08 Jun 2016
Recorded on 08 June 2016
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What we're going to do in today and tomorrow, is trying to think about how do we become more missional where we live, where we work and where we play? Now we all need to understand how important it is to live missionally. Here's what I found in discipling men through the years. I found that if I can prepare them, equip them to the point that they are living missionally - where they live, work and play, I watch a spiritual growth and energy in their life that’s very, very unusual.
When I labour in the lives of those who do not embrace the missional living, I find that for whatever reason, they just don't progress as far in their hunger for the things of God. I like to think of it like exercise. Many of you exercise. I saw some of you at the gym this morning exercising and why do we exercise? It gives us energy. I find when I finish exercising, I'm very, very hungry. I want something to eat as soon as I’ve exercise. But you know, I've not found out that when I eat, I find myself eager to exercise. In fact, sometimes after I've had a very good and large meal, I think the last thing that I feel like I want to do is to exercise. (01:22.0)
I want you to think of our missional living as what exercise is to eating. And eating being the nutrition of God's Word. We need God's Word everyday, we need a hunger for God's Word. I think God has given us a missional life to live, to be his ambassadors. Not because he has to have us but because we need to be his ambassadors. And when we are, we hunger for the things of God. So, hopefully as a result of today and tomorrow, you and I are going to be all the more hungry for the things of God as we learn to live missionally, alright?
Now, in line with that, I want you to think of three buckets. These are various approaches to let’s… let’s call this ‘evangelism’. It’s a common word used today. Missional living evangelism. I want us to think of three large buckets of approaches to do the work of evangelism. Alight? There's going to be what we would call literature evangelism in one bucket. They're all different types of literatures that can be used. Very appropriate. Many might be familiar with Campus Crusade for Christ, now called Cru. They have a little literature called the Four Spiritual Law. Many people use that little Four Spiritual Laws through the years. That is in that one bucket.
We have a little book that we use, that I'm speaking about, last night and tonight, which is called: The Answer. It's become the literature of our church. I think it's good for churches to have its literature that it chooses to say, this is what we all tend to find to be most beneficial for us, and we utilize that particular material. For us, it’s ‘The Answer’, that little book. You can hand it to someone. I'm on a plane, I'm talking to someone, I share my testimony, maybe we get in to talking about spiritual realities and I can at least say before we land, let me give you this little piece of literature, maybe this will help you understand better what we had been talking about. It's just literature, alright?
Now there's a second bucket. I call it invitational evangelism. There's all kind of things that we can invite people to be a part of. We want people to come and be exposed to God's Word and God's people. For you that listen to the MP3, remember that we talked about that we become fishers of men and as such we're going out, looking to reach the lost. What is our best bait? Our best bait is a two-hook lure. One hook is constant exposure to God's Word, the second - constant exposure to God's people.
Well, that's what happens when we invite people. They come and they get exposed to the things of God, and to the people of God. Many come to faith that way. Inviting them to activities at church and outside the church, small groups whatever it may be. Invitations - that's bucket…bucket number two.
Where we’re going to spend our time is in bucket number three. I think it's the ultimate of the three buckets. It’s the ideal of the ideals. We can always use it, but it is the ideal if we can. It's called investigative bucket. It’s where we help people investigate the Gospel. That allows us to deal with people who are very, very, very unprepared, up to people who perhaps have had a background. Maybe in Catholicism, maybe in Christianity, some form or fashion, provincialism, it doesn't matter. But whether be unprepared, prepared, you can take people and meet them where they are, and relate to them conversationally and help them investigate the things of spiritual life, of our faith as Christian. Okay? That's where we’re going to focus our attention. (05:19.5)
Now here's the way we’re going to do it. I’m going to assume wrongly, I hope, that you're coming in here today with a tool belt that's empty. I think of it as when we become a Christian, I picture Christians receiving an empty tool belt from God. And it's our job to be equipped and prepared to explain our faith to lost people. To help other people investigate the faith of Christianity. They come from unprepared, all the way to prepared, to the point of salvation. And so we need different tools on our tool belt, to know how we can best do that.
Now the tools that I'm going to give to you can be put in different categories. I understand that many of you already have good tools. Use your tools. I'm not suggesting that the tools I’m going to share with you are the better or the best tools at all. I’m just going to share with you these are some tools that you may find to be very, very beneficial. As we're finding many people all over the world, agreeing that it is. So you can maybe add to your tool belt. If you have no tools on your tool belt, I’m going to suggest to you, you take these tools, put them in your belt. Carry them with you, everywhere you go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, you pray: God showed me people that need to hear the truth. The truth of the faith and then pull the tools out and use them as you need them. (06:41.8)
I’m convinced that there are three things that people have to have in order to be fruitful, as God would have them to be in sharing their faith. It’s what I call the three harvest imperatives. We have to have the right mindset to begin with, and I spent much time developing that idea of a mindset. If we don't believe that lost people perish forever; if we don't believe that the faith is truly as it is - the most glorious, wonderful truth that man could ever hear; if we don't have that conviction deep in our minds and we are totally convinced that people have to hear the gospel, then I don't care how good our tools are, we’re not going to be effective in sharing our faith with other people.
