Monday, 28 December 2015

Simple steps to sharing your faith

How do you share the gospel with non-believers?  For many people they struggle with how to share their faith with those around them and so I would like to share some simple things that help me in sharing the gospel with the people I come in contact with, that may or may not help you.

1.  Relationship
Firstly the only way to share anything with someone is through relationship.  Showing that you care for them as a person not just as someone to convert.   They matter, as a person, and that you want to help them in their situation.  You need to meet them where they are at and relate to them on their level.
For example; years ago we lived in Mahoenui, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night a man and his girlfriend turned up at our doorstep in the middle of a domestic dispute where he was drinking and being abusive and she was afraid.  To meet him where he was at and to listen to him and cool the situation down, when he offered me a beer I took one from him and that opened the door for him to talk to me and to settle him down until the police arrived.  Now I am not suggesting that you drink to excess or anything but what I am saying is that you meet people where they are, in their point of need, in a way that gains you favour to be able to speak into their lives. 

2.  Listening
People followed Jesus because he met their need and they were satisfied, not because of the healings often but because he met them where they were.
Part of meeting their need is listening, not just to the words coming out of their mouth, but listening to what is actually on in the heart. 
When people feel they are being listened to, they will share the deep issues of life and that is where Jesus can meet their needs when nothing else can.

Both of these things, building relationship and listening can happen in two minutes while talking to someone for the first time.  It is simply a matter of taking the time to put them first and listening to what is going on in their world,
making them feel valuable and at ease.  This may not come naturally for you so don’t get discouraged when you step up into this, if it doesn’t go according to plan.  Keep going and it will become a part of who you are after a time.  Like driving a car, initially, you fumble, you make mistakes, but you keep going because you want to drive the car.  Well it is the same with sharing and building relationship with people, keep going and eventually like driving a car, it will become natural and something you don’t even need to think about and that is when you will have the most success, as it is simply a part of who you are.

3.  Point of Contact          
When listening to people there will always be something that you can connect with or understand what they are talking about.  We all have common things in life, whether it be family, children, health issues, finances, whatever it may be and it is as you are listening and building relationship that you see those common areas to both of you and areas that you can relate to that bring that connection that makes you ‘normal’ and not a ‘Christian trying to make a convert’.  Just be you, be a person who is real that others can relate to.   Be a person that people enjoy spending time with you not wanting to run away from you.
When that connection is made and you have been listening to their heart issues, relate it to your own life and how Jesus has helped you in those situations.

For example:
Building relationship - General conversation with a person and the questions that came:
The other day I was at a shoe shop, got chatting with the assistant and she was wearing a cross, but I also noticed her finger had some health issue on it. 
So in general conversation, I asked her because of her cross if she was a Christian and also asked her about her finger.  While listening to her I picked up that she had been a catholic in years gone by but no longer went to church or was a Christian.  But was now sending her children to a catholic school.  And in regards to her finger, she had tried everything and nothing had helped.

Listening and finding the point of contact – sharing of testimony and action of faith:
I too had been brought up a Christian and walked away and so it opened the way for me to share my testimony of how I came back to the Lord and my life that has followed since.
I mentioned about her finger and shared testimony of how someone I knew was healed of the same condition except hers was all over her body and asked if  could I pray for her finger.  All this time there was no one else in the shop but as we got talking about healing, someone came into the shop and because I didn’t want to embarrass her I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but she did allow me quickly to lay hands on her finger and I gave a simple prayer of healing, something like ‘Jesus heal her finger’.

Just believe and do not doubt.
We need to know that there is power in sharing your testimony and testimony of others where Jesus has made an impact in their lives.  We need to simply step out in faith with what we have and let Jesus do the rest.  You don’t know what seeds you have sown but know that every seed sown will bear fruit.
I remember the name of the shop assistant and now I am praying for complete healing over her finger at home and praying that she will come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And I know that the prayer offered in faith will produce fruit.
You may get opportunity to share more and lead them to Jesus, but whatever happens leave people in a more positive outlook on Jesus than when they first began.  If you start getting ‘pushy’ with people you will probably only push them away from Jesus instead of leading them to him.

