Monday, February 11, 2008

Soliciting prayers...

If you'd be willing to offer up a prayer for me, I'm asking God to make me an evangelist. Not a stadium tour type, just someone who consistently goes to people and makes the plea of the Gospel. I've never done this well, and I feel a deep internal blockage to speaking up.

The catalyst for this prayer was last night at the youth group I volunteer at, we were informed one of the girl's father has an untreatable form of cancer. Further, none of the girl's family, apparently, knows Christ. We all prayed ... but I've prayed for the sick before, which is fine ... but I wondered, 'why doesn't someone stand up and say, let's go visit this guy and tell him about the Gospel?' No one did, and I'm praying that God would make me into someone who would do that.

I don't believe people are primarily responsible--at all-- for bringing about in others faith in Christ. But, I do know that Paul said "How will they hear the Gospel if no one tells them?" Currently, my conscience rests very uneasily on my record of having not been someone who makes a real effort to tell people the Gospel.

So, your prayers are appreciated. And discussion of this topic is welcome too.


Andrew Kenny said...

I'm glad you want to become an evangelist.Do not fret about getting the courage to speak at different times. Jesus said 'you will become my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you' He will therefre give you the power and boldness.Another temptation is that when we, by pure reason think we should speak to a certain person when the Lord hasn't opened up the door.

I know, He will make it clear when He has opened the door for us to speak and he will do it often enough top keep us busy.

Study how the Master Jesus did it in John 3. He was thirsty, He asked for water and then before anyone could catch their breath He was talking to the woman about deep spiritual things. Finally it ended up with the village converted.

We need not manipulate or control the conversation. Listen to the people we talking (like Christ in the story) and listen to the Spirit within: He will teach you all you need to know.

After all he invited us with:'Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men' and 'Take my yoke and learn from me.'

By the way I got you blog from Romanos who I contacted today.

Peace and grace to you in Christ.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Strange, but this brother whose comment is ahead of mine is saying essentially what I was going to say to you. But since I'm here, let me give you a couple more angles on it.

We who follow Jesus are all evangelists, whether we try to be or not. Remember the sayings of Francis of Assisi that "we may be the only gospel our neighbor hears today," and "preach the gospel to every creature; use words only if necessary"? Both these sayings back up what our Lord Jesus Christ says, that "a city set on a hill cannot be hid" and "you are the light of the world." If we confess Christ, the world sees us as the gospel, good news for them on the way to salvation, or the stench of death for them who reject Christ. It's not up to us. Christ's call has made us "a city set on a hill."

The situation you write about, of a man who has an untreatable form of cancer (and therefore possibly terminal) and who does not know Christ, well, yes, it would be right for someone "to visit this guy and tell him about the Gospel." But whom does the Lord send? Honestly, who should go?

Not copping out, but just because you realize that this man needs the Lord, that doesn't automatically mean you're the one to go. It can mean that, but it doesn't have to. The most likely person to do that is a Christian he already knows and trusts, his daughter maybe?

As brother Andrew warns, "Another temptation is that when we, by pure reason, think we should speak to a certain person when the Lord hasn't opened up the door." It's very important to understand this. Not understanding this, we can fall into the false logic of WWJD (what would Jesus do), instead of living our life in Christ, living our witness in the light of WDJD (what does Jesus do). There is an enormous and important difference between these two ways of thinking.

"What would Jesus do" seems to make sense but leaves us either helplessly speculating or fruitlessly pursuing our objectives, not God's. "What does Jesus do" keeps our eyes on Jesus, who is at work here and now among His people, and who calls us to accompany Him as He goes in search of His lost sheep.

This is not fantasy or "pie in the sky," but neither is it in our control. Realizing that it's Jesus who evangelizes, Jesus who heals, and Jesus who (only and without our help) saves anyone, we're free from false, man-made, self-chosen purposes. When we witness to others by our lives and maybe our words, at His direction, in His καιρος (Greek > "kairós" = acceptable time), His time and place, then the work is His not ours, and we can depend on the certainty of His will. There's nothing more certain than the will of God.

What God expects of us, if I can say it that way without the possibility of guilt-tripping, is that "we love the one we're with," that is, our nearest neighbors, our family, our co-workers, the people we get to know at market or in church, anyone whom God literally places in our path. To love that one is to witness for Christ, to relay the good news, because we really do want for the other the very blessing that God has bestowed upon us—to know the Father, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and that is eternal life.