6 Tips To Help You Start Gospel Conversations

Anyone who knows me knows I love to meet people.  As I have followed Christ over the years, I have realized that the purpose of each encounter I have with people, whether in a coffee shop, grocery store, or gas station, is, as a former mentor, Stanley Ship, told me, is to “put in a good word for Jesus.”  Here are six practical tips that help me share Jesus in everyday conversations:

  1. God is the main evangelist. God saves people; we do not. This powerful truth lifts a heavy undue burden off of us. God is pursuing people with His love. His Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and draws someone to put their faith in Jesus. So, just relax. We have the joy of joining God in what He’s doing.
  2. YOU have a major role!  These semantics are common in certain circles of pop theology  today but not in the Bible: “God does not need you.”  The truth is God invites us to join Him in the Great COmmission.  In fact, Paul clearly and passionately  exclaims in Romans: “How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news (Romans 10:14-15)!”
  3. The Holy Spirit in you empowers you. God, Himself, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. His will is for people to be saved. He speaks for us, and He reminds us of what Jesus says in conversations. Jesus encourages us in our Gospel conversations:  “For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you (Matthew 10:20).”
  4. Initiate conversation. I have never met anyone who does not like for someone to ask how they are. Although we live in a world of connectivity through digital social networks, people often feel disconnected, are more isolated in real life and do not often get asked how they are. This week, step out, even if it’s out of your comfort zone, and ask someone simply, “How are you?” Ask about their lives and their story.
  5. Mention Jesus. There are many outgoing people. I’m outgoing and could have ten to twenty conversations a day and never mention Jesus. But I would miss out on my God-given purpose when I do not have purposeful conversations centering on Christ. Like my late mentor, Stanley Shipp said “put a good word in for Jesus”. This might be saying something like, “God has given us a beautiful day.” Most of the time, if the person is interested in talking about God, they’ll hear my faith and continue to converse about God or ask questions.
  6. Share the Good News. The purpose of our lives is to spread the Gospel of Jesus. Share why you love Jesus and what Jesus did for you on the cross. In other words, share your story or what I’ve coined, “The Gospel in living color.” One of the many ways to share the Gospel is using the visual aid of the bridge illustration.

I know by experience that you will walk (or roll, in my case) away from the conversation with deeper faith in Jesus, knowing more about what you have in Him.  This is one of my personal  verses that inspires me to start Gospel Conversations:  “And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ” (Philemon 1:6, ESV).  

What motivates you to start Gospel conversations with people you just meet?  How may we be praying for the ones in your life who you are having Gospel conversations with? Comment below.  This month the twenties in our ministry are going to “put a good word in for Jesus” in at least one conversation each day this month.  Will you join us?
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In Christ, You Are Powerful

Breaking Down Barriers

The first “P” I’d like to share in The 3 P’s of your Identity Series is in Christ, you are powerful.  You might be thinking. “Whoa, Todd, we’re suppose to be powerful people?” Check out the power that God has given us:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. – 2 Peter 1:3, 4

I love how the Greek word used in the Bible for power is δύναμις, sounds like the English word for dynamite. This Greek word means inherent power which a person exerts and puts forth.  This is mind blowing to me that when I let Jesus become Lord and Savior of my life back in college, this power of Jesus came into my life!

The following truth became one of my theme verses:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  — Ephesians 3:20

This, not only radically changed my life as this power overcame my weakness of Cerebral Palsy, power worked through me in my gifting of sharing Jesus with those who do not have a relationship with Him.   I started realizing that I had the same power (dynamite power)  of Jesus that the apostles had when they shared the Gospel:

 And with great power (dynamis) the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all – Acts 4:33

It blows my mind that letters from one man discipling another young man is in the inspired Word of God!  This shows us the value God places in one-on-one discipleship.  When Paul disciples Timothy in the second letter to him, Paul encourages and equips Timothy by sharing with Timothy that he has this kind of power:

 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Typically, I skimmed over “power” and go straight to “love” and “discipline”.  I’m thankful for the men who has discipled me to walk in all God’s Spirit has given me and this includes, POWER.

I’m thankful for my new identity in Christ and now that his power is in me and runs through me and now… God’s power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  This power is available to give us courage when sharing the Good News of Jesus…

poolpowerblog

Rolling in a restaurant pub passing by a pool table room, I see a man with a lot of muscles wearing a tee shirt stating, “Jesus is never returning”.  Wanting to roll on, God’s Spirit pricked me to stop and roll into the room.  I introduced myself and the man stated his name.  Hearing his name and “what do you want?”;    I started a Gospel conversation with him and he was sharing with me, how hurt he was by his wife who left him and how her dad was a preacher and so he did not want to have anything to do with Christianity.

