Now Drop Your Excuses and Spread Good News
Sometimes we must tell ourselves: “Drop your excuses and spread Good News. Now.” I just heard an incredible story from a friend who does. A few minutes ago I talked to John*. We spoke face to face, even though it was about 9 am for me and 9 pm for him. Thanks to Skype with video, our conversation was almost as personal as if we were sitting across the table from one another. He and I talk every month or so.
John and his wife live in a Muslim country. It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world if you believe the media. He said yesterday he was riding his bicycle home. He noticed a guard standing outside one of the houses in his neighborhood. Dropping numerous possible excuses to keep going, John stopped the bike to talk. Normally after chatting with a new person a few minutes, he asks, “What mosque do you pray at?” This opens the door for a spiritual conversation.
“Isa, I love Isa!”
When John mentioned Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah in Arabic), the man’s face lit up. He said, “Isa, I love Isa!” As they continued talking, John learned that the guard lives in a nearby village. Then he heard something surprising. The guard said he hears many stories about Jesus from the mullah (Islamic leader) in his village. Something significant is going on there and John wants to find out more.
For now, he would focus on helping the guard: “Do you know there is a movie about Isa?” asked John. “It is in your language. You’ll be able to learn even more of the Good News by watching this movie.” He was very interested. “Here, let me give you this SD card for your phone. Now you’ll have the movie.”
Encouraging Further Growth
John’s new friend can watch the Jesus Film. Very soon the two of them will have more to discuss—the Good News acted out word for word from the Book of Luke. John is also eager to know more about this mullah. Where is he in his journey toward Jesus? How might John encourage him and help him grow? Might the mullah be a “person of peace” through whom many in the community would hear the Good News?
John is hopeful. We’ll keep praying together for breakthroughs.
Even in this risky region, John is willing to say to himself: “Drop your excuses and spread Good News.”
Meanwhile, Back in the USA
During our encouraging talk, I enthusiastically told him about my weekend. On Saturday I helped run “Gospel Conversations Training”. It was at a Spanish-speaking church, a 5-minute walk from my home. I live in the U.S., in a metropolitan area of 8 million people. Over 100 languages are spoken here.
I described to John how we start spiritual conversations with people we meet. We ask if there is a personal need or a family need we can pray for. If so, we pray. Next, we share our testimony in about a minute, and then ask, “Do you have a story like that–when God became real to you?” From there we explain the Good News if they are open. After they hear the Gospel, we ask, “What about you? Are you near to God or far from God?”
I continued. “Just before the lunch break, we formed 6 teams with English speakers and Spanish speakers to go out together to share.” We realize many people at that moment begin to think of excuses to avoid this part. Laughingly we say, “Now drop your excuses. Let’s share the Gospel together.”
John asked, “Did anyone come to the Lord?” Joyfully I replied, “Yes! I got to pray with a young man who wanted Jesus in his life. Another team talked with a couple walking with their baby in a stroller. They also decided to follow Jesus. There was a fourth person too. Five other people want to hear more. This week we are working on follow up.”
As our Skype call was wrapping up we scheduled our next call. Then John encouraged me. “What a difference it makes to have a leader like you who is actively doing evangelism and disciple-making. Sometimes I talk with leaders who are not doing it. It gets awkward. Maybe they feel guilty, I don’t know. But pretty soon we change the subject.”
What Are Your Excuses?
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples….” Those instructions are for all of us. But I’ve allowed myself excuses. My most common was: “I’m too busy”. Week after week would pass and I’d not gotten out to share my faith. It was like being trapped in my own Christian world.
I needed to tell myself, “Drop your excuses and spread Good News.” What I also needed was at least one partner who could help me do that right here where I live. I’ve learned that having someone to team up with for evangelism makes all the difference.
With this help, I’ve dropped the excuses, I am active locally in spreading Good News. Through partnering, we encourage one another to go. We make plans and progress together—in ways we probably wouldn’t have by ourselves.
What about you? What excuses do you have? “I don’t know what to say.” “I don’t know where to go.” “I don’t know who can help me.” Will you turn from those old excuses and find your way to following Jesus into His harvest across the street or across the world?
Would you stop riding your bike to talk to a man on the side of the road? John would. I would.
Do you know what to say to begin a spiritual conversation? John does. I do.
Do you know how to train a new believer? We do.
Learn, Practice, Do
Everyone can be a disciple-maker! If you need help, find a friend to team up with. Learn some simple skills, practice with each other, then go do it. Learn from each encounter. Keep going. Enjoy the exhilaration of working in the Harvest with Jesus. Let’s drop our excuses and make disciples. And let’s help our disciples do the same.
*Not his real name