“Stories” (Mark 4:1-20 lectio)

April 2, 2003

[Book cover for Street Preacher's Manual]Mark 4:1-20 lectio: To those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. I normally use NIV for my lectio divina, but for some reason I felt led to look up the passage in The Message. And there it was: a phrase that does not appear in the literal text, but which perfectly described what I was trying to do with my “heat & light” illustration.

++ Help me to tell your stories. Holy Spirit, create readiness; nudge my friends toward receptive insight. ++

I went out for lunch on Monday with this same friend. Even though we had had the “heat & light” talk a few days ago, I never tried to steer Monday’s conversation to spiritual things. I think the best decision I made a few years back was to stop trying to evangelize my friends. It has led to so many more conversations about spiritual things, because I’m no longer uncomfortable, and neither are they. Did you know that normal people like to talk about religion as long as you’re really listening to them?

Robert Crabbe once startled the home group he led here by telling them to stop evangelizing. He asked, “Is it working? If whatever you’re doing is not working, stop doing it.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

12 responses to “Stories” (Mark 4:1-20 lectio)

  1. Jon,
    I noticed you operate your blog out of the standard blog template, instead of plus or pro. I do the same. I was under the impression that you could not post pictures in you blog in this version. How do you do it?
    thanks,
    Jared

  2. Yes. We evangelize by a lifestyle that reflects peace, joy, love, and hope. We are contagious when we reflect these attributes that, in their pure form, only come from God. I was playing basketball for awhile with a non-Christian friend of mine. The focus was basketball and marriage. However, God always seemed to find his way into the conversation without my having to lift a finger.

  3. The Bible tells us that some people will be offended at the gospel (Luke 12:51-53). However, we are commanded to share the gospel, and there is no excuse for not doing so (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
    The most important thing we can do is pray for them. Pray that God would change their hearts and open their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4) to the truth of the gospel. Pray that God would convince them of His love for them and their need for salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Pray for wisdom as to how you can minister to them (James 1:5). In addition to praying, we must also live godly Christian lives in front of them, so they can see the change God has made in our own lives (1 Peter 3:1-2). As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
    Finally, we must be willing and bold in our actual sharing of the gospel. Proclaim the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to your friends and family (Romans 10:9-10). Always be prepared to speak of your faith (1 Peter 3:15), doing so with gentleness and respect. Ultimately, we must leave the salvation of our loved ones up to God. It is God’s power and grace that saves people, not our efforts. The best and most we can do is pray for them, witness to them, and live the Christian life in front of them.

  4. If any one on this blog has a friend suddenly die after they have lived and not shared with an earnest heart, Law and Grace, you will rue the day you had the chance and decided Jesus made you uncomfortable.
    Don Woods nailed down the Bible verses, let me tell you about my friends that got to know me and not know Jesus. Jim Green had a chance to know me and died of cancer I was too ashamed. Chad Swisher one of the heavy weights I coached died in a car accident. Doug Bennetts he got to read my “what if” shirt for nearly 9 hrs. heart attack. Were are my friends now because they got to see? and not hear what Jesus did for them and why!!
    Who ever does not share the gift of salvation with everyone he sees, HATES (and I mean HATES) that person,why would you chance some one going to Hell??? Why??? What do you really believe???

  5. Don,
    Thank you for that nice exposition. Would it surprise you to learn that I agree with everything you wrote and found it encouraging and inspiring?
    You see, the thing I stopped was trying so dang hard. Doing so, I discovered that the gospel flows naturally all by itself, like water running downhill. Quoting myself above, “It has led to so many more conversations about spiritual things.”

  6. Jake,
    I am sorry for your friends’ deaths, but also for the guilt you carry. It is unnecessary. We are commanded to spread the gospel, but in the end, an individual’s salvation is a matter between that person and God. Be faithful, but rest. It’s like the Zen of evangelism (though I doubt you would like that phrase).

  7. Jon I don’t know how you hand off the responsibility of telling your friends about Christ, I beg of you to heed this advice. Me and my friends are in GOD’s hands in Hell or not. The command of “GO” is in your and my hands, and the guilt is not unnecessary, or there wouldn’t be any punishment. Do you believe in punishment?
    Jon, Q What is a law without consequences?
    A Just good advice.

  8. PS; I don’t do zen!

  9. Jake,
    The guilt I was speaking of was not anyone’s guilt before God or any kind of divine punishment, but the guilt you appear to carry about your friends. You gotta let that go.
    As for punishment, I’m not sure. I do believe in consequences, as I shared with my friend in heat & light. Same thing, different nuance.
    I’m not a serious student of Zen but appreciate what little I understand. I’m teasing you a little because I didn’t expect it to sit well with you. But let me explain in seriousness: Confrontational evangelism is like pushing a string. Relational evangelism is like pulling a string. Actually lately, I feel the string is pulling me, and my job is to move with it (the Holy Spirit, actually). I claim that by relaxing, I am more effective — like a Zen warrior. Don’t try so hard. The gospel has greater power than you may think.
    Now go, grasshopper. 😉

  10. Hey Yoda / Jon.
    What do you do for a living? And is it here on earth? 😉 First of all Jesus has died for all the sins I have or ever will commit, Isn’t that cool? Guilt I don’t have guilt, Jesus took that too. The problem is if some one loved you that much wouldn’t you do everything to honer that person? Why do I love Christ Jon? Because He first loved me!
    Talking to you and street preaching serves to make me and my faith stronger, do you love Jesus Jon? if you do He said “if you love Me feed my sheep” Feed em Jon, don’t butcher em.

  11. Jake,
    I’m glad to hear that I was wrong about your feeling burdened by guilt, because there is a well of grace.
    I’ve done open-air preaching in the past and yes, it made me bolder.
    Don’t worry, I won’t butcher you. 🙂

  12. Jon, Jon, Jon.
    Do you not know that a man of GOD is immortal until GOD is finished with him. And when GOD is finished with me, hey knock your self out.