Posted tagged ‘Witnessing’

The Question Is Not “Do You Believe In God?” But “What Kind of God Do You Believe In?”

October 21, 2016

I said to him: “I’m guessing you may be a Christian” He replied: “Well I believe in God, but wouldn’t call myself a Christian”.  I said that many profess a belief in God, but the issue was which God did they believe in, since we can all make Gods in our own heads that don’t truly exist. I may sincerely believe in a four-headed God living on the Moon, but if it’s not true it’s a waste of belief on my part. The Christian believes in God as revealed in Jesus Christ of the Bible. If you make up a belief in a God of your own making, from within your own mind, you’re on dangerous ground.christian cross in gold colour

He pointed out to me how all the different religions claim to be the way to God. I replied that they believe different things, so can’t all be right, which he agreed with. I highlighted to him a fundamental difference between Christianity and all other religions: all other religious leaders said to their followers, in effect: “I am showing you the path to the God/Gods/Nirvana (or whatever)”. Uniquely, Jesus Christ in the Bible said it otherwise: “I am the Way, the Truth and The Life”. He declared He alone was the Way to God, and also, exclusively, that “no-one comes to the Father except by Me”.

I said to the guy: “Suppose you were on a journey, came to a crossroads and didn’t know which way to go. There were two men by the roadside; one was dead, the other was alive. Which one would you ask for directions?” Obviously you’d choose the man who was alive. “This”, I explained, “illustrates another difference between Christianity and all other religions. The founders of all other religions are in their graves, as conceded by their followers. No-one disagrees that Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius are all dead in their graves. Jesus is the only religious founder who rose from the dead and is alive today, as claimed by his followers”.

He thought he might go to Heaven when he died, but when I asked him what the pass mark was for entry into Heaven he said he had no idea. I said to him that surely God would let us know how to get to Heaven, otherwise he wouldn’t be a very kind God? I explained how Jesus was our substitute, who died on a cross in our place and took the punishment our sins deserve. We receive our pass mark from Jesus who got 100% due to his sinless life. When we become Christians his 100% is conferred on us as “born-again” believers. Theologians call this “imputed righteousness”.

We discussed repentance, which he seemed to understand, but by the end of our conversation I concluded that he was happy to sit on the fence and take his chance on Heaven. He agreed that was pretty accurate.

We shook hands, I wished him well and said I hoped we might meet up again in another environment.

 

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“Why Should I Become a Christian?”

June 17, 2016

After the man had received some practical help from us, I said with a smile:”don’t forget to thank God in your prayers tonight!”

He responded in a positive way so we chatted further about God and Jesus. He actually raised the question of repentance and we discussed what repentance and faith in God meant.

I gave him a booklet called “What Is  a Real Christian?” and he read a couple of pages. He then said:”the question should be “WHY should I become a Christian?”

I gave him God’s view of sin: all sin – even theft of something from a friend – is primarily a sin against God. So God is the one you need to repent towards. Without repentance (a turning away from all known sin in your life) you will have to give an account of your sin on Judgment Day – and Jesus is the Judge. Becoming a Christian wipes the slate clean because your trust in Jesus and his ability to forgive your sin makes you a new person, hence “born again”. He had heard of “born again Christian” so I explained why we need to become born again, using the illustration of the TWO BUSES.

bus going to hell   In this illustration all of life happens on the two buses. Bus #1 is the one we are all born on. Its destination is Hell and Satan or the Devil is the driver. The Bible tells us Hell was made for the Devil and his angels (actually demons). However, if we remain on Bus#1 we are headed for Satan’s destination, whether we realise it or not. We therefore need to get off Bus #1 and on to Bus #2. Bus#2 is driven by Jesus and His destination is Heaven. All mankind is under the power of sin and only Jesus can change our sin nature. This process is known as being “born again”. When we are born again (recognise our need of the Saviour Jesus as the only one who can forgive our sin and set us free from it) we are transferred onto Bus #2 whose destination is Heaven.

He took the booklet away and said he’d read it.

 

 

 

If You Interrupt Me I’ll Punch You In The Face!

May 22, 2016

image of a woman  Met a woman I knew some years back on the street as an addict.  She still had a can in her hand, but she certainly needed it. Several days previously both her parents were killed as a result of a car crash. Dad died first, them Mum 24 hours later. She wasn’t sure how they’d pay for the funeral, but an uncle could probably help. Poor woman, I really felt for her! We shared with each other news of some other street folk we both knew who had died from drink or drugs this year.

Next day I was in the town centre with our inter-church Healing Team. At one point this short stocky man of around 60 came up to us and started slagging off Christianity, Jesus and the Virgin Birth. We hadn’t even said anything to him!! He then, believe it or not, said: “If either of you interrupt me I’ll punch you in the face!” We let him rant on angry manabout how nonsensical the Christian faith was, then I finally said:”when do we get a chance to reply?” He then looked at my team leader and said:”you’re a disgrace; you’re unshaven and you have dandruff on your coat!” He turned to me and said:”you’re not too bad, but I’m older than both of you!” I replied: “I doubt it, I’m 71″ That surprised him, as he then said:”ok, I’m not older than you” He then ranted to us that there were Jehovah’s Witnesses along the road and we should be going to talk to them. In the end I simply walked away, annoyed he was wasting time we could be using productively to reach out to other people.

Used, Abused and Unloved By Those He Trusted

May 8, 2016

He’s now a grandfather, but his early days were horrendous. Abused physically and sexually by his father, he grew up confused, angry and feeling unloved.

