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My Great Evangelism Adventure, Pt. 3

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This is part 3 of a continuing series on how I discovered “my gift” of evangelism. Mostly, I’m writing this so I don’t forget the curious ways God used to get me to have a passion for the lost. I hope you are encouraged as you read this. (Start at part 1 by clicking here.)

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“If you died today would you go to Heaven or Hell? Jesus died for your sins, was buried for three days and rose again.” That was my holy mantra for the first six months after I made a commitment to share my faith everyday. The apostle Paul did say that this was the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15; no one else had taught me to say anything different. So wherever I went—the grocery store, the gas station, the gym, whenever I’d meet someone—I’d work those words into a conversation, whether it was appropriate or not.

I’d get change from the cashier and reply, “Thank you. Did you know that Jesus died for your sins, was buried for three days and rose again?” When saying goodbye to the desk attendant at 24 Hour Fitness I’d wave and say, “Jesus died for your sins, was buried for three days and rose again.” The clerk at Costco? You guessed it.

And what was the response? Rolling eyes, smirks, and condescending head nods, of course. Still I was faithful to share. Everyday. The Home Depot helper. The McDonald’s counter guy. Shoppers. All received the news that Jesus died for their sins, was buried for three days and rose again.

Even with those simple words people reacted, sometimes strongly; there’s just something about that name of Jesus that stirs people up.  In April of 2004 I started writing emails about these evangelistic responses, called them E-vangie Tales and sent them to people in our congregation on a weekly basis to encourage them to share their faith.

Then my pastor—and boss—asked me a simple frustrating question: “Steve, it’s great that you are sharing your faith everyday,” he encouraged, “but are you having any conversations?”

Conversations. Conversations? I’m having a few, but  no…I’m not having many conversations.  What do I say besides what I’m already stating? How can I share my faith more effectively?

I thought about it. Prayed about it. Then resolved to do something different, yet had no idea what.

On a park bench a few days later, I found myself sitting next to a homeless man. I asked him how he was and if he needed anything. We chatted a bit about a few things then I asked him about where he thought he would go when he died, explained the Gospel—and he listened! I was having a conversation! He made a profession of faith, I gave him a few dollars, then I was on my way.

Wow! I did it. I had a conversation! After that, unfortunately, they were few and far between. I had a great desire to share with all those headed for Hell but knew no other way to do it except to say, “Jesus loves you. He died on a cross…etc.

What else could I do? What more could I say? Was this how I was to share my faith–forever?

I continued for another six months having few dialogues with little “results.” My pastor took me aside again to ask another pointed question: “Steve, I know you’ve been sharing your faith everyday for about a year now, and I know you are trying to have conversations with people…. He paused. “But is anyone actually getting saved?

Aaaaagghhhh! No. No! Not many got saved. There wasn’t much I could point to in the entire year to demonstrate that witnessing for the Lord everyday was worth anything, apart from obeying His command to do so.

Pastor Zac offered a suggestion. “You may want to get a hold of a man named Ray Comfort. I think he preaches up in Santa Monica each week.” (Read part 4 by clicking here!)

21 Comments

  1. Aha! Bananaman to the rescue!

    “Even with those simple words people reacted, sometimes strongly; there’s just something about that name of Jesus that stirs people up.”

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts on why this is. Why do you think this is and why do you think they (other people) think they react that way?

    Cheers,

    • Why do I think people react strongly to name of Jesus? The end of my Rose parade persecution video said it all: “All men will hate you because of me…” —Jesus

      The Bible says that we will be persecuted for righteousness (some for self-righteousness, which isn’t the same). Jesus said it would happen in Mat. 5:11—“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

      To be Christian is to understand that we will be persecuted for our beliefs. Obviously, since I’m a Christian, I believe their is a greater spiritual battle going on. Satan hates the Name because it’s defeat for his realm (see Ephesians 6). That’s a nutshell.

      Why do others react that way? Before I was a Christian, I thought Christians were idiots. I didn’t like their stance, their witnessing, their obnoxiousness in telling me that Jesus was the only way.

