Monday, September 29, 2008

Evangelistic encounters on UF's campus

I have been continually challenged by God to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the students on the campus. I have embraced the challenge through one to one sharing about three times a week, and I have a few encounters that I would like to mention from earlier today.

I left my room this afternoon at about 1:30pm to get started with evangelism. I was walking next to the Murphree dorms toward the Racquet club when I saw a guy from my floor studying a calculus book. I noticed that this was someone that the Lord had laid on my heart to speak to. As I was walking, I reasoned to myself that he was probably too busy to talk, so I walked passed him saying to myself, "I will talk to him another time", but I stopped myself and turned around. I approached him and told him that I had a question for him that I have been wanting ask. I then asked him if he was going to heaven when he died. He said that he was because he believed that Jesus Christ could save us. He then admitted that he was not in fellowship nor did he read his Bible, so I probed further about what he meant about salvation, and believing in Jesus Christ. He seemed to have a basic understanding of salvation, though the articulation of his faith could have used some improvement. I then shared my testimony with him of how I got saved my freshman year in college. I encouraged him to get involved in fellowship, accountability and to desire the pure milk of the word (1 Peter 2). He said that it was interesting that I approached him because something happened to him that really caused him to turn back to God from wandering. I encouraged him a little more and invited him out to Gator Christian Life and my small group. He was not comfortable with coming out to the small group but said that he would check out the Sunday service.

Next, I approached a girl sitting on a bench reading a book next to Pugh Hall. I walked up to her and told her that I was asking students if they would go to heaven if when they died. She replied, "I don't want to talk about this". I then replied to her, "are you a Christian?" "Yes, Catholic", she said. I then ended with, "I want to encourage you that if you are not sure where you are going, please think about this because this is one of the most important things in life". She smiled, nodded, and I was on my way to speak with another person about their soul.

I then took a walk through Turlington Plaza to see if I could spot a friend who preaches with a pvc pipe cross, but he was not there, so I walked over next to Chik-Fil-A and Einsteins Bagels. I saw two guys chatting with one another at a picnic table. I approached and told them that I was asking students if they would go to heaven when they died. They both quickly answered, "no" and I said "why is that?" They told me that they were atheists and that the they did not have sufficient evidence for the existence of God. They said that the one making the statement needed to provide the proof. So, I gave them my proof for God's existence with a simple creator/creation argument and order/orderer argument. They did not agree, but I objected with the fact that something cannot come from nothing. They admitted that science did not have the answer of where everything came from. I then found out that they both had an exposure to Christianity growing up. I asked them if they would consider themselves to be good people, they both thought so. One of them even said that he would have a chance of getting into heaven if it was real! So I walked them through God's Law, the Ten Commandments. They both admitted they were guilty, not good according to that standard and that they would go to hell if it was real! However, I did not directly proceed to the gospel because they had absolutely no concern, and did not think that it was true. They then began to question me about the validity of the Bible, and the reasonableness of the existence of the God of the Bible versus the existence of the Greek gods. We went off on a huge tangent about the books that did not make it into the Bible and the Justice of God. I indirectly shared the gospel with the two guys while explaining the difference between the old and new covenants. After about 20 minutes of conversation they had to go to class. They told me that it was one of their hobbies to talk about this subject.

I then saw a guy sitting under a tree eating and studying. I walked past him and thought myself ("I shouldn't approach him because he is studying

After I talked with them, I continued to look for another person to proclaim the gospel to. I went in front of Chik-Fil-A and saw a guy sitting a concrete wall smoking a cigarette. I got really excited and approached him. When I got close to him I saw that he was a guy that I talked to a few weeks before. He is not a Christian, but I can tell that he is in a mini-search mode. I talked with him for a little while about class and how he was doing. I then asked him his opinion about Jesus Christ. He then had to leave to get on a bus that he was waiting for. I got his email address, and I will try to talk to him further about these things.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Satan's Water Hose!

