4/9/16 Kahlil about 40
Taking the initiative to start a gospel conversation can be scary. How can we be more confident? After all, we never know how people will react. I had no idea yesterday that the African-American man I reached out to at the grocery store yesterday would turn out to be a Sunni Muslim, and grandson of Elijah Muhammed who was the leader of the Nation of Islam and mentor of Malcolm X! His name was Kahlil, and he was friendly enough as we both found much in common between Christianity and Islam, but when our conversation shifted to some of the key differences in our beliefs I had to be well prepared to explain why we believe what we believe as Christians. I was confident in the Lord but also because I am somewhat prepared.
When Paul commanded Timothy to "Preach the Word", his first action step to do this was "be prepared". Just as a soldier would be foolish to go into battle without training, part of our obedience in living out our Great Commision to go and make disciples is to do the work of being prepared. But we live in a consumer culture, where being a victim is becoming more respected than being someone who works hard to overcome obstacles. And that complacent attitude is in our churches as well. We don't share the Gospel much because we don't have confidence. We don't have confidence because we are unprepared. We are unprepared because we didn't intend to share the Gospel in the first place. And we didn't intend to share it in the first place because we were afraid! It can be a viscious circle, but giving into that fear is what victims do. The truth is that although "…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.", we must also "be prepared" in season and out because we don't know who or what sort of situation we will run into.
However, should we wait until we are completely prepared to share the Gospel? Will we ever be? No, because a large part of that preparation is practice. We learn and grow as we step out in faith. And God uses us even as He teaches us when we are faithfully obedient. Paul also told Timothy "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." To handle the word of truth means we need to learn what the Bible says, but we also need to teach it in a way people can relate to. How can we learn to answer the questions people have unless we know what they are? We need a balance of study and putting into practice what we already know. And there are so many great resources out there to take advantage of if we are really serious about sharing the Gospel, especially in this age of technology. The one that has helped me the most has been the ministry atwww.LivingWaters.com. Check it out!