It's like people who go to war for their country. In our land, it used to be that people would readily volunteer and wouldn't mind going on the front lines of battle, even knowing there was a high likelihood that they would die. And the reason was because they would say, “Better that I die than that our country may perish.” Well that's the history of the Christian faith, the great missionaries of our faith. What do they do? They pack their clothes often in caskets as they would go across continents in order to live the rest of their life as brief as it might be because they're sharing the gospel. And they said, “I would rather die sharing my faith than the church never be born, so I'm willing.” They have the right mindset. (08:23.2)
Now, the second is the toolset. These tools that we’re talking about, they would be placed in your belts. These various toolsets can be divided into different types of tools. Subtle or complicated but think of it this way: they’re introductory tools. How do you ever get into the discussion of the things of God? I mean you just right out of the blue, you gonna just start saying, “Hey! Are you going to heaven?” “Hey! You’re not going to perish in hell, are you?” You know, I mean that’s a terrible, terrible, terrible way to introduce the things of God. And we would make sure we have good introductory tools. I think you need many, many introductory tools. Many introductory tools.
So, I’m going to share about probably four, there are several in your book. But I’m going to share four probably, introductory tools, alright? So there will be introductory tools. Then there're going to be tools that we’ll be calling primary tools. Our primary tool are going to be little booklets called Life Issue Booklets. Do you have the Life Issue booklets? Alright. So you know what I'm talking about. That’s going to be the primary tool. Meetings that I might use this introductory tool or that introductory tool, who knows what tool I might use, to get someone interested and engaged but I'm alternately taking them to one primary tool which are the Life Issue booklets, alright?
Now, I realized though that I'm going to need numerous support tools because I'm going to be dealing with some people who are maybe nominal in their faith, they are convinced they are Christians. They would be offended to think that we would suggest they're not a Christian but you don't see fruit in their lives. There's no evidence of true faith and so maybe you need a little support tool to help you there. Maybe you’re talking to someone who's in a wild, crazy religion…maybe in some weird, belief system. You’re gonna want some kind of tool that will help you uniquely with them that you wouldn’t need with other people. Maybe it's a close, close, close relative, somebody you feel so close till you almost feel weird, trying to bring out spiritual things. Now how would you deal with them in terms of a unique tool? You need the right tool.
Now there's going to be one introductory tool that's gonna stand over all the other introductory tools. I use it almost every time. I find that those that I trained, all over the world, whoever I trained, they find that this introductory tool is extremely valuable. I'll introduce it to you later this morning. But it's a… it's a tool that I'll explain maybe through the story. Many of you heard the story if you listened to the previous materials but, the MP3s. (11:24.7)
I got a call from a sports agent, one of the top sports agents in the… in the country in United States. There’s many of the top athletes of the world, that he represents. And he mentioned one of them, that he is an all Pro, all everything. Everybody in America, whether they know sports or not, almost everybody would know this name. He is just the ultimate figure, hero figure in sports at the time. My agent, this agent called me and he said the… I have this player, you know who he is, obviously blahblahblah… and he says, “I would like for you to meet with him.” I said, “Well, does he want to meet with me?” He said, “Well, he's willing to meet with you.” I said, “No, does he want to meet with me?” and he said, “Well, probably not but I have it set up that you are going to meet.” And I said, “Well, I don’t meet with someone who doesn't want to meet. If they have no interest, I'm not going to do that.” And so he said, “Please! You got this and he needs badly to hear…” I said, “No, you call him back.” So this agent, a Christian, he calls me back later and he says, “Okay, I talked to him again and he wants to meet with you.” I said, “Seriously, he really, truly wants to meet with me?” “Yeah…” I said, “I think you’re lying.” “No, he wants to meet with you.” He was lying.
So, anyway, he has it set up to meet at this… at this club that this man's a part of and so I go in and of course I know who he is, readily as I see him. I see him sitting at a table by himself and I walk up. He looks over at me and when he sees me, this is the face he makes. He goes…That’s not good. He says to me… I said, “I have a feeling that Steve, my friend agent…” I said, “I have a feeling that Steve was not truthful to me when he said that you wanted to meet with me. You don't want to meet with me, do you?” He says, “Uh…huh.” Well, I said, “Will you do this? You tell Steve that we met? You can tell him anything you want to tell, I don't care but this meeting is off. I am so sorry.” I told him, “If you didn't want to meet, I didn't want to meet either. I'll see you later and I turned to walk away.” And he said, “No…no…no…no…no…no…no…. sit down.” “You’re here. Might as well hear what you’ve got.”
Now when you have that kind of situation, what do you do? I knew I had the perfect tool, I pulled out the right tool for him and in within 10 minutes, here's what he’s saying to me: “So, you don't mind meeting with me each week for a…for a month? But I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate it. Man…you're so kind to do this. I know…you sure? You're good to do this…” I mean he could not have been more eager. He met with me for four weeks, week after week, doing everything I asked him to do and he had to do a lot to prepare to come to meet with us… or to meet with me. What happened? Well, I happen to have the right tool. (14:40.8)
One of my… I always take my discipleship group, some of you are already in discipleship, in a kind of a life on life manner and one of things we try to do, as the leaders, we try to say to our people, you need to get people of your friendship, your friendships to meet with me as a leader and I will, I will model to you, how to share your faith with a nonbeliever. And so I tell my guys, you need to get a non-Christian, you bring them to me. Get the most obnoxious, immoral, antagonistic man you can find, I don't care but just bring. Be honest, tell him who I am if you don’t… but just try to get someone to meet with me. Well, one of the guys in my group, he said, “I know who God wants me to bring.” And I said, “Who is it?” He said, “It's my future brother-in-law.” And I said “Good!” He said, “No, it's not good.” I said, “What do you mean it’s not good?” He said, “I really don’t like him. He don’t like me. And he’s really not interested in spiritual stuff and it will not be a good meeting. I will tell you that it will not go well if I get him to the lunch.” I said, “You try to get him to the lunch, we'll see what happens.” He said, “Okay, but it won’t be good.”
