98% of the time
I was a little bummed out. A tad discouraged maybe. It might have been the caffeine…
I stopped to chat with one of our Children’s Church teachers, Jae Hauser, a committed and serious college student who lives out his faith daily.
“Hey Jae! Are you still reading E-vangie Tales?”
“Yeah,” he replied.
“I’m a little discouraged,” I confessed. “People read those things, they say they are inspired to evangelize then…”
“Then what?” Jae asked.
“You know what percentage of people stop evangelizing after they say they will start? 100%! That’s right, 100% of the time people stop. What’s the use? Jae? Can you tell someone about Jesus next week? Just tell someone that you love Jesus and write me the response.” I wanted to grab him by the lapels and shake him a little. I refrained. Besides, he had no lapels. “Will ya do it Jae? Will ya? Huh?”
“I will Steve! I’ll do it! I’ll do it!”
I walked away slowly, head down, and muttering to myself. When I checked my email a few hours later, I read this from Jae:
Wow, that was quick!
About a minute after our conversation this morning, I talked to Stephanie. Stephanie has been a youth helper this past year in my 1st grade classroom and started coming to church when her dad, Armando, was invited. She heard our whole conversation. But I just assumed….
However, I decided to start practicing for my assignment this next week and playfully asked in my best Steve Sanchez voice, “Stephanie, if you died today would you go to heaven or hell?”
“What?! You don’t know? You believe in Jesus, right?” I asked.
“Well then how come you don’t know?”
She told me that she had grown up Catholic and had been taught all her life that if you weren’t perfect then you were going to hell. And she rightfully stated that she wasn’t perfect. I explained to her that if that were true then everyone would be going to hell. She agreed.
So, we looked up Romans 10:9. It reads, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Then John 3:16. We finished up with 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
I asked her if she believe all that. She said she did.
Nathan Craig, who had walked in a few moments earlier, was standing there with us. I wanted to get some one else to agree with what was just said, and knowing that Nathan is a godly man I asked if he thought all that was true. “Of course I do,” he answered back resolutely.
“Do you want to say the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus into your heart and be sure you’re going to heaven?” I asked. She said she did, and we asked Nathan to pray with us.
I hardly remember what was said, except I asked Nathan half way through if he had anything to say – I must have sounded like George Bush on the late night Letterman blurbs that highlight the President’s mess-ups. Despite my lack of smooth talking Nathan and I covered all the points: I’m a sinner, I repent of my sins, Jesus died for my sins, He is the Son of God and was raised from the dead, and I accept Jesus into my heart!
I then found [our women's Pastor] Karen Horger to follow up with Stephanie because frankly, Stephanie needed to talk to a mature godly women – not a college boy.
Like I said, I was not some smooth talking evangelist. Certainly no Billy Graham. Nonetheless, God works even through me. And I think the most important thing I learned is that the old adage is true. “Assuming….. allows people to go to hell.”
Praise God Stephanie is in the Kingdom of God!
I’m looking forward to reading yours…
I received a reply back from Jason of the Stereo Types giving me a fuller perspective of our conversation. He has given me permission to post it after he edits it a little. It will be posted at Thirst in a few days – hopefully.