Invitations and Evangelism at Easter

Posted: April 7, 2007 by Daniel in Christianity, easter, encouragement, evangelism, religions and beliefs, street evangelism, Way of the Master, witness encounters

Today I went out with a friend to hand out some invitations for tomorrow’s Easter service at the Branch Christian Church. I had an opportunity to talk about Christianity for over an hour to the second person I met. I have met the guy before a couple of times and listend to his point of view, but I have never had a chance to spend time sharing the gospel with him. Praise God – The Holy Spirit has really been working on this guy and I was able to contribute and be a part of His good work. His name if Brian: please pray for him. He has a strong ‘spiritual’ background with strange tattoos of Jesus with naked female angels on his right arm. He also showed me his left palm where he had gouged the roman numerals xi with a hot wire and his army knife. Amazingly he is not far from the Kingdom but just needs to come to putting his full trust in Jesus as Lord and saviour. CHRISTIAN – PRAY FOR HIM NOW!

I later handed out more invitations – people did accept them which was great. I gave one invitation to a man in a shop and he said “I still have the optical illusion tract that you gave me”
I was blown away – I did not remember him but he said that I gave it to him one night at McDonald’s. I reminded him of the message on the tract and that it was really important the he understands it.

When I had run out of invitations I approached a senior man sitting on a bench. He instantly rejected my Million Dollar tract but I was able to continue a natural conversation. He mentioned that he was now retired. I picked up on this point and asked him about his previous occupation and he had been a Postman in the United Kingdom all his life. I have a friend who is a postman and I remember what he said about the need for Postman confidentiality – you get to know what bills people have and where they get letters from. We talked about what sort of a memory you need to have and your need for strong knowledge of where people live – sometimes people send letters with just the persons name. After this long natural conversation I was able to enquire again about his Christian background – he said he was an atheist. I then listened to his explanation for how everything began – he talked about gasses coming together and forming a black dwarf or something like that – then exploding. I asked him where the gasses came from – his reply was “I don’t really go into it that far”. I explained the evidence for an intelligent creator, but unfortunately my friend finished his shopping and we had to go for family reasons. I didn’t get a chance to share the gospel.

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Comments
  1. Pastor Chris says:

    Do you have a copy of your church invitation?

    We’ve been giving out business cards that simply state service times, location, logo, name, phone numbers, and a big Your Invited. We use them all the time, not just for easter.

    I attend a little Spanish church, so i can’t go into a great depth as you do in conversation, language barrier is a little high still. But, I’m having fun inviting people to church. I go thru 7-10 cards a week (since the services are in Spanish, I only share with those who speak spanish).

    As I like to ask, what different questions might you have asked? Did you get a sense of where this man was spiritually thirsty?

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  2. Good to hear from you Chris,

    I will try to get a copy and paste it here.

    The guy was reflecting on his life and could see God’s hand at work. He had a reasonably good understanding of Christianity but it was from a mystical point of view. I think he is very close but I don’t want to push him – I have explained the Gospel clearly to him and checked that he has understood it. I will leave it up to the Lord now. I have his email so we will keep in touch.

    Spiritual thirst? Again, not sure how that works – please explain.

  3. Pastor Chris says:

    Spiritual thirst is a way of describing a person’s own search for God. What motivates them to find God?

    In the parable of the merchant searching for the fine pearl — he is propelled to find it because he knows its out there. He looks, and looks, and looks. There is a “thirst” to propel him to find it. When he doesn’t find it, he keeps looking. When he finds it, its that “Eurkea” moment.

    The Ethiopian Eunch was spiritually thirsty. He had gone to Jersualem for a worship event, yet on the way home was reading Isaiah. He’s spiritually thirsty, knowing that he hadn’t found it yet. By God’s sovereign grace (working both sides of the equation), Phillip was there to explain. The Ethiopian found it — wanted to be baptized. Phillips explanation slaked that spiritual thirst.

