Archive for November, 2013

 One of the first times I ever went on a trip with the sole purpose of engaging in a Gospel conversation was to Wal-Mart. I was just looking for someone to talk to, hoping they would start the conversation first. When that did not happen, I found myself in the juice isle, nervously approaching a middle-aged woman who was shopping alone. Finally mustering the courage to say something, I said, “What’s your favorite kind of juice? Ocean Spray, or Welches?” She looked at me as if I had spoken in another language, and responded “I have three kids, so I choose whatever is cheaper.” Then, thinking I had found an opening to start talking about the Gospel, I said, “I am in ministry, so I’m poor too.” Clearly offended, she wheeled her cart around and half jogged-half stomped in the other direction before I could say anything else. I had been rejected.

     If you choose to evangelize on a regular basis, you will be rejected. That is the simple truth. At least one time, at some point or another, someone will reject what you are proclaiming as a truth without further thought. This fact is why a lot of us decide not to share the Gospel.  We are scared of rejection, and have been trained to avoid it at all cost. I fear rejection more than anything in this world, but that is no excuse for not sharing the Gospel. I will admit, I was humbled after my first Gospel sharing experience, but from that one encounter I learned a lot about rejection and evangelism.

First off, I learned that being prepared is a must. It is our job to learn as much as we can so that we don’t offend people like I did, or make things too awkward to bare, but to be comfortable with sharing. We must school ourselves into a knowledge of God and of His Word, or people will surely stump us even though we have the truth.

The second thing I realized, was that throughout time God chose to work through people to accomplish His will and make himself known and in that choice, is left with imperfect, unqualified people. God used David, who was an adulterer. He used Moses who had a speech impediment. He used Paul, who was a murderer and persecutor of Christians.  He used Peter, who had denied Him three times. There are no perfect people, But He graciously still chooses to use us. Do not ever think that you are inadequate and incapable of effectively sharing the Gospel just because people have or could reject you. God can use you in a mighty way if you prepare yourself.

Finally, the last thing I learned is that the Gospel demands a response. When delivered in it’s entirety, the salvation found in Christ invokes decision. Whether that decision is acceptance or rejection, there must be a response. People who walk by someone sharing the Gospel, or who tell you to go away when you try to talk to them about Jesus, they have made their decision. They have not rejected you, they have rejected Him. We are not called to save anyone, because that is not a power that we have. We are called to introduce people to the One who can save them. In that we must be obedient to His perfect love, which casts out fear, and that includes the fear of rejection.

Real Life Action

Posted: November 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

This upcoming Friday we will be having a 2-2-2 event. For those of y’all who don’t know, 2-2-2 is an evangelism event put on by Shandon College Ministry. Our goal is to send out 2 students to initiate 2 God conversations and change 2 lives! As I have said throughout the year, we’re trying to create a culture of evangelism within our ministry. 2-2-2 is great for people who want to learn to evangelize or to exercise something you may already feel comfortable doing, so that it will become more natural to do every day. For those of you, who do not feel comfortable sharing the gospel or maybe have never shared the gospel before, we would love for you to come out.

Before we go out, we will meet at 631 Harden to go over some fundamentals on how to share the gospel and different ways to initiate conversations. We will then split up into pairs and for those who don’t feel as comfortable sharing the gospel, I promise to match you up with someone who is more comfortable, so that you can experience a conversation without being thrown to the wolves. We are all there to support and encourage one another in evangelism. I know how intimidating and nerve wracking it can be to share your faith, but I would like to encourage you with something; everyone will be nervous. However, together I know that we can be bold and step out in faith to see what amazing thing God will do.

For this week, I found a video of Kirk Cameron sharing the gospel with too random people. Many times we talk about how to share the gospel, but don’t get to see a real conversation take place. I think this video will hopefully give you a glimpse of what sharing the gospel looks like and I encourage everyone to watch it!  As you watch the video, try to engage yourself in conversation!  Follow the link below to watch the YouTube video and I hope to see you all out for 2-2-2 on Friday at 3!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAjzYgp5AO8

      A message from Branson Despres:

Hey guys, Miles asked me to write the evangablog this week in order to provide a different perspective on taking steps of faith in sharing the gospel and being bold for what we believe.  I’m going to be completely honest, up until the beginning of this year I very rarely shared my faith with people and did my best to avoid any kind of spiritual conversations with people.  My primary excuse: my personality.  I am very introverted and reserved, and I rarely ever feel comfortable around people I don’t know.  I struggle having simple conversations with people I don’t know, and for the longest time I used this as my excuse to not share the gospel.  I would hear preachers speak on the importance of sharing our faith and the urgency that surrounds it, and I would have a sincere desire to do it, but I just couldn’t get past this excuse.  I know many of us in the college ministry see the loud, outgoing people like Miles, Thomas, and Hampton share their faith and encourage us to do the same, and we think “well, that’s easy for you to say you love talking to people.”  Adding my father, who is a full time evangelist, to that list for myself, it really made it easy for me to justify not sharing my faith in my own head.  This is obviously a completely wrong way to think, but it is really easy to let our minds justify “lukewarm” Christianity.  I just want to provide some encouragement to those of you who can relate on how I’ve begun to overcome this, and the unique effectiveness a reserved person can have when they share their faith.