I wanted to post this thought that I have had for a while and it is something that I have experienced myself, and to be honest it causes discouragement from time to time! It is something that I believe that the devil uses to quench the zeal of the Christian who wants to work for his master. We know that Satan is the Father of lies (John 8:44), and he uses lies against Christians to make them ineffective in their service and weak in their walks with God. I have noticed, especially since I have started witnessing regularly for Christ that Satan likes to throw out lies to me which hinder me from what I am doing and cause me to second guess what the Lord has commanded and put on my heart. This just recently happened on Friday afternoon when I was out witnessing with another brother in Christ, and him and I approached a couple of guys sitting on a brick wall. One of the guys got up and went to talk to someone so we began conversation with one of the guys about his spiritual beliefs. After about two minutes the other guy came back and we asked him about his belief in the after life. The other guy had no religious convictions, and this guy said that he did not like to think about the afterlife. So we began to take them both through the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) to show them their need for a Savior.

After we had took them through the Law the guy who did not like to think about the afterlife quickly responded with the fact that Christ died for our sins, so that we are all forgiven. We replied that we must receive Christ through faith and we are not all automatically forgiven. He then said that he was saved through Christ, but he was living for himself at the moment. We then challenged him to take up his cross and follow Christ with his life (Luke 9:23-24), and he replied that this is not relevant to us today, and that he was comfortable with his own faith. He then looked at the brother that I was with and said to him, "Are you trying to make me feel bad? You are taking your own interpretations of the Bible and shoving them on me". On the inside I kind of felt a since of rejection, and then the following thought came, "Maybe I am just pushing people away with my zeal, maybe this is a bad approach, maybe I won't be effective with this, maybe I should back off from this". At this point I felt like my enthusiasm and excitement were lessening, but soon after I thought about it and saw that of course this guy isn't going to agree with what we are saying because what we are saying condemns the state that he was in. Of course he will accuse us of this because his own heart was not right! However, Satan wanted to use that encounter to discourage us and make us think that it was our fault that he did not receive the Word of God. We were just doing what God had sent us out to do. We had a holy fire to do the will of God, but Satan pulled out his water hose to put out that fire so that we would be discouraged for the rest of the day. I am happy to inform you that afterwards I kept pressing on and had a some good conversations.

My encouragement to you is not to let Satan discourage you from service in ministry, no matter what that may be. But especially in reaching out to the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He will try to use subtle ways to discourage you if the blunt threat of fear does not work. Keep hold to the promises and commands of God. If you find that what you're thinking or feeling is in contradiction to what God has promised or commanded then there is a problem. Do not let the devil use negative thinking to discourage you from ministry and a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch the thoughts!

Now the following is a story of the evangelist D.L. Moody in one of his evangelism encounters where he was met with a threat and discouragement because of his approach. Read and be encouraged!

Taken from "Why God Used D.L. Moody" by R. A. Torrey.

"One night Mr. Moody was going home from his place of business. It was very late, and it suddenly occurred to him that he had not spoken to one single person that day about accepting Christ. He said to himself: "Here's a day lost. I have not spoken to anyone today and I shall not see anybody at this late hour." But as he walked up the street he saw a man standing under a lamppost. The man was a perfect stranger to him, though it turned out afterwards the man knew who Mr. Moody was. He stepped up to this stranger and said: "Are you a Christian?" The man replied: "That is none of your business, whether I am a Christian or not. If you were not a sort of a preacher I would knock you into the gutter for your impertinence." Mr. Moody said a few earnest words and passed on.

The next day that man called upon one of Mr. Moody's prominent business friends and said to him: "That man Moody of yours over on the North Side is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without knowledge. He stepped up to me last night, a perfect stranger, and insulted me. He asked me if I were a Christian, and I told him it was none of his business and if he were not a sort of a preacher I would knock him into the gutter for his impertinence. He is doing more harm than he is good. He has got zeal without knowledge." Mr. Moody's friend sent for him and said: "Moody, you are doing more harm than you are good; you've got zeal without knowledge: you insulted a friend of mine on the street last night. You went up to him, a perfect stranger, and asked him if he were a Christian, and he tells me if you had not been a sort of a preacher he would have knocked you into the gutter for your impertinence. You are doing more harm than you are good; you have got zeal without knowledge."

