Jordan looked at me intently as I finished sharing the gospel with him a couple weeks ago. “As I hear you explain this, it just brings up more questions. The main one: ‘Why would I want to give up control of my life and trust it to someone else? I like being in control.’”
Responses like this from guys as I share the gospel leave me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I’m sad that Jordan is not yet ready to start following Jesus. And I wish he were. On the other hand, I love that in just a few minutes, we’ve been able to make the basics of the gospel message really clear. I love that Jordan is not rejecting a caricature of the gospel. Right now, he’s rejecting the gospel itself.
But it leaves me with hope that, one day, when Jordan gets to a point where he realizes that being in control isn’t working, he will know how to start following Jesus.
I love helping make the gospel clear to people who don’t yet know Jesus. And I love training others to do the same.
Above: Malisa (bottom right with Sydney) and I (top left with Eliza) took a group of 40 to Panama City Beach over spring break.
One thing we have realized is that right now at some of our campuses in Boston we have some students who are doing an incredible job joining their friends on their spiritual journeys – exploring where they’re at, asking great questions, being interested in their lives, and demonstrating the gospel at work in community. But while these students might even explain some of the gospel message, they stop short of asking their friends to decide to follow Jesus.
So last month, my friend Patty and I led a training time for some of our student leaders focused on this key thing: How do you explain the gospel so that it’s clear that our friends have a decision to make – either to run life their way, without God, or to submit to Jesus as their ruler?
We had a really fun group of students come to the training including a couple that do not yet know Jesus themselves. It’s still a bit of a mystery/miracle that we have non-Christians come to events where we’re training students how to share the gospel, but there you go. After Patty and I demonstrated a hypothetical gospel conversation and the night ended, I got to have a real gospel conversation with “Ivan,” one of the non-believers that came that night. It was so fun to do what I had just trained others to do.
Above: Sharing the gospel with “Ivan” at our training night
The thought I left Ivan with:
Following Jesus doesn’t mean you need to know everything about Jesus or the Bible because what separates us from God isn’t a lack of information. What separates us from God is the fact that we’re rebels and like being in control of our lives.
So what it takes to start following Jesus is pretty simple. You take whatever tiny bit you know about God and put your tiny bit of trust there. Put your weight on it. And the way to do that is to talk to God. To say something like,
“God, if you’re there, which is still a big ‘if’ in my mind, but if you’re there, I know that I am not worthy to be accepted by you. I don’t deserve your gift of eternal life. I am guilty of rebelling against you and ignoring you and I need forgiveness. Thank you for sending your son to die for me that I may be forgiven. Thank you that he rose from the dead to give me new life. Please forgive me and change me, that I may live with Jesus as my ruler. Amen.”
That’s the sort of prayer that all of us can pray and share with others too.
Thanks so much for praying for us and partnering with us as we introduce others to Jesus. Malisa and I love that because of you, students like Jordan and Ivan can hear the gospel. Thank you.
Loving our Adventurous Lord,
How to Pray
- For Jordan to get to a point where he wants to give control to Jesus – the only one who can control him without destroying him.
- For Ivan to pray and put his weight on the trustworthiness of God
- For our students who have seen 5 more students trust Christ this spring – that many more would know Jesus.
- For Brian’s mom, Kay as she is treated for cancer.