       Coming into this year, I was overwhelmingly convicted about this, and I realized I couldn’t use my personality as an excuse any longer.  The first step that I took, which is what I would like to encourage all of you to do as well, was read and study.  I’m usually not a reader at all, but I made the effort to read several different books on growing my personal relationship with God (Practicing God’s Presence by Robert Elmer, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, and Chasing Elephants by Brent Crowe) and on sharing it with others (The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist  by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, and One Thing you Can’t do in Heaven by Mark Cahill).  All of these, of course, come second to the most important source we can possibly study for this topic, the Word of God.  The Bible should be where most of our time studying is spent, but we can still obtain very useful information on ways to apply scripture in our own personal lives, and different things that the Bible doesn’t directly address. I had a misconception that outgoing people were able to just decide to share the gospel effectively any time they wanted, but it does require studying to be able to know what you’re talking about regardless of personality (1 Peter 3:15). I believe this is necessary not only to be effective in sharing our faith, but also to be confident enough in what we believe to be able to overcome the initial fear.  This leads me to the second step I took, do it.

         This first time is going to be the hardest.  The first time I went out to share the gospel cold turkey was with Miles and Logan Dickinson on campus.  I was completely petrified to the point where I was physically shaking and I felt sick to my stomach.  Logan and I went together and had a conversation with two different guys and neither one went very well.  I stumbled over my words and was too nervous to think clearly.  However, I learned from the mistakes I made and I felt like I made a huge step in breaking down the barrier of fear.  The only way that sharing our faith gets easier is by doing it, the sort of “practice makes perfect” concept. I found that the more spiritual conversations I had as this semester progressed, the more comfortable I got with it, and the better I got at it from learning from the mistakes I made.  The fear and the feelings of inadequacy are always still there, but it gets easier and easier to overcome them.  Even Paul was afraid and asked twice in a row for his fellow believers to pray for him to be bold when he preached (Ephesians 6:19-20).  Without fear, there is no need for boldness and courage.  Boldness will always be necessary when we stand up for Christ, but the more steps of faith that we take, the easier it becomes to be courageous.

       Finally, I want to share a revelation that I had this past week about quiet people sharing their faith.  I had the opportunity last week to join some Christians from a church in Ohio who had traveled across the country to share the gospel on different college campuses.  While Miles and I were talking to an agnostic, he made a point about how he believed that Christians talk to people about their faith because it makes them feel good and helps them sleep at night.  Due to the fear that I experience from my personality, I had the chance to explain to him how that was not the case at all.  I explained how it most certainly did not make me feel good when I talk to people about my faith, but that I do it, for one, out of obedience but also out of genuine love and concern for the people I’m talking to.  This was the first point in the conversation where he didn’t have a response for us, and I could tell that it touched his heart and made him think.  Quiet, introverted people many times have the ability to affect non-Christians in a way that louder, more outgoing people cannot. Let’s not let excuses get in the way of sharing God’s love with others. 

Keep Rejoicing

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

A message from David Taylor:

“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” Nehemiah 12:43

On this week three years ago, a former Shandon College Ministry student spoke at Fall Retreat. He challenged us with Nehemiah 12:43. As we head to Fall Retreat this weekend, this verse is on my mind and in my heart. As a sophomore, Billy Judge wanted nothing more than to see our college ministry experience the joy of God and to tell of that joy, to tell of that God. I share in his fire and pray to this end now: that our rejoicing in God “could be heard far away.”

In Nehemiah’s time, the wall of the Jerusalem had been rebuilt. After a period of weakness, God’s people had returned to a time of God’s favor. Following his instruction and working together in his power, Israel had rebuilt the wall. The labor, the hours, the conflicts, the extra effort, and the teamwork had paid off. A community of God-followers had experienced success. It wasn’t a time to boast in human achievement. It was a time to bless the builder of all good things.

This is where we are, Shandon College. We’ve had some great successes over the past year. We’ve returned from a time of weakness and loss. We’ve worked hard – for God – with each other. Let’s bless the Lord for it! He is working and moving in our lives. It’s obvious to me when I hear the rejoicing in 5 points on Sunday nights. It’s obvious to me when we continue to have new students showing up at the front doors of the gym. It’s obvious in your tweets, your carpooling, and your smiles. It’s safe to say that “the sound of rejoicing could be heard far away.” Let’s keep on rejoicing and telling others about Jesus.