"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Friday, July 27, 2012

Evangelism and the Macgyver Deception

Many people in my church look at me as the young guy…but to the youth group—I’m old.  I had an instance this past week that revealed this truth to me when I asked the students if they had ever heard of MacGyver.  No hands went up.  I feel great sorrow to know there is a generation that is completely unaware of one of the greatest action heroes of cinematic history!  When I was seven years old, there was nobody cooler.  He had the coolest leather jacket, the most fashionable mullet of the early nineties, and he could foil any bad guy’s plan with a stick of gum, a toothpick and a tube sock.  I remember one episode when he staple gunned a guy to the ground.  How cool is that.  

I don’t know how many occasions it happened (…my memory fails me…I was seven after all), but MacGyver often found himself in sticky situations trapped in a room with a time bomb counting down.  In those moments of great pressure—when every second and every decision counted—MacGyver would pull out a paper clip and defuse the bomb with one second left on the clock.  

If any of you are like me, you look at evangelism with what I like to call the “MacGyver” deception.  You may get the sense that it would be a really good thing…maybe even what God is asking you to do…to share your faith with a co-worker, a friend, or a family member.  But it seems pretty intimidating.  After all, eternity is at stake here.  The pressure is on!  You may feel that if you don’t say just the right things, in just the right way, at just the right time, you’ll trip the wrong wire and a bomb will go off!  Hey, we’re not all MacGyver, afterall!  Maybe they’ll get angry at you for bringing up that “religious” stuff.  Maybe they’ll ask a question you can’t answer.  Maybe there’ll be some ridicule.  Maybe your mind will go blank.  These are the kind of bombs I get afraid of.  

I have decided that I really want to share my faith better.  I believe God wants me to as well.  I want to take the Great Commission seriously in my life.  Not just out of a sense of duty, but because I believe that is where God brings us our greatest joy.  I don’t want to look back over my life with regrets.  

The youth group and I have started going through a campaign by Bill Hybels called, “Just Walk Across the Room.”  It is transforming the way I look at evangelism.  Sharing our faith doesn’t have to be scary—there are no bombs, just relationships.  All we have to do is listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit who lives within each and every person who has given their life to Jesus.  He may simply prompt us to go say hi to the new neighbor next door, or to put our arm around a hurting friend.  He may challenge us to build up a friendship with a new person.  And then, in his timing, he may prompt us to share the gospel with these people.  We don’t need to manufacture a moment…just let God provide, and obediently follow his prompting.  I don’t need to be able to spout an impromptu three point sermon on the atoning work of the incarnate God through the process of justification, regeneration, and sanctification manifesting in the life of a surrendered soul (watch your co-workers and neighbors scratch their heads in that moment!).  I just need to be willing to start a relationship.  I can do that!  If I believe that I have received the greatest of all possible gifts, then I can share what Jesus has done in and through me…in fact, I’ll want to! 

There will be no bombs.  But as you witness people surrendering their lives to Christ for the first time, I guarantee there will be some fireworks!  Experience the joy!

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