7/24/12 Juan, Peter about 40, 50
On Sunday I initiated a Gospel conversation with Juan, a middle-aged man I met at the park. He had some church background, but needed to have the Gospel clearly explained because its simple message had been lost in the confusion of many religious traditions that conflict with biblical teachings. Juan didn't have a Bible of his own so I gave him a Spanish New Testament. I told him what I have told a lot of people - that beginning Bible readers should start with the Gospels and the life and teachings of Jesus. On my way home, however, I began to question myself. Would the New Testament really make sense without the foundation established in the Old Testament? Fortunately Juan already knew many of the foundational teachings about God and our rebellion against Him established in Genesis, and the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus. But not everyone knows or understands these events. People from other world religions have a very different world view, but even people living in close proximity to Christians need the basic teachings of the Old Testament explained to them as part of a complete Gospel presentation. Today at a grocery store coffee shop I asked Peter, about 50, about his spiritual beliefs. He believes in God and calls himself a Catholic, but rejects any notion of life after death. "Once you're dead, that's it, so you should try to get the most out of life that you can while you're still alive" he said. After going through some basic facts about the reliability of the Bible in answer to some of his questions, I asked "Would God create people for no purpose, just for us to live for a few years and then cease to exist? If we do have a purpose here, wouldn't He reveal it to us somehow? The Bible teaches that there is a purpose for our existence, and it began way back in the Garden of Eden..." From there I began to share the "big picture" of the Bible that begins in Genesis. Comparing the two men, Juan had a much more solid foundation to build on as I shared the Gospel, but Peter needed that foundation to be established first. We need to listen and learn where people are at in their understanding in order to know where to begin. Some may need to start at the beginning. Are you ready to share the Old Testament foundations of your faith?