Mr. Moody went out of that man's office somewhat crestfallen. He wondered if he were not doing more harm than he was good, if he really had zeal without knowledge. (Let me say, in passing, it is far better to have zeal without knowledge than it is to have knowledge without zeal. Some men and women are as full of knowledge as an egg is of meat; they are so deeply versed in Bible truth that they can sit in criticism on the preachers and give the preachers pointers, but they have so little zeal that they do not lead one soul to Christ in a whole year.)

Weeks passed by. One night Mr. Moody was in bed when he heard a tremendous pounding at his front door. He jumped out of bed and rushed to the door. He thought the house was on fire. He thought the man would break down the door. He opened the door and there stood this man. He said: "Mr. Moody, I have not had a good night's sleep since that night you spoke to me under the lamppost, and I have come around at this unearthly hour of the night for you to tell me what I have to do to be saved." Mr. Moody took him in and told him what to do to be saved. Then he accepted Christ, and when the Civil War broke out, he went to the front and laid down his life fighting for his country."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dinosaurs, Pride, and Rebellion

It has been a while since I have blogged here. A few months actually, but I wanted to just post an evangelistic adventure that I had at the Tallahassee Mall in July. I do not do much evangelism in the mall, but the times that I have done it have been enjoyable. It makes me nervous when I think about but It is a great place to proclaim the gospel of Jesus as long as the authorities do not try to throw you out ;).

Back in July I went to the Tallahassee Mall with a Pastor do spread information about church services and to do some evangelism. We prayed in the car and then proceeded to head into the mall. As soon as we got to the entrance we approached a young woman smoking a cigarette and invited her to church. I wanted to ask her if she would go to heaven if she died that night, but I did not muster the courage to do so. She was friendly however, said that she was looking for a church. After we talked with her a bit we walked into the mall and saw four teenage boys talking amongst themselves. My Pastor began a conversation with them, and almost immediately one of the boys said that he was an agnostic one of the others said that he only goes to church during the holidays. My Pastor started to explain to him about the main theme of the Bible. the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and why we believe that it is true. The Agnostic then brought up dinosaurs and questioned whether or not they are written in the Bible, but it seemed to us almost like a smoke screen. Then he said that he did not want to be controlled by anything. He wanted to be in control of his own life and did not want the Bible of God dictating the way that he lives his life. That seemed like the root of his unbelief. We reasoned with him some more and told him to consider the things that were spoken to him.

We then continued to walk through mall and approached a jeweler. He said that he already went to a church, so I asked him if he would go to heaven if he died, to which he quickly responded, "I can't talk about that on my job". We courteously said goodbye and told him to have a good day. He seemed like a nice man. Next we saw a man dressed in bicycler's clothing sitting on a bench. I extended to him an invitation to the church service and he refused it saying that he did not have any pockets. Then I asked him if he would go to heaven if he died and he looked at me with a prideful stare and he burst out with laughter. He said that the Bible was a myth and I spent the next 45 minutes trying to reason with him and the gospel was declared to him as well. He was full of pride and said that he used to believe what we believed until he got educated. I continued to patiently reason with him with a smile on my face and with gentleness, but he kept insisting that what we believe is foolishness! I eventually proclaimed the gospel to him and our conversation ended.

So why did I call this post, Dinosaurs, Pride, and Rebellion? Because that is what we came across at the mall. However, my time there reinforced the fact that we can witness anywhere and most of the time people are willing to talk to us about spiritual things. We must make ourselves available and step off in faith and initiate. God is faithful, He will be with us, and He will empower us (Acts 1:8)! Trust Him and go!