When you get stuck here are some simple ways you can share your faith with those you encounter at work and in your daily life.
Most of us would love to share the Gospel with others, but often we are intimidated by starting such a conversation. It does not need to be complicated. In fact, it can be effortless if you have a strategy. Here are three suggestions for having what can be life-changing conversations.
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First, Be Real. You have the same life challenges as anyone else whether believer or unbeliever. That gives us a lot of common ground for conversation. Capitalize on this. Be curious about the lives of those you come into contact. Ask questions about their life, family, work, education, and cultural background. People love to feel special, and anyone who will ask about them will likely be far more transparent than you expect them to.
Also, you should be transparent about your life and the issues you face. Just because you're a believer doesn't mean you don't have challenges. They may be, after all, the same challenges a friend who is not a believer is encountering. God does not solve all our problems but walks with us through them. We all live by faith. Share your challenges and invite them to share theirs. And then gently and carefully weave God into your story, and watch and listen to how they respond. Belief in Christ is central to who you are, so don't be ashamed to proud of what God has done in an through you - but take slow steps.
Second, Ask Non-threatening Spiritual Questions. Think about these sorts of questions:
Tell me about your spiritual journey? Allow them to go anywhere they desire with this rather broad "faith" question. Listen and where appropriate share your story experience as is both aligns and diverts from their experiences.
How are you handling those challenges? When someone is sharing deep pain or tough situations, this is helpful to learn what they do and how they find help. We know God alone heals, so this might be a good point of entry for guiding someone to a God who saves.
Do you have a spiritual practice that helps you through these times? Again, a wide-open question which assumes nothing and is non-threatening.
Are you a person of faith? You should not assume your understanding of the word "faith." but this question leaves the word "faith" open for their interpretation. It merely invites a conversation.
Third, Be Ready And Willing To Tell Your Story. While our circumstances are different most of us can relate to the stories others tell us. Be ready to tell yours. Share the hard things, maybe how you handled a situation in the past and how your faith fits into your story.
And remember to empathize. People are hungry for someone who will say to them, "I get it, I'm sorry you are walking through this situation." Or if it is good news, "I'm excited for you." You don't need to push Jesus on them, just tell your story and see where the conversation goes. Your conversation with them may be a defining one, or it may be a touchpoint God has for this individual along the way and one they may remember later and consider.
Be you, be real, be inquisitive and be ready to tell your story.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.
Stop being scared of talking about your faith in Christ with others by understanding three things that will help you steward, build, and leverage every moment.
Many of us become uncomfortable when we think of talking about our faith with unbelievers. We consider ourselves unqualified or untrained and figure that talking about God should be left to professionals. Of course, that's not true, and the conversation can be as natural as having a conversation about our business, recreation, marriage, or family. Here are some things to keep in mind.
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One | Steward Your Sphere. Consider this; you have a sphere of influence that no one else has on planet earth. It's unique to you, and you may in some cases be the only believer in that circle of influence. Your pastor, or another ministry professional, does not have access to those friendships. But guess what - you do! God dropped you into those relationships for a specific purpose, and central to that purpose is being a representative and witness for Jesus Christ.
In fact, you may be the only witness for Jesus some may ever meet in those circles. And the Spirit lives in you, sealing and empowering you with spiritual influence regardless of where you go. When you think of the potential you have this way, you realize that God has infiltrated every corner of society with followers designed to reach the others in that sphere.
Two | Build Your Credibility. Peter makes an impressive statement in 1 Peter 2:12. "Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation." As you live like Jesus, and your character reflects biblical principles, you end up building credibility with outsiders, and this gives power to your witness. So this means your ethics, marriage, conversations, priorities, grace, and mercy all matter. And this does not mean that God requires perfection but instead that credibility gives credence to your witness.
Three | Leverage Your Opportunity. As believers, we experience all the challenges that other experience. For example, children that rebel, loss of jobs, financial reverses, marriage struggles, physical ailments and problems, and personal pain. Because of your imperfections, you have far more in common with your unbelieving friends than you have in common with Jesus' perfection. One of the reasons Jesus came and lived among us was so that he could experience the same issues we do - knowing this we can safely come to him knowing that he understands. The same is true with your friendships. You have the struggles common to humanity which keeps you connected to humanity. But the one difference you do have from your non-believing friends is that in these moments you can turn to Jesus who provides you the strength to endure those things that are tough to handle. And it's Jesus that others want and need - and herein lies the opportunity.
These common touchpoints give you an opportunity to pray with the hurting, and to show God's love to those in need. And opportunities will present themselves and give way to causal and open conversations about prayer, faith, and God. All we need to do is be real, transparent, and willing to share how God has been good to us.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.
What is the meaning of Christmas? Is it about the gifts we find under the tree, or is there a greater gift that God intended us to see, know, and discover?
So Christmas is right around the corner, I thought it might be good to refresh ourselves on the meaning of Christmas. As we sit by our trees this year and frantically open gifts we need to remember that Christmas is not about the gifts we bring, but it is about the gift that God brought to us. And I think this one verse summarizes a good way to think about Christmas.
John 1:14 reads, “14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
So today I am sitting in front of a scroll provided by the organization God’s Ancient Library (Slide). What you are seeing is the Torah, which is the first five books of the Bible. Scrolls exactly like this have been read publically by God’s people for thousands of years.
A Torah is produced by a Sefer, we often called them a scribe. The production of a Torah was a meticulous religious act done all by hand. A Torah takes about a year to produce and was always done with care and to perfection. In fact, the root word of Sefer is “to count” and what you see is a production of exactly 304,805 letters.
One interesting element of Torah production is all the “Kosher” components and activities that go into scroll making. The word kosher simply means “acceptable to Jewish law.” And so, a trained Sefer would be educated in the Mosaic law and in doing so would give extreme care to each detail. This included using kosher skin from sacrificed animals, kosher thread from the innards of animals, kosher ink, kosher writing utensils, and the like. All this was a very long and involved process, through which God was trying to teach his people about him. God’s people revered not only the process, and elements, but also considered this to be God’s spoken Word to them – which was a great gift.
We must remember that God has been speaking his Word since the beginning of time. Genesis 1:3 reads, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3. And it was always through God’s spoken word that life took shape. Down through time God spoke directly and indirectly to us through prophets, priests, and kings.
Hebrews 1:1 reads, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.” Hebrews 1:1. And these prophets wrote down God’s Word which we see here. But in addition, in John 1 we learn that God planned to disclose his word in a more vivid way. Here is how John 1:1-5 reads,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5
And of course we know this Word to be Jesus Christ. The sacrificed lamb of God on whom were written the words of life for all mankind. Which John clarifies in our key verse today. “14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
So as you celebrate Christmas this year remember the greatest gift you have every been given is the gift of God’s Word, not just the written word but the living word – Jesus Christ. God’s gift is the living Word that he sent to the world in visible form because he loves us. In Jesus, he brought the words off this page to life and wants them to dwell in you. For through him the sacrificial lamb, we have life in his life, death, and resurrection from the dead in hopes of living in eternity with him.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Discover how to evangelize your workplace with prayer.
For many of us, evangelism in the workplace is completely off-limits, but is there a way around this? In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Dan Clites, Director of Church Ministry Development at LCMC and planting pastor who coaches planting pastors across the country. Today we hear Dan’s thoughts on sharing our faith without being in someone’s face.
Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re looking at how to engage in prayer evangelism as a man.
Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead. So never forget, if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, at beresolute.org.
We have a number of great tools for men leading men, including a new small group series that I know you would love. Check it all out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s slash, promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you will find all of our podcasts, feeds, and connections to social media. But now guys, let’s dive in.
Well, I am excited to introduce to you, today – my good friend, Dan Clites – who oversees ministry development for LCMC. Dan has served as a church planter, lead Pastor, and Pastor for over 20 years. And today trains and equips church planners across the country. Before graduating from Luther Sem in 1995, Dan worked 9 years in television sports reporting in North Dakota. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Thanks, Vince. It’s – you know what? It’s my understanding that you are celebrating another year of life.
Vince: Oh yeah, every day.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. So happy birthday.
Vince: I know you’re referring to my birthday, thank you.
Dan: Yeah, yeah.
Vince: I’m going to be 25. It’s really good.
Dan: Yeah, me too.
Vince: Again, I love it.
Vince: Well Dan, I am so excited to have you with us. And I’m so excited for the men to hear from you. Because I know that you’re a guy who has a strong passion for prayer. But you have also found a way to help guys to understand how to use prayer evangelism as a means of advancing conversations about Jesus Christ. You talk about these 4 biblical principles of prayer evangelism that you found in Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9.
Vince: And I would love for you to give us a little preview of what that looks like.
