Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Let Your Light Shine Pt. 2

"Therefore, we are all ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20"

I've been told that there are two kinds of Christians. Those who are so like the world that they will never make a difference. There is no difference to be seen. And those who separate themselves from the world in such a way, that the world would never have a chance to see the difference. Clearly the goal would be to land somewhere in the middle. In my experience, to get there takes work and intentionality.

So where to start? Well first off we have to actually know unbelievers and be building relationships with them. At an evangelism conference by Jim Donahue I received the helpful tip of getting the fact that you are a christian out as soon as possible when building a relationship with an unbeliever. That way it's out there. For me it's not all that hard as usually the "what does your husband do?" question comes out fairly quickly. But until this helpful piece of advice I would shy away from answering this question.

In some ways it was so much easier to build relationships with unbelievers back in my pre-kid days. Particularly when I was single, working and going to school. I was in the world constantly and given many opportunities. Now it feels like I try to strike up conversations with unbelievers while trying to keep my kids from hitting one another or worse, hitting their kids. This has happened to me. I recently was out chatting with a new face and she was totally talking and listening to me then I look over and Trevor is pushing her son down. Nice. I want to yell, "DON'T YOU KNOW I'M TRYING TO SHARE JESUS WITH HER??" But I don't. I think that would hinder my witness :) I take him inside and THEN yell! No I don't do that either :)

So as my season of life has changed I have had to look for new ways to be in the world. This by no means is exhaustive or a list of what being in the world has to look like. There are just ways the Lord has brought to my mind as I've prayed.

1. Neighborhood
God has physically placed us all in different neighborhoods for His glory. It is no accident that we live were we do and perhaps the easiest way to "be in the world" is by getting to know our neighbors. For me getting to know my neighbors has never been easier. In the pre-kids days it was much harder to meet & greet with those living around us. I had to be much more pro-active and well sometimes it didn't come off as naturally. "Hi here's some cookies... just because:) Yeah for Jesus!" Not impossible but different. I take my kids outside almost daily. That's the advantage of living in AZ. By being outside I'll see my neighbors come & go and over time I learn their names, kids names, work and relationships develop. Before you know it we can invite them into our home for dinner or have neighborhood grill outs. Opportunities abound in this area! But be careful cause at one point or another they really will get to "see" you in action.

2. Park days
If your neighborhood hasn't provided you with as many opportunities as you like, try frequenting your neighborhood park or others parks around you. I have meet many who live in my neighborhood "per-sa" just by going to the same park over time. Most moms are just as eager for adult conversations as I am! I try to be intentional to learn names and maybe schedule a follow up meet up time at the park. One thing I plan on doing with our church plant team moms is picking a day a week or month to meet at a park for the sole purpose of inviting unbeliving friends we meet along the way. What I may not have in common with my new unbelieving friend, another friend may and a more natural relationship will develop with them and opportunities for the gospel to be shared.

3. Church Opportunities
At Sovereign Grace Gilbert we have had something called Life 101. This has been by far one of my favorite ministries at our church. Chris and I have invited friends every time and the times where no one has accepted our invitation we've enjoyed going to meet those our friends have brought. Once I was asked to go because Taylor befriended a little girl in life 101 a week prior and this girl wanted to go back if Taylor was going to be there! What joy that brought to our hearts :)

4. Prayer
Never underestimate the power of praying for God to save. We can have all the right answers, present the gospel in the most perfect way and if God does not move- salvation will not happen! In the harder/demanding times of motherhood prayer was often the only way I was able to participate in advancing the kingdom. I was was happy to have A friend, let alone an unbelieving friend! God saves through prayers. Chris and I prayed many times for his brother Jeff & his wife Brandy. After sharing the gospel and being rejected a certain amount of times, we prayed. For years we prayed. And guess what God saved them! And they now live in Peoria, where Chris & I are moving to and are some of our dearest friends! Their testimonies are attached to their names. Oh how I love to pray for the lost and see God do what only He can do. Save.

5. The Homefront
In my thinking on evangelism I can often forget that I have three precious sinners living with me twenty-four seven that I am called to be the gospel light to. My kids impression of the gospel, will in many ways, be determined by how I live it out. A convicting & sobering thought indeed. My desire is for my first & best efforts to always be at home with my children. Perfect? Far from it. And hopefully it's from my lack of perfection and admitting to them my sin and seeking forgiveness that they will come to learn of their own need of the gospel. Chris and I are constantly trying to teach our children God's word. We want them to hear, read and see God's word, the bible, for themselves and pray they one day will have eyes to see and ears to hear!

Chris & I also desire for our children to see their parents model evangelism. For them to know that our family exists not unto itself, but to bring glory to the Lord and proclaim His name! And one of many ways we can do that is to have hearts for lost people.

Most of these things are ways, as a mom, I can be in the world. But as I've been convicted of, being in the world isn't even enough. Having unbelieving friends isn't enough. Doing good works isn't enough. We have to take it to the next step and share, speak, proclaim the Gospel to them. As I mentioned earlier, that's hard. I find it scary.

I would love to hear of any ways that some of you place yourself in the world for the purpose of evangelism. Please share!

Next I will post some resources I've gone to for aiding with evangelism, namely sharing the good news.


Filleman Family said...

This was so encouraging Tara. Thank you. God has used your blog several times to confirm something He has been putting on my heart. When I read this today I realized that I don't often venture to the park without knowing that I can meet someone their I already know - which totally keeps me from meeting someone new. Thanks again for the encouragement. :)

dancebythelight said...

Hi, thanks for your comment and visit to my blog!

This is a great post. One thing I always remember hearing someone say once is that people will sense if they're just "projects" to you. They have to feel your care as their friend. That's always stuck with me.

Tara said...

That's good Danielle. I totally agree. It should always come from a genuine heart of care and wanting to be someone's friend!

Tara said...

your welcome Michelle! Hope you guys are doing well :)