 mile bike ride for the American Cancer Society. This ride is to raise money to help families going through the difficulties of cancer as well as to raise awareness about cancer.
I will have very limited access to email until 7-30-13. As a special treat while I am away, I would like to send out some message my sixteen year old daughter, Sarah, has recently written. Sarah is passionate about the Gospel and I believe you will enjoy her thoughts about this all-important part of the Christian faith. Please try to read all the messages in the order they are sent.
The Gospel, Part 2 – Forcing It
The first few times I shared the Gospel, I had the mindset of a screwdriver being jabbed into a keyhole. They aren’t my most pleasant memories.
It was my very first mission trip and I was an awkward middle schooler with everything to prove. For the semester leading up to the summer, our youth group went through evangelism training, and I knew the ice-breaking questions to ask, the verses to bust out, and the key points to hit hard. Then, at the culmination of my knowledge, there sat before me a real-life chubby 5-year-old with almond-colored skin who was staring at a beetle on the wall and nodding at everything I said.
“Would you like to accept Jesus into your heart now?”
“Okay, I’ll pray and you can repeat after me.”
First time success filled my bones and I brought the little boy to be introduced to my youth pastor. “Would you like to tell this man what you just did?”
“Did you just accept Jesus into your heart?”
Well that was rather unfulfilling.
I repeated these steps twice more on that trip.
You might imagine that as the next year rolled around I started getting pretty nervous about my yearly shot at evangelism. I had to make sure I took the right steps to get in the right position to say the right things to be the savior of someone’s soul. Yep, that was my mindset.
All the nervousness had built up, and the night before we went out into our stations I expressed my anxiety to a peer. The response was spot-on.
“You’re worried about not finding the right opportunity for yourself to save someone? Well, first, God’s the one that does the saving, not you, duh. And then, if He’s the one that does it anyway, why would He expect you to find and force the opportunity? He’s gonna just give it to you. Haven’t you been listening in church?”
Whoa. What a huge, obvious, relieving revelation!
The next morning in my personal devotional I read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian which I had never read before. It is in Acts 8:26-40, and it is so wonderful that you should go read it right now.
Philip is just going about his business, when God’s angel suddenly decides it’s time for him to start walking on the Jerusalem-Gaza road, and Philip obeys. Then,
“The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.
‘How can I unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 9:29-31,35).
WOW! Why can’t real life be like that? It looks like Philip put very little effort into that situation. I must just have it much harder nowadays. If only I could just be going about life and God could pop upon me an opportunity to share the Gospel. If only He could put me in the right place at the right time, and all I would have to do is be ready.
Wait a second.
Maybe I should ask Him, and give it a shot myself. Let’s see how this works.
It is very encouraging for me as a father to read these messages and see how God has been working in Sarah’s life over these past few years. We need to be prepared with a correct understanding and with a boldness to share His truth, but we also need to rest in the fact that Salvation, from beginning to end, is a work of God. There are some important lessons contained in these messages; be sure to read them all.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Jul 24 2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:24-39; Psalm 18:35-50; Proverbs 19:27-29
757.98 Run Miles in 2013 : Goal 1509 miles
1244.13 Bike Miles in 2013 : Goal 3000 miles