Welcome back to Ignite.
You know, that In addition to all of the scriptures that make it abundantly clear that God has mandated that we share our faith – AND all of the scriptures that explain how blessed we are and happy we are – when we do it . . . we want to show you what faith-sharing actually looks like. I mean – Real Life Faith Sharing. From Real-Life Experiences.
The Series “The Chosen” that most of us are watching these days – presents a different Jesus from what we normally take from the scriptures. Because of the weight of scripture, we automatically think of Jesus as being very serious – like – all the time serious!
But people flocked to Jesus! Kids flocked to Jesus. When you love on people – you smile on people – and Jesus loved everyone – more than anyone. You know He smiled a lot – and laughed a lot – like no one else has ever done. And when we share our faith, we need to be like Him . . . and allow Him – His Holy Spirit – to attract people to us BECAUSE of our joy. – BECAUSE of His Love For Them!
Jesus said: They will know you’re My Disciple by your love. And you can’t script love. It has to be automatic AND it has to be genuine.
I got in a taxi (Detroit Taxi Story)
Now did I get that Taxi Driver Saved? Of course not! I only had 7 minutes with him. But did I move him closer to Jesus! OH YEAH! I may have stopped him from committing suicide that day. But for sure, I set him up for the next Christian to take him the next step down the road to Salvation. That’s how God Works! It’s a Team Sport!
And as I walked away from that Taxi, I looked up as – I always do after an unexpected Divine Encounter – and felt Jesus smiling at me – and saying Good Job Barry! I put that man in your life and you were ready – and you allowed me to speak to him through you. Well done!
And the Joy of the Lord is my strength. Think about it! I gave God Joy! That’s incredible! I can give God Joy! You can give God Joy! And the Joy of the Lord – is our Strength! If you’re feeling weak in your walk with the Lord, it’s your own fault – for not doing the No. 1 thing God’s Called you to do . . . being a witness . . . so that You Will Believe!
I walked away from that Taxi, as I do every faith-sharing experience, with a bounce in my step knowing God’s using me – and I’m giving Him Joy! Wow! There’s nothing else in the human experience that compares with that.
Honestly! Hear me! If you’re not sharing your faith, you’re missing out on the Joy – that only comes from loving God with all your heart and soul and mind and energy – and always being ready to tell people about Him. When you’re all in with God – you’re all out telling everyone about Him – and your timidity goes away, no matter how timid you are. I was an introvert before I started sharing my faith!
And you never know when an opportunity presents itself, even for a moment. I was in a Detroit Hotel – and stepped into an elevator full of very large black men, far larger than me, with their beards and tattoos and gold chains – staring at me – feeling very insignificant.
But I felt the nudge and said: Hey, do you know God Loves You? They looked at each other like – say what. That was the last thing they expected to hear from this white boy.
And when they looked back at me totally puzzled, I said, isn’t that cool, to know God loves you, and He loves you as much as He’s ever loved, anybody.
That’s when the doors opened to my floor, I stepped out, smiled, and said, God, Bless You Guys! And when the door closed, I yelled “Yes”. As strange and unexpected that was, I just moved those guys closer to Jesus. How many times will they tell that story – of some old white Dude – who got on the elevator with them and told them that God loves them. Did I get them saved? No Way! Did I move them closer to Jesus! You Bet!
It’s amazing how often you can work “God Loves You” into conversations: God Loves You or Do You know how much God loves you. It’s so easy! And guess what? People don’t get mad at you from telling them that God loves them. It’s probably what they want to hear more than anything else – that God loves them – in spite of what they’ve done.
It’s so sad, but lots of times people refuse to believe it, saying: “No, He couldn’t love me. Not, after all, I’ve done”. And it’s like a healing salve to a wound – or fresh water on parched ground – to pour out God’s love on someone who’s hurting. Who feels far from God! And today, almost everyone is hurting. The need for moving everyone, every day closer to Jesus has never been more urgent – or pervasive.
I almost always fly with my wife, Karen, and we both know God’s always up to something when things don’t go according to plan. And on one of those flights, when we didn’t sit together, I was anxious to see who would sit beside me. Turned out it was a girl in her mid-twenties and I went about starting a conversation.
Over time, you find ways to insert God into every conversation quickly and easily without raising eyebrows.
When she asked what I do, I answered God has given me an amazing business-making car wax that He’s grown beyond my wildest dreams. And then I quickly changed topics without allowing her time to respond. That takes the pressure off.
If I did nothing else but love on this girl, in Jesus’ Name, for the remainder of the flight, she would have departed knowing she just met a good person who’s a Christian. Just that, moves unbelievers who normally don’t like Christians, closer to Jesus. If all of us would move everyone, every day closer to Jesus, we’d ignite America with Revival in record time.
But in this case, she opened up and admitted she believed in God but wasn’t close to Him. By the time I inquired why I had earned her trust and she told me her story.
I’m telling you, you can’t script these conversations, because you have no idea where they’re going to go. How many times have you hyperventilated over a conversation you’re about to have with someone who needs Jesus. And then the conversation goes an entirely different direction. You can’t force those conversations into the mold of your prepared speech. So stop trying!
Just love on people and watch the Holy Spirit speak through you to that person’s need, using information from your own database that you may not have thought about for years. And every time that happens, regardless of what happens to the person you’re sharing with, YOUR FAITH will explode and your joy will be full. And that’s why God wants your focus on moving everyone, every day closer to Jesus.
See you next time!