One of the unique challenges of reaching people in Texas is that the vast majority of persons regard themselves as being more or less Christians. Once the conversation is lead to spiritual things a person may quickly throw up a label or a spiritual history and hide behind it to avoid hearing about Jesus. When someone responds to me with an assertion of their denominational background, I usually turn the conversation to Jesus. I have often said that I do not even think of myself as a religious person. This usually provokes a rather interesting response. I then say that my faith is not a religion. My faith is a personal and real relationship with Jeus Christ. I sometimes ask the question, “Can you relate to what I am saying?” I recall one instance when a person said, “I cannot relate to that at all.” Upon that response we were able to talk about the difference between religion and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. People hide behind labels. In fact people have been hiding from God ever since Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden. Just as God called to them and would not leave them in their hiding place. We must gently seek them in the name of the Lord. If we assume that their hiding places constitute a secure place simply because they know a few religious terms, we will never be effective in evangelism.
Sharing your own testimony of what Jesus has done in your life is one of the most effective ways to open someone’s heart to the Lord. I train people to share their story in two minutes. My favorite opening statement is “The greatest discovery that I ever made in my life was how an ordinary person like me could know God in a personal way through Jesus Christ.” This statement reveals that following Jesus is exciting. The word “ordinary” takes away the notion that I might think I am better than the one with whom I am sharing. “Knowing God in a personal way” carries the testimony into the lesser known realities of a real relationship with God. The mention of “Jesus Christ” brings the focus of my discovery into view. I have found it very easy to follow that statement with a word of witness. I also have rejoiced to see many come to Christ once they understand that God loves them and wants to know and be known by them.
People need the Lord. Don’t be afraid to share your story.