Dan: Hey, you know what, I think one of the things that a lot of guys are longing for, is a sense of a, “I feel like a hero.” Or, “I want to be a superhero.” Up until last year, I thought I was Batman, right? And we want to be a superhero to our wives and our kids and our neighborhoods. People had work. But I say, let’s become hero makers. In other words, let’s become contagious. So as I speak into–
Guys, around the country, when I travel, and I talk to– Especially I love talking to millennials, I really do. It’s the sense of – to build them up, to encourage them, to impart to them, to coach them, to mentor them. To see themselves as hero makers. And Jesus understood that when he downloaded into his disciples early on, a blueprint from God. He said, “Really, do this – because the creator has created you to practice these 4 steps. And in doing so, you will become a hero or a hero maker. Or better yet, a world changer.” Guys love to hear that. So prayer is not passive.
Dan: It’s a connection to the creator of the universe. So it’s not something we do when everything else fails. It’s something we do when we really want to exceed anything that the world can ever offer. And evangelism – you say that word to folks, and they scream and run the other way.
Vince: Yeah, that’s true.
Dan: ‘Cause they always picture guys up on soapboxes, on the corner of First and Second Street Downtown, waving a Bible yelling, “Repent you brute of vipers or you’re going to hell.” Or something like that. And Jesus never did that. Instead, he shows us a natural, a God-given, more relational way of discipling a man, women, children – and how to walk in the power and the authority of Jesus. And it comes to us from Luke, chapter 10, verses 1 through 9.
Vince: Okay, I am fired up right now. ‘Cause I’ve got to tell you – I want to be a world changer. And I think most men out there want that too, right?
Dan: They do.
Vince: And you have encountered that. So walk us through these 4 biblical principles.
Dan: Very good. Well, step number 1 – open up your Bibles to Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9. About verse 5, Jesus says, “The first thing you do–” Now, take note, “The first thing you do is – I want you to speak peace. I want you to bless and not blast.” And I used to be the champion of blasting things. And every once in a while, I still catch myself. You drive past a school or a business, and you go, “That business, they’re ripping me off.” Or, “That school, that coach didn’t do my kid right.”
And it’s like throwing up against the wind. And the only one that’s hurt is you. You’re the one who smells like vomit, if you will? And then you wonder why you feel like you stink all day. Well instead of blessing, how about – or blasting – how about blessing. Just the opposite. Because that’s what Kingdom work is. The opposite of what we want to do in the flesh.
Dan: And so–
Vince: So some of that is a mindset, it sounds like, right?
Dan: Oh, it’s all a mindset. It’s all a– Roman’s chapter 12 and 2. “Stop conforming to the ways that the world says to get back at people or make a change. Instead, why don’t you tap into the power source of God?” So when we speak peace, we’re speaking the name of Jesus. And it’s like a sword. And the sword is not to hurt people, but it is to cut through the darkness. So when you’re blessing, instead of blasting – when you’re speaking peace, you’re driving out anything that’s demonic. Spiritual squatters, if you will – who are sitting in our schools, on our government sector, in our marketplace business area. And they pretend like they own the place
Dan: But Jesus owns the place. But you simply need to remind those demonic that they don’t own it, they’re gone. When you do that, light pushes out darkness. This is something you can’t see in the flesh. You can see in the spirit realm. And you’re pushing out darkness, and – hear this guys – you’re giving yourself a home court advantage.
Vince: That’s good.
Dan: Now you can move to the next steps.
Vince: So you’re saying – these guys that are going to their places of business today – that they see their place as a place that they bless, and change their mindset on how they’re going to approach it. And not be scared of evangelizing through prayer – by beginning by blessing the place that they’re walking into today. By not seeing it as the enemy of Christ, by seeing it as something that Christ has created – including the people, the business, the process – the whole thing, and speaking a blessing into it.
Dan: Absolutely. And then I ask guys – can you see yourself as the Pastor of your workplace? And they go, “No, I didn’t go to seminary.” You go, “No, no, no, no. Don’t wreck it like that. You are the Pastor there. They may not recognize you as the Pastor–”
Dan: But you see yourself. And so you’re there to be an ambassador to Christ. It changes the atmosphere. People say, “Gosh Vince, you – there’s something different about you, there’s” And I always tell guys, “Live a questionable life.” And they think, “Well that’s – my mom – mom always told me not to do that. That was a bad thing.”
Dan: “Don’t live a questionable life.” But no, no – live a life where people say, “What’s going on in you? There’s something different about you, there’s”
Dan: “You’re attitude – when the boss is such a negative guy, you speak peace and blessing.” They won’t say that, but they say, “You’re just the opposite of that.”
Dan: And it draws the attention to – there’s something different about you, which leads us to step number 2.
Vince: Yeah, walk us through. What’s step 2?
Dan: Well Jesus says, “Don’t go jumping from house to house.” What he’s saying in the context of our world today is, “Don’t go jumping from sphere to sphere, just thinking you’re doing some kind of program.” Or grab someone and say, “Do you know Jesus? Well here’s a pamphlet. Read this, and I’ll come back and pray for you later.” He’s inviting us to be in a relationship. An ongoing, everyday – not a program, but a lifestyle of just hanging in there with people.
Because, again – let’s say you work in an office setting. And every day, you’re treating people in a different kind of way. Why? Because you opened up your own life when you walked into that sphere of influence, and you blessed and you spoke peace. And the transformation always begins in you. I know I need that. It begins in me.
And then suddenly now, people that thought, “You Christians are so judgemental,” or, “Don’t ramrod your religion down my throat.” You hear that all the time. They’re now asking you, “What’s the hope that you have?” And then they’ll say something like, “Is it a self-help book,” Or, “Are you watching Oprah?” And, “No, no, no. I’ve been hanging out with the one who calls himself the bread of life.” And they’ll say, “What are you talking about, the bread of life? And it – the question, the question they ask you, allows you to be able to talk about your faith. Develop that relationship of trust. So important. Get away from inviting guys to another program.
Dan: But invite them into a relationship first.
Vince: Okay, so what we begin to do here is we develop a mindset in that environment for the people that are there. Do less compartmentalizing our life–
Vince: And look at life as a whole. Long-term relationships over a long time.
Vince: Lots of seeds planted in hearts over that time. And then stop thinking about people as just human beings in passing. There are people to be ministered to over a period of time, looking and awaiting an opportunity, right?
Dan: Correct, Vince. And they’re not a project.
Dan: No one wants to be someone’s project.
Vince: The typical evangelism would view people that way, right? As like–
Dan: As a task.
Vince: I’m trying to – you’re a task, I’m trying to check off.
Vince: I’m trying to convert you. No, no, no. I’m trying to learn from you, just as much as you’re trying to learn from me. And yes, I’m going to pass on a very valid message to you. But you’re not a project.
Vince: You’re a brother, right?
Dan: Exactly. Otherwise, it’s 10:01 works, righteousness – rather than a discipling relationship. Exactly.
Vince: Okay. Step 3. Walk me on.
Dan: Step number– Well now you’ve been blessing, you’ve – pushing out darkness. This is a spirit realm thing. You’re gaining a home court advantage. You’re developing relationships of trust. Now you’re able to move into where Jesus says in verse 7, “I heal the sick, who are there.” And right away, when we think of sickness, we think of – usually physical sickness, as bad as that is.
Dan: But there’s also different kinds of sickness. There’s motivational sickness. Like, “What’s the use, I’m a loser anyway. Nothing ever goes well for me. I’m not making it.” There’s relational sickness. Where you’re – maybe you’re having problems at home with your spouse, your kids, with the boss?” There’s financial sickness. Where no matter what you do, you just never seem to make ends meet. But the worst sickness of all – and most people in our culture don’t know this, is spiritual sickness. You don’t know that Jesus is your hope.
Dan: He’s your hope that exceeds everything else. So – again, when you develop that relationship in step 2 – now you can– And people are talking about their issues. You can say, “Can I pray for you?”
Dan: I’ve done that at restaurants. I say, “Can I pray for you?” I’ve had one guy one time said, “Nope.” And he went away back to the kitchen. He comes back and says, “You know what? You can.” It took him a while to think about that, ’cause he had never been asked that before.
Dan: And then, you know what? You ask him questions. You try to develop that relationship – even though it might be short term – unless you go back to that same restaurant and see that same person again. And you pray for that person.
Vince: See, I like this. Because I have always said that ministry is really – has a lot to do with the presence at the right time.
Vince: And people experience pain. And presence at the right time, combined with pain or need or some tension or crisis or whatever it is – a problem in their life. Gives us an opportunity for Christian men, to lean into that issue and to love them. And to show them the love of Christ. And man – we need to keep our eyes open for pain in people’s lives, right?
Dan: Precisely. And if you were to say to them, “I know it’s Wednesday, but bring that pain to Sunday morning worship.” They won’t show up, or they just–
Vince: Who cares?
Dan: Dismiss it. Right then and there, see yourself as their minister at that moment. That’s the idea of a missionary, versus just a temple dweller. To be sent.
Vince: Yeah, and you don’t need a major education to meet people and their pain, right?
Vince: We’ve all experienced pain. Like I’ve experienced pain, I know you have as well. And we each have these unique pains that God has given us in our life, and we can use that to minister to other people. We’ve just got to keep our eyes open, right?
