It is amazing, and sometimes surprising, how many people are receptive to discussing what it means to have a relationship with the Lord and become a follower of Jesus. So many people today seem to be resistant to institutional religion, even institutionalized Christianity. However, they are open and eager to explore what it means to know God personally and discover a relevant relationship with Him. Time and time again we see how the Holy Spirit bears witness to His Word, the Story(s) of Jesus, when presented in an appropriate manner. It’s not complicated, and it is something we can all participate in. Appropriate Orality Training equips people to do so.
Many are Interested in Knowing God Personally
“Have you noticed any signs of spiritual awakening?” That question, asked of an airport shopkeeper, opened the door to an interesting and meaningful conversation about the Lord. The young lady began to share with me about her upbringing in Ireland and the religious conflict in that country over the years. She had become discouraged and somewhat disillusioned because of the lack of Christ-like character among the professing Christians she had been exposed to. However, she was very interested in hearing about and experiencing a personal and intimate relationship with the Living God.
Focus on the Few, to Impact the Many
It’s important to recognize the principle we learn from the parable of the Sower, recorded in Mark chapter 4, and seek to discern the condition of people’s hearts and their level of interest. The hard, shallow or crowded hearts will respond very differently than the fertile, receptive hearts. That doesn’t mean we should not sow the Seed of God’s Word in all of those, but once we discover the open, receptive and fertile hearts, we can focus more time and attention on them. In other words, we should sow widely, but focus more on those who demonstrate openness, interest and curiosity, and have a teachable spirit and attitude.
Connecting and Listening
A few years ago I had a lengthy layover in London’s Heathrow Airport and had the opportunity to engage three different people in conversations about the Lord. All three were interested and open to discussing their spiritual interests. While each of them shared some of their negative experiences about religion, they were receptive and interested in learning more about the life, Spirit and teachings of Jesus. One of them was a lady who said she loves Jesus, but was not yet a follower of Him. I could have very easily missed those opportunities, had I not simply asked questions and listened. Listening to people, and listening to the Holy Spirit’s witness in our hearts, are both important in being effective ambassadors of Christ.
Focus on Jesus
Many times we have to get past people’s preconceived ideas about religion, church and/or Christianity, and focus on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. Sadly, many in the Church, or institutionalized Christianity, do not demonstrate the Spirit and character of Jesus. In addition, the majority of professing Christians do not show a passion for sharing Jesus. A study conducted years ago showed that the vast majority of professing Christians have never led another person to faith in Christ. Someone has said that there are probably more lost people who are prepared in their hearts to respond and receive Jesus, than there are believers/followers who are actively reaching out with the love and truth of Jesus.
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SOURCE: Assist News