      Many so-called Christians give the rest of us a bad name through their hypocrisy (not that I can’t be hypocritical at times). Through their infidelity, money-schemes and just plain bad theology (name it and claim it, etc.), people get a distorted image of who Christians are, and who we are supposed to be. Add to that, Christians leaders say some outrageous things that appear incredibly insensitive (Pat Roberson, Oral Roberts).

      Also, the fact that we want to stand up for righteousness by defending the unborn and marriage, adds a particularly incendiary ingredient to the mix.

      I hope that is helpful, but, ExPatMat, I’m sure you know all these answers already.

  2. We all know that most people are Christians. (True Christians™ or not, it’s irrelevant to the point). I think a lot of the response sound like it was from the complete oddity of the situation.

    “Here’s your change”
    ““Jesus died for your sins, was buried for three days and rose again.”
    “Ummm ok Weird Guy”

    Your post hits on a question I have asked you twice, and now a third time.

    How do you measure ‘success’ on the Origin of Species giveaway? It’s been called successful everywhere.

    Clearly this measure is NOT, conversations or conversions.

    If your measure of success is ‘give away free books’ as it certainly appears to be. Then congratulations, you succeeded at something no one thought you would fail at.

    I wish you continued ‘success’ in giving away the new goal of a million. Clearly a productive use of money and time. It’s probably the best use of huge amounts of time and money we could wish for.

    • I did answer. I just don’t know what post it was. I said something like: We got the gospel into 170,000 hands (that’s single hands). And possibly put a little pebble in the shoe of those who are ardent evolutionists. But not you, of course. 🙂

  3. Steve,

    Thanks, that was a very thorough answer. Now that you’ve told me what you think;

    – based on what the Bible teaches you about the nature of reality, etc – that the enemy of God will hate the name of Jesus because there’s a spiritual war going on,

    and you told me why you think other people might react that way;

    – experiences with hypocritical ‘Christians’ and their infidelity, money-schemes and just plain bad theology being all obnoxious and saying outrageous things.

    I guess my question is, what do you think the actual reason is? A mix of the two, perhaps?

    BathTub, Steve did answer that in a previous thread (I can’t think which one it was now either!) although he never did get round to explaining what could possibly be considered a ‘pebble in the shoe’ for people who accept evolution; there being no refutations of evolution in the introduction and whatnot.

    Cheers,

  4. I don’t exactly understand how this puts a little pebble in the shoe of “ardent evolutionists” (whomever they are, I have no idea), or why that’s a goal that you want to accomplish.

    Steve, if I were shown evidence that the current theory of evolution was incorrect, I’d happily listen to it, as would any evolutionist, “ardent” or otherwise.

    The problem is that when people like yourself, or Ray Comfort, start talking about evolution, it becomes clear to people like myself and BathTub that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    In other words, if I thought that evolution was what you think it is, I’d also probably mock it.

    Fortunately for all of us, evolution is not what you seem to think it is.

    Also, why would you want to put a little pebble in the shoe of ardent evolutionists? What exactly is your goal in doing so? What do you hope to gain?

  5. I am sorry I missed it.

    Well again I certainly wish you much ongoing success, please keep up the fantastic work. Ray should set the bar at 10 million. Make it yearly.

    I’m just glad that it’s recyclable.

    (I have both editions of Ray’s book in PDF form btw, and I will grab the expected 3rd edition when he “fixes” it. )

  6. It was a success because the Great Commission given to us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was followed. We presented the Gospel to thousands. The results are in God’s hands. That is success.

    Oh by the way Steve, your photo bucket picture isn’t there anymore. What was the picture of?

  7. Payton: The original image was a cartoon with a guy thinking how he would present the Gospel in a gracious way, then when he sees a lost person he blurts out, “You’re going to Hell!” It fit with how I used to evangelize.

    I found the cartoon on a blog with no copyright restrictions so I used it. Apparently, it had those restrictions.

    As you can see now, I replaced it with another using their terms.

    I guess Fair Use didn’t cover this image.