Dan: In the book of acts, they couldn’t understand Peter, James, and John. They were walking in power. But goodness sakes, these are just fishermen – they’re ordinary men. But they realize that they had been with Jesus.
Dan: Yeah, see? Now they were ministers in the marketplace. They didn’t say, “Get off the lake, stop fishing and come inside – be inside the church building.”
Dan: He said, “I’m going to take you fishermen, and create you to be fisher of men.”
Vince: Men. There you go.
Dan: Stay in the marketplace.
Vince: Okay, give us that last principle. What’s the 4th?
Dan: Alright, and the last one is – Jesus simply says, “Ah, behold. This is the Kingdom of God. It has drawn near to you.” He didn’t say, “Go inside a church building, and go to a worship service.” And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because that has its purpose and its place. But he was saying, “The power comes in 24/7 in the marketplace. Especially in your spheres of influence.”
Your home, your work, your hobbies. Look around, see people are blessing not blasting anymore. People are developing relationships. They’re not judging. And they’re healing. Or they’re meeting people’s felt needs. Generally, a person’s felt need may not be salvation initially. But that’s what they really need. Initially, what they might need is a friendship or someone to talk to, or someone that shows them that they can have a breakthrough or they have worth. From that, they say, “Tell me more about this God of Jesus Christ.”
Vince: Right, right, right.
Dan: So the Kingdom of God has drawn near to you. It is in the marketplace.
Vince: I love that. Okay, so real quick, give us the outline. What are the 4 steps again? The 4 principles of prayer evangelism.
Vince: They are–
Dan: From Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9. “I’ll bless and speak peace.” That comes from verse 5. Then move into, “Don’t jump from house to house.” Develop relationships where you’re at.
Dan: Trusting relationships. They move into healing. They can be supernatural healing, yes. Or it can simply be something as the presence of hope. Meeting someone’s felt needs. And the last step is – this is the Kingdom of God. And it’s not meant to be robot.
Dan: Like you don’t go around saying, “Have I done step 1 correctly yet?”
Vince: Right, right, right.
Dan: It’s like a song. It’s 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4. It’s a rhythm of life. Because the mission is a rhythm of life. It’s not an activity, it’s not a program. It’s a rhythm of life. So you don’t have to be bogged down in – have I done something correct yet or not?
Dan: And don’t go 4, 3, 2, 1.
Dan: Remember, God the creator of humans said, “The best way to do this is 1, 2, 3, 4.”
Vince: There we go. I love this. And I’ve got to say, Dan, this is a huge blessing to guys in the marketplace out there. If you are trying to figure out a way that your life can leave and leave a legacy with the people around you – you can be a hero and a world changer. You’ve heard a process today that you can apply to everyday life, by opening your eyes and engaging the environment around you.
Seeing it, and thinking about it differently. In 4 simple steps of just prayer evangelism. It’s walking into everyday life, looking for opportunities, speaking into them. And blessing the world around you that God created. That it’s his world. And gentlemen, I pray that you’ll go and be challenged today. And as you enter the marketplace – even your home or your neighborhood, that you would bless it with true evangelism that doesn’t see people as projects. It sees them as God’s creation. So guys, thanks so much for being with us again.
And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.
So I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk. But please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.
Evangelism and The NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl Breakfast
Today we discover the convergence of athletics and evangelism and the powerful tool of The NFL Super Bowl Breakfast. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Terry Bortz, Director of Special Projects in Ohio with Athletes in Action, and her longtime leadership of this fantastic event. Today hear the approach of this event and how it can build a bridge for the purpose of sharing our faith with others.
How to be consistent in sharing our faith by living like a Christian without compromise
While it is tempting to make compromises especially when engaging lifestyle evangelism, we must choose to never compromise. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Bill Mast, director of Search Ministries in Minnesota, and a long time expert in the field of evangelism. Today hear as Bill and Vince share their thoughts on the need for consistency in all that we say and do and how it impacts our witness.
This is resolute and the resolute leadership podcast. I’m Vince Miller. You’re founder and host, and today we’re in a series on evangelism discussing the topic of being consistent in lifestyle evangelism.
Welcome to the program. If this is, in fact, your very first time tuning in, we’ll we’re so thankful that you decided to join us. Our mission at resolute is to disciple and developmental lead, and if you’re looking for great content for your men’s group, then you got to go to our website [email protected] We have a number of great new series there for your man and the man that you lead. If you also want to follow us, you can find us on all forms of social media, Linkedin, Facebook, especially love to have you follow us there and you can listen to us on any major feed alive regularly throughout the week, like on feeds like iTunes or SoundCloud. We’d love to have you become a regular listener, but now let’s dive in.
Well, today we are joined by bill mass bill masters, a long time a good friend of mine and also the team leader and director for search ministries in Minnesota. I would call Bill the master evangelist. No, he might be humbled by those terms and, but that’s how I think of him. This guy has shared his faith effectively with lots of men over many years and today trains men on how to do that. And so I’m just really excited to have him with us as we learn how to share our faith with other people. Bill, welcome to the show. Thanks, Vince. It’s great to be here. So I, I’m really gonna. I think I’m going to enjoy this conversation with you and here’s why is because I think this one is probably the most challenging of them all because we’re going to talk about what it means to, uh, be a person as it relates to an evangelism. And one of the things it means to be a person, a human being as it relates to evangelism, is to understand how we need to walk and talk consistently in all of our life. And I think that’s one of the greatest challenges because Bill, I am not a perfect person. I am not perfect. In fact, I’m farthest from perfect. I did not know that. Yeah, just learn that. Hey, if you want to know how imperfect I am, let’s get my wife in here.
But, uh, I gotta tell you that’s what’s really humbling about this conversation specifically is because I feel like all eyes are on me when I’m proclaiming the good news. Do you feel that way? I do Vince. I have a little different take on this. I think sometimes there’s a pressure among evangelical believers not to share their faith because they think they are hypocrites. And so they’ll never share their faith. Now obviously we don’t want to live a life of hypocrisy who want to live a life that’s attractive and real and authentic. But I think there’s also something that as we share the gospel, we can open up about our own weaknesses. I think that opens people up to us. We, we were sharing why people need Christ, but we can share why we need Christ. We’re, we’re fallen. People were now redeemed, of course by the power of the Gospel, but I need to be authentic in my sharing and uh, and, and, and live that before people.
Obviously, I don’t want to be this loud mouth obnoxious hypocrites. It’s not living a life of joy and faith. But on the other hand, um, I, I want to be able to share my authenticity with people. I think that opens people up. I like that. I’ve never thought of it that way. Bill, that’s really helpful for me personally too, uh, because you know, I am a pretty transparent person about how I feel and think about things. At least I try to be. And I think over the years I’ve gotten to be more transparent about my life or my story, but when I hear you saying is, it’s okay for me to have my imperfections that when it comes to evangelism, we’re going to have to embrace those. Those would even become part of God’s story in me is I talked to other people and as we may talk about their imperfections as well, because not only is there a God story, there’s my story and there’s your story or their story, and we’re really integrating those stories in a one and finding ways to bring that story to live.
Now, let. Let me ask you this then since you’ve kind of alleviated some tension for me, I know that there are people out there who will hear the gospel who will be really challenged by it because they may feel an inconsistently in their daily life. Like I feel that sometimes too, even when I go through life like sometimes my walk doesn’t match with my talk. I’m. I would assume that there’s a lot of listeners that feel that lack of integrity or integration in their life. Let’s speak to both of those just for a few minutes. First, our walk is an important part of our evangelism, right? When you say indeed, let me share a quote with your audience, Vince. It reads as follows. The best argument for Christianity is Christians. Their joy, their certainty, their completeness, but the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians when they are somber and joyless when they’re self-righteous and smug and complacent. Consecration when they are a narrow and repressive thing, Christianity dies a thousand deaths. That kinda captures both worlds, doesn’t it? So, you know, we’re, we’re called to live a life of a, of transformation, of a proclamation, sharing the good news and the context of friendships. We talked about friendship evangelism earlier. Uh, but what I think, what I’ve learned maybe the hard way, Vince, as I’m talking with people, sometimes that person has a perception of me and other Christians that were perfect or we think we’re perfect. Here we go. And I’ve often found that you can lower their barriers by admitting our mistakes. When they share an issue they’re wrestling with, I might say, well, I’ve, I’ve kind of wrestled with that too. And again, that as I said earlier, that that tends to lower barrier. That person needs to see that I’m in perfect. That’s why I need a savior. And you are too. That’s why you need a savior.
Yeah, I like that. Now, here’s why I really like Bill is he alleviates pressure for me, but it also calls me to say that I’m in process and I’m working and you’re in the process and you’re working and it. It helps me to be more real with people you know, in moments that I had been the most transparent with people. I see others light up in front of me like it’s amazing because people do have a perception of us as Christians that we’ve got this whole thing altogether and I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve met when I share open up about a struggle or a sin that I’m facing or repetitive issue that I faced in my life. I share my anxiety sometimes with people as a repetitive sin issue a man. It awakens a whole world of understanding about me and how I’m trying to discover God’s victory in my life over that sin because that’s where I feel weak and so I think you’re giving me permission to feel weak today.