In the midst of sharing his pain in anger, I felt inner power from the Spirit and stood up!  (on a side note, people tend to be very surprised when I stand up… haha). Immediatly when I stood up I shouted in a loud loving voice “JESUS LOVES YOU!!!”

Jumping back and searching for words as he gained awareness from his startled state, he humbly smiled and complimented me on how bold I am.  Then I shared with him the truth about our state, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and the truth about Jesus, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

He asked me how can a weak disabled man be so bold.

I shared with him my new identity because of Christ freeing me; that was the Spirit of God within me and that my old self would not do that but because of Jesus, I now roll not in my weak identity but in the power Jesus gives to me.

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Originally posted 2015-08-15 08:00:50.

Let’s Visualize the Good News of Jesus

The Nav20s are passionate about equipping disciples to share the Gospel with those the Holy Spirit places in our path who are not saved yet.  The Navigators’ bridge illustration is one way the Good News of Jesus can be drawn for someone at work, at a restaurant, wherever you are…

Have you not placed your faith in Jesus and want to continue this conversation?  Contact me.  Do you have faith in Jesus and want to experience being “buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4)?”  Why wait?

Who do you feel led to share the Gospel with “right where you live, work and play”?  Why not draw this bridge illustration out on a piece of paper for him or her this week?

Originally posted 2015-05-11 07:55:21.

Why The Gospel is Good News

As you might know, one of my greatest joys in life is meeting new people.  I enjoy learning about their passions, life experiences, life stories and their thoughts about Jesus.  A lot of people I meet have a postmodern mindset, valuing open-mindedness.  When I meet a lot of people in the coffee shops, dog parks or wherever I am, I hear a lot of responses when I ask “Do you know Jesus?” such as “I have not been to church in a long time,” (notice the word, “church” was not in my question, but this observation is for another blog entry) or a majority of the responses I hear are:

“I think as long as one is spiritual or a good person, I do not think it matters what kind of religion you are in.”

I’ve noticed when I ask about Jesus, the responses like the one above always relate back to one’s ethics or efforts to be in touch with spirituality.  This view is perceiving Christianity as just another religion to help you be a better person. Devon is one of the many who responded to my question in the same way. He, like others, strives to seek out universal similarities to all religions and concludes that since they all teach similar teachings like, “help the poor”, “love your enemies”, and other ethical standards, then as long as you follow these, you’re a good person.  So their view is: spirituality relates to “being a good person.”

Individuals like Devon are always shocked at my response, “I am not of myself  a ‘good’ person.”  The truth is I’m not.  I have failed at every moral level and biblical benchmark that the people I talk to mention.  I do not spend my life helping the poor.  I drive by homeless people every week without thinking twice about stopping to help them.  I have held grudges and struggle to forgive. I have broken most of the moral codes that Devon probably uses to describe a “good” spiritual person.

 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Devon is trying to present a wide broad gate based on good ethical moral behavior.  This wide gate feels very narrow, because no one (without Jesus and His Holy Spirit) is good and we humans can never live up to these standards.  We are all sinners.

Jesus says…

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate  and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:13-14)

This narrow gate to which Jesus refers is based on Him, His blood that was shed for us on the cross.   It’s based on what He did, not on what we can or cannot do…

 “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:21-22)”

This is why the Good News (The Gospel) is good news!!!  The broad door that humans create to universalize feels very narrow because no one can live up to the morals that are the common denominators. But the “narrow” gate of which Jesus lovingly speaks, feels very wide and freeing. It is based on what He did, not based on what we do or do not do.

 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)”

Let’s invite others into Jesus, the narrow gate, to experience true freedom and life that only comes through Him and a life that is defined by who He is.  Maybe you are like Devon, thinking that Christianity is all about earning salvation by good works that neither you nor I can ever live up to.  Come to Jesus…

 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6)

  • Who in YOUR life do you feel led to share the Good News of Jesus with this week?
  • How would you share the Gospel in one sentence?
  • How can you state your testimony in one sentence?

Feel free to comment and continue the conversation.

Originally posted 2015-03-02 07:55:13.