When he comes to me he says, “Well, oddly enough he said he's willing to meet so he's going to come meet with us.” I said, “Well, good.” He said, “No, it’s not going to be good. You don't understand, it won't be good.” So I get there a little after they have arrived and they are sitting across from me with each other at a lunch… at a table for lunch and I sit down next to my… to my friend. And I look over to this man, John and I said “John, it's good to meet you. I heard through your future brother-in-law, about you about to marry his sister and congratulations! Happy for you!” and I'm making just general kind of talk. And he interrupts me, he looks at me and he says, “Listen, I'm a Baptist okay? So I'm a Christian, right? You got me? A wheel came out, are we good?”
Now, what would you do during that lunch? Well, fortunately I knew I had the right tool. So I pulled this little tool out and within 10 - 12 minutes, he’s saying the same thing: “So, you don't mind meeting with me? Oh, I would love to meet with you. Thank you so much.” Well, we ended up dismissing, we had our meal, we left. I'm not in the car 5 to 10 minutes before the phone rings, my cell phone rings and it is my friend from lunch and he's crying. I mean he is literally weeping. And I said, “What’s the problem?” He said, “It’s not a problem. It's just I'm amazed!” I said “What happened?” He said, “My sister just now called me, and John had called her and told her about our lunch and she asked me, she says, ‘What in the world has happened? John is excited about meeting with a preacher? What happened?’ ” Do you know what I said to my friend? I said, “I’d like to know something. You heard everything I said, you saw everything I did, did you see or hear anything that in your opinion was unusual or wow, how did you do that or that's amazing?’ You know what his response to me was? He said, “No, anybody could've done that.” And I said, “Exactly!” And so I'm telling you, you can do it even as I can do it. And so that's the type of things we’re going to talk about in the tools, okay? (18:19.2)
So what we have is: we have to have the right mindset; we have to have the right tool set and then lastly, we have to have the proper… well I’m going to call workshop. Where am I going to use my tools? Have we been intentional about identifying the people where we live? Or where we work? Or where we play? Whom we want to start praying for intensely and saying, God would you bring an opportunity to share the faith with them and so forth. Okay? So those are the different types of tools.
Now there’s going to be also some follow-up tools that I didn’t mention. We will work on those follow-up tools. Here's what I like to do though before we get into the tools because that's where we're going to focus our attention. When we get to the tools, I want us to be focusing on these… these important tools that we need. I’m going to give you four of eleven principles. Now there are eleven principles about tools that I went over on the MP3s. (19:20.4) I’m going to give you just four of them as review. Even if you've heard them, very, very, very important to hear them again.
So let's begin with the first. The materials by the way you'll see these among the eleven that are there, but uh… let me just uh… let me just hit these four very, very quickly. Number one, again you’re going to struggle because they’re not in order there. I’m just pulling four out. Number one being this: this is the most important of all, if you miss everything else I say, if you never understand any tool that I give you, if you get this characteristic understood well and believe it with all of your heart, watch what happens to your missional living. It will be more fruitful than ever.
Here's the principle… most important principle of all: they must be tools designed with the belief that God does the converting using His tool, the Bible. God does the converting, you and I don't convert people. Do you know that? God converts people. He uses us as a tool but His most important tool is the Word of God. Now, I am amazed how many people that I trained in sharing their faith would say, “Oh, I can't share with so-and-so.” Why? “Oh, because he doesn't believe in the Bible.” “Oh, I can't share my faith with her.” Why? “She doesn't believe the Bible.” I say, why do you care whether she believes in the Bible? Why do you care whether he believes? Well, that's what everything we’re to tell them. They come from the Bible. And I go, “Why do we care?”
Here would be the illustration: Imagine that uh… anybody here… have you all met the… now, let me use Jason. Where’s Jason? There you are. I’ll use Jason. Just imagine that I hate Jason. And I just decide I'll kill Jason. So one night, late after church, he's leaving the church facilities, it’s dark, and from out behind a bush or something I jump out and grab him, throw him to the ground, put my hand on his neck, my knees on his chest. He’s pinned, he can't move and with my free hand I pull out a foot-long dagger and I raise it up in front of him and I say, “Jason, I hate you! I'm gonna kill you!” and right as he sees the knife, he's been screaming up to this point, “No, no, no! Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! No, no, no…” and I’ll say “Nothing’s going to stop me now.” And I raise that knife up and he sees the knife and all the sudden, he goes “Oh, thank God!” I said, “Thank God? What you mean?” “Well, thank God that… that I thought you’re going to pull out a gun and shoot me when you told me you’re going to kill me. But I don’t know if you noticed, but knives don't bother me. You can stab me all you want, it won’t hurt me. I don't believe in knives.” Now, let's assume that I'm a good murderer, alright? I’m really good at what I do at murdering people, so what am I going to do? Am I going to drop the knife and say, “Alright man, I’m coming back to get you with a gun.” No! I would look at him and say, “What? He don’t know what he’s talking about!” About that time, I go… (slice throat sound) and he's dead right?
