Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth….You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill….Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matt 5:13-16, MSG)
– Pray with stoke and expectation for opportunities, for God to go before you
(He does y’know, so have great optimism!)
– Pray diligently for specific people
(guaranteed you’ll be more keenly aware of the Spirit moving in your relationship with them.)
Find good “fishing holes”
– Your work/ campus
– Youth Sports
Keep the emphasis on conversation and relationship. Some people will meet Jesus in a big bang (a Damascus Rd event – kapow!), others will be winsomely attracted to Him over time. Either way, what people need is a friend, not a Bible-basher.
Click here to read more about Being a Friend
ME: Wow God, that Malaysian dude was flipping amazing – how he’s able to turn any conversation into an opportunity to share about Jesus or invite people to church. That elevator guy for instance.
GOD: Yep, he’s pretty cool. I love him a lot.
ME: U-huh. But here’s the thing Dad. It makes me feel like a bit of a klutz with the whole evangelism thing. “Hello, I’m an awkward weirdo, do you know Jesus?” There’s no way I could pull that stuff off.
GOD: I don’t want you to.
GOD: I don’t want you to try to be like him. I want you to be like you. The you I’ve made you to be. The best you that ever there was.
ME: Er, don’t get it? Aren’t I always me? Like, whatever I do? I do some pretty stinky stuff. Hang on, I thought you already knew.
GOD: Yeah, I do. But dig this, before time began I thought of you. I mean specifically. I also thought about a lot of other stuff like sloths, mountains and ice-cream (oh, “it was good”!), but I had YOU in mind all along. I orchestrated your life, your character, your quirky walk, your hilarious laugh, your mates, the place where you live. Everything. That’s why they call me Sovereign… cos I’m sovereign. King of the cosmos, right?
ME: Ok, I get that you’re the Boss of the universe and all. And I hope you know I also get that you’re the boss of me. But how does that help if I suck at evangelism. Couldn’t you just make me stellar at it with a click of your fingers or a wiggle of your toes (do you have toes?) or something? Not like a TV evangelist with the sparkly smile and blue suit, but… y’know like that guy who spoke, or Billy Graham, or Joyce Meyer, or Mark Foreman or something?
GOD: Yeah. I could. But I don’t want to do that.
ME: How come?
GOD: Cos there’s people in your life that need you to be Me.
ME: YOU!? That’s even worse than I thought, then – I’m even further away from being like you than being like those other dudes.
GOD: I didn’t say be like Me. I said to be Me. Think about this. I’m in you by my Spirit. Post facto. Done and dusted. That means you’re already, literally, a little Me. You and I are one now. It’s weird I know, but trust me on it. You’re just cruising around doing your thang: driving your car, eating cheerios, working away, chatting with your mates, chillaxing by the pool…
ME: …actually on that, I’d like a pool!
GOD: …haha, c’mon stick with Me here (and BTW pools are a lot of work, trust me – I keep the oceans remember) what I was saying is that it’s as simple as remembering that you are full of My presence wherever you go. All the time. Not a moment where you don’t have me there inside of you. And all I’m asking you to do is just to remember that. As close as you are to me is as close as your unsaved mates just got.
GOD: And another thing. Those mates you’ve got, and your family. I want you to love them. Cause you’re the only gospel that they might read. I love those guys even more than you do. And I want them to be swept up in my crazy-good plan too. It’s gonna be such a blast. It’ll boggle their minds, can you imagine when they hear about it!
ME: God, you’re the best.
GOD: I know. You’re pretty cool too, y’know. And even when you’re not, I love you with a fierceness that would freak you out if you fully understood it…
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Col 4:5-6, NIV)
Move beyond the superficial. Communicate humility and respect and allow for discovery of truth. Be ready to listen and interact with their ideas. You may even learn some new perspective, and at the very least you’ll be an empathetic friend.
Remember, you have two ears and one mouth! Be an active listener, looking for open doors into their reality. Perceive more than just their words. Let your heart be broken for them.
Be thoughtful to pick up on touch points for the Gospel – considering where their worldview might connect with the story of Jesus.
Bust out a word of encouragement. Speak hope (a confident expectation that God has good in store) into their situation. Be able to tell your Jesus story – your testimony about God and you. Share the Gospel: who Jesus is, and what He’s done. Let your joy be evident!
Click here to read more about Introducing Friends
Bruce saw Steve every morning, Monday through Friday. They arrived at Starbucks at the same time to get a cup for their commute. On this particular Wednesday they both arrived just a tad late and there was a bit of a line.
Steve looked stressed. They often lightly bantered about sports and Bruce said, “Did you see the Royals game last night? And that catch by Moose?”
Steve grimaced and said, “I wish. My 16 year-old got in a fender-bender right as Guthrie was stepping on the mound at the top of the second.”
“Was she ok?” Bruce asked.
“Yeah, but she had a couple of friends in the car and when I drove over to help her there were beer bottles in the trunk. And it was Tuesday!”
