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Romans 10:14

December 31, 2012

**This post was written by a dear sister in Christ who desires to remain anonymous.**

My desire in writing this is that God would be totally glorified. I do not want to bring any credit to my name, but rather declare the testimonies of God’s incredible goodness and mercy to me. I do not want to bring any condemnation, but rather share my exploration of a scriptural command I believe many Christians have chosen to ignore. My prayer for any who read this is that you would find FREEDOM in obeying Christ, as you surrender whatever it is that might hold you back!

Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Another important verse is, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.

Most of us know these very common verses. But do we do it?
If our message is as incredible as we claim, why do we keep it to ourselves? “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:15.

I have been in church for over 15 years. I have faithfully read my bible almost daily through all those years. If someone asked me a question about God, I would answer honestly, to the best of my biblical knowledge. But go up to a stranger and just talk about Jesus? No thank you. I will wait for God to “open a door.” I believe somewhere deep inside of me I always had a conviction that I was called to more. But I buried that under a heap of excuses and continued to be active in my faith in church and at home.

Fast forward to now. God has done a lot through the years of college, marriage, children, and a few moves.
I began to pray for a deep burden for the lost. I have begged the Lord even for a heavy burden- one that I could not ignore! Through prayers of pleading and weeping before the Lord, a passion for the lost began to birth. I would be hurting for those I saw on the street or at the store, wondering, will they spend eternity separated from a Holy God simply because I could not open my mouth and share? But then when I would pay for my groceries or pass a stranger on the street, I would just smile and keep walking. Where is the disconnect? I asked the Lord why I was not filled with Holy Spirit boldness to preach! I felt the Lord speak to me that I needed to step out in obedience, even if I don’t feel 100% passionate. I cannot let my emotions, fears, or hesitations stop me. I need to purpose in my heart to walk in obedience to Christ’s call to preach the gospel, and by the grace of God He will meet me! Then I found this quote by John Piper which confirms these thoughts well:

“Don’t wait for a feeling or love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so take those first steps in evangelism because you love God. It is not primarily out of compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God.”

During this time of seeking I came across a letter written by an atheist to the evangelist who shared the gospel with him. This particular section shook me to my very core:

“If you believe one bit that thousands every day were falling into an eternal and unreacheable fate, you should be running the streets mad with rage at their blindness.  That’s equivalent to standing on a street corner and watching every person that passes you walk blindly directly into the path of a bus and die, yet you stand idly by and do nothing. You’re just twiddling your thumbs, happy in the knowledge that one day that ‘walk’ signal will shine your way across the road.

Think about it. Imagine what the horrors Hell must have in store if the bible is true. You’re just going to allow that to happen and not care about saving anyone but yourself? If you’re right then you’re an uncaring, unemotional and purely selfish (expletive) that has no right to talk about subjects such as love and caring.”

Then I realized- so much of the witness of Christ is found IN our obedience to share! If we do not have a burning passion to see sinners saved from hell, are they supposed to think we really believe? If we who claim to be Christians are not passionate about eternity, who is going to trust our faith? My husband and I have had a few hard conversations lately- asking ourselves, if we REALLY believe people all around us are going to hell, WHY are we not doing anything about it?? We have to examine our lives and ask ourselves if we are living for the Kingdom- for Gods glory and salvation of souls, or for our comforts. So the question is, do you really believe in hell? If so, something must change.

I believed that once I began to step out in faith, and share a few times, the Lord would honor that obedience in me, and begin to GROW a greater confidence to share. The first step would be that of faith. I believe the same to be true with missionaries- some go simply out of obedience. They may not be 100% passionately in love with a certain people group, or the prospect of living in a poorer nation. But out of that obedience births an even deeper love for Christ, and a love for that people one could have never imagined! God is so good like that- He honors our obedience to Him. A dear sister in Christ recently went to Uganda out of obedience to God’s leading. She did not know what she would experience there, or who she would meet. She fell so madly in love with those people, she was so completely broken before God. She will never be the same. It is a beautiful story, especially now as she runs a non-profit raising funds for orphans in Uganda. God’s Spirit is moving and calling us to obedience!

At this point I was eager to step out in faith, but wasn’t sure how to begin. I was at a park with my kids, and a sweet 9 year old girl began to talk with me. We exchanged a few nice comments, and then went on our way. The very next day, I saw her again. She was so kind again and I thought to myself, “what could be less threatening than a 9 year old girl?” So I asked her if anyone had ever told her about Jesus. She said no. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!!? I shared the simple gospel with her- that God loved us too much to be separated from us for eternity, so He sent His Son to die for our sins so we could be with Him in heaven for eternity. Her only answer was “Wow!” She was a strong reader both for school and recreation, so I encouraged her to grab a bible and read the book of John. I haven’t seen her since, but plan to visit that park again soon to follow up with her. It was incredible! However, I did feel that I fumbled a bit through my words (they were not as clear as I have typed up above- that was my nice summary version 🙂 I knew I needed to be more prepared, especially to share with adults. How do I “train” myself to share a gospel I feel like I have known for so long?

Feeling totally inadequate and helpless regarding how to begin, I sought counsel from a dear sister who is a strong evangelist. She gave me resources to begin to prepare to share the gospel. I went to the website and began to watch videos of some evangelism dialogues. I gleaned so many ideas of how to open conversation, and key elements needed to share the gospel in its entirety.

Later that day I had to call an AT&T rep to order a new cell phone. We began to talk as she processed my order and she was very open about her family and her life. It was like God was kicking a door WIDE open. Plus, what a better place to practice than on the phone? So I began to talk about the Lord. She had been in church as a younger girl, so this conversation would naturally be a little bit different. We dialogued about the Lord and scripture for 30 minutes! I committed to being in prayer for her and her family, and we hung up. I could have easily finished ordering my phone and hung up, but the Lord made it so clear this was a beautiful time to talk about Him.

My preparation time has been so brief thus far, but I am so inspired that God can equip us and lead us to share. I feel like I have a LONG way to go to really be confident in sharing, but I also know some of that confidence comes from putting my studies into practice. So that is what I plan to do- study ways to share the gospel, and continue to go for it. I am going to get my hands on some tracts, so I have something tangible to leave with people.

One more thing I wanted to make sure I share in all of this. This cannot be legalism. This cannot be something we feel “forced” to do. I am BURNING to share the gospel and have wanted to be equipped by God for quite some time. Thus, I am taking the necessary steps to train myself. We first have to be touched by God’s love in such a way that we LONG to bring that to everyone we meet. It should not be a religious mandate, but rather a natural over-flow of our experience of the truth of the gospel. When we realize that we are deeply helpless, wretched, and filthy sinners, God’s love becomes so powerful! He came for US! And I dare to say, that any believer who does not at least desire to share the gospel, may not have truly experienced it. Many of us have been preached a very watered-down gospel. But when we come to grips with the true gospel of Jesus Christ, something happens. And its beautiful. This all must begin with being with Christ. If you are discouraged with lack of boldness- the motivation starts at the foot of the cross. Beg the Lord to baptize you in His love, and in His Spirit to have great boldness. Throw off every weight and sin that would easily ensnare you, so you can run this race with endurance! Then put those things into action! Step out in faith and see what the Lord does! Do not let the enemy beat you up for the times you do not open your mouth, but rather, “forgetting what is behind, press on toward the goal of the upward call in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 3:13.

God is calling His Church to rise. The days are evil. We must bring the light into the darkness. May the Lord be with us all.

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