Two things I need to address:

1.  Those who want to know nothing about Jesus or the ‘church’.
2.  Those who don’t believe in healing.

The first scenario, those who want to know nothing about Jesus or the church is often reacting out of some hurt or un-forgiveness towards someone involved in the church or hope where they have been let down.

I remember in Auckland standing outside a fish and chip shop and there was a busker singing songs on a guitar.  We got chatting and we asked him what songs he played, he said he played all songs except ‘those Christian songs’  he would far rather play ‘hell songs’ than Christian ones.  Really good beginning!  A closed heart to anything Christian it seemed.  Obviously wounded by the church or someone in it.  It didn’t put us off but it very well could of!  But instead we realized how hurt he had been by the church and so for us it was a point of contact that asked more questions opening up his heart.  We will often get hurdles that we need to jump over and not be put off by.

So after asking a few more questions we realized he never knew a gospel of love.  He had never known the love of God but only ever felt the rejection and judgment of those in church and so for us it was an opportunity in which to share testimony and truth of the gospel of Jesus.
We shared testimony of God’s love for us and we asked him if we could pray for him that God would show him how much he loved him.  He allowed us to pray for him on the street!  From a man who was closed to anything Christian, God opened up his heart and he allowed us to pray for him. 

Once again we don’t know the outcome of those seeds sown but I have to believe the prayer that we prayed for him to have a revelation of God’s love for him, came, because God always backs up the prayer offered in faith.

The second scenario:  Those who don’t believe in healing.

Many many people don’t believe in healing, Christians and non-Christians alike.  But our God is a god who heals.  We may not have seen all the healings we pray for but scripture tells us that is God’s desire for us to be healed.  Many times it’s our own incorrect theologies or experiences that limit our understanding and belief systems.  It is not God’s desire for sickness or infirmity.  So I encourage you to check out scriptures on healings and build yourself up in the faith.  Jesus healed all who came to him.  And we need to be a people who ‘believe’ if not by sight, then by faith.
That aside, how do you share with people who don’t believe in healing yet need a miracle?
1.  Firstly you need to know what you believe on healing.
2.  You need to remember the testimonies of all the healings God has done in your life and in those around you.  Because those testimonies are there and once again there is power in the testimony as it builds peoples faith up to believe for a healing for themselves.
3.  Because you know God is a good God and he loves to show his power through healings, especially to non-believers.
4.  Don’t be put off at the first hurdle and even if you pray and don’t see the healing miracle happen, keep on believing and don’t fall into discouragement.

So if you come across someone in need of healing, once again go through the initial steps above of building relationship, listening and sharing testimony that is relevant to where they are at and simply offer to pray for them.  It is his or her choice and you cannot force someone to receive prayer.  Often times we can see people who need healing on a physical level and so we ‘aim’ for that, but after listening to them and caring for them ‘as a person’, might find that actually healing needs to happen in a family relationship that is broken, or some other arena and I often find that if you deal with the emotional issue that is there, you will often see the physical healing come in time.

People who are sick also sometimes have nothing to lose by receiving your prayer as they have ‘tried everything else’ and they are desperate for a miracle.  Always remember it is not “YOU” who heals them, it is ‘JESUS’.  We can do nothing in our own strength.  Any healing, any miracle, always comes from Jesus and remember to give Him the glory and say to people, it is not I who healed you but Jesus who loves you, healed you.  This in turn opens them up to know more about who this Jesus is who loves them and healed them.
The same things goes if someone is not healed, know that your prayer offered in faith is answered, whether you see it or you don’t.  It is not dependant on you but on Jesus, he is the healer, he knows what people need at any given point.

For more on how to step out in evangelism and sharing your faith, there are many resources that can help you either on the internet or in books.  I encourage you to learn and grow in this arena in your life if you are not currently walking in it.   The gift of prophecy is especially helpful in opening people’s hearts to receive Jesus and so if you are not already moving in this gift, then I encourage you to learn about prophecy as well as a tool for evangelism.

Matt 28:18-20 is known as the “Great Commission” to believers.  We are all called to this, not just a few who have a gift of evangelism, all Christians are called as a disciple of Christ to make disciples.

Then Jesus came to them and said. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

May you be blessed abundantly as you grow and step out in faith sharing with those around you, the free gift that you have received in Christ.