5/19/14 Luis about 35
Time for a mid-course correction! Five years ago, I began to intentionally reach out to people with the Gospel on a daily basis because I realized that we as believers are called to “go” to the world, rather than just expect the world to come to us and to our meetings. With that in mind I reached out to Luis, a young father out smoking on his front steps as I was walking by on the other side of the street. I crossed over and engaged him in conversation, finding him to be very open to talking about eternal things even though he admitted he almost never even thinks about it on his own. Because he isn’t legally married he believes he would be rejected by a church, but he sees himself as a responsible provider for his girlfriend and their three children and a good person in general. I took him through an explanation of the Gospel, helping him to see his sin in areas other than the marriage issue and his need for forgiveness, and explaining how that forgiveness can be found through faith in Christ. Like so many people, Luis intellectually agreed with the Gospel, but I didn’t see that personal sense of conviction needed for him to truly repent and believe. And, like I have done for so many people, I gave him more to read and left my church and contact information, inviting him to call me with any questions and to visit our church. Luis was very positive about it all and well intentioned, but I have seen this before. I have been glad to be able to plant a seed of truth in people’s lives, and I know I must trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, but rarely has anyone called me back or visited church. It has finally sunk in that the same expectation I began with – that non-believers need us believers to be the ones to take the initiative – should be the same expectation I have after an initial gospel conversation. They may have intellectually agreed to the tenants of the Gospel, but they are still non-believers. They don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit that we believers have received when we were born-again of the Spirit. They don’t have the internal strength of the Spirit - just His external influence – so they are not usually bold enough to pick up that phone and make that call, or to darken the doorway of a strange and unfamiliar church, or even to open a Bible in front of their family members. Our American culture may have at one time been more influential in helping non-believers make these steps, but this is increasingly not so today. I think they need our help. They need us to take more of an initiative than that first outreach conversation. I’m not sure exactly what this is going to look like, but that is the mid-course correction I need to make!