Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufusa… brouhaha! is a scary and sinful word for the hyenas in the movie Lion King. They tremble at his power and don’t want to say the word because it brings them to reality of who is really the all powerful one. I feel and many Christians feel the same way about the word, ‘Evangelism’…brouhaha. ‘Evangelism’, what is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind?
Whether you believe in Jesus or not most people don’t have a positive view of this word. Pride, shoving things down someone else’ s throat, “I am right, you are wrong”, obnoxious, over-zealous and insensitive Christians, forcing people to listen to you and your views and ‘pray a prayer so I can feel better about my spirituality’ are all words that come to my mind when I hear the word ‘Evangelism’. Quite frankly it is a perceived sin in our culture. Yet as Christ followers we are called to proclaim the good news that Jesus saves and cleanses us from the incredible debt of sin and brings incredible life both now and in eternity because he paid the debt on the cross through his shed blood and rose from the dead.
Somehow the good news has been dumbed down in even the Christian world as a bad word. Few Christians I know share their faith on a regular basis and fewer actually share a clear and simple message being able to teach someone how to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
SON-RISE! (Pun intended)
Campus Crusade for Christ is a key in the kingdom of God ministry that believes in initiating evangelism and they define it as this: “Taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the good news of Jesus Christ and leaving the results up to God.”
On Jan 25 a Tuesday morning around 100 of us from New Staff Training from Campus Crusade went to do just that and I went with my fears yet with the burden of people needing to hear the incredible life changing power of Jesus Christ. Over 140 people were initiated with conversations, of those over 72 students heard the gospel message and 6 prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Many seeds were planted at this school where God has been working and where suicide is rampant. Our efforts were to help the already volunteer ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ on that Campus. Jesus who is the resurrection and the Life was intentionally pursuing the students of Daytona State College in which Satan has been trying to kill, steal and destroy (seen especially through suicide).
My new friends and soon to be co-worker in Sportlinc, Andrew Epps and I tag teamed to go and share. With prayer and a desire to obey our leaders we set out to love on people in the cafeteria! Of course what better place than to eat, unfortunately their were no red lobster biscuits which are my favorite but what Andrew and I found were some divine appointments of people wanting to be loved and some looking for God.
Our first couple we hung out with had an incredible sense of humor and Andrew and I never took it in thirty minutes to a survey or to spiritual things. Feeling then like a Campus Crusade Evangelism failure because we “didn’t share the gospel” what should we do next? Realizing that we did a great job of loving and valuing the couple we balanced out our thoughts and saw a young man listening to his I-POD by himself. I didn’t want to go ask but I had a prompting from God’s Spirit he was the one to talk with. Andrew initiated and I came over. We started with a survey and found out this young man was an professing atheist who described his life as “boring and in a slump”. Immediately we knew this guy is part of what Jesus talks about “the harvest fields being ripe”. As we continued to get to know this young man Sam we discovered that he had been burned by a professing believer who took money from his mom (who is still a strong Christian). Sam made a decision after that day that God was not real.
As we found out about the details of his life and shared our story of struggle yet hope Sam asked us, “Did God send you guys here to me?”
Sam was getting wooed by the Holy Spirit and Sam was starting to see God trying to answer the cry of his heart through us as his messengers. We affirmed that God did send us to him and we had been praying for him even though we didn’t know who it was we would be sent to.
Sam indicated that if there was a God who loved him (remember he claimed to be an atheist) and he could know him personally that on a scale of 1-10, would he be interested in getting to know him? He indicated an emphatic 11, 10 being the most interested! Why would an atheist say that? In fact I have noticed the same response in other conversations that I have recently had. We have to ask the Holy Spirit to take us under the surface of their heart and find out why they either stopped believing in God or never have. Usually its because they were hurt or they never seen him interact in their life.
Andrew proceeded to share how Jesus has met him in times of great pain and explained on a little napkin the simple good news of Jesus Christ die for sinners and offering a relationship with him.
Sam indicated that he wanted to pray to receive Christ and that it would be on his own time.
Sam said that prayer was talking to God and that God should talk back to him if it is a two way relationship. I told Sam he was exactly right. That Jesus doesn’t speak to us audibly but does through God’s Word the Bible, His church and through the internal voice of the Holy Spirit. I said, “Sam you know I bet your mom being a Christian named you Samuel for a reason. Samuel was a prophet in the Bible who learned to hear the voice of God just like you desire. I explained to him the story in 1 Samuel 3 and encouraged him that God wants to teach him to hear his voice just like the prophet Samuel learned to hear his voice.
We gave him some other connections about a Christian group that meets on campus that he could get plugged into and got his information. We prayed for him and he left for class.
Other conversations with students happened that day but our faith was incredibly stretched and encouraged as we were obedient to share our faith with Sam.
I was reminded of Romans 10:13-15 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Thank you Jesus for letting Andrew and I be good news. Thank you that you sent someone to be good news to us. Give us beautiful feet and words full of opportunity to fathom you majesty. My challenge is to let the Son-Rise in you so others can see His beauty! Pray for Sam and all the Sams on college campuses around the world and in your life. Be the good news to the Sams in your Samaria and to the Ends of the earth