  8. @Nohm

    OH OHH pick me..pick me!! I know what contemporary science says Macro-Evolution is…and I still mock it 🙂 Because statistically it’s a silly concept. Have you ever studied it for yourself, outside of the scared halls of secular humanistic schools? I mean REALLY studied it and the assumptions upon assumptions that are made to come up with a statically impossible theory? There is more holes in it than swiss cheese. And that is a lot of holes 🙂 If you had really studied the subject and still choose to put your faith in it, then all I can say is that you choose to believe it regardless of any amount of proof.

    Macro-evolution takes more faith than Biblical Christianity. And that’s cool…you can put your faith in whatever you want, but please don’t call it science. And it still doesn’t hold you any less accountable before a Holy and Righteous God. But there is hope….in Jesus Christ.

  9. Payton,

    Care to explain to us what ‘contemporary science says Macro-Evolution is’ just so we know we’re on the same page?

    I’d be very interested to hear you give a, very brief, explanation of what it is, what the key lines of evidence that scientists think support it are and what you think the key holes in the theory are.

    Honestly, I’d be very interested to hear your position on this.

    Thanks,

  10. Oh noes, if only cdk007 hadn’t just released his latest video. “MicroEvolution vs MacroEvolution” with examples of both in it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho7GaI2rCwI

    Or DonExodus2 hadn’t bothered just releasing “How Evolution Adds New Information” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfybuMJVWj0

    If only they had listened to Patyon!

    He knows better than all the millions of biologists studying the topic around the world!

    Including all those “Humanists” like Francis Collins, Francis Collins, Robert T. Bakker, or Simon Conway Morris, Or George Coyne Or Alistair McGrath.

    Oh did I say Humanists? I meant Christians.

  11. Somehow Ken Miller shape shifted into a Francis Collins!

  12. Brief…humm, we could spend months talking about it and only touch the surface, but I’ll give you a quick overview.

    The word “evolution” is not a dirty word. It simply means “changes”. As you may already know, the word “Macro” means large and the word “Micro” means small. So, Macro-Evolution means “Large Changes” and Micro-Evolution means “small changes”. Only one is scientific, because only one can be observed. (Remember REAL Science is something observable and can be tested and retested and you get the same results. Everything else is just an educated guess and not fact).

    We see Micro-evolution everywhere. You have little dogs, big dogs, ugly dogs, etc…but all of them are dogs. And they all came from an original dog. What you see is variations within “kinds” (ie. the “dog-kind”). That IS science.

    But, from there the contemporary scientific establishment wants to make a huge mathematical leap to Macro-evolution. That many successive changes over millions of years forms chemicals into dogs. This is not scientific, because it can not be proven with observation nor testing. And it’s bad math, statically impossible.

    It’s a faith, just like my faith that God designed the dog. You have faith that random chaos caused a statical impossibility and formed order. And I believe God made the earth and the animals in it. Both faith based, not scientific.

    So, why would you fight so hard against something that is more statically probable (that God made everything)? Is it that you realize that if there is a God that you might have to be held to His standards? And you know that you fall short of those standards (as do I). So, instead of submitting to the truth, which is God, you prefer to put your faith in something that is improbable (Macro-Evolution)? You don’t have to ExPatMatt, you can be forgiven, BUT you must turn from your sins (repent) and put your faith and trust in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. That is the only way you or I or anyone can be saved. Through the blood of Jesus Christ.

    How many lies have you told in your life? If we tell even one lie doesn’t that make us a liar?

    Have you ever taken anything that is not yours, no matter the value (ie pen, pencil, MP3 {via limewire}? Doesn’t make us a thief?

    Jesus said if we look upon someone with lust (a sexual thought) than we are guilty of committing adultery in our heart. Have you ever done that, I’ve never met someone who hasn’t? That would make us adulterers.

    That’s just 3 of the 10 commandments. And if we were to stand before on Judgment Day and if He were to judge us by those standards we would be considered guilty of breaking His laws. And the penalty the Bible gives for being lawbreakers of God’s Law is an eternity of suffering in Hell. But I don’t that for you. I care for you.

    Do you know what God did so you can be spared from a just punishment of Hell? He loved us so much He made away.

