Surprised by the Work of God
HOUSTON, TX (ANS) – While visiting with a friend who owns a car dealership in the Washington DC area, I had a phone conversation and shared the gospel with a young man I had never met before. He was receptive and open to the Lord, so we had prayer together and he received Christ during our phone conversation. Immediately afterwards, I asked a lady who was setting in the reception area of the dealership if she had come to a relationship with the Lord. She said yes, so I asked her when. She said it was when she overheard my conversation with the man on the phone a few minutes earlier that she prayed to receive Christ as I was praying with him.
Our Unconscious Witness
At a major airport while waiting to catch a plane, I engaged a fellow traveler in conversation about spiritual matters. By simply asking a few general and non-threatening questions, it opened the door to ask about the man’s spiritual interests. Of course, that led to more personal and penetrating questions and sharing the gospel. Later, while on the plane, another passenger who overheard our conversation about the Lord, commented by saying, “I know I should be sharing my faith as you were earlier.” It is encouraging to know that God is often using what we say and do to inspire others, without our awareness of it.
God uses Ordinary People
It is liberating and encouraging to realize that God can use each of us to impact those around us. We really don’t need to have a great deal of knowledge, a certain position or special skills. God has put it within each of us, as His followers, to be salt and light, and instruments of change. Jesus once asked a blind beggar, “What do you want me to do for you?” This encounter, recorded in Mark 10, is one of the stories we use in our Orality Training Workshops. A lady in a recent workshop, after learning, retelling, and discussing the story, considered the question, how would I respond, if Jesus asked me, “What do you want me to do for you?” Most of us would probably respond by saying something like, “I want to be used by God, to make a contribution to the Kingdom.”
Showing and Sharing the Love of Jesus
During the holiday season is an excellent time to be thinking about how our lifestyles and behavior can influence those around us. Even if we are not aware of it, we are demonstrating our faith, or sometimes failing to do so. The holidays are also times to give a good report of what God is doing in our lives. The Psalmist tells us to make known the righteous acts of God, to declare His wonderous deeds. The Lord Jesus desires that we show, as well as share His love and truth at every opportunity.
New Perspectives and Insights
Over the years we’ve discovered that engaging in small groups, discussing these kinds of questions, can give new perspective and insight. We often see new passion and excitement for sharing Christ and advancing the Kingdom of God. Those experiences are also instrumental for improving relationships and building community. We can learn how to better respond to people and circumstances. We know from Scripture that we are to respond to people with loving kindness and to circumstances with rejoicing and thanksgiving.
A Question can Change a life
Asking good questions can have a powerful impact. For example, in relation to the work of the Church and missions, many people have different understandings, based on culture, traditions and other factors. Our experience in the Orality movement is that deep and profound insights can come by learning Bible stories, asking questions and group discussions. Following are a few questions that can produce important insights:
- What is a church?
- Why do churches exist?
- What is a disciple? How does one become a disciple?
- What is the Great Commission, and who’s responsibility is it?
- How did Jesus make disciples? Can we make disciples the way He did?
- What should be our highest priority as followers of Jesus?
- How can we experience a fruitful and victorious life?
- What is the role in the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life today?
These are all important questions that can bring significant change when we seriously consider them, not based on 2,000 years of church tradition, but based on what we can or should learn from Jesus, from Scripture and the Early Church. Why has the work of God become so complicated and complex, when Jesus made it clear and understandable? We in the Modern Western World are in a season when we should be rethinking, and sometimes unlearning and relearning, certain things we have often taken for granted.
The Need for Simplicity
I remember a conversation I had years ago with a young lady about the gospel and what it means to be born again and believe in and follow Jesus. In astonishment, she said, “You mean, you mean I don’t have to go through religion?” It just seems that it is human nature to make things more complicated and complex than God intended. Following Jesus and being a reproducing disciple maker is not something one needs a Bible college or theological education to participate in. As valuable as a formal education can be, it’s helpful to realize how simple, ordinary people with little or no formal education can grasp the love and message of Jesus and pass it on to others.
Prayer and the Work of the Spirit
Our experience in the Orality movement is that the methods and principles are effective in any place and with all people groups around the world. Foundational is an understanding and appreciation of the importance of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. He is creative and unlimited in the ways He can draw people to Himself and thrust them into the harvest. A prominent pastor and leader of a network of churches who participated in an Orality Training for Trainers wrote, “Thank you for this training, it has been a real eye opener and given us fresh vision for how the gospel can spread throughout our nation.”
The Need to Reevaluate
Dr. Dick Eastman, International President of Every Home for Christ, has said, “When God’s work becomes too complicated and expensive, we may need to reevaluate whether the Lord is in it or not.” A former pastor of mine used to say that our main focus should be loving people and telling them the truth. There seems to be a lost art of simplicity in our modern world, and a need to regain an understanding of the power of simplicity and the power of the gospel.
Acting on the Word of God
As I have traveled and ministered in many parts of the world, it seems there is a greater awareness of the need to simplify, streamline and focus our time and resources on the highest impact activities. Of course, that means different things to different people, depending on context, culture, and worldview. However, with the Word of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit, we can have confidence that we can know and pursue His will. As we act on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will make course corrections, but we must move first, we must act in faith on His revealed Word.
The Lord delights in answering our questions and answering our prayers. One of the reasons that King David was known as a man after God’s own heart is because he was constantly inquiring of the Lord. It would be valuable for each of us to form the habit of regularly inquiring of the Lord, of bringing our questions and requests to Him. In fact, He tells us to come to His throne of grace and find help in time of need.
For more information, visit www.water.cc/orality-training or www.orality.net