If God keeps waiting on the Church, this world will never be saved. Let’s face the facts: they’re distracted and we’re paralyzed. You know it’s true.
There’s so much buzz in church circles about relationships and building bridges to lost friends, but mostly what comes out of all that chill chatter is generalities and coffee conversations. If that celebrated bridge ever gets underway, it’s generally another bridge to nowhere. Maybe it’s partly due to growing urbanization and the oppressive idea of tolerance, but Jesus feels like a very offensive topic, even to people in the church. His name may be the last taboo.
- We’re afraid we’ll mention faith too soon and turn them off.
- We fear we’ll be too direct and friends will feel judged.
- What if they ask a question and I can’t answer?
- It would be embarrassing if I got through my whole testimony and the only reply was, “So what?”
I’ve struggled with the same anxieties here along the Washington DC Beltway where people are very secular and overly sensitive. After a lot of prayer, discouragement, and struggle, I’ve found a better way: Let Jesus do it. He’s always more convincing when he uses his own words. It’s not your job to argue with people. Introduce them to Jesus!
FIRST: Find an opening in the conversation and ask, “Have you ever met Jesus?” If your friend gives you a funny look, break the tension with a big laugh, and then add, “I’m serious. He wants to meet you.” Listen kindly for the next couple of minutes until they ask, in one way or another, what you’re talking about.”
This is not a trick question. It’s not about being lost or found; not about being saved or condemned. In a world where people talk about relationships all the time, you’re just wondering if they’ve met someone you happen to love and adore.
SECOND: Don’t lecture. Smile again and gently say something like this: “The Bible is like a letter from God. He makes this promise to actually reveal himself to people who ask. So I was just wondering if that ever happened to you?”
In case you’re unsure, this is absolutely true. Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Think about Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” My personal favorite is Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” There’s a ton of verses like this. Just remember one in case someone asks if the Bible really says that.
THIRD: Suggest an experiment. Without trying to sound like your pastor encourage your friend to simply ask Christ to reveal himself, maybe for a month or so. He can take a moment every day and simply pray, “Jesus, please reveal yourself to me. I want to know you.” Or better yet, read the Gospel of Luke, one chapter every day. Then simply pause and ask Jesus Christ to show up.
Ask your friend if it’s okay if you check in after 30 days to find out what happened. Tell him that Jesus Christ has always kept his word with you, and you’re wondering what might happen with him (or her.) Here’s the amazing secret.
- In a friendly, non-threatening way, you’ve invited someone to talk to God every day.
- Without being judgmental, you have suggested daily Bible reading.
- There’s a good chance you’ve created some curiosity.
- Isaiah 55:11 promises God’s Word “shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.”
FINALLY, spend the following month praying for your friend. Then follow up as promised. In 30 days, create another opportunity to chat and ask your friend what happened. You haven’t tried to argue anyone into Heaven or jam anything down someone else’s throat. You’ve simply let Jesus say it in his own way.
Let me know what happens.
And lift up the Cross!