As he was shaking hands at the church door, he asked one unfamiliar woman named Hazel, “What do you do?” The pastor expected to hear an occupation for an answer. Instead, he heard this insightful reply, “I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a machine operator!” Now there’s a lady who knows who she is! Hazel’s job simply put her in a position to direct other machine operators to Jesus Christ.
Your Divine Assignment
The Bible says that if you belong to Christ, you are His ambassador. Do you know why you are where you are? Why you work where you work? Why you live where you live? Why you go to school where you go to school? You are where you are because Jesus put you there to reach out to others like you. A mom will listen to a mom, a student to a student, a golfer to a golfer. People who have had emotional trauma or disease will listen to someone with the same experience. For this reason you are where you are and you have been through what you’ve been through. Every Christian has been positioned by God to be Christ’s ambassador to the people he or she sees every day.
Develop a Burden With a Name
After Andrew met Jesus, the first thing he did was to find his brother Simon (whom Jesus named Peter) and tell him about Jesus (John 1:40-42). Andrew had a burden with a name. If there were no Andrew, we wouldn’t have known about Peter.
We know of no sermon Andrew ever preached. We have no record in the Gospels of any miracle he ever did. Peter was the big-mouthed one. In John 6, Andrew brings the boy with the loaves and fish to Jesus so He can feed the 5,000. In John 12 the Greeks say, “We want to see Jesus.” Guess who brings them?
Andrew is synonymous with “bringer.” Not everyone can be a Peter. But anyone can be an Andrew. Look around for people you can tell about Jesus. Ask God for a burden with a name. People who have been around the church for a long time may think that “lost” is merely a theological condition–not a person with a name. Who is your Simon?
Show and Tell
You have to show the difference Jesus makes in your life, but you must also tell who is making the difference. Some who believe in “lifestyle evangelism” think they don’t ever have to say anything about Jesus. They are “living the life,” hoping that unbelievers will guess. But unbelievers are not going to make the jump from “Charlie is such a nice guy” to “I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins.” They are not going to figure that out. You have to tell them. It’s show and tell.
Here are four practical ways anyone can communicate Christ:
Love people in their language. When you think of people whom you, as Andrew, want to bring to Jesus, ask yourself, “What practical thing would make them feel loved by me and loved by God?”
Show people a difference they will notice. What difference could you ask Jesus to make in you that your Simon would have to notice? If you are in an environment where people are back-stabbers, you be the one who defends others. If you are in an environment where people tear down everyone right and left, you be the one who builds others up. If you are in a negative environment, be the positive one. If you are in a selfish environment, be the unselfish one. Show people a difference they’ll notice.
Tell your personal hope story, the story of how Jesus changed your life. A lot of church people say they don’t have a hope story. But take a sheet of paper and at the top write, “If it weren’t for Jesus …” Then describe what your life would be like without Him. What kind of mother, father, husband or wife would you be? What would your lonely times be like without Him? How about funerals or times of depression? That’s your hope story–the difference Jesus makes.
Pray the “three-open prayer” that’s based on Paul’s prayer in Colossians 4:3-4. Pray that God will open a door, a natural opportunity to bring up Jesus. This will usually be something going on in the person’s life, something going on in your life or something going on in the world. One of those can open up a door for you to talk about the Jesus difference. Second, pray, “Lord, open their heart. Get them ready to hear about You.” Third, pray, “Lord, open my mouth. Give me the courage, give me the words, give me the approach to use.”
Hand in Glove
You can tell a glove to pick up a Bible and it will remain motionless. Then, amazingly, if you put your fingers in the glove, it picks up the Bible. God is asking us to be His “glove” –we’re not the hand. God is saying, “Let Me take your influence, your relationships, your personality, what you know, what you’ve been through, and make you My glove. I will work through you.”
As Jesus came looking for you and me, nothing could stop Him. He laid down his life for His sheep. He made the most expensive, most important rescue in all human history.
And now He has entrusted you with the spiritual rescue of someone you care about. By God’s grace, you can do whatever it takes to complete the rescue. Because lives are at stake–forever.