No surprise therefore that he spent a total of 20 years in prison, five of them for armed robbery. He went down the drugs route, ending up on crack cocaine.  

man holding prison bars

man behind bars

Now he’s moved on and slowly getting a sense of perspective and that it wasn’t all his fault. Thankfully he treated his children and grandchildren in a more loving way.

I told him that I knew someone who loves him as he is, and has always loved him. I shared about God, Jesus, sin and repentance. He told me he recently went to church. I told him about the church I attended, and he said: “that’s near where I live”. He couldn’t come this week, but might be able to come next Sunday. He took away a gospel tract.

On the Street and At The Docks

April 17, 2016

Went into town on Friday and spotted the homeless guy I met last Friday. What a coincidence! We had a great chat. He told me he’d been to church since we last met. I reminded him of the places where he could get free/cheap food. He hadn’t visited the Homeless Healthcare Team, so I reminded him he should definitely go there as they could offer real help, plus a shower to get himself clean. I also blessed him in a practical way, which again he appreciated.

image of gloucester docksThe next day I was at the local docks area where we had a team offering to pray for people – for healing or whatever their need was. One woman went for prayer, so I was directed to chat to her husband who was waiting a few yards away. He told me he was into “Mindfulness”, which is all the current rage here in the UK. Sadly, it leaves God out of the equation, as I indicated to him. He was obviously reviewing his life, as he admitted to me. I was able to share the gospel in some detail, plus share a lot of my personal testimony, including the time Jesus appeared in my bedroom. He was quite keen to hear what I had to say, and thanked me for sharing. As his wife came over to join him I gave him my card and encouraged him to check out my website New Christian UK   After they left one of our team said that the wife had given her life to Christ during the 10 minute period she was there. Praise God!

God Knows How Old You Are, Even If You Are Homeless

April 8, 2016

homeless manOn the way into voluntary work I was praying that God would use me and that I would have love and compassion for those I would meet. I also prayed that He might work through me.Ten Minutes before we closed a homeless man came in. I gave him tea and some biscuits and he said he really could feel the energy flowing into him as a result of getting something inside his stomach. We chatted about where he slept at night and I gave him a list of places where he could get food during the day. Some churches and church based organisations do free food, also a local church provides very cheap food for people on the margins. Also, I noticed we had been given some vouchers for a restaurant in town that provided the holder with a full meal at no cost. I gave him one and he really appreciated it.

He said he wasn’t an addict, and I believed him. He was concerned about how sweaty he was and how he smelled of urine. Also his clothes were pretty grubby and he couldn’t afford money for a launderette. We had little clothing available,  but we managed to find a tee shirt in his size which he gladly accepted.

He said to me:”how old do you think I am?” I answered: “61”. he said: “You’ve been looking at my paperwork!” I said: “No, I haven’t seen any of your paperwork” I went on: “but God knows how old you are, and lots of other things about you.” I chatted about how personal God was and he was quite amenable to talk about God things.  He was a little surprised when I told him that the pass mark for Heaven was 100%. I explained why it was 100% and how it was possible for me and him to get the full 100%. He readily accepted that Jesus got the 100% and that when we follow him as disciples we qualify for 100% on the basis of what He did, not on our own goodness. I explained how the Bible calls our  own goodness “filthy rags” and the need to confess all known sin as it holds us back from God and Heaven.

Before he left he thanked me profusely and, amazingly, commented how gentle and acceptable my approach had been as I chatted about God things to him.  He blessed me and thanked me for all he had received from us. I wished him well.

Not Thy Will, But My Will Be Done!

February 13, 2016

Illustrated bible verse    I had a long chat with a guy who came in for food. He had been to church in Wales as a youngster, but had drifted away as he grew up. He had lost some family members in the last few years and had felt their nearness on their passing away. We discussed God and belief, and he thought there was “something there”, but he was not really interested in pursuing the question in his life. I gave him the gospel basics, and tried to encourage him to reach out to God, but didn’t get very far. Later that day I was thinking over of the phrase: “Not THY will, but MY will be done”. It’s really on that basis that we end up either in Heaven or in Hell – our eternal destination is what we ourselves choose in this life.

I also thought how many are happy to say “I believe in God”, but go no further than a mental assent. It reminds me of the evangelist’s use of the parachute as an illustration of what faith involves. I can say I believe in parachutes, but that belief means nothing until the day I’m in an out of control aircraft, reach for a parachute and put it on. It’s only when I put it on, jump and full the ripcord that I really do believe in parachutes!!  It’s the application of faith that determines whether your faith in “x”means anything at all.

A younger woman came in and I recognised her as “J”, a street drinker I used to see regularly when I did mission work on the streets. At that time she was a vulnerable girl, very self-willed, who wouldn’t listen to our requests to go back home to her Mum, whom she lived with. When she walked in I could see she was intoxicated, so nothing had really changed. As we at down to chat, she told me that she’d had “a 5 month old dead baby” and started to cry. I really felt for her, poor woman. Clearly someone had taken advantage of her, and even that had had a tragic outcome. Eventually the supervisor called a local unit where she was staying for transport, as she needed to get across to the other side of town and clearly couldn’t get there under her own steam.

A young guy turned up later. He told me he had mental health issues and suffered from a type of psychosis. I asked if he’d done drugs in the past. He admitted a long use of cannabis, then latterly a serious heroin habit. He was now on a prescription for Subbutex, a heroin substitute designed to wean you off the drug. He’d been given accommodation by a local charity and was hoping to get back on his feet.