Faith On Airplane Mode

“The trouble with some churches is that they think the preacher is a sort of ecclesiastical locomotive, who will snort and puff and pull the whole bunch through to glory”. Would say Billy Sunday in his revivals.

We often excuse ourselves from the heavenly task of sharing our faith just as casually as we excuse ourselves from supper. “That’s the pastor’s job”, “that’s not my gift”, “I live my faith, no need to talk about it”, “I don’t have any training”.

A friend said once “Evangelism is a calling for some, but a command for all.” You may not have the full-time calling to be a missionary, a pastor, a bible translator to a tribe, nor the street evangelist holding the cardboard saying “Repent! Or you go to hell”. (Not a big fan of scaring people into heaven anyway.)

But we all have that same command from Matthew 28:19 “Go and make disciples…” or Acts 1:8 “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We are to be visible and audible.

Gipsy Smith used to say “There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian. Most people will never read the first four.” Indeed, our face carries the message within and our lives reflect the portions of the Bible we live. It is important to seek joy as we go through chaos, and pain. If Christians have the face like a wet-weekend as the Brits would say, it’s not inviting to the outsiders. Or, as Billy Sunday bluntly put it “Gloomy Christians are a poor advertisement to the Gospel.”

Maybe you’re a big fan of living the gospel, as long as you don’t have to talk about it.

Can you imagine watching the Sound of Music on mute? – That’s a Christian living a godly life on silent mode. It takes the pressure off, but we are not being obedient. Our silence can be misleading. It’s like having my faith on airplane mode- disconnected from receiving or sending messages. As I talk to my buddhist or muslim friends, it’s important for them to understand which God I choose to serve as a family.

Evangelism is a double-sided coin, it’s a godly life with sound bites. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.” Acts 10:44 NIV

We must be audible, even if not completely coherent, or secure, or feeling fully equipped in our sharing. Let God make up for our inadequacy. Our job is to be faithful and to keep growing. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1Peter 3:15 NIV

I felt “unsmart” as I shared my faith to well-educated atheist Diana in a silent airplane. I felt intimidated by well-pressed engineer Laurentiu coming from a conference in Germany. I felt inadequate as I prayed with Lina minutes after she heard the news she had stage-four cancer. My heart was thumping as I gave the doctors Bibles during our hospital ministry. (Thank you to my husband for taking one for the team. He focused on handling “kidney stones” with grace, so we could share the gospel for six weeks.)

We are to be visible and audible in sharing our faith, not out of guilt and duty that Jesus went out of his comfort zone to adopt us. But out of the joy set before us- Heaven. An eternity in the presence of our Maker.

We are to be faithful and diligent.

“If we win anywhere, we must win at home with our kids.” My husband would remind me as I fully emerged in serving the refugees flooding our city.

I don’t want to be priest Eli. Saving Samuel but losing his two boys, Hophni and Phinehas. Our first ministry is at home. But, that’s the starting point. Our children need to see us in action. How else will they learn to have faith conversations with outsiders?

We must be faithful to the opportunities around us, and diligent to grow in our skill to share.

Inconvenient Opportunities

Don’t you love it when God uses inconvenient interruptions as gospel opportunities? Maybe love is too much. But I am learning to embrace them.

A booted car gave us the opportunity to share the Gospel with an atheist in Galati, Romania. Sharing the gospel is costly. To be exact, $45 that day.

Traveling to the States to renew a driver’s licence was not part of our missionary budget. I had a two-hour faith conversation with a Romanian nurse one way, and we shared the Gospel for one hour with a young chef from Purdue University on our way back.

My mom and I had a door issue at the latest women’s retreat needing to bring the handyman to fix it. What a joyous opportunity to talk “Jesus” with farmer Nelu and flip through the Scripture for two hours explaining how you can know for sure you are saved.

Talking about our faith can be intimidating – with people we know, or people we don’t (one-timers, or long-termers). Pastor Mat Chandler said it well “Faith is personal but not private.”

Intentional and Prayerful

It’s not always about a four-point-gospel-presentation. It’s about faithfully planting seeds in our mundane activities with the people God places on our path. Some simple steps would be not avoiding words like “Jesus”, “church”, “prayer”, “blessing”, “bible”.

My father’s advice to those faint-at-heart to sharing the gospel is “Invite someone to church.”

We can be creative in how we plant seeds, but we must be intentional and prayerful. Every time I prayed for an opportunity to share, every time it was granted.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

Do you have a faith conversation you keep postponing like a blind date? Will you take the next interruption and turn it into an opportunity for the Gospel? Will you diligently grow in this “habit of grace” of sharing your faith, by memorising some helpful Scripture?

“Evangelism is a calling for some, but a command for all.”

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