“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus (John 15:13)
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Â Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
The logic behind the sacrificial love of Christ is a mystery. I don’t think it can be figured out, but it is most worthy of contemplation today, Good Friday.
We’ve had some cool Holy Week experiences. The other night we attended a multi-media Tenebrae service that was deeply moving and thought provoking. One segment I can not get out of my head is this video clip of Penn Jillette, comedian and atheism advocate. He discusses someone giving him a bible and the ensuing conversation. Below the video I have some selected quotes.
(quotes from clip at about 2:24)
” I believe he knew that I was an atheist. But he was not defensive. … He was really kind and nice and sane and looked me in the eyes and talked to me. And then gave me this bible. … I’ve always said I don’t respect people that don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whateverÂ … And you think that it’s not worth telling them this because that would make it socially awkward. …
How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?Â How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
…. (3:55) But this guy was a really good guy. He was polite and honest and sane and he cared enough about me to proselytize and give me a bible. …
… ( 4:20) Now I know there’s
no godand one polite person living his life right doesn’t change that. But I tell you , he was a very, very, very good man. … and that’s real important. With that kind of goodness it’s ok to have that deep of a disagreement. I still think religion does a lot of bad stuff,Â but man, that was a good man who gave me that book.”
What experience are you creating?
The guy reaching out to Penn was committed to relating in such a way that he could be heard. He wasn’t high pressure or argumentative. Though Penn remained an atheist, his story is not yet over. Who knows the life changing impact one Christian’s passion and sensitivity will yield? He was willing to risk, to be rejected and laid down his life to share the gospel.
One principle I learned from the Encounter Training is to be aware of how people “experience” you. This is a great question to ask yourself in almost every situation -Â “What experience are you committed to cause in others?”
Natural evangelism is sharing your story and the place Jesus has in it.
If Jesus does not have much of a place in your story, you might work on changing that. Just sayin.
The little things bear witness
Not too long ago I got a phone call from a former business client. We had worked on a project back in the day when I was producing jingles full time. This was before I was pastor Rob or Worship dude. I was just another ambitious business guy. We talked about a great many things. He said he remembered me praying over our lunch with his fellow ad agency colleagues there, and how that impacted him.
You never know what kind of experience of you people will remember. So, may all those little things be for the glory of God. I think that’sÂ wholehearted worship, too.
How do you share the gospel? What kind of experience are you creating when people encounter you?