Friday, October 15, 2010

To fuel the fire of evangelism....

I have been reading two books. One, 23 Minutes in Hell, by Bill Wiese, about a man who had a bizarre experience one night where at 3:00 AM in the morning, he woke up and suddenly found himself making a descent into Hell. He returned to reality at 3:23. He tells of the experience in this book, and explains that God allowed him to have this experience so that he would tell people that Hell is real, and how to escape it.

He says that he is the most normal of men, not ever having had any kind of mental health issues, and being very organized, etc. He said this is why he believes God chose him for this experience, so that people would know it was God and not some mental health problem.

The description of Hell is terrifying, and it does fuel the fire of evangelism, as it made me so upset at first. The evening I read the main bulk of the book, I couldn't sleep. It is deeply disturbing that anyone would go to such a place of torment, and you want to warn people that Hell is no joke!

This brings the fear of God on me, causing me to think of His judgment, and wanting to be pleasing to Him in this life, so that I will have no regrets in the next life.

The next book is Just Walk Across The Room by Bill Hybels. This book is completely different from the last one, centering on God's goodness and grace. Hybels mainly helps you to write down your story of coming to faith, and to condense it to only a few words. He says that you must reduce it to 100 words or less, but I came up with 172 words. I figure that is not important as long as it is still short.

He points out some of the typical mistakes that people make when telling their "God" story, and shows you how to avoid these. I realized that I was making one of the big ones at first when I wrote my story. I was telling my "weird God story" right away when telling my story - the thing that you don't want to tell up front to someone you hardly know that they might not understand, or that might be too much for them right away. I was telling them that. I realized that this was just on the periphery of the real story.

He helps you get to the meat of your story and tell that.

He also just tells lots of stories of encounters with people that resulted in them coming to faith.

It is an interesting and engaging book that fuels the flame of evangelism.

Here is my story that I came up with after following Hybels' instructions:

I grew up in a Lutheran pastor’s home, and though I knew God as a child, as a teen I ended up hating God!

God turned my life around at 18. Because of some devastating problems, I turned back to God.

Then He showed me Hell was real, and I would have been going there, but Jesus had saved me from it!

So, I stopped hating God and knew He loved me enough to save me from Hell, but still doubted He loved me like a true friend because of the difficult things I had gone through, and because I couldn’t find love in the church. I was unhappy with Christians.

I looked for love in “all the wrong places,” but eventually found an ‘alive’ church.

I found out what the church is like when it is alive! The Christians there helped me and I found out God loves me more than I can possibly imagine! What would I do without Jesus who gives me hope in every area of my life?

We're supposed to then memorize the story and tell it whenever we "walk across the room" to make an attempt at sharing our faith.

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