Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What we did on Saturday...

...We had a wonderful opportunity for evangelism.

I remember that, throughout the week, I had been feeling a little envious of my blog friend Leah, who often shares on her blog the ways she and her family are able to get out in their community and witness to folks. I haven't been actively pursuing opportunities, and I knew that part of my envy was really guilt.

To be honest, it is hard for me to find opportunities to witness - when I leave our home, I am usually (85% of the time) going into Christian circles, which, though this may not be right, switches my mind to "off" mode. In other words, "I don't have to think about telling these folks about salvation." I can relax.

If I want witnessing chances, I have to create them. Which requires a little effort. ...So I often get lazy.

But God is God, and perhaps He took pity on me, and that's why He handed me this witnessing opportunity without me doing anything.

Some friends of ours were hosting a Fall Festival at their church this past Saturday, as an outreach, and they asked my sister Heather and I to help out with the craft tent. They also asked my Dad to do a gospel illusion show.

Heather and I had seats at a table, under the shade of a tent. On the table were a box of beads, bundles of leather strips, and stacks of tracts. We were near the entrance of the festival, and anyone coming in had to walk by the tent. We sat there, and people came to us. Talk about being handed opportunities!

The craft we were making was wordless color bracelets. For those of you unfamiliar with this, the basic idea is that each of five colors represents a part of the gospel, and by telling the person who is doing the craft what each color means, you are able to share the good news. I have seen wordless bracelets used for the easy-believeism method of evangelism, but their usefulness really depends on who is using them.

Anyway...there we sat. Most of the people we helped were little folks - a lot of little girls. We were especially careful when sharing the gospel with these little folks, because it's so easy to get a child to say whatever you want them to say - and just words never saved anyone. In most cases, I simply explained what the gospel was, and left it at that, waiting to see if they were genuinely interested.

Though little girls were our main crowd, a few mothers stopped by as well. I was able to enter into spiritual conversations with a few of them. One in particular stands out in my mind.

Her child wasn't at our tent. But she was simply hot and tired of standing in line at other places, so she came over and jokingly asked if she was too old to do a craft.

"Oh, no. Please, have a seat."

I proceeded to guide her through making a bracelet.

I wish I had the time and memory to recount the entire conversation. The lady was not saved, but seemed to be a little fascinated by the meanings I attached to the colors. Though she could talk all the talk, I don't think she'd ever heard the gospel in its entirety before. Sad, isn't it?

Then, of course, when her conscience began to prick her, she changed the topic from personal salvation, to "church politics," as she called it. She had all sorts of bones to pick with the churches she had been in. I gently told her that all that was unimportant, compared to the destiny of her soul. I again tried to use the ten commandments to help her see herself as a sinner.

Heather says I'm a little too "debating" when I witness to folks. ...I am passionate. I'm praying that I will improve. I don't want anything about me to keep folks from hearing the message. But, to be honest, there's really no lovely way to tell someone they're a sinner. It's a very black picture. It's not me accusing them (I hope) - the Bible is the mirror.

This lady refused to see herself as a sinner. She kept justifying herself. "I'm a lot better now than I used to be. I've changed from what I was." When I asked her if her past had been paid for, she gave me a look.

"I think I've paid for what I've done."

"But living correctly now," I said, though I knew she couldn't be living right without Christ, "won't make up for the times you sinned in your past. The sins are still there."

We seemed to go 'round in circles for a little while. I was praying hard that the Lord would guide me in what to say. I didn't want to debate her. I wanted to see the Holy Spirit convict her.

I guess her conscience had finally had enough. She turned and started...well...attacking me - if that word isn't too strong.

"So, I guess you're perfect, huh? Why are you wearing a skirt? Do you think that saves you? Why do you have long hair? Do you think you're better than everyone with short hair?"

Why this. Why that.

"Do you think you're better than the other denominations? You think the other denominations are saved, but not the Jehovah witnesses and mormons. They believe the same thing you do, but I bet you wouldn't be friends with them. I'm friends with everybody. I think that as long as they have faith in their religion, they'll all end up in the same place."

I believe the same thing as a Jehovah witness and the mormons? (Never mind the fact that they don't even agree with each other.) Where did that come from? We hadn't even talked about denominations, let alone Jehovah witnesses and mormons.

She went on and on, determined to tie as many knots as possible.

I didn't want to take the time to answer every accusation. She needed to realize her need for Christ, not engage in long conversations about issues not even all Christians agree on 100%.

I was reminded of the woman at the well, in Samaria. She, too, wanted to talk about "religion," when Jesus wanted to talk about Himself.

I wish my talk with this lady had ended as well as the talk Jesus had with that women. We didn't have hot words - she and I were both very relaxed during our talk - but she never would come around to the topic I wanted to talk about the most - what she was going to do with the Saviour.

Finally, we had a surge of children come to the tent, and she said she would leave so we would have more seats. I bid her goodbye and thanked the Lord that at least she had heard.


Kathryn said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing that story. I just moved to a small town where a lot of people seem to have a "religious background" I was getting a little stumped in sharing when people "talk the talk" and use very christian-y words but mean something very different. The Lord has been showing me how to get to the heart of the matter and it all comes down to Jesus our Savior! It's hard to get around all the religious distractions people (and the enemy) attempt to throw in the way.

I have a quick, unrelated question for you:
May I include your testimony of your family you shared in comments in Life in a shoe? I wanted to include them in a post today. May I direct people to your blog?

I hope so. Thanks for boldly sharing your families testimony for God's glory. You have shown me a side rarely seen on this important subject.

Amber said...

Kathryn - thank you for the encouragement. Welcome to my blog! Hope you enjoyed your visit, and that you will have many opportunities for witnessing in your community.

So long as you don't edit out anything important, you are more than welcome to use the testimony I shared at Life in a Shoe, and you are free to direct anyone here. I am honored that you would ask. May the story save a child's life.

Kathryn said...

I posted what I had planned on. I'd love it if you would stop by to take a look. :)

Leah said...

Praise the Lord Amber! How wonderful our Lord is to give you such a good opportunity!
I know you know this already but, it really is God who opens the doors for us to witness. He prepares our hearts and gives us the boldness to step out in faith. One of the pieces of armor He gave us to put on is, the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace!
It does take an effort to get out there and witness but, ultimately it boils down to, where is God best glorified in our lives from day to day? Often times that place is at home.
I am currently reading a book by Mark Cahill, "One Thing You Can't do in Heaven". It is very good so far and I am now praying about giving the gospel to more people...like cashiers, librarians, relatives (yikes!) etc.
I am excited for you Amber and praising our wonderful Lord Jesus!
Love in Christ,