Or even to say that as a Christian, that’s sharing our faith with other people. It’s okay that we feel weak. It’s okay that we don’t have all the answers. It’s more about approaching the situation and having the courage, which is a constant theme throughout the Old Testament, right? Be Strong and courageous, do not be afraid, was said to about $15, billion people in the Old Testament, most of the leaders and kings, right? Um, and I think that what maybe what God wants us to hear is, you know, I really don’t sometimes necessarily care that you’re afraid. It’s more than you’re willing to embrace that I’m a big God in this situation and I can help anybody. Right? And just step into it now, let’s speak to the talk side of things because I know from my standpoint, this is my opinion of you. Okay? My opinion of you is that I see you as an expert apologist. Okay? That you’re a guy who understands. I’m not how to apologize as an expert, although I do pretty well. We could ask your wife about that baby. But, uh,
I would say that you’re an expert on explaining the faith to other people because you, you understand how to answer some of these questions and we’re saying today that really being consistent as we engage in lifestyle evangelism is about walking the walk. But not only that, talking the talk, now there are guys out there too that feel inadequate when it comes to really their faith to other people. And yet you’re this apologist that I’d say has built your confidence over the years. Are there certain questions as an apologist for yourself that you can anticipate from almost any person about faith? Very much so. There’s a, there’s at least three or four one, certainly in our, a relativistic culture. The Jesus being the only way is, is an obvious question. Sometimes it’s just assumed they’ll assume that, uh, uh, who, who could possibly believe that today. Right? Right. And sometimes we have to ask it, do you understand that the Christian belief is that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. It’s assumed that nobody believes that anymore. But yeah, that’s, that’s obviously a big one, a big one yet. Um, you know, the new atheists as they call themselves, the, uh, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris and so forth have made atheism more acceptable and atheists have kind of popular yet more popular and they’re less scared. They’re more proclamation and what they believe.
But so the question of God, does he exist is I think more frequently asked that I’ve seen in years past a couple of others that come for us. Obviously, our is the Bible reliable. It certainly can’t be. It was written by men over a period, you know, hundreds of years. How can we know what we have today? Um, those are probably the more common ones in addition to the, uh, Jesus being the only way, maybe the second most asked question is why is there evil and suffering, right? If God is good, how could he allow evil and suffering? So if he allows it, maybe he’s not good or if it’s present, maybe it doesn’t exist.
Right? And I would say too, I mean, you’ve done this enough and I’ve done this enough to know that there are certain basic questions that everybody’s going to ask, right? I mean, I’ve kind of whittled it down to a list of about eight or 10. I would assume that you probably have a list of a little bit longer than mine, maybe 12, that you know, that everybody’s going to ask. These are the popular ones. And for us to really engage in lifestyle evangelism, we’ve got to be prepared with an answer, right? We, we’ve got to do our work. And I think that’s one of the things that I think makes me curious about most Christians is that they want to engage in evangelism, but they’re not prepared in their talk. And we should have good answers to these questions. Right? I mean these are the popular questions. So it’s good to get some tools on our hand that help us to ask these questions. Of course, anybody can google these questions, right? The Google is like gives us all the answers to anything. But if there was a great resource out there on this topic, what would you point people to?
Oh my, there’s such an embarrassment of riches as people call it in the area of Christian apologetics. There are so many resources. I think many people are familiar with the Lee Strobel books case for Christ. The case for faith. The case for creation. I love, uh, a couple of books by Greg Kroschel who has a ministry called stand. The reason he’s got a great book called tactics, um, uh, a little booklet that I love to use a, it’s called dinner with a perfect stranger. And David Gregory, if I recall, is the author. I love it because it’s short. Uh, it, it’s, it’s an easy read by that I mean it’s not using highfalutin language, but you’re reading apologetics and in a narrative form. So your kind tripped right story for every year. You’re gathering all those neat information as Jesus is interacting with this, this young man. And, and also it’s a wonderful book to give to others for the same reasons. It’s short, it’s easy to read. It’s a great evangelism tool.
Right? Exactly. I love that you brought that up because I remember reading that in a church in Texas many years ago, I think where there’s a lot of search ministry guy still based there, and I remember, wow, I think this is a great tool, not only for me to explain my faith in a casual way to other people, very conversational, but you can actually give it to them. You just say, read this. If you don’t know the answers, it’s just like to read this book. Exactly. Let’s read it together. Then talk about it. Um, what a great way, not only to build conversations in but to build common ground and to begin to proclaim the good news of the fame without necessarily just opening the Bible immediately, which can be scary for all of us, including me. Like where do you go? How do you start? But a narrative story gives you a little bit of context to drop things into talking about hypothetical quote unquote situations that may be real life to each of us.
Right? And in another plug for a book from our own resources from search ministries. It’s called. I’m glad you asked that. I remember that. Yeah. Which, uh, that covers the 12 most frequently asked questions of people over the years that we’ve been doing apologetics ministry. Yeah.
Yeah. I love that. And I love that you guys still do that by the way? Um, uh, uh, a couple of different of additional thoughts. Bill is, you know, I, I, I think it’s interesting as we talk about walking and talking and being consistent, that as I started engaging in evangelism is sharing my faith with other people. I became way more cognizant of how I spent my time, the things that I do, the things that I said out of my mouth, how I talked about situations. God’s word even is working in my life. It all started to change. I want you to know that, that I think sometimes engaging in lifestyle evangelism, as you call it, a relational evangelism is a powerful tool for personal change because now I’m starting to integrate those two things together. Early on I just saw it as a tool to reach people for Christ, but now I see relational or lifestyle evangelism is a way that I’m growing personally in my relationship with Christ because I’m paying more attention to my character, more attention to how I’m engaged in God’s word. More, more attention to what people are saying. I’m listening more carefully to other people. Like it’s amazing that when we engage in this. Have you experienced what I’m talking about here?
Yeah. A sample I can share is I make a lot of contact with friends on a golf course. I, you know, I love to play golf and that’s where I make a lot of connections with non-Christians. And Are you saying there are Non-Christians on a golf course? It’s hard to believe they seem to take certain beverages with them or their golf carts and, and they tell certain jokes and. Yup. Yup. But you know, I just want to be there and, and, and the friend them, if they’re not guys that I know, I want to get to know them and they’ll, they’ll tell crass jokes and I’m careful not to engage. Right. I want to watch my walk and then often times they’ll ask me what I do and then they’ll maybe change their language a little bit and put out their cigarettes. Yeah. And other guys stop using the Lord’s name in vain. Then they’ll start telling funny God jokes, you know, after awhile it’s kind of fun, but I just want to be with them and laugh with them and have fun and get to know them and I’m not out there to, to judge them or criticize them. I just really want them to riff. I want to reflect Christ when I’m with them as best as I know how.
Exactly. And sometimes that leads to deep personal transformation, right? Yeah. Not only in their life but ours and that’s there are some rewards and that some breach rewards.
And I’m not sure I answered your question entirely because yes, I want to be a, I want to be ready to go into little situations, right? I want to be grounded in the word. I want to be filled with the spirit. I want to be to alert to the dangers around me because, uh, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, it’s against the enemy, the powers and forces of darkness, right? So I want to be alert to that and know that I’m walking in enemy territory when I walking into the lives of other people and be careful of not walking into sin myself. Be alert to that. But having that also, that tension of wanting to befriend the center. Jesus did exactly I, you know, I will say as we can,
was that I probably learned more in advance realism about God’s word than anything else. Any other active personal activity. I mean, I love to read God’s word, but you do that on your own. I love to listen to great sermons. I love to worship. You can do a lot of those things alone, but evangelism is something that brings you around people, right? It really does. It forces you to be around people because you have to open your mouth and talk and listen to other people. You have to engage in them. And uh, it, it’s led to more personal growth. In my life, more highs and lows, more exciting moments and more personal change because I believe God uses it as a tool to invest in eternity. I think we take for granted the number of rewards, and I’m using that term loosely here, but there’s a terminal investment in our rewards, in relationships with other people that involve God.