Now, if you forget everything else of this seminar, this is the one thing you have to remember. We’re going to practice it together. You gotta remember this, alright? When you go out into the world and ready to share your faith, you gotta remember this one thing, here it is: … (slice throat sound). Altogether… (slice throat sound) one more time… (slice throat sound) now when you remember that, you remember the most important principle as you go out to witness, you go out… you know what God? I'm not going to do the converting, you’re going to do the converting. Now, I know what you’re going to use to convert people, it’s going to be the Word of God. You’re going to use my words but let me tell you, no, no, no… what’s really going to convert people is the Word of God. Do you believe that? You gotta believe it, if you don’t, oh my goodness, don't look for much fruit at all. (23:49.6)
Now by the way, if you heard the teaching in MP3, some people God’s going to use in a more fruitful way than others. Other people don’t have guises, it’s going to make it very easy for them to share their faith unlike others. We can all share our faith, we can all be fruitful to different degrees. But I will tell you this, your fruit will be at its ultimate when you bank on the Word of God.
I tell the story in the MP3 of a man who called me from out of state, from where I live and he said, “I just received a phone call from a man that uh…is in desperate condition. Randy, this is a life or death call.” I say, “What is it?” He said, “This man, who is… is in Atlanta, where you are Randy. He is just… we’ve been in a big argument; we’ve been… we’ve been partners in business for many years and he is… he and I had a horrible, horrible, you know… uh… fight with each other and he left me and he's going… he's going in competition against me in Atlanta and he said it's not going well… his marriage is not going well. He just now has called me and he said, “Jim, I am so sorry for our… you know, our problem with each other and everything that's happened. I'm so very, very sorry and I'm about to end my life. I'm through! There's no reason to live. I'm sitting on the floor with a gun in my hand and I'm gonna hang up this phone and I'm taking my life. But I just wanted to say before I do, I am sorry.” And my friend said, “Please don't take your life!” He said, “There's no reason to live, it's all gone! No reason!” He said, “Would you do me one favour? Promised me that you do me one favour. Would you call a friend of mine in Atlanta? His name is Randy. Would you call him and talk to him? That's all I ask.” So now, this is my friend - he calls me, he says “He could be dead. You may never get a call but if you get a call from a man named such and such, you respond immediately.” I said, “Oh, I will for sure!” Well, sure enough, soon after we hang up, this man calls me. (25:51.4)
Now, I've been told by my friend that this man is one of the most hardened, brilliant but hardened man against Christianity. He said, oh he will fight everything against what you believe. So anyway, I knew I was going up against a real hard person but did I really care? Why would I care? God does the converting. Well, I care that I may not be articular enough. Now, God uses His tool, the Bible. So I'll just do my best to see what happens.
So this man calls me. He doesn't tell me he’s suicidal but he says he’d like to talk. Well, I said, let me just come to your home. I’ll just come and meet with you and so I meet him at his home. As we sit down I realised that I need to use that one most important tool to begin with. As we began to talk, I said, “Did you know I'm a pastor?” He said “No, I didn't but I don't really go with Christianity. I just don't buy that.” I said, “That's okay.” But I said, “Can I… Can I show you a little diagram?” And I pulled out one my tools – it’s a little diagram. And I said, “Can I show you this little diagram?” He said, “Sure!” I showed him the diagram and when I was going to the end of the diagram I said, “And basically there are four things that we’re going to discuss if you want to meet together to investigate Christianity.” And he at that point he said, “I want to meet with you to investigate.” I said “Well great! We’ll do that.” “Here are the four things that we'll need to discuss. Number one, how can Christians believe that the Bible is God's word without error?” He goes, “Yeah, I don't…I don’t go with that.” I said, “That’s okay. But you want to know the answer to that question, at least. Number two question, how can Christians believe that all people, including moral, religious people outside of Christianity, deserve to be separated from God forever? How can they believe that?” And he says, “Yeah, I can’t go with that either.” “Okay, but we’ll discuss that. Number three, we want to discuss, how can Christians believe of all the religious leaders that ever lived, that Jesus is the only way to God?” And let me tell you, when I said that, literally his hands came down to the table… boom! “No! No! You will not convince me of that ever!” he said, “You see those books,” he pointed out a coffee table book. He said, “Those are Eastern religion books. I've travelled the world looking at Eastern religions. I’ve travelled everywhere, you will never convince me that Jesus is the way to God. No!” He said, “I’ll debate that one with you right now.” I said, “No, actually that is week number three.” I thought I’ll keep him alive for three weeks just out of curiosity, you know? “And then by the way, number four, if you found merit to the answers in the first three questions, what would Jesus said then? Number four, what would Jesus say is required to have eternal life? You'd want to know that.”
By the way, these 4 questions, everywhere we go around the world, by degrees those are the four questions. Oh, we’ve been to certain cultures where there's such a belief in multiple gods that… that the… you know, maybe we have a preface to that, is there a God? Is there one true God? But by the way, these are basically the four questions that everyone has to… at uh… you know why we use those questions? It's a gateway to give them the Gospel obviously but it is a means to give week after week, of people being exposed to God's Word and God's people. (29:24.6)
So I meet with this fella. The first week - I come back the next week we’re going to go through the first of four booklets. When I get to the door, he opens the door, you know the first thing he said, “Can we go to book three right now?” I said, “No, that’s week three.” We went through book one. By the way we’re going through the Gospel of John. One of the requirements that we will make with anybody that we share our faith with over this month, period of time or whatever the time period may be, is you gotta read a very specific amount of John, five chapters of John every week. We explain how they read it, when they read, all… you’ll hear all that. But they got to keep being exposed to God's Word and we use the Gospel of John to do that. So there he read John 1 to 5, 1 to 5, 1 to 5.
So I meet with him week number two. Now I didn’t convince him the Bible is God's Word, not in any stretch of imagination. Week number two, we’re there to talk about good people deserving eternal punishment, outside the faith of Christianity. And so I get to the door and he says, “I'm… I know you're gonna say we gotta go to book two today right? You know we can do book three…” “No, no, that’s next week.” “Okay.”
