9/8/15 Brad early 30’s
“So what do you think of Pastor _______?” -asked Brad, a limo driver I reached out to during his lunch break at a McDonald’s. He was talking about a TV preacher known for his perpetual smile. “He sure has a positive message!” Brad said. He told me he didn’t like organized religion but said he likes the popular preacher because of his positive and uplifting message. We had been talking for a while about the Gospel and Brad wanted to know what I thought of this particular preacher. I try to avoid criticizing preachers or churches, but Brad had been so strong in his criticism of organized religion that this question really was my only chance to explain the Gospel. I could share the Gospel by explaining what this preacher leaves out in his efforts to be positive and uplifting. I began with an analogy: “Let’s say there are some swimmers in a river and I throw them a life preserver from a bridge and tell them they need to grab on to it in order to survive. They just laugh at me and tell me I’m just trying to spoil all their fun. But I can see that they are actually being swept toward a deadly waterfall, and grabbing on the life preserver is their only chance to be saved. So in order to get them to listen to the good news that if they grab on to the life preserver they will be saved, I have to tell them the bad news that they are swimming in dangerous waters and will perish in the waterfall without it. In the same way, the good news of the Gospel really only makes sense if we understand what the bad news is. Being saved through faith in Jesus really only makes sense when we realize that we are not saved without Him. That’s why John the Baptist was sent to help prepare people with the “negative” news that we need to repent and realize our need for forgiveness.” If Jesus is to be our Savior, than we must realize we need to be saved. Belief in Jesus can be so much more than some happy message about having our best life now. Because of Jesus, we have hope for heaven! And that is something to smile about!