And uh, it’s remarkable. Not only are they rewarded right by getting to hear the word, but we are rewarded by the joy that we get to experience. See that come alive in someone’s eyes. And I got to tell you in the moments that I’m explaining God’s word to somebody else and they learn something new, it’s astounding to me how personally fulfilling that is, is astounding. It’s amazing. They’ll look across at a friend’s eyes when they come to discover that there are some center and God’s full of grace, right? Indeed. And to say, God use me in this process. He used little old me. Yeah. Yeah. And, and there are times when he kind of used
somebody else and you’re kind of, you feel the same way about it as like, yeah, I’m kind of bummed. He didn’t use me, but he did use me to all of us. It’s not a competition. You were winning people
kingdom enough for ourselves. And uh, I just absolutely love it. And Bill, I just want to say thank you to you and to search ministries and for a lot of the investment of time that you’ve taken over the year to invest in men like the guys listening to this podcast and I want to encourage them to, to step into really step into this opportunity to talk with friends, coworkers, family members, those around them, neighbors, whoever it might be an invest spiritually in their life because there’s huge dividends there. Right? And I know you’ve given your life to this. So I just want to tell you, thank you for doing that because I know so many men that have been personally impacted by you and sometimes we don’t hear that right? We know there’s an eternal rewards, but sometimes we need the occasional pat on the back saying, you know, I’m, I’m doing a good work here. And uh, so thank you for your work and for search ministries. Oh, you are welcome. Thank you,
and that’s the show. Thanks for listening guys. As we close, I want to give you two incredible opportunities. The first one is this, Bill mast, a team leader for search ministries, Minnesota. Each year puts on one or two straight talk breakfast and these breakfast or opportunity for us as men together around round tables to be served to plated breakfast and to allow us the opportunity to invite non unbelieving friends to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel here in a couple of months. They’re featuring Jay Warner Wallace. He is an American homicide detective and an a, a Christian apologist. Now imagine putting those two things together. He has authored several books including cold case Christianity and God’s crime scene in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation, too, apologetic concerns such as things like does God really exist, and what is the actual reliability of the gospels.
You will be mesmerized by this guy, not just as a Christian, but by the opportunity to bring a nonbeliever friend with you, to hear from this man as he presents a clear case for the Gospel and for Jesus Christ. If you are interested in all in coming to this and bringing a nonbeliever friend with you, it would greatly benefit you and this friend’s life you can find more out about this [email protected], forward slash search. Just type in the word search after our domain name and you’ll find all the information there and you can actually register a. also, as we close, I want to remind you that we got great content for you and your men and your men’s group. Uh, you can find this all at our website. Be Resolute that org. And guys, I hope you enjoyed this podcast today, but please know that the time that we spent together is worthless unless you act on it. You just have to do something with it. Pray for our friend, invite a friend to this incredible event, but do something today by getting off the bench and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of the resolute podcast.
How to build common ground when engaging in evangelism.
Evangelism is not just about telling people about Jesus Christ, it is about forging an opportunity to share with them the greatest story ever told. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Bill Mast, director of Search Ministries in Minnesota, and a long time expert in the field of evangelism. Today listen as Bill and Vince share their thoughts on the importance of building common ground in evangelism.
This is Resolute and the Resolute podcast. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host, and today we’re in a series on evangelism discussing the critical topic of building common ground in evangelism.
Welcome to the program. If this is your very first time tuning in, will. Thank you for joining us. Our mission at resolute is to disciple and developmental lead, so if you’re looking for content for your men’s group or a men’s ministry than you need to stop by our website [email protected] Also, if you want to follow us at any point on social media, of course, you can find us on Facebook or LinkedIn and if you’d like to listen on a consistent basis every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, you can go for sure catch us on all major feeds including iTunes and SoundCloud. But now gentlemen, let’s dive in.
Well, today we are joined by Bill Mast, a long time good friend of mine and also the team leader and director for Search Ministries in Minnesota. I would call Bill Mast a master evangelist. No, he might be humbled by those terms and, but that’s how I think of him. This guy has shared his faith effectively with lots of men over many years and today trains men on how to do that, and so I’m just really excited to have him with us as we learn how to share our faith with other people. Bill, welcome to the show. Thank you. Fence. It’s just great to be here. You know, I, I love being able to sit with you not only because it brings excellent laughter to mind just, but because also our friendship and the years of ministry that I’ve watched out of you that you’ve probably seen me suffer through as well as I’ve been learning and growing.
I’m in today. I want to talk about building common ground because you were the guy years ago who turned me onto a book called Finding Common Ground. Right? Remember that book you gave me? I still have it on my shelf. I do. The author was, was in his Tim Downs and I love the book. Yeah, it’s excellent. I thought, by the way, one of the best books I’ve ever read on evangelism because it gave me the courage to understand that I don’t have to live in all the styles of evangelism that I see in the world today. We talked about this last time, like a proclamation and even confrontational style. This taught me a very special approach to finding common ground with other people relationally and how to do it. And it stepped me through it and made it practical. Right? Um, why don’t you give us a brief overview of Bill? You know you work with men, you work with search ministries that obviously is doing evangelism all the time. You’re meeting with guys who don’t know Christ all the time. Uh, tell us, what does it look like for you as a leader in your ministry to build common with people that don’t know Christ?
Well, it’s going to vary from person to person, but the big picture is I’m trying to find something that they enjoy and move into that world with them. If they’re my neighbor and they enjoy gardening, I’m going to tal aboutk gardening with them because that’s what they enjoy. If it’s a golfer and they love golf, I’m going to talk golfing with them. So I’m trying to move into their areas of preference and comfort and the things that they enjoy a lot. And uh, that’s, that’s the simplest and easiest way that I do is just find out what they enjoy and try to connect with them on that level.
Got It. So you’re, you’re looking for activities that they enjoy doing a, you may have to learn a little bit about some of those activities sometimes I would assume oftentimes do, especially if it’s something like gardening. Yeah. And because I’ve seen you golf, golf, sometimes you thought I was going to make you look good dude. Where’s this going? So I, I love it, but you, I mean, you do that too. I know you take guys golfing, you build relationships with them. Um, I, I know that you do all kinds of activities with, with guys just so that you can build common ground. So it begins with you finding something that they enjoy doing, maybe learning about it and doing it with them. Absolutely. And then take us to the next step. What happens next?
Well, another way to do that, and then I’ll then I’ll go to your question is we need to be willing to ask questions, right? That’s not so difficult. Okay. I might have to ask questions to find out about them and then listen. Well, and then continued conversation by probing that I found, uh, a person, uh, you know, loves history. Well, I’m going to go down the road of history. Tell me what you like to read. What area of history do you love the most and why do you love it? I, I want them to be comfortable with me. I want to be comfortable with them and move into their world as best I can. Um, if, uh, what was your second question again?
Yeah. Then how do you take it to the next step then? Like walk us through like at this point, so you’re building this common ground. Uh, how do you take that toward the Gospel? You know, what does it look like? So we have, we have a guy who likes to golf, you go golfing with. We got a guy who likes history, which I know you know a lot about by the way. And so you, you transitioned that to the Gospel. How do you use those moments to build common ground with another guy so that you can share the Gospel Sport
with them? I’m trying to develop trust, right? Develop some sort of friendship and at some point, I’m going to ask some probing questions. Sometimes they’re not of a spiritual nature. I just may ask conversational questions like, um, you know, what would you do if you won the lottery? Or um, who was your favorite teacher in high school and why? Uh, but after time when I feel like they’re feeling comfortable with me, then I’m going to ask some sort of spiritual related question. And it could be in our first conversation, it might be several conversations down the road, but I might ask a question like, um, uh, may I ask you your opinion about
the question of God? Yeah. Uh, I did. That was one friend of mine, I’d played several rounds of golf with him. We’d had a, had a hamburger afterward and just talked and shared life and I got to know a little bit about him as a younger guy. Um, has a good job. And uh, one day I just a senate email to him saying, hey, I’d love to have lunch. And quite frankly, I just, I’d really love to get your opinion on the question of God. And he shot back an email that said, love, to have lunch. I do want you to know that my opinion on this subject is probably different from yours. There we go. That gives you something to talk about their. Exactly. I said, well, I’d love to hear your opinion. Let’s have lunch. And it lead into a great conversation over lunch.
Yeah. So here, here’s what I hear you saying, Bill, is you take, you take a guy that you have a relationship with you, uh, you build common ground by maybe doing something that he wants to do. You’re not being malicious here, you’re not being manipulative. You’re just building a friendship. Right? And then at some point, you pop a question, yeah, you know, since you are dating, you have a question on this guy and it has some sort of spiritual content to it is what it does. It’s, it’s some sort of spiritual focus where you can get to know not just the things that they do, maybe the person that they are the way they think about life philosophically. And so you’re, you’re beginning to get into deeper conversations. I liked that this guy said, hey, I might disagree with you. So he’s kind of letting you know where he stands.
He does want to have a conversation with you. Tell us now what happened in that specific conversation. Where did it go? Yeah. And by the way, some people don’t want to go down that road. But, uh, in, in, uh, many, many times I’ve asked that question over the years, very few have said no, some do, but the vast majority of people said, I’d love to tell you my opinion because you are asking their opinion. So in this particular case with met for lunch, uh, he laid out the case that he said, well, I’m really a Deist, uh, for though he understood that he did while I was surprised. Yeah. So, as you know, Vince, some of our listeners may not be familiar with the term, but think of this giant watchmaker who wound up the universe, put it into motion, and then kind of walked away and there’s no longer personally involved in his creation.
