Start locally

Isn’t it interesting how far we’ll go to extend a helping hand?  Think about it – people will donate generously to world hunger relief, and walk by a homeless person in their neighborhood.  We’ve sent incalculable amounts of money to rebuild villages in foreign countries, yet parts of New Orleans still remain in ruins.  It’s ironic, but we omit the opportunities before us in pursuit of those beyond.

The Samaritan woman, however, had the right approach.  When she accepted the Gospel invitation, she immediately ran to share it with others.  Where did she go?  She didn’t book a first-class flight to Africa, Asia, or Europe.  Instead, she went back to her village to start witnessing.  She refused to let her family and friends miss this golden opportunity.

Though we’re called to spread the Gospel to the ends of the world, let’s not forget about our unsaved friends and relatives.  A former Pastor at my church used to say, “Hell is too hot, and heaven is too much to miss.”  Let’s make sure our friends and relatives make it heaven!

Share the GOOD NEWS!

Use your life

As JESUS concluded HIS tenure on earth, HE told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, New Living Translation).  Long story short, HE warned Peter of the forthcoming dangers and that HIS prayers were with him.  The thing that caught my attention was the last part of HIS statement, “… when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  JESUS said, “When you make it through your trials, use your experiences to encourage others.”  Our experiences can impact others.

Like Peter, the Samaritan woman’s life blessed others.  She was so excited after hearing JESUS’ message that she went into the city and started witnessing.  What was her message?  Did she thrill them with theology?  No.  She just used her life: “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!”  She relayed her experience with JESUS and the people rushed to meet HIM.

Did you know your life is a sermon?  Your success, and even your failures, are a testament of JESUS’ love and mercy.  So share what HE’S done for you; you never know who might be touched by your testimony.

Keep talking

Fear, or frustrations from, rejection is another deterrent from witnessing.  Have you ever shared the Gospel with someone who left the offer on the table?  I have, and let me tell you, it’s one of the most disappointing experiences you can have.  Rejections of this sort can be so devastating that you’ll resolve to stop witnessing indefinitely.  Worse, you may conclude that the person, to whom you witnessed, will never change.

JESUS had every reason to stop witnessing after hearing the words cited above.  HE had just pressed the accelerator for witnessing: “”If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10, New Living Translation).  Instead of receiving this offer with joy, the Samaritan woman pressed the brakes, “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep.  Where would you get this living water?” (John 4:11, New Living Translation).  Most of us would have stopped right here, but not JESUS.  HE kept talking, and because HE did, this woman eventually accepted HIS message.  I guess the old saying is true: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

After reading this passage, I’m encouraged (and I hope you are) to keep talking to people, even if they initially reject the message.  Honestly, I didn’t accept the Gospel the first time I heard it, but eventually, I did.  Why?  Because someone kept sharing the good news!

Just talk

I started reading Share Jesus without Fear yesterday, and on page 11, one sentence leaped off the page: “What is your greatest fear about witnessing?”  I thought of a few answers but really settled on one: not knowing what to say.  I mean seriously, how do you start a conversation about JESUS.  Do you just walk up to someone and say, “Hello.  My name is (insert your name), and I’d like to tell you about JESUS.”  Or, do you employ the “fire and brimstone” approach: “Accept JESUS, or go to hell!”  I think not knowing what to say hinders a lot of people from witnessing.

I really enjoyed reading the verse above, for it shows the ease with which you can witness.  JESUS just talked to the Samaritan woman, and an opportunity to witness emerged.  HE didn’t initiate the conversation with heavy theology.  A simple request got the ball rolling: “Please give me a drink.”  And this request paved the way for her salvation.

The point of this recharge is to show you how simple witnessing can be.  You don’t need a script or a collection of catch phrases.  Just talk, and be sensitive to the opportunities that arise.  I guarantee: the people with whom you converse will give you an opportunity to plug JESUS in!

Be blessed …

Be available

I had a divinely directed experience last week.  I forgot to include some of my employees’ hours on our pay period report, so I dashed upstairs to print their hours.  No sooner than I sat down, I heard a knock at the door.  It was one of my former employees.  He’d had a rough night, and as he drove to campus, he felt led to stop by and talk to me.  In less than 5 minutes, we worked through his dilemma.  And the whole interaction happened because I was available – I was in the right place at the right time.

Funny, but JESUS had a similar experience in John 4.  After concluding a “revival” in Judea, HE left for Galilee, a city several miles north.  As HE traveled, HE felt compelled to go through Samaria, which was a big “no-no” during JESUS’ time.  Most Jews held Samaria in such contempt that they’d go miles out of their way to avoid passing through that city.  But JESUS, who listened closely to GOD, travelled through Samaria anyway.  And HIS decision made HIM available for one of the greatest witnessing opportunities in the Bible (which we’ll start dissecting tomorrow).

A major part of witnessing is simply being available – being GOD’S vessel in the right place, at the right time.  So many witnessing opportunities are within reach; be available and let GOD use you to win others.