Sunday, September 23, 2007
On Dec. 31, 2006 I got to witness a great conversation between a Charismatic and a non-practicing Muslim. We got in the cab at the Denver International Airport and rode to a hotel in Denver. The complete conversation took about 20 minutes. This is a paraphrase of what I can remember.
When we got in the cab the music was loud and sexually descriptive. The cab driver appeared to be a recent immigrant from somewhere in Africa. We asked him to turn off the radio, which he did without argument and then my friend went to work.
Friend: Where are you from?
Driver: I am from Djibouti.
Friend: Where is that?
Driver: Northeast part of Africa.
Friend: Have you seen the coke commercial where the guy says that the Capital of Djibouti is Djibouti?
Friend: Is the Capital of Djibouti, Djibouti?
Driver: Yes, yes it is.
Friend: Have you found any good churches around here?
Driver: Oh, no, no. I am Muslim.
Friend: Have you found any good Mosks around here?
Driver: Oh, no, no. I am not a practicing Muslim. There is a place I go on Friday nights sometimes but not really. I don’t really know my religion.
Friend: Do you know anything about Jesus?
Driver: Oh, Yes! I know that one. Jesus was a good prophet!
Friend: Cool. Jesus was a good prophet. Great. What did He teach?
Driver: Hum? I don’t know.
Friend: I do. Would you like me to tell you what He taught?
Friend: He taught that He is God.
Driver: NO! NO! Jesus is not God. Jesus is just a good prophet!
Friend: I can show you in the Bible where Jesus taught that He is God, if you like?
Driver: No, no. I trust you that it is there.
Friend: OK. Then, if Jesus is a good prophet and He taught that He is God, then He must be God or if He is not God then He must not be a good prophet. He must be a false prophet. So I think we can logically conclude that there in no way Jesus can be just a good prophet.
Driver: I never thought of it that way before.
Friend: So do you think He is a false prophet or do you think He is God?
Driver: I don’t know. I will have to study this.
Friend: Excellent. I encourage you to read both your Koran and the Bible and continuously ask God to show you who Jesus really is. I firmly believe He will give you a good answer.
Driver: I will have to do that.
My friend gave him some money to buy his first Bible and the driver assured us he would buy a Bible and try to answer this question. I got to witness a man change from a non-seeker into a seeker. It was pretty cool for a 20 minute cab ride.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
I am committed to help people develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I do so by encouraging Bible Study with Life Applications, praying continuously, fellowship with other believers, and witnessing in word and deed.
What does a personal relationship with Jesus Christ mean?
Pretty much the same as you have a relationship with anyone else. (1) You talk to them, (2) you listen to them, (3) you make their concerns your concerns and (4) they make your concerns their concerns.
(1) We talk to Jesus just by talking. He is always listening. Most people call this prayer and it really messes up the way they talk. I have recently tried to change my language with Jesus from formal to friendly. Instead of “Dear God please forgive me,” I am starting to use “Sorry Jesus, I bet that must have hurt you.”
(2) Jesus speaks to us through the Bible, through coincidence, through our sense of right and wrong, and by faith.
Bible - The Bible has much to say so we must read it. It will influence the way we think (a renewal of the mind) and adjust our sense of right and wrong.
Coincidence – Once I was fasting and was having a miserable time of it. As I got home I asked God if I should continue the fast or break it. When I opened the door I saw my wife standing there with a plate of BBQ Chicken. If she had just gone to the trouble of making BBQ Chicken (she rarely cooks), then there is no way I was telling her I couldn’t eat because I was fasting. I took the coincidence to mean God was saying it was OK to break the fast.
Sense of Right and Wrong – Ever heard of a conscience?
Faith – My sister told me a story once of how she and some of her office workers had purchased the same outfits for work. She says she prayed every morning for God to show her which outfit to wear that day so that she would not be wearing the same outfit as her co-workers that day. She owned 5 outfits and never wore the same outfit twice in one week nor wore the same outfit on the same day as a co-worker in the year that she was in that office. She did not hear words or have any light shine on the outfit. She just prayed and then made a decision, having faith that God would lead her to the correct one.
(3) By reading the Bible, we begin to learn what concerns God. Much of it is tied up in Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself. By practicing the disciplines below you begin to change from the inside out into a more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled person. You don’t have to think about how you should behave as a Christian, you just do because it becomes part of you.
(4) If God is concerned enough to find an outfit for my sister then I think you can be pretty sure that God is concerned about your problems too.
Bible Study with Life Applications – If you have never read the Bible then just read it. Don’t worry about study yet, just get The Word inside you. After reading it once then we can go back and start to study and memorize scripture. Life Applications doesn’t just mean that there is great advice in the Bible (which there is), but it also means that if you memorize scripture then you have a weapon to use when temptation appears. When temptation arrives you get your mind on the Word that you have memorized and the temptation will pass. Try it, you’ll like it.
Praying Continuously – I define this as taking captive every thought into the obedience of Jesus Christ. So if you are at work and you are concentrating on your work as if you are doing it unto the Lord, then even though you are not talking to God or even thinking directly about God, you are still in a Jesus mindset, therefore praying continuously. The times when I am not focused on work or in conversation with someone, then I sing songs to God to keep my thoughts in obedience.
Fellowship – It is just a strong human tendency that people become like and behave like the people they hang around with. So hang around with people who love Jesus.
Witnessing in word– I have been given a beautiful witnessing technique. Whenever I am in conversation with someone, I try very hard to get words like church, Sunday School, Pastor, or Seminary into the conversation. If the other person is interested in talking such things then they will pick up on those words and ask questions. Now I have the right to speak and I know I have an interested party to speak to. If the person ignores such language and keeps the conversation on whatever it was, then at least that person knows that I am not ashamed and I am also not pushy. When the person is ready to talk, I am someone that is approachable.
I took awhile to get to the point of witnessing and in doing so I think I have defined the bare minimum at what you should know before you begin to witness. I think there are only two questions you must be able to answer before you begin. One, is How do you become a Christian? If you don’t know the answer to that then how do you know you are one? Two, Why are you a Christian? Other than those two questions, I think you can answer all other questions with, I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you.
Witnessing in deed – Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. What do you leave in your wake; Goodness and mercy or struggle and conflict? Just pay attention to each interaction with other people and try to leave them with a feeling of goodness and mercy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.