So that’s where this person was. He didn’t feel that this thing, this person does it, that created everything and he did believe in creation, but he walked away from it. It has no personal involvement in the universe. So we’re kind of on our own and we just had a great conversation for an hour. It didn’t go real far other than that, but it was an open frank conversation. Yeah, that’s good. You know, one of the things that I’ve done, bill, to build common ground with people, uh, isn’t necessarily just asked them like these philosophical questions. You know, one of the things I’ve done to build common ground with people is just asked to pray for them. I know that’s also maybe an approach or some people might call it a tactic, but I have found that that’s really helpful as well, like building a relationship with someone and then calling to mind like issues in her life and then saying, can I pray for you about them?
I also have never been turned down to pray for someone to ask. It is crazy like people now, I would assume there was a guy that I met once in a group who was an atheist and I asked if I could pray in the group and he of course he said yes, but I was surprised about that too. Like I’ve even been even an atheist said yesterday, so I don’t know what that means. Maybe I need to share my faith more, talk with people. I’m praying for people more, but I just thought that it’s profound. Like people will not turn you down on these conversations. Both. We think they will. We think they will. So we avoid building common ground. Maybe because of our own fears of what people might do or might not do, but I gotta tell you we we can build common ground with people.
Right, and these are just some of the first steps. Now tell me this. It took me years bill, to overcome some of these fears that I have about what people will do and what they won’t do. Right. Mostly because I think we live in a society today that that really, I think to some degree shames a Christian worldview. We do live in a culture today where maybe the Christian worldview isn’t broadly accepted, even though many of the other countries out there. To think that we’re an American country that is predominantly Christian. Right. But I will tell you, I have found that more of my issue is internal. To me, it’s my mindset, right? You see what I’m getting at here. I think a lot of building crown has to do with having a good mindset for the people across from us. You didn’t just immediately jump into evangelism, I assure you had to kind of get your mind moving in that direction today.
I would assume that especially because of your work and your ministry with search ministries, which does awesome work to evangelize men and the business sector, that you are constantly on your mind about sharing your faith with other people. Can you give us any wisdom there on how listeners today who are not on new, maybe you have those switch turned off in their mind about sharing their faith with other people. How do you switch that mindset on? I mean, do you wake up in the day, you start praying for people as you go about your day? What are you thinking? How do you do life differently? It helps you adopt a mindset for building common ground and conversations that lead toward
like I think I think it starts with the word of God. When I see Jesus going from village to village, town to town, proclaiming the good news. He is intentional. You know, the son of God could have remained in Nazareth and taken the approach that I’ll just hang out here and if people want to know I’m the Messiah, they can come asking, you know, I’ll, I’ll tell them, but he goes and there’s opposition to him in much of his going so he doesn’t wait. He doesn’t hold it in. And he goes, and when I read the word of and I see that intentionality in the gospels and I see the intentionality of the epistles, the book of acts and the epistles of the apostles and other disciples going forward with the Gospel. That’s an encouragement to me that I, I can’t sit and wait for someone to come to me. I’m commanded to go. That’s it. That’s the great commission, right? Go and make disciples.
Yeah. You know, can I just interject? I think I think bill sometimes maybe part of our mindset is impacted by the fact that we think it’s kind of optional and maybe I’m being a little strong here and, and I think I need to be strong for some, some of us, some of us need to hear this, but it really is not a non option to be a Christian that doesn’t share their faith.
I think you and I are thinking of the same passage in Romans 10. How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news? And in verse 17, especially where Paul says that faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. We have good news, right? We, if we had the cure to cancer, we wouldn’t keep it to ourselves, right? And we’re supposed to go tell that good news people are lost. The most frequent word Jesus used the people that didn’t know him her last evening. And, uh, we can be a part of a process. Yes. People might not like it. People might think we’re silly. People might label us, but isn’t that worth the risk of introducing someone to Jesus in spite of us maybe being criticized or labeled right for someone moving from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light, from being lost to being found and seeing them spending eternity with Christ that’s worth the the concerns and fears or even trepidation I might have from time to time.
That’s where exactly. Yeah. See, and I think as it relates to this topic, Bill, I think that part of being a Christian is to share our faith with the world because we have the greatest news ever, and evangelism is one of those things that we get an opportunity to do here, but not in heaven. And we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have here and take our faith seriously, um, so much so that we’re willing to endure persecution for it. That’s what’s so inspiring about these men in the New Testament, right? They risked it all for the word of God and the story of God. That wasn’t their story. It was the story of Jesus Christ working through an in them and most of them ended up giving their lives for Jesus Christ because they opened their mouth and told the good news of the son of God who came to this world to rescue us from our sin.
It is the greatest story ever told, and the worst thing we could do is wake up in the morning and be ashamed of it. There. There’s another verse from Romans Right here, right, and we need to let the shame go and see that our goliath may be our mindset regarding our faith and that we need to see that God is standing behind us, ready to take us into the battle, charge into it full force and say, you know what? I’m going to tell my coworker. I’m going to tell my family member. I’m going to tell my neighbor about Jesus Christ because my God is so awesome and I’m going to change my mindset about how I view even myself and my identity. I love that Paul, and almost every one of his new testament books started it with his identity for Ipol slave servant. Do loss of Jesus Christ, what does a servant have no other choice but to do the master’s will, and I think we too need to take up that charge. Well, this is great Bill. This really helps us to understand what it looks like to build common ground, to even develop that mindset and take the next step. Is there any encouraging words you have out there for our listeners today that are, that are maybe engaging in building common ground for the very first time? What would you say to the guys today?
I’m thinking of a passage from first Corinthians nine and I’ll read, read part of it. The Apostle Paul says to the Jews, I became as a Jew in order to win Jews later on, he says to those outside the law, I became as one outside the law that I might win those outside the law. So I think there’s a great reminder that Paul has this mindset of moving into his own Jewish community and sharing the gospel in a. In a way that they would understand and the way they understood was using the Hebrew scriptures, the old testament to the gentile, to those who are unfamiliar with the ways of God, he found a way to reach them and when he’s in Athens and as recorded in acts 17 is a great example of that where he appeals to their religiosity and says, I’d like to tell you about this one monument.
You have to the unknown God, I’d like to tell you about him. So he finds common ground with them, but it’s so fascinating to see his perspective and I think we can learn from that were driven by the truth of God’s word. We are led by the Holy Spirit and we don’t need to fear, yes we can be afraid of, but it doesn’t need to, uh, uh, keep us one place. It doesn’t need to keep us backed in a corner. We can, we can move forward with our concerns and fears and as a body of Christ praying for us as we move forward with intentionality.
I love that and I agree with you. I think first Corinthians nine has a lot to say about Paul’s willingness to take things as far as possible so that by all means, he might save some, right, and he was willing to make sacrifices there to save others, and we have to choose to do that as well. The one thing we never want to compromise is we never want to compromise our morals, right? We can’t. We cannot compromise our morals as we build common ground and we cannot compromise the message of Jesus Christ either if we compromise either of those, we weaken the Gospel and we the ability for us to build common ground. So guys, you’ve heard this today and I pray that you’ll just step into it. Move beyond your fears into faith, right? Step out of the boat, into a relationship with Jesus Christ by activating your mouth and sharing your faith with other people and be bold because God’s behind you all the way. I mean this is his word and his message, and by the way, if you endure a little bit of persecution for the sake of Christ, so be it. They’re not persecuting you. They’re persecuting God, that’s who they they’re persecuting because that’s his word and his message, so go out there today and be courageous. Bill, thanks again for being with us left
and that’s the show. Thanks for listening guys. As we close, I want to give you two incredible opportunities. The first one is this, Bill mast, a team leader for search ministries, Minnesota. Each year puts on one or two straight talk breakfast and these breakfasts or opportunity for us as men together around round tables to be served plated breakfast and to allow us the opportunity to invite non unbelieving friends to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel here in a couple of months. They’re featuring Jay Warner Wallace. He is an American homicide detective and an a, a Christian apologist. Now imagine putting those two things together. He has authored several books including cold case Christianity and God’s crime scene in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation, too. Apologetic concerns such as things like, does God really exist, and what is the actual reliability of the gospels.
You will be mesmerized by this guy, not just as a Christian, but by the opportunity to bring an unbelieving friend with you, to hear from this man as he presents a clear case for the Gospel and for Jesus Christ. If you are interested in all in coming to this and bringing a non believing friend with you, it would greatly benefit you and this friend’s live. You can find more out about this [email protected], forward slash search. Just type in the word search after our domain name and you’ll find all the information there and you can actually register also as we close. I want to remind you that we got great content for you and your men and your men’s group. You can find this all at our website. Be Resolute, that org and guys, I hope you enjoyed this podcast today, but please know that the time that we spent together is worthless unless you act on it. You just have to do something with it. Pray for our friend. Invite a friend of this incredible event, but do something today by getting off the bench and end of the game and I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of the resolute podcasts.
There are lots of ways to share our faith. Discover a few approaches.
Evangelism, while scary when attempted for the first time, can be done with many different approaches. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Bill Mast, director of Search Ministries in Minnesota, and a long time expert in the field of evangelism. Today hear as Bill and Vince discuss a few common approaches and how they are different.
