By Jerry Wiles, President Emeritus, Living Water International, Special to ASSIST News Service
HOUSTON, TX (ANS – Jan. 29, 2016) — What are you believing God to do in and through you today? One of my mentors used to ask me that question years ago. Think about the things you are expecting the Lord to do in your life on a daily basis. Expectation, anticipation and trusting in the Lord are important in determining what is happening in our lives. Praying, asking God, believing and trusting Him are vital to living a life that is pleasing Him.
Of course, we know from Scripture that “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” God delights in answering our Spirit-inspired prayers. However, sometimes we are just not asking Him for the right things.
Years ago, I began to pray more specifically that the Lord would direct my paths to people who need Him and would be open to the gospel — praying also that I would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and obedient to His prompting. I have found that when I am consistent in doing so, the Lord is faithful to answer my prayers. The Lord does not always answer our prayers in the ways that we might expect; He often has something different and better in mind than what we ask Him for.
A friend of mine told me about his experience of being the guest in someone’s home and answering a phone call. The person on the other end of the call said, “I must have the wrong number.” My friend responded by saying something like, “Wait a minute, maybe the Lord had you call this number for some special reason. Have you been thinking more about the Lord lately?” Well, that short encounter resulted in my friend being able to share the gospel and have prayer with that individual over the phone. Hearing of my friend’s experience prompted me to think differently about receiving phone calls that are wrong numbers or marketing and solicitation calls.
The Power of Questions
“Have you been thinking more about the Lord lately?” “Have you given much thought to your need for the Lord?” “Would you be interested in knowing how you can have a more personal, intimate relationship with God?” These are just a few of the kind of questions that almost anyone can ask. Asking people how we can pray for them is also a wonderful way of engaging in meaningful conversations. (Very few people are offended by your asking how you can pray for them). Any variation of those questions can open opportunities for sharing our testimonies and the message of Jesus.
Some time ago I also received a phone call from a young man which turned out to be a wrong number. After realizing that, I said to him, “Wait a minute, maybe the Lord had you call my number for some special reason. Have you been thinking much about your need for the Lord?” He was shocked and surprised and said, “Who is this, what do you mean?” Well it turned out that the young man had just had an argument with his girlfriend and the last words she said to him were, “Your problem is that you need the Lord.” That encounter resulted in the young man wanting to know more. I shared some with him on the phone and suggested that we meet at the church I was attending at the time. He eventually came to faith in Christ and I was able to connect him with other young people in the church.
Many people have received the Lord and become followers of Jesus as a result of phone conversations. Many have responded to the Lord through hearing the gospel by radio, television, recordings, internet and other technological media. Personal encounters, however, seem to be the most common and effective, but it’s important to realize the unlimited and creative ways that the Lord can use any of us to point others to Jesus.
We can seldom predict when or where we might have a divine appointment. However, if we remain in an attitude of prayer and are alert to opportunities to care, we can trust that the Lord will direct us to those with whom we can share. We all live in a mission field, made up of family, neighbors, co-workers and friends. One other category we should be aware of is “all others” — the many connections that we can have with people in those random traffic patterns on a daily basis.
One of the benefits that people experience after attending a Living Water International Orality Training event is recognizing the effectiveness of simply asking questions and telling stories. One question that can open a conversation to tell a story is, “Would you like to hear a story that will help you better deal with the problems, pressures and difficulties in life?” Then, we can recount the story of, “Jesus Calming the Storm” from Mark chapter 4. When someone hears that story, they can consider how we all face storms in life. Who do we go to during those times? How can God intervene to meet our needs? What can we learn from that story about how God cares for us? Does He have the power and ability to bring calmness during our storms of life. So many important lessons can come from one short story.
The Power of Simplicity
When we learn a set of stories, having the Word of God hidden in our hearts, we can be more prepared to tell the Good News of Jesus almost anytime and almost anywhere. I have experienced this and have heard many stories from others of the power of using the simple orality principles and methods in communicating the gospel and making disciples. These principles work in our own relational network and in everyday encounters, but they are also cross-cultural, international and reproducible to the ends of the earth and among all people groups around the world.
It would be important to keep in mind that as containers of Deity, indwelt by the Holy Spirit and realizing the power of the spoken Word, we can all be instruments of God’s divine activity and intervention. He is no respecter of persons and is willing to use each of us to advance His Kingdom. When we, as followers of Jesus, are faithful to pray, care and share, we can fully expect to experience Divine appointments and His intervention. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can anticipate or imagine.
For more information on Living Water International, the Orality Movement, or Orality Training opportunities, visit – www.water.cc/orality.
Photo captions:1) Orality methodologies, anytime, anywhere. 2) This is a true Story from the Word of God. 3) Orality principles are amazingly effective and reproducible with children. 4) Jerry Wiles.
About the writer: Jerry Wiles is President Emeritus of Living Water International and serves on the advisory council and leadership team of the International Orality Network. He can be reached at: email@example.com
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