A hug and a share

the christmas tree shopper

Emergent and Seeker-Driven theology teaches that only friendship wins the unchurchable; that “earning the right” to talk about your faith happens in relationship over a period of time. Weeks. Months. Years. But is that what Jesus asks us to do, earn the right to go into the world and make disciples? Or do people need to hear the message of the Gospel right now?

Jesus said: The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. (John 6:63)
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:6)

Friendships do lead to a nice warm community, but without God, there is no life. The flesh counts for nothing.  And we can’t just simply share our light by saying nothing and letting our lives speak for themselves.

My own life looks pretty messy. I don’t have a natural happy Jesus face. In fact, my natural expression, thanks to generations of DNA passed down from my great grandmother, is a downturned mouth — a natural frown on a joy-filled girl like me. I’m sure I was wearing it yesterday after finishing work here at the radio station.  I headed over to the big famous gadget and electronics store to start my shopping. Yes, I do tend to procrastinate. As I was perusing the aisles, I stopped to ask a young clerk for some help. At that moment, one of our listeners spotted me and gave me a hug. “Thanks for what you’re doing on the show,” she said. Little did she know, that hug and that encouragement lead to something so much more for the guy who was helping me.

As she walked away, the young man asked me what I did for a living.  I told him about my job at the local Christian radio station, and about Stand Up For The Truth.  I could tell he hadn’t heard of it, so I asked him if he liked Christian music. He said that his friends all listened to it, but that he didn’t even listen to the radio. He had his own music.

He clearly wanted to keep talking. So we walked away from the main aisle and the crowds. He wanted to tell me about his faith. And why he didn’t believe in God.

“When I was a kid we went to XYZ church,” he began (which happened to be the same church I’d been a member of), “but when I was 11 we stopped going.”  He explained that his dad had beat up his mom, and it was a sad time in his life.  He loved his college philosophy class. So had I.

And today he is an atheist, and glad for the freedom in it.

He told me his mom “sort of” believed in a higher power.”  His friends are all “hard core” Christians. His words.

“And do they talk with you about the Bible, or about who Jesus is?” I ask.

“Oh yes, that’s all they want to talk about. I listen, but they’re not pushing anything on me. I still make good moral decisions. I don’t need a religion or a god to tell me to be good.”

And that’s where I knew I could start: with those list of moral rules, and how we can’t keep them. And that’s why Jesus came. He took our punishment on Himself, by offering His life and His perfection in exchange for our depravity. And after all those witnesses saw Him crucified, He rose from the dead and walked among them. Hundreds of witnesses experienced Him, and watched Him ascend to heaven. And that’s how the Church began–with those witnesses sharing what they had seen. Centuries later, we share that message too. We don’t need a formula, and we don’t need to “close the deal.” We just need to make sure the true message of what Jesus did is shared.

We don’t need to wait. We don’t need months of building our friendship and earning permission. Because complete strangers need to hear the hope and the good news.  At the end of our talk, he promised he would tune in if I would take his company’s customer survey. That’s an easy one. If you are listening my friend, thank you for your time. I have a feeling we’ll be running into each other again.

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2 Responses to A hug and a share

  1. Great article Amy!

    Scripture, in fact, teaches the virtual opposite of needing to (works) earn the right right to evangelize the unchurched. The Apostle Paul could not make it more clear:

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

    So does Paul mean wait til tomorrow or the next day or the next year, as soon as you have earned the right to evangelize? Of course, not!

    And how about Jesus Christ's own words?

    Jhn 4:44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

    In other words, no honor or credibility with people you know well. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul did not know or had he earned the right to evangelize the Gentiles, and yet that is who precisely he went to and who God called him to go. There was rarely if ever an opportunity to earn the right to evangelize. Paul simply did it cold turkey! That is not to say that you never win a friend to the Lord. It is just that power of the Gospel is entirely contained in Word alone. Time is NOT on the side of those perishing. Besides if you wait, wickedness will wax worse and worse, so that
    people's hearts may get even harder and become more irretrievable.


  2. Mr Davis says:

    I struggle with sharing because I'm afraid of screwing it up, as if it really depended on me, so my flesh loves it when I have an excuse not to share. But it is just that, an excuse. If I hold to the excuse then I am justifying my disobedience and that only begets more and more sin.

    I should be asking myself which spirit have I received, a spirit of bondage again unto fear or a spirit of adoption whereby I cry out Abba Father?

    If I have received the Spirit of Adaption and I am not doing what I aught then I should be repenting and cry out for God to break my heart for those who are perishing and cause me to love them and that I would make every effort to be intentional about sharing the love of Christ Jesus and Him crucified because of His love.

    After Peter and John had been beaten and released for preaching the Gospel of Christ in the Temple, here is the corperate prayer the fellowship prayed as they were unified by the Holy Spirit in this single minded request.

    And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said , Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

    And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

    (We need the Holy Spirits Power that is why we ask, He knows the conflict you are walking into and He knows we are dust.)

    And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.


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