9/30/10 Eli, about 30
Although I don't take a "canned" approach to gospel conversations, I do have a general direction in which I'd like the conversation to go - from acknowledging our appointment with eternity and helping the person take personal responsibility for their sin and need for forgiveness, to sharing God's love and the way of salvation in Jesus. I met Eli on the sidewalk today and started a conversation by saying, "Excuse me, can I ask you an interesting question?" I found out he was so confident of ending up in heaven that he never thinks about the things of God and rarely goes to his church's mass anymore. I told him "most people believe they will go to heaven, but Jesus said the road is wide 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) In fact, though most churches rarely talk about it, Jesus warned about hell 33 times in the 4 gospels. If He took it that serious, maybe we should too. Of course no one likes to talk about it, but ignoring hell won't make it go away." This got Eli's attention. I know because at first he talked while looking away, down the street, probably thinking about where he needed to go. But now he looked at me, and we had a heartfelt conversation. He agreed, at least on the level of mental assent, that he needs to get into a right relationship with God, and I challenged him to repent and put his trust in Jesus today.