The next week we get there, I say “Okay, this is the week you’ve been waiting on. This is the week you’ve been waiting on and uh… so you now know what I believe because you… you know what’s now in the booklet. You understand this. Now, it’s your turn. You tell me what you want to share in this debate about Jesus.” Do you know what? There was dead silence. He didn't say a word. And I waited a minute and I said, “Well?” And he says, “I don't know why?” I said, “You don't know why what?” He said, “I don't know why but I, I for some reason believe that Jesus is the one way to God.” I said, “Really?” He looked over his wife, he said, “What about you?” Because she was going through… what does she said? “Me too.” Do you know that we ended up, all three of us on our knees by the couch, which would be normal what I would do, get on my knees but with these people, on their knees, on the couch and they are inviting the Lord, as a ceremony, to invite Him to take residence in their lives. Did I change them? No, God change the heart. (31:54.3)
I can tell you story like that after story after story. People that I meet week one you say “Whoa! So far from the things of God.” By the time the month is over, “Whoa! The heart opens up.” Why? God does the converting, using His tool, the Bible. So let's review the most important thing we’ll learn all these two days. (Shaking sound) One more time, (shaking sound) don't forget that okay?
Let’s go to Principle number two. They will get in some new stuff, principle number two. Tools which are relevant to the culture in which they live. I suggested you an MP3 that you can take these type of tools and uh… and you can put them into the different categories, what I call, um… tract evangelism. Tract, you can use a tract. Tract is something that's been used to introduce people in the how to share their faith. Many people have continued to use the tract but the truth of it is, that tracts are not relevant to non-Christians in the United States anymore. They’re just not relevant. They just don't buy what they hear and attract within a few minutes. God is not working their heart over a period of time just by beginning to read him a gospel message. So I call that a one dimension. One-D evangelism.
Then we kind of move in the States, we saw that and so we moved in the States to what I'll call a 2-D evangelism, two-dimensional evangelism. And this is what I would call a proclamational form of evangelism. It's a one single appointment, proclamational form of evangelism designed to reach prepared people. Now do you have EE -evangelism explosion? Have you heard of that before? Some of you have. Paul has and others. In the United States, EE became the most popular 2-D evangelism for decades and decades. And you learn to share the gospel, one sit-down opportunity. Go from beginning, top to bottom and then you say, “Would you like to receive Jesus?” Well, I would do that with people in my rural hometown and I saw people coming to faith. They say, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I need this. Thank you for reminding me the importance of Jesus and yes I want to surrender my heart to Him.” And people would become Christians. (34:27.9)
I moved to Atlanta Georgia, a very secularized humanistic city, people not thinking about the gospel, the truth of Christianity and I would go through one of those presentations and say, “Would you like to receive Jesus?” And they go, “Nope!” And I say, “Really, why not?” For one is I don't believe that the Bible is anything what you think it is. Number two, I don't think I'm a bad person like you seem to think I must be. Number three, I sure don’t believe that Jesus is the way to God. A milder response is to say, "But are you getting close? Are you almost there, maybe?” No! You’re not almost there. So far away, not even interested. I didn't have anything to offer after that. Then I say goodbye, that would be it.
And I begin to know that what we need is a 3-D, a third dimension to evangelism. 3-D is a multiple appointment, not single appointment but multiple appointment and not a proclamational, a single proclamation but a conversational approach. Whoa! Don’t we love conversation better than we love to memorize something and tells somebody…well, yeah we are all built for relationships. So let's build relationship.
And so this is what we're going to be looking at and it’s designed for unprepared people, not just people that already agree with us. And which is mostly the people that I live around today and I bet most of the people you live around. So that’s what we’re going to be looking at. It's got to be relevant to your culture. I'll be honest, I've never taught this, here in… in Singapore. I've never taught in it or have I? Bill, have I taught this in Singapore? No. So now you have to tell me whether this is relevant to the people you live around and so forth but I’ve done it in places all around here, you know and I'll tell you, it seems to be everywhere we go, it seems to be relevant to go to a 3-D model instead of a 2-D or a 1-D. (36:33.8)
Now, third principle. Tools with respect… the two greatest desires of the interested seeker. There are two things that people want, in the investigation of say two things. They want brevity and they want privacy. In other words, they don't want to be told to go to the libraries and check out twenty books and read them all and study this and listen to that… they don’t want that. They say no, no, no, no, no, make it brief. In the United States, we have little booklets that summarize big books. So you can have a huge, fat, hundred page book and you can go get a little booklet that’s maybe got twenty pages in it and it condenses everything down to twenty pages. Okay? Those in the US are called cliffs notes or spark notes. Do you have cliffs notes here? Spark notes? Anything like that?
Some like it. Well, these little booklets - I love them. When I was in college, they would tell us to read a book, war and peace or some big, huge book, five hundred pages. Immediately, I run to the bookstore and I get this little twenty page booklet on war and peace and it tells me 90% of what I need to know for, you know, 5% of the reading. I said I like that. I could pass a test on that, just reading the twenty pages. Why not do that, huh? Well, that's what people love. They love to be able to have it condensed down to just a few things that help them see the big overall picture. So they want brevity and what else they want? They want privacy. They don't like you preaching at them. They don’t want somebody pushing them; arguing with them. They want somebody who's gonna say, here's the data, brief data, you take it home to your study, to your bedroom, to your office, wherever you want to go and you read these few little pages and then let's meet next week and I'll be here as a sounding board, to answer questions that you'd like to ask. (38:42.3) That, they like. They very much want that. So, very important principle number three that we look at. Tools which… which respect their two most interested desires.
