Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Evangelism" at Your Door

The doorbell answer to find "door to door evangelists" from a false faith at your doorstep. You can (1) slam the door, (2) say "no thanks, I've already got a God" or (3) listen to their words, and when they bring out a Bible, bring out yours (unaltered by false religious editing) and read the Scriptures they discuss from your Bible. If they give you a pamphlet, make sure to have a tract or a Christian book to hand them, as a "gift" for their kindness. Listen, and wait for the opportunity to speak life - God's Word - into their lives.

I've given away many copies of "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby to those who would accept the gift. You can also ask them to give their testimony (get off the track of the argumentative script that is usually followed, pointing out obscure facts to get you flustered) and even better, ask them who Jesus is, and what the gospel means to them. Maybe, just maybe, it will give you a chance to share the gospel with them - if we are willing to listen, they may in turn listen to our view - which may plant an eternal seed never to be snatched away.

Anyhow, after talking awhile, when you reach a point where there is no more listening on the part of the visitor (usually happens quickly when you actually try to dialogue - it gets them off track from the script), agree to disagree (which they usually won't), promise to pray for them (which they will not like) and then actually commit to praying for the salvation of the people who God brought to your door. See the verbal exchange as a gift from God - not a hassle. It is an honor to have a lost soul standing at our door, inviting themselves to talk to us. God brought them to our door!

Will this scenario always work? Not sure. Does it work for me? Well, I'm still wondering. Wondering doesn't stop me though. I press on to share the gospel, no matter where I might be. I know that God's Word never, I mean never, returns void. Why am I on this soapbox? Let me share a story with you...

There was a guy that came to a neighbor's door six months ago. I was visiting the neighbor, and wound up talking to the "evangelist" on that doorstep. Today, the same guy rang my doorbell. He recognized me (and instantly tensed, since during the last exchange, when I promised to pray for him, he quickly marched down the sidewalk shouting, "Don't pray for me! Don't pray for me!" (and I softly but boldly responded that I would definitely be praying, because NOT praying for him would not be on my head...) And then I prayed for him.

So today we talked about some other points of his "faith" he wanted to point out "according to Scripture". I responded with Biblical truth, and explained the context and consistent meaning of the passages they had taken out of context to justify the prophecies they followed. After some dialogue (more talking than last time) I asked him to agree to disagree since he was getting pretty mad at me, and he said nothing - just displayed a smirk. I guess he claimed victory, when in reality, he continued to live in defeat.

I asked him why he was so defensive - and truly (with a grieving in my heart for him that only the Lord could have placed) told him I loved Him through Christ, and I would be praying for him - and he again asked me not to. He pleaded with me not to. Why? Because he said, firmly, "I don't know the God you pray to." Doesn't it just break your heart? Oh, how I wish He knew Our Creator God. Our All Sufficient God. Our God of Grace - not of works. Our God who never ever ever stands on false prophecies - but is always truth. The God who says a false prophecy makes a false prophet. A God who has either a literal hell or a literal heaven awaiting each of us; our destination to be decided at the throne of judgment. A God who says that if we know not the Father, we know not the Son - and without the Son, there is no salvation. Oh how I wish he knew Jesus. The Jesus who, one day, will have every knee bowing, and every tongue confessing that He is Lord.

My response to my new friend's request for no prayer? Simple - "Well, since God has brought you to me twice, I'll definitely keep praying, and I guarantee, if He crosses our paths again, I'll be praying even more."

How can I not?

He refused to touch any gift or book I held...a powerful deception makes someone that afraid to come in contact with the truth. The man literally shook as I offered him a gift of a simple book, hands held behind his back, a total refusal to hear, receive, or touch anything other than the special edition "bible" and satchel he carried. Why was he so emotional? I think I know to a certain extent.

The first time we talked, he admitted that he was raised Baptist, but has now found the "truth". Oh my. How sad. Today, as he spoke of how my beliefs just didn't hold Scripture in high regard (because they didn't fall in line with the Watchtower publications) I simply looked him straight in the eyes and strongly yet lovingly said, "you were raised in the truth. God's Word never returns void. He will bring to mind the truth that He has planted in your heart. You know the truth - go back to it." (not my usual response, but a response I simply couldn't keep back in light of previous discussions.) Do I have all the answers? Certainly not. Never pretend to. Do I know that God does? Absolutely. The entirity of God's Word is sufficient for our lives...and on His Word I stand. I am and always will be a weak willed sinner sheltered by the armor of God.

After our talk, he left in a much nicer manner...and as he walked down my driveway, it hit me - I actually was excited to see him, and was looking forward to the time when God will bring him down my street again. I truly am expecting that the Lord will bring this man back to Himself, like a shepherd lovingly guiding a lost sheep home.

Why did I share such a long tale? Why do I care about the repeat visitor at my door? This, my friends, is the essence of the Great Commission. On the heels of a missions trip to Guatemala (I leave in a few weeks) the Lord has reminded me that the opportunity to pray for the lost - and to proclaim the hope we have in Jesus - is not only in far off lands. It is also right on the doorsteps of our lives - waiting for us to share our faith.

Will we?

--much love in Christ - JD