    When Paul was in Athens, he must have said something that brought them to the point of asking “May we hear you more about this matter?” They were thirsty for more information, self-propelled to learn more. Paul saw they were thirsty (manifested in the all the statues, including an altar to an unknown God). He started where they were.

    Spiritual thirst is the underlying motive that people have to seek after God. It could be guilt over sin, it could be a longing for honest community, it could be guidance and direction, among some ideas. The gospel can speak to each one of these.

    In my many years of evangelism, listening for the spiritual thirst helps me participate more in what God is doing in the life of the other person. It’s their starting point, not mine.

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  4. Bill says:

    Pastor Chris,

    You listed guilt over sin, longing for honest community and guidance among the causes of spiritual thirst.

    I agree that all of those can cause someone to start going to church or read the Bible or whatever. Isn’t guilt over sin the only one that the gospel can really speak to? Isn’t someone who responds to the gospel for any other reason, most likely a false convert?

    Thanks for your help.
    Bill

  5. Pastor John says:

    Someone can be spiritually thirsty for many of the reasons that Pastor Chris mentioned. A person who is thirsty may drink lemonade when in my opinion, lemonade makes you more thirsty but does not quench.

    Essentially, the only thing that quenches thirst is water because thirst is caused by a lack of water in the body. Not knowing that what you are lacking is water does not make you any less thirsty. You still seek something to quench that thirst.

    My daughter used to drink milk when she was thirsty. Now, milk is good for you, but it does not solve your thirst problem. Once I explained to her that water was the best thing to satisfy her thirst, she started drinking water instaed of milk…and I started saving money! 🙂

    You can think you thirst for many reasons. The point is that your thirst will cause you to seek out something to quench it but in the end there is only one substance that will and that is water.

    That being said; righteousness is the only thing that will quench a spiritual thirst, regardless of what the person believes or even does not know what is causing their thirst. Then do we have the opportunity to present the gospel, indicating the true reason for their thirst which is unrighteousness and sin.

    (Mat 5:6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

    (Joh 4:13-14) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

  6. Pastor Chris says:

    I’m convinced that Jesus is the only solution for spiritual thirst.

    I don’t limit it only to righteousness — to me that is a symptom, not the root.

    I think of the person in the hotel room that simply cries out to God because of loneliness. I think of the person who realizes they are insignificant and cries out to God because they learn that He’s got a plan. I think of the woman suffering with depression who cries out to God to help her live thru another day and determines to start living for God. I think of my own story and it wasn’t till months after I became a christian after a solo walk in the woods that I began to understand that I had a sinful nature.

    Each of these can have a real conversion experience, a repenentance in the broad definition of changing their life direction — begining to live for Christ. The Gospel can reach them in each place. As they start their discipleship journey, they may then learn (or will learn) that part of what happened to them at their conversion is that their sin has been forgiven and now they can start living a life of righteousness.

    I believe that God uses many ways to draw people to Jesus, the one and only way to the Father. A thirst for righteousness is just one. For some people, including me, that thrist for righteousness may come after they discover God’s grace and then grow in their understanding of all that happened at their conversion.

    The theological transactions in a conversion experience are many: justification, the beginings of santification, adoption, regeneration, destiny, purpose and others. A conversion experience can begin with grasping hold of one of these and growing into an understanding of the rest.

    These are just my observations.

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  7. Chris,

    I’ve got to say that I am with Bill and John on the whole righteousness thing – the following is from Websters (old) dictionary, via e-sword.

    RIGHTEOUSNESS, n. ri’chusness.

    1. Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion.

    2. Applied to God, the perfection or holiness of his nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness.

    3. The active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Dan 9.

    4. Justice; equity between man and man. Luke 1.

    5. The cause of our justification.

    The Lord our righteousness. Jer 23.

    I think looking up the following scriptures will further enhance our true need of righteousness – we need it when we die and face an angry God.

