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.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

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.

 

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