This is resolute and the resolute leadership podcast. I’m Vince Miller. You’re founder and host, and today we’re in a series on evangelism discussing specifically the topic of types of evangelistic approaches.
Welcome to the program. If this is in fact, your very first time tuning in then thank you for joining us. Our mission at resolute is to disciple and developmental lead, so if you’re looking for content for your men’s group or men’s ministry, then you need to go to our website today at www.beresolute.org. Also, if you want to follow us, you can find us on all forms of social media. We would love to have you follow us on Facebook and if you’d like to listen along on a regular basis, of course, you can find us on every major feed including iTunes and SoundCloud. We’d love to have you follow us there, but now let’s dive in. Well, today we are joined by bill, Mass Bill Masters, a long time good friend of mine and also the team leader and director for Search Ministries in Minnesota. I would call Bill a master evangelist.
No, he might be humbled by those terms and, but that’s how I think of him. This guy has shared his faith effectively with lots of men over many years and today tradesman on how to do that. And so I’m just really excited to have him with us as we learn how to share our faith with other people. Bill, welcome to the show events. It is a delight to be here today. I’m excited to have you because, uh, in my mind you are the expert on evangelism, especially for men. I mean, I got to say, you know, leading search ministries is not an easy effort, especially in this area and I am sure that it can be challenging for men to really engage in an evangelistic activity. Uh, I’m sure you’ve bumped into a guy every once in awhile who was extremely scared of sharing their faith with other people, haven’t you?
Uh, more than one guy. I think it’s safe to say that most of us, including myself, have some fears with that. Don’t wait. We’re guys, we don’t like to be rejected. We don’t like to be seen as silly or stupid or weird, and so we’re all battling that. Yes.
Oh, I’d say we all battle it, but, you know, can we speak candidly to this? Like I think we live in a world today where it’s not just scary for us to do it. We’re afraid of what might happen, right? Yes. Uh, oftentimes as I’m teaching people how to share their faith, a question that does come up as, what if I get asked a question, I don’t know how to answer. And as such, people won’t venture into this realm, then they won’t start a spiritual conversation. They’re afraid of getting caught and they should have a good answer for their faith as I read in First Peter, right? Absolutely. It says ready to give a defense of why we believe what we believe, to give a reason for the hope that lies within them.
Right? Exactly. And so this can be challenging. So I want to ask you a few questions, especially in this podcast, just about different evangelistic approaches because there are all kinds of different ways to even approach it. So let’s just set fear aside for a moment and assume that we are ready to go. We’re ready to head out there. There are different ways that we can go about this, right?
You’re right. There are different ways and we see them in scripture. One perhaps that we’re most familiar with is known as proclamation evangelism. Billy Graham comes to mind, right? Or the crusade approach, sort of idea. I think a good example of that is is Peter in the book of Acts, the second chapter where he, upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, they kind of spill outside their door, the upper room and go out into the streets of Jerusalem and proclaim the good news and we see a great response. Don’t we on that on the day of Pentecost. So you’re right that there are different styles. That’s one. What else do we have? A second style is often called confrontational evangelism. I learned that when I was in campus ministry. Oftentimes it’s stranger to stranger. I’m confronting someone. I may just come up and start a conversation. Sometimes we think of street evangelism and that is confrontational by the way.
I have some very, very good friends who do that on regular basis and God bless them, they, they are really seeing effective work with that. It’s not something I’m all that comfortable with, but they’re doing great things with it. Yeah. So some, some people can actually be effective with it. I mean, it’s not my preferred approach, and it doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily yours.
Correct. But we can be effective with it. Yes. And uh, and we see examples in scripture of that is who is, it’s Philip who comes upon the Ethiopian Eunuch. He just approaches, doesn’t know this person comes right up to the chariot and hey, what are you reading? Right? You’re paraphrasing, but he’s reading from the book of Isaiah and he doesn’t get it. Then he, so that would be considered confrontational. Comes up to a stranger and explains the good news and leads us man to Christ.
Yeah, that’s really good. I, you know, I think sometimes we have these inhibitions about evangelism because of that method though, don’t we? Like sometimes we see people engage in that style and because maybe it’s not our preference, it puts people out, but I would say it’s, you know, that’s a simple problem solving, a kind of approach to caring about another person as long as we’re not hurting them. Right? Confrontational can be a good method. And I liked the example of the Ethiopian Eunuch because while confrontational, it’s still loving, right? We’re still loving the person. We’re not hating them. We’re not yelling at them, we’re not calling them foolish or anything, right? We’re just helping them along. It’s just a different style or a different approach. You mentioned there was another one though.
Another style is sometimes simply called friendship evangelism or relational evangelism. So think of a friend of a friend visiting with people that we know, finding common ground with those in our workplace, our neighborhood, the people that we coach, little league soccer with, people that we know and already have a trusted relationship with. So, uh, it’s, it’s how I came to faith and, and I know in your background if I recall a relative influence use. So, someone, you knew in my case, it was in college to friends, came alongside me, uh, were intentional. They were not confrontational. I would call it intentional. They befriended me, they asked me good questions, and then they started to answer my questions from the scripture. Yeah, that’s a good example of friendship evangelism and they lead and they lead me to Christ eventually.
You know, I, I like these approaches, Bill. So like I’m thinking about you though, and you’ve done from my standpoint, a good job at kind of laying out at least three approaches. There could be more, you know, in scripture, obviously we see all these different kinds of approaches, but you see these approaches and you have done, I think, a really good job from my perspective of deploying all three at different points.
Like I actually think that you, you, you mean, you may say that you’re not confrontational, but I think you’re good at exhortation. You know, you’re good at saying, but that’s not the way it is or. But there is another perspective. You’ve done that with me before. And, uh, I would say that you’re also good at the proclamation style because you’re very well versed in God’s Word. So I’ve seen you do that as well. Stand up and share your faith with other people or proclaim the good news, right? I’ve seen you do that. And then finally, this relational style or this friendship style, of course, that’s probably the one you deploy the most though. Would you not say? Oh, very much. So why do you choose that one is your preference?
Well, uh, one, uh, I’m more comfortable doing that. I feel I’m more gifted in that area – A Plus. I want to be involved in people’s lives that I’m with on a regular basis. Uh, we like to say that evangelism is a process and God is responsible for the results will, if it’s a process, I’d like to be at the beginning of that process when a conversation first starts, continue that process and be there hopefully prayerfully at the end where I can have a part in seeing that person come to faith in Christ and really participate in that whole process and that best works in someone that you’re going to be around, right? It doesn’t necessarily happen in the other forms of evangelism and God bless those neither Uri or denigrating those. God has used him and continues to use them. I liked the idea of a being with a neighbor that I’m going to be around perhaps for years and see them come to faith in Christ and use myself and others in that process.
Yeah, so when I think now I’m starting to categorize people and I’m hearing your preferences starting to think of, yeah, a proclamation is probably something where we invite somebody to church and they hear a proclamation of the Gospel and a preacher from the platform does that. So it lacks a little bit of that relationship, confrontational, of course in my mind, all I see as a bullhorn and the guy’s standing on a street corner, right? But, but, uh, and that lacks relationship but can be effective. And then this relational approach means, look, I’m going to invest some serious time. Right? And I hear you say too that we’re not choosing to denigrate those other models, right? Because they can be effective and there are times when all three can come together because hopefully even in a relationship were proclaiming the Gospel. We’re not avoiding the gospel and just living it.
We’re proclaiming it. But, uh, this is, it forces us to think through what another person might need to hear at different points in time. And when you say it’s a process, not just a method, it’s a process and an experience for a person. We get the great joy of being in a divine process that God has control of and we have to keep our antenna up for what God may be doing in a given moment. And when I don’t have to think about just a method, I think about a process, I get to join in with what God is doing and kind of look for what he’s doing. Right. That’s a great way to say advanced. Cause if I, if I develop a friendship with a neighbor, I want to get to know them. I want to find the things that they enjoy and move into their life.
I want to have them in my home. I want to be in their home and I get to learn so much about them. And there’s gonna be some times where we’re going to have spiritual conversations, but times when we don’t, right? We just go out and play golf and hang out on the golf course. When we talk about our game and maybe our families and we’re just getting to know one another. That’s part of the process as I see it. So this person is comfortable being around me hopefully, and that they know every time I show up, I’m not going to be pounding them as they write, see it. Right. But it really is a friendship that’s developed and they get to know me and they see my weaknesses as well, and I’m going to know what theirs are. Plus, I also haven’t got an in to know what their barriers are to the gospel.
Right, exactly. And learn over time, you know, I was a part of Young Life as you know, and I know you were a part of Campus Crusade for Christ now called Cru, I think, um, and very different styles of evangelism, right? I think actually Cru it did. A group has done a great job of really embracing a variety of different styles of evangelism over the years. And while there are all sorts of different styles, the challenges to doing something with our hands. You know, there’s a couple of verses I wrote down here that I think kind of stretches between two poles, right? The first one is Psalm 56, verses three through four, which reads when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you, in God whose word I praise in God, I put my trust. I shall not be afraid. What can a mere mortal man do to me?