    About 2,000 years ago God sent His son, Jesus, fully God and fully man, born of a virgin. He lived the perfect life you and I couldn’t live. He never sinned and never broke God’s law (He was God!!). Then about 30 to 33 years into His earthly life he voluntarily went to a Roman Cross and died a horrible death. On that cross He also took on the wrath of God that you and I rightly deserve. He was punished in our place for our sins. We broke God’s law and Jesus paid the fine in His life and blood. He was buried and on the 3rd day He defeated death. He ascended to the Father to go prepare a place for those who will repent and turn from their sins and put their faith and trust in Jesus and Him alone. What a wonderful gift and what a wonderful God!!! Our King died for us so we can live!! Please submit to Him today while there is still time.

  13. Payton said,

    So, why would you fight so hard against something that is more statically probable (that God made everything)?

    Please show your work that explains how it is “more statistically probable”. As all lot of people here know, I’m a fan of probability calculations, so I’d like to see yours, please.

    Also, what you described is not what “‘contemporary science says Macro-Evolution is”, but instead is what most creationists think it is, so we’re not on the same page.

    You have faith that random chaos caused a statical impossibility and formed order.

    Your mind-reading powers have failed you here.

  14. Payton,

    So that’s a complete fail for you then, eh? Don’t worry, my hopes weren’t that high to begin with.

    To remind you; you were supposed to be giving a brief explanation of what the theory of evolution is, what evidence supports it (according to the scientists that accept it, of course) and what flaws you perceive in the theory.

    You completely failed on all counts.

    “The word “evolution” is not a dirty word. It simply means “changes”.”

    In a very colloquial sense, this is true. But we’re not talking about everyday things here, we’re talking about the theory (and the fact) of evolution – these have very specific scientific definitions which you should know if you claim to know what evolution is. So, would you care to take another stab at this, this time perhaps answering the question? What is the theory (and fact) of evolution?

    “As you may already know, the word “Macro” means large and the word “Micro” means small. So, Macro-Evolution means “Large Changes” and Micro-Evolution means “small changes”.”

    Well done for knowing that macro means big and micro means small, give yourself a pat on the back. However, you’re still using it in reference to the very non-specific ‘changes’ so it’s entirely meaningless at the minute.

    “Only one is scientific, because only one can be observed. (Remember REAL Science is something observable and can be tested and retested and you get the same results. Everything else is just an educated guess and not fact).”

    Perhaps if you could tell us how big a change has to be before it’s considered ‘macro’ then we might get somewhere with this line of discussion?
    If you think the only two states of knowledge in this regard are ‘fact’ or ‘educated guess’ then you’re woefully ill-informed about REAL science.

    “We see Micro-evolution everywhere. You have little dogs, big dogs, ugly dogs, etc…but all of them are dogs. And they all came from an original dog. What you see is variations within “kinds” (ie. the “dog-kind”). That IS science.”

    Did you observe this taking place? What did the ‘original dog’ look like and how do you know? Could you please define ‘kind’ as you are using it here, otherwise it’s just a meaningless term?

    “But, from there the contemporary scientific establishment wants to make a huge mathematical leap to Macro-evolution. That many successive changes over millions of years forms chemicals into dogs. This is not scientific, because it can not be proven with observation nor testing. And it’s bad math, statically impossible.”

    Where did mathematics come into this? Since when did science ‘prove’ things? How is it ‘statically’ (do you mean ‘statistically’?) impossible?

    You’re throwing out a lot of assertions, but not backing them up with anything.

    “It’s a faith, just like my faith that God designed the dog. You have faith that random chaos caused a statical impossibility and formed order. And I believe God made the earth and the animals in it. Both faith based, not scientific.”

    Please don’t tell me what I believe – especially if you’re going to get it so wrong. It just makes you look arrogant.

    So, you’ve failed to explain what modern science thinks the theory of evolution is. You’ve failed to give examples of the evidence that scientists think back up their view that evolution is an accurate model to explain the mechanisms behind the diversity of life. And you’ve failed to provide any flaws in the theory other than your assertions that it’s ‘statically’ impossible, which you’ve failed to explain or evidence.

    The rest of your comment was off-topic and patronizing.

    I look forward to reading your response.

    Regards,

  15. All mouth and no trousers.

  16. Perhaps he was raptured.

  17. He was the only one if he was…

  18. Lucky we weren’t holding our breath or anything!

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