    None, by nature have righteousness
    Job_15:14; Psa_14:3; Rom_3:10;

    Righteousness cannot come by the law
    Gal_2:21; Gal_3:21;

    No justification by works of righteousness
    Rom_3:20; Rom_9:31; Rom_9:32; Gal_2:16;

    No salvation by works of righteousness
    Eph_2:8; Eph_2:9; 2Ti_1:9; Tit_3:5;

    Unregenerate man seeks justification by works of righteousness
    Luk_18:9; Rom_10:3;

    The blessing of God is not to be attributed to our works of righteousness
    Deu_9:5;

  8. Pastor Chris says:

    I’m not denying that we need righteousness. I want to be clear about that. I agree with each of you about that.

    I’m trying to say that righteousness is one component of the whole Christian salvation picture in Christ.

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  9. Bill says:

    Hello,

    2 Corinthians 7:10-11 says that Godly sorrow brings repentance and salvation, and worldly sorrow brings death.

    I think we can be sorry for that our sins have hurt other people, or sorry that we got caught. And we can even stop committing that sin that caused us so much pain, but that isn’t true repentance. True repentance comes from knowing that our sins are against God, and that we’re evil, and deserve His wrath and eternal punishment.

    I just don’t see how true repentance can come from being sad or sorry about our circumstances.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  10. Chris

    Well, I really think I understand where you are coming from and I apologise if you feel ‘ganged’ up on. I think you really want to listen to where the person(you are witnessing to) is coming from and respond to them appropriately. I think this is sort of striving to be all things to all men:

    1 Corinthians 9 v20-23 (ESV)
    To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
    To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
    To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
    I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

    Previously you said: “I don’t limit it only to righteousness — to me that is a symptom, not the root.”

    I disagree. I think the issue of righteousness is actually the true root thirst that all people have: but the unregenerate person does not have any awareness of it. They might think they thirst for something noble like fellowship, community, connectedness, integrity, meaning, purpose, etc. but they have not gone far enough.

    In evangelism, I am sure you will agree, we need to first show the unregenerate person their true condition before God – if they were to die right now and be judged for their sins they would be spending and eternity in hell. In showing them their sin we use the 10 commandments. This will ‘re-activate’ their hardened conscience and awaken their true thirst – then pursuing or pandering all other ‘thirsts’ the person presents with will seem trivial.

    The Gospel will become so precious to such a person. They will be so grateful for the cross and the joy of glorifying God.

  11. Pastor Chris says:

    Daniel:

    I don’t feel ganged up on. Been out sick for a few days. The questions / responses / discussions are helpful to all of us in terms of defending what we understand, so that’s fine. That’s what blogs are for, eh?

    I agree that we need to “show the person their true condition before God”. Where i disagree is “first.” It may be second, third, or even after a person cries out to surrender their life to God.

    I didn’t understand sin at all until after I surrendered my life to God and started to read the Bible (since i was totally unchurched).

    I may not have understood the full ramifications / implications of my conversion experience until later, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a conversion experience. I believed in Jesus first, and then began to understand.

    Acts 16 story of the Phillipian jailer shows his conversion after listening to hymns (v.25), or perhaps he was sleeping thru it (v.27) and an earthquake. He wanted to be saved immediately — He was just told there to believe in Jesus and you will be saved.” It goes on to say they spoke the word of the Lord to him, but we don’t know the content. He and his whole family came to believe in the Lord that night. The text is not clear as to the order of the conversion process: Did he believe first and then understand, or did he understand first and then beleive?

    Paul’s own conversion experience on the Road to Damascus seems to point that he beleived first and then he understood more later during the 14 years when the Lord taught him.

    What i’m getting at is this:
    Some people understand first, and then believe.
    Some people believe first, and then understand.

    This is why I disagree that the agreeing to the violation of the law has to be “first.” I’m not saying its not required, i just disagree with “first.” I’m not opposed to the 10 commandments as a gospel script either.

    Pastor Chris
    EvangelismCoach.org

  12. […] started as part of a conversation over at Evangelism Action, but will take much more than just a comment to tease […]

  13. […] and understanding: At Evangelism Action, we’ve been discussing the conversion experience. Feel free to review the conversation. We […]

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