I am thrilled beyond words that I've been asked to contribute to this purposeful blog. Thank you so much for the invitation and honor. I feel I should give a brief background to offer a little insight into my relationship with Christ. I spent fourteen years of my life being a staff kid. My father was the business administrator at one of the largest Baptist churches in Arkansas. I came to accept Jesus as my personal Saviour when I was ten and have grown up with an understanding of the responsibility we all share when it comes to leading others to Christ.
Mark 16:15 ESV
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation..."
As Christians we are created to serve two primary purposes. The first being to worship and give praise to our Lord Jesus. The second being to lead others to Christ. Evangelism was an integral part of our church's foundation and many classes were offered to help teach Christians effective witnessing techniques. I remember many nights overhearing my parents and their friends practicing and studying their "Evangelism Explosion" notebooks in preparation for the door-to-door visitations which would start upon completion of training. My parents and their friends memorized verses, knocked on doors, and presented the Gospel to any and all who would listen. My most vivid childhood memory, however, of my mother telling someone about Jesus had nothing to do with a planned presentation. It happened instead at our local grocery store. I was about nine years old and standing in the checkout line with her. A young mother with her two children was standing in front of us frantically trying to count out change for her milk as one of her children was crying inconsolably. Even I picked up on her distress. She was coming up short and the cashier was being neither kind nor patient with her. My mother quietly stepped forward and said, "Let me buy your milk for you in the name of Jesus. It's what He wants us to do for one another." That tiny snippet in life made a lasting impression and taught me that even in our gestures and actions we are given the opportunity to tell others about our God. It doesn't have to be a perfectly-scripted scene and we don't have to be Biblical scholars to do the task which is set before us.
In my teenage and adult years I've been blessed by having the experience of getting to pray with several people as they accept Christ. Sometimes it has been a situation where I feel God telling me very clearly to speak to someone and other times it is more subtle, quiet. About five years ago I was feeling very convicted that I hadn't lead anyone to the Lord in such a long time. I told God that morning that if He would open the door for me to speak to someone I'd be more than happy to do so. I was having a yard sale that particular day and spoke to all of the visitors who came into my yard. A girl I had never seen before came up to discuss a picture of mine she was wanting to buy and I noticed cuts and scrapes on her arm. I asked if she was okay and she went into a lengthy story about a car accident she and her child had been in just a few days earlier. She said to me (and I PROMISE this is exactly how she said it), "It's a good thing we didn't die cause you know I'm not a Christian and all..." My mouth literally fell open. Are you kidding me, God?! I get the message loud and clear! I asked her to wait for a second, turned around and marched into my house, came back outside with my Bible, and read John 3:16 to her. Sitting right there on my white porch swing this sweet girl prayed to receive Christ. I was so happy for her and thrilled that God had so clearly set this up. As Christians we are happiest and have the most joy when are living in the fullness of His plan for us. I was so thankful to know that in that moment the fullness of His plan for me that day was being accomplished.
Several years ago I was praying for a friend who was very ill, dying in fact. In an effort to coordinate her friends and family from across the country I decided to start a Facebook prayer group for her. Through no reason other than the amazing power of Jesus this prayer group in less than a week grew to over 800 members. People my friend didn't even know from all over the world were praying for her. God healed my friend and allowed this wonderful prayer group to become the foundation for "Church Without Walls (the not-so-small small group)" on Facebook. I described it as an "uncommon common ground for people to meet on Facebook" and encouraged people to "check their denominations at the door". It serves as a place to meet and leave prayer requests and share testimonies of what God is doing in their lives. After seeing God move through the prayer group in such a palpable way it was obvious that His work needed to continue. This group has been life changing for me in ways that I never even expected. I realized a new-found accountability to the people I was writing to through the devotions and songs on that site. When Jesus is speaking through us and using us as a tool we must be sure that we are living up to that privilege. I've had days of struggle with this, days I didn't feel "worthy", but the beauty of the Lord is that He is always loving, always accepting. He died for us and wants to spend eternity with us. That's the Jesus I want people to get to know. In the age of social media we are able to reach miles beyond where our legs could carry us. That's one reason I get so amped up about groups like Kingdom Bloggers. I can't imagine a more productive use of the Internet than bringing people into His kingdom.
We are called to share the good news of our Lord through our word and our actions. Whether it be face to face, on the phone, or through the computer God wants to use each of us as His mouthpiece. Pray that He will provide the opportunity. I promise He will bring it to you.