Um… I think I’m going to stop at those three, alright? That will be enough and we’ll use that as kind of a quick, quick, quick review. Alright? Now that is all review from the things that you would've heard on much lengthier teaching in the MP3s. Again, I hope that you will go back to that and will read those when you possibly…listen to those when you possibly can, alright?
Now here's the next thing we’re going to do. The next thing we want to do, is we want to get into some introductory tools. Before I give you some specific tools to introduce you to, I want to give you a bigger picture question, our answer to the question: how do you know when it's time to share your faith? Like should you go up to anybody at any time and just start witnessing to them? I bet everyone of us to say no. I just know there’re time I should not do that. I will be a turnoff to them. They will run from me if I do that. They will hate it if I do that. What I will do is learn when I should be sharing my faith. I’m going to use a picture analogy here, to help you understand this.
I was in the gym, where I work out in Atlanta. And there was a hallway, that… a kind of a walkway that ran all the way through the middle of the spine of the… of the gym. And I’m toward the back wall maybe 20 feet from the back wall in that area. Somebody in the front of the gym, they see me from a distance and I knew this man. Not a close friend but I knew the man and he immediately signalled to me and said, “Randy! Randy!” I said, “Hey man!” and he started walking toward me.
I could tell he wanted to talk. So I had no problem, I would talk with him. I had time and so I started walking toward him. As I got to a few feet from him, I stopped. He didn't. You know what I’m talking about? He walked up and got this close to my face. I feel very uncomfortable. He starts talking, I start leaning back. Yucks! What is he doing in my face? I hate this. So what do you and I do in that uncomfortable situation? We don't want to say, “Hey! Get out of my face, man!” Particularly when you’re a preacher, you don’t want to do that. So he’s in my face and I go on just graciously step back and he’ll kind of get the message. So I just, “Yeah, Bill. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…” and I step back where I’m comfortable enough to be a space now between us and what do we hate? When that person steps toward us. Next thing I know, he's this close to my face again. I’m saying what are you doing? And so what do I do? Really, this fellow is as straight as can be. He's a nice guy, you know? No problem but I'm telling you he just didn't… he was not aware of social connection and what is important in terms of space and so I made it into a game.
I said I’m going to see how far I can walk before he ever catches up. And so I take a step, he takes a step. I take a step, next thing you know I'm up against the wall 20 feet behind me and he's like right here. And I finish the conversation and this is what I said to myself, “I will never ever again talk to this man.” I am through with him. He makes me very uncomfortable. I do not want to converse with him. Folks, that's what many Christians are doing to non-Christians. We’re walking right into their space, right into their face as well and we are telling them our Good News. And they’re saying, “I don't ever want to talk to you again. You are turning me off. I am avoiding you from now on.”
So here's what I’d like to do. I like to give you a little picture of how to know when to share something and when not to. I’m going to give you multiple little introductory tools. Little questions, little comments, things you can say. You’ll come up with your own that you feel comfortable with. That's wonderful, but what I want to do is I want to say, “Hey Bill!” “Hey Bill!” and I see Bill walking across. I think I’d love to share my faith with Bill and Bill knows I'm a Christian, that makes it easy. “Hey, Bill!” And I see Bill look up to me and says, “Hey, Randy!” and notices that I'm walking toward him as if I want to speak to him and I see him say, “Hey Randy!” and he just takes off. (44:14.9)
Now, what I don't want to do is say, “Hey! Bill!” “Bill! Whoa, whoa, whoa!” and I go chase after him. That's not smart. You don’t want to do that. Now if Bill looks at me and Bill goes, “Hey, Randy!” and he starts coming toward me then it may be, I don't know if it is, but it may be a good opportunity for me to share with him. As he gets a little bit closer, I realized I’ve got to get within a certain distance to have a conversation. The evangelism that I’m going to train you with, is conversational. So I got to be close enough relationally to be able to converse. So when we get to that space, I'm going to start. At that time, I may then throw out a little question, a little comment that'll take us into the realm of faith, religion, spirituality whatever and I just toss that little verbal fall out and I’ll watch him very carefully. And if he does this, if I'm now just a little too far away from you to have a good conversation but I stop. Plenty of room, I throw that out and if I see him take a step toward me, when I do that, then I'll take the step toward him saying, hmm, I assume from his response that he is perhaps, don't know but perhaps interested. So he takes a step further.
Now I throw another little fall out and as I do that, maybe I see him do this: he takes a step back. What I’ll never do is step toward him, in my next thoughts. In fact, you know what I encourage us to do, take a step back as well because now he says, “Oh-Oh, this guy is gonna try to win me to God” and he steps back and then when I step back he goes, “Oh no, he won’t. I just misread him. Okay, it's okay.” Then, I'll start talking about his wife, I’ll start talking about this and the other and I pulled back real quickly. I realize he's not ready. But when I see somebody step toward, they step to me and we get a conversation and then I say I should assume this is a good opportunity and as I do, until that person steps back, I continue on. That’s the way I want you to start thinking about opportunities to share your faith.
There is a man that is now with the Lord. He was the founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ. Now called “Cru”. And his name - Bill Bright. Bill Bright used to say this: that when is the time to share your faith, he said whenever you have the opportunity to pick the subject, then you have the right to pick your subject as much as they do, that's an opportunity. I say yes and kinda whoa no-no. I would just say be cautious there. You have the opportunity to toss out the first, but in respect of them, wait until you see if it is something that is going to be a good opportunity.