So on one side of the fence, I think we’re afraid of doing anything right. Sometimes we forget. We got this big guy behind us. On the other hand, there are 2 Timothy 1 verses 7-8, which reads, for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and a discipline, therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me, his prisoner, but joined with me and suffering for the Gospel according to the power of God. I love those two words because really at the end of it all, this comes down to us opening up our life and opening up some courage, living between the fear and the boldness that we have an understanding that God is behind us because it’s his word and it’s his life that he wants the world to know about. He just wants us to join in with him through the process. As we begin to close down our time today, what? What actionable would you give guys today? Listening on the other side of the mic, just as they’re listening today, what is something that they could do today to begin to expand the gospel well in other people’s lives?
I think a great starting point is just to simply make a list of the people in our lives that either we’re pretty certain they don’t know Christ or we just don’t know where they are with the Lord or uncertain. Make a list. It could be 2 people, 4 people, 10 people, whatever that list is. It could be something you put on your smartphone. It could be something that we actually write out, but make a list of people that we have regular contact with and begin praying for them. Collagen’s for is a great starting point where Paul, the Apostle Paul asked for prayer as he ministers to outsiders and he prays for open doors with those outsiders, meaning those who don’t yet know Christ. So, uh, that’s, that’s the action point. Start praying for people. Yeah. Just like literally as you’re driving today, you can think of somebody or as you’re walking along today or did you go to work? You can think of somebody that does not know Christ and begin to pray for them, identify and specifically pray for them. Bill, I love that. Thanks so much for being with us today
and that’s the show. Thanks for listening guys. As we close, I want to give you two incredible opportunities. The first one is this, Bill mast, a team leader for search ministries, Minnesota. Each year puts on one or two straight talk and breakfast and these breakfasts or opportunity for us as men together around round tables to be served a plated breakfast and to allow us the opportunity to invite non-believing friends to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel here in a couple of months. They’re featuring Jay Warner Wallace. He is an American homicide detective and a Christian apologist. Now imagine putting those two things together. He has authored several books including cold case Christianity and God’s crime scene in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation, too, apologetic concerns such as things like does God really exist, and what is the actual reliability of the gospels. You will be mesmerized by this guy, not just as a Christian, but by the opportunity to bring a non-believing friend with you, to hear from this man as he presents a clear case for the Gospel and for Jesus Christ.
If you are interested in all in coming to this and bringing believing friends with you, it would greatly benefit you and these friends lives. You can find more out about this event www.beresolute.org, forward slash search. Just type in the word search after our domain name and you’ll find all the information there and you can actually register an also, as we close, I want to remind you that we got great content for you, your men and your men’s group. Uh, you can find this all at our website, be resolute.org. And guys, I hope you enjoy this podcast today, but please know that the time that we spent together is worthless unless you act on it. You just have to do something with it. Pray for our friend. Invite a friend of this incredible event, but do something today by getting off the bench and into the game, and I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of the resolute podcast.
SUMMARY: Is it possible to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Well, many men have tried and failed at this task. Some have even been swayed by the overwhelming mound of evidence. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller shares the evidence as presented by Lee Strobel, author of Case for Christ.
Today I had the opportunity to hear Lee Strobel, author of the classic book “Case for Christ” speak at a local church. He told the story of his conversion to faith as a self-absorbed skeptic who was a cynic of all things spiritual as a former editor at the Chicago Tribune. As a serious skeptic to the faith, he watched as his wife made a profession of faith soon after they were married. And in response to her decision, he set out to disprove the decision she had made by presenting evidence against the myth of Jesus Christ. Sounds like a wonderful person to be married to!
As a reporter, he focused his task focused on researching the evidence that focused on the single linchpin of the Christian faith – and of course, this is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He understood, as many do, that the pivotal point of Christianity lies not in the life and death of Jesus Christ; but solely his resurrection. And he believed that if he could reasonably disprove this, he would be able to disapprove Christianity and perhaps sway his wife. Of course as many of us do know the end of the story, not only did he come to discover the overwhelming facts behind the resurrection, but he also came to discover that he himself must answer the most important question he would ever answer – Given the evidence, what do you, Lee Strobel do with Jesus Christ. What Strobel failed to realize is that many before him have followed the evidence trail in the same way and they too have come to the same conclusion. That Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected from death. And as we know this attempt to disprove the resurrection, led to his own profession of faith and to major transformation for his family.
After many years of study, Strobel has reduced the case for Christ down to four convincing points. I thought his points were simple and logical and great for any young apologist that wants to explain the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He presented four pieces of evidence with words that begin with the letter “E” which makes them easy to remember. So here are his four pieces of evidence:
1. EVIDENCE ONE – Execution. So as we know you have to have died before you can have a resurrection. I know shocking! But Strobel made the point, that in regard to the death of Jesus Christ we have tons of evidence about his execution. We have evidence not only within the Bible about his death, but this is also testified by numerous outside ancient sources. Notable extra-biblical historians, like Josephus and Tacitus, write about the execution of Jesus Christ. We have descriptions of the death of Jesus also in the Talmud, which is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, who are devote followers of God who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. And as a punctuation point even renown atheists, like Gerd Ludemann, agree that the evidence about the fact that Jesus Christ died by crucifixion is unanimous. So we have a mound of evidence for the execution.
2. EVIDENCE TWO – Early accounts. Next Strobel noted that there are numerous early accounts that prove that the resurrection is not simply a legend. Strobel said that the sheer volume of early accounts decimate the claim that resurrection was a lie or that his followers were lunatics. He points to the early Christian creed as significant public evidence that cannot be ignored. Just like we cooperate with witnesses to an event, we cannot ignore the incredible volume of early accounts. He stated that early accounts include opponents of the faith who testify to Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most formidable being Saul of Tarsus, who was not only a verbal opponent as a devout Jew and Roman, but that he murdered Jews for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Roman, Jews, and Christ followers knew him as one of the most vindictive opponents of the faith of course until he witnesses the resurrection of Jesus Christ for himself on the road to Damascus. Why else would a man of this high standing, notoriety, wealth and education leave his life of ease to follow the faith of what some call “common and unintelligible” people? Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle, and this man who was the greatest opponent of Jesus Christin became one of the most formidable proponents of the faith. Strobel specifically pointed out to us the obvious, which is why would Saul make this change unless of course, this was true? And to further substantiate this point, Strobel pointed out that most of these early accounts arise between the first 6 years of the resurrection. Which is further proof that this was not a later manufactured legend, but an event that was witnessed by real people? Strobel called this as a professional editor “historical gold.” He also added that “sometimes this is known to happen within two generations but never months unless of course, it is true.”
3. EVIDENCE THREE – Empty Tomb. Strobel next point is that what we have on Easter morning is an empty tomb. It is sealed and guarded yet found empty. He notes that even the enemies of Jesus attest to the fact that the tomb was empty. The real question is how did it become empty? And keep in mind both Roman officials and Jewish officials would want to ensure that it was always guarded and occupied. He also stated that the disciples did not have a motive, means or opportunity and most of them were scared that the same would happen to them, so they hid out. So the big issue is that the tomb is empty and no one would want it otherwise nor have the means to do this. Also, it is important to note that nobody was ever recovered! This is serious evidence. So the questions will always remain because it was empty, and therefore we have to wrestle with never finding evidence that this who want to disprove Christianity desperately want.
4. EVIDENCE FOUR – Eyewitnesses. In the end, Jesus appears in resurrected form on more than a dozen occasions and to over 515 people. He ate with, walked with, and talked with these people. Strobel stated we have about 9 sources of eye witness proof from inside and outside of the Bible. In addition to this, he said that 7 sources outside of the Bible accent the fact that disciples lived in deprivation and suffering because they had witnessed and pronounced this belief. And why? Well because gentlemen, they believed what they had seen. And these eyewitnesses are incredible proof. And remember do not be so quick to disprove these eyewitnesses, because if you do you will also disprove all of history which is corroborated by the same methodology even today.
So the big question then becomes what will you do with these pieces of evidence. I think the question that Strobel was forced to answer is the same that we all must face. It is the greatest question of all time. If Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, “What will you do with the culpable knowledge you now possess?” Or in more pastoral language, “What will you do with Jesus?”
Strobel’s response was to kneel privately and quietly on his bedroom floor after two years of searching for evidence against the resurrection and give his will and life to Jesus Christ. What is interesting is that we will answer this question. We can choose to answer it now or answer it later. But men we will all answer this question, and as we wrestle through the story of Easter we have to either choose to believe or choose to disbelieve. It is a choice we all have to make but a choice with eternal consequence.
SUMMARY: Often people are confused by God’s extravagant love – this includes Christians and non-Christians. But God was never confused about how He loves people. Jesus, in his epic story of the lost sheep, clarifies for us how much God loves all people.