“Ah the teen years! Did you do the dad thing?”
“I am not sure what that is right now. I don’t want her drinking and driving of course; I don’t want her drinking at all right now, but she knows from her grandmother’s stories that I did the same and worse at her age.”
“And that makes you feel . . .?”
“Hypocritical. How can I tell her not to do what I did?
”Have you changed since then?”
“Well, I still drink beer if that’s what you mean. But I grew up, got a job, had her.”
“Why don’t you tell her about that?”
“A responsibility lecture? Did that work for you at 16?”
“Not a lecture, a chat about love from dad.”
“I was reading the Bible and it struck me that all the sins that are listed are either harmful to us, like drinking and driving, or harmful to others, like drinking and driving. At 16 I would have thought that God was just listing sins like a bunch of rules in His big No-Fun-Book. But now I see Him as a loving Father who wants to protect us. I think that’s what you are trying to do with your daughter.
“That’s one way to put it I suppose.”
“Seeing God that way in the Bible actually really helped me with my own dad. He and I did not have the greatest relationship, but looking back I can see he was trying to protect me from some of his own mistakes. I think she’ll get that’s what you are doing.”
“Well I am not going to bust out a Bible.”
“Just talk to her honestly, as her dad. Most kids crave to hear their father’s heart.”
“I guess it’s all I got.”
“It’s a lot when you think about it. Your coffee’s ready.”
“Ok, see ya Bruce. Hopefully I can talk to her before the game.”
“Pick her up from school; it’s an early game.”
“…worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. (1 Peter 3:15-16, NLT)
Don’t harass, stalk or harangue people, ’cause quite simply that’s just weird. But you’ve already shared a word of life (remember last week?), so it’d be kinda odd if you didn’t check in to see how they’re going. (and…they’ll probably expect you to BTW)
Get bugs off their windshield – answer their God questions, or say “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you” (hey, it’s OK, you’re not God). Ask if you can pray a prayer of blessing for them (almost never do peeps tell you to ”get lost” – who has enough blessing, right?) Ask them if they would like Jesus to be their friend and Lord. Pray. Find out if you can meet a spiritual, physical or emotional need (be practical….did we mention you’re not God?!) And remember, there’s heaps and heaps of resources for ALL the above at NCCC….just ask!
Invite them to an event / activity at church. Be proud you’re part of a Jesus community with a low-bar for entry, that’s accessible and welcomes odd-balls (er, like you). Open your home as a local ‘hang’. Always have ice-cream in the freezer. Build a skate ramp. Throw a street party and crank up the BBQ. Mow your neighbor’s lawn…Bake them a meal…have fun changing the world!
Click here to read more about Looking After Friends
Crisp, clean air filled my lungs. The day was spectacular. Everything I had missed about fall after moving to San Diego was gift-wrapped in one perfect Central Oregon afternoon. I nervously prayed while walking through the park to meet my friend. “Jesus, let me be what she needs, and that’s you. Give me your words. Show me the right questions to ask. HELP! I have no idea how to navigate these waters. Allow me to speak into her life and love her with your love.”
A few weeks before a mentor challenged me. “God is already at work in the people you come into contact with, so ask Him for the ability to see what He is doing in others. Make time to notice.”
My friend quickly approached on a bicycle and dismounted like a pro, despite her short skirt. The second both feet touched the ground she expertly removed a boxy helmet, revealing an edgy new haircut. At first it was hard to recognize my friend beneath the sexy veneer, but while we talked I caught glimmers of her true self. We met our junior year of high school, sixteen years ago. Since that time our paths have diverged. She married her high school sweetheart and had two children. I moved away for a job in California.
News travels fast and unhindered in a small town, so unfortunately I knew she had moved out and was having an affair. As we walked through the sunlit park I sensed God’s prompting. “Remind her who she really is, that’s who I created her to be.”
Once our strides fell into sync she forcefully exhaled and summoned deep courage. Her words were heavy. “Things have been so hard lately. I’m miserable and there is so much pain. I’m staying but I’m terrified to move back into the house. He is so controlling.” Her eyes darted nervously. She was waiting for me to berate her.
There were so many things I had imagined saying if given the opportunity, but God’s voice was clear. “Remind her who she truly is. Love her, build her up, and pray for her.” Without condoning her behavior I praised her courage and her beautiful originality.
All too soon our window of time was closing. She grabbed me into a fierce hug. As we separated I spoke, “I’m thinking about you while you work though the decision about moving back in with your family.” I knew immediately that wasn’t enough. “Actually I’m praying for you.” Those weren’t empty words. They were a promise to lift up my friend before her Creator. They were a reminder to call and check in, to follow up and truly listen. Hopefully someday we will pray together, but I sensed hearing my promise was all she could take. This is the undeniable truth; God is working in her life. He is inviting her, wooing her, loving her. He isn’t going to leave her… and neither am I.