I can say this, I have met with hundreds and hundreds of people to share my faith, using the approaches that I’m sharing with you, hundreds of people. I can say, in the last dozens of years, dozens, I don’t know how many years, I do not remember. Let me put it this way, I don't remember the last person who was offended by me meeting with them. Never, ever! I don’t remember anybody being offended. Now there have been plenty of people who have rejected the Gospel, but in doing so they say thank you so much for letting me investigate the faith of Christianity, that was very helpful to me. Now I know what Christianity believes and I… if I'm ever persuaded, I know what it is to believe. They're thankful, they're not mad at me. They may get upset with something that is true about the Gospel that they don't like, but they're not offended at me because they understand I'm just helping them investigate the faith of Christianity. Are you with me? (48:27.9)
Now, here’s one other thing before we get into some of the tools. I am convinced that most everybody who is a theist, everybody who is a theist, if we’re approaching the right way, we should assume, maybe will be wrong, but we should assume they probably do want to investigate. They probably want to. Now you know who a theist is, right? A theist is someone who believes in God. Here's the big question: is there such a thing as an atheist? I don't know. I tell you this, I think there are people who believe they’re atheist but I've yet to believe there's a person who is atheist. Do you know why? Because they’re made in the image of God. And something innately within them knows that there is someone that is beyond them, who is their designer. They innately know it though they reject it intellectually. They say there's no such thing. I think they really… I remember I was talking to someone who said, “I am an atheist”. So I challenge him and say, “Are you really an atheist?” He said, “Yeah, I’m an atheist.” I said, “Do you know an agnostic is confused, not sure whether there is a God or not. An atheist says, there is no God. Are you saying there is no God?” This person said, “There is no God.” I said, “Alright, can I do this then? Can I share with you some answers to prayer that I've recently seen in my personal prayer life.” They were gracious enough to let me do it and so I shared a few answers to prayer, I just recently seen. I said, “How do you think all that happened?” And their response was: “I don't believe it had to do with God, stranger things have happened. I don't know how those things happen but I know stranger things happen, I’m not going to believe it’s God.” I said, “Okay, so you're an atheist?” Person said “Yes, I’m an atheist.” “Then good, then you’re not going to care what I'm about to do.” He said, “What do you want to do?” I said, “I’m going to start praying. I will start praying for you. And what I’m going to pray is that all hell breaks loose in your life. I’m talking about deaths in your immediate family; I'm talking about illnesses that are horrendous; I’m talking about lack… loss of financial; I’m…” And I’m in the middle of telling him all these things I’m going to pray for him, and this person immediately without pause said, “Ah, don't do that! Don’t do that!” I said, “Ahh, you think that there may be a God, uh?” Yeah! (50:51.8)
Now here is… here is the real… here's the way I’m logically and assuming as I’m meeting with people. Someone who is a theist, is going to believe that there is some chance that Jesus could be who he’s going to be, some chance. 1%, 10%, 20%, I don’t know. Now, I’ve met with many, many, many, many people and I've asked them what's the percentage of chance you believe that Jesus could be who he claimed to be, the Son of God? Now, I’m talking about people who are agnostic or people who are very secularistic, anti-Christian and I'll say, “What’s the percentage of chance?” Now, I'm assuming they’re going to say 3%, 1%, 10…I don’t know. You know what I hear over and over from Americans who’re like this? “I don’t know, 50-50.” I go “50-50?” You’ve given it a 50% chance? Oh c’mon, let's drop it down to 10%, okay? Let’s assume it's only 10%. Now imagine, imagine there's a 10% chance that Jesus is God. Imagine being on your deathbed, how many people in their deathbed would say you know there's a 10% chance that Jesus is God and rules eternity that I'm about to face and I’m sure and glad since it's only 10% but I never investigated him. No, people is going to be on their deathbed saying, you know what? I'm glad, at least that I investigated Jesus.
I often will say something like this: imagine that there is a lottery, you know so you can buy ticket to the lottery. You all have that here? Okay, you buy a ticket to a lottery and imagine there is a 10% chance that you could win, in US millions and millions and millions of dollars. Okay? Despite… but you gotta pay - $20, American dollars. You’ve got to pay for a ticket and you're really down to your last money. You don't have much, you got 20 bucks but you don’t have a lot. But you find out that there's a 10% chance, only a 10% chance that you could win millions and millions of dollars for a $20 lottery ticket. Do you think you would buy a ticket? And every person I've ever talked to says, “Yes”.
I say, you know that's because in our minds, we go… you know if there's such a possibility for something very, very, very, very large and important to be gained, for something very, very small in relationship to be invested, we will make those investments. That's why people are willing to meet four weeks to talk about the gospel because once they are thinking the right way, they say, “I want to know before I die, I've investigated” and they begin to realize by meeting with you, for four weeks they will get that chance. That's what's so beautiful about it, alright?
Now, let's start the first tools. The first tools you’ll find on… page… I wrote it down somewhere… I can't find the page. Look at what they say, introductory tools, you see that page? 12, alright. 11 or 12. The first tools I'm going to… we have 14 minutes, so the… the first tool I’m going to skip, because I’m going to get through these tools in a time frame. So the first tool will not be, I don't use it as much and therefore I don't think you will as much. You can read over and you might find it to be beneficial but let's move to tool number two.
These are introductory tools. It’s called the personal testimony. Now, you are already familiar with the use of the testimony. Now everywhere I go, where the training of testimonies is used, I always hear about the three-minute testimony. Three minutes, Umm… I don't know who came up with the idea of three-minute but that's what you typically hear, three-minute testimony. I don't like three-minute testimonies. The reason I don’t like three-minute testimony was because three-minute testimonies become five, six, seven minutes testimonies. Very rarely did someone keep it to three minutes. So what I like to do is, I like to encourage people to do the one minute testimonies. One minute, share your story in one minute. Here's why I like that. You're able to use it and it's part of a conversation. A person can talk up to one minute in a conversation but when you go over a minute, two, three, four, five minutes, it's no longer a conversation, it’s a monologue. (55:27.6)
And people don’t necessarily feel comfortable with that. But you can share your own story in one minute. In our journey groups, some of you are doing journey groups right now. In journey groups, we train people – Let’s do the one minute testimony. I'm going to model the one minute testimony, okay? And so Jason, you got a watch on, I notice. Would you time me for one minute? When I start, I’m going to tell you my story in one minute. Hopefully I should have a small tiny kernel of the Gospel in it, that gives them a little bit of peek into the… the truth of the faith of Christianity and I’m to tell my story very, very, very briefly, alright? And here it goes: You know, as I was raised in a small town, I thought I was a Christian because my parents and the church I went to were Christian parent church as they would call it. They really were. I did not understand anything about what it meant to be a real Christian. In fact, in my experience, I went to a church that taught me if you live a good enough life, then God accepts you. From then I got into later school and I met people who had a changed life or radically changed life and I said what's going on with your life? And they said, I’ll tell you. It’s not what I'm doing for God, it’s what God has done for me, through Jesus and what he did in dying for me. And I was so enamoured that I explore that until I understood more of who he was and what he had done and I came into a relationship with him. And I tell you that changed my life. In fact, it gave me a peace that I’ve never known before, an assurance that I would go to heaven once I die. How long was that? 55 seconds. See, I have five seconds to play with. I could have use it anyway I want to. (57:11.1)
So, here within a minute, you heard my story and I could have inserted that in a conversation and then waited to hear what they said. That's what you want to do, make it a conversational environment, so that's just a little tool that I keep and I might use it in any given time and when I feel like, oh that might be a good use for it now.
Let’s go to the next. The idea of a spiritual journey inquiry. The question is where are you in your spiritual journey? And sometimes I use the word - spiritual pilgrimage. I might be talking to somebody about their secular life, what's going on in the world in which they live in and we’re talking, I say, “Hey! How about spiritual things or spiritual things important to you?” I've never seen anybody offended by that.
By the way, do you guys ever get on television here, Oprah…? You know who Oprah is? Okay. Oprah did us a big favour. Because Oprah introduced spiritual pilgrimage. She started talking about spiritual journey and spiritual pilgrimage. None is Christianity but just, it didn’t matter when, it’s just that you’ve got a spiritual pilgrimage. When now I can go to people just about anywhere and say, “Hey, how about your spiritual thing?” “You’ve got a spiritual pilgrimage?” They're not offended. I don’t say they love Jesus or you’re going on a... I’m just going to say, “Tell me about your spiritual pilgrimage” and as a result of that, we might get into a little conversation about my own spiritual pilgrimage. And I say, “You know I’ve been involved in a spiritual pilgrimage too for quite a while. Been very interesting in fact…” and I might even use my testimony at that point, tell a little bit of my story and next thing you know, we’re into it. (58:50.7)
Off you go to the next one. Use of “The Answer”. I keep a little copy of this with me. I carry several copies for my airplane flights. So each flight I've got one, in case I’m sitting next to someone that I might have an opportunity. This is where I might use some literature, but I can use this actually is an opportunity to say “Hey, have you ever heard of this little book – The Answer?” If they haven’t, “I will show you.” And of course this is more difficult for me, because I'm the author, you know. So it's a little bit more challenging for me. I said, “Have you ever heard of this little book called The Answer?” and I covered my name there. But uh…I say…You know this little book, actually I did write this but you could say, this little book plainly explains about how to find life satisfaction and it's really intriguing. It’s a very short little book. It's only about 80 pages of print. In fact, I work hard to make this so short that anybody could read it. And I'll even say to them, “By the way, you might just want to read the first and the last chapter.” That’s about five pages of material. But rather than investigating, why not you just read the first and the last and see what you think. (1:00:01.1) And with this, I get enough opportunity to get into spiritual thing. Anything to get you in the spiritual things.
The next is, what's called the diagram. The diagram… the diagram is the primary… it is my favourite and most used introductory tool. In fact, all the other tools that we just mentioned, I use them to lead me to the opportunity to say these words: “Can I share a little diagram with you?” Do you know I had yet ever done this hundreds and hundreds of times, never had anybody say, “Oh no, no, no, diagrams offend me!” They don’t do that. They go: “Sure!” and then I show them a little diagram. At the end of the diagram, I have got an opportunity to say, would you be interested to meet to investigate the faith of Christianity? Not good for me… I’d love to help you…and I’m going to walk through what that diagram…it’s the diagram that I’ve showed the fella at the restaurant, it’s the diagram I showed to the… to the athlete, the professional athlete. And uh… by the way, John whom I met with, I mean he’s faithful, follow the Lord, teaches at church, teaches the Bible now, loves the Lord, follow the Lord. I can't say that the professional athlete became a believer, though he indicated praying to receive Jesus, but as you’ll hear me share later, I don't think there was valid evidence of real fruit in his life on-going to say he became a Christian in the name of the Lord, I don’t know. But the point is, at least they were interested to investigate and that's all you're looking for is an opportunity to help somebody investigate the faith of Christianity.
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More Episodes from Pastor Randy Pope:
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