Turn Your Delays Into Gospel Opportunities

Several Labor Day weekends ago, my wife and a couple of friends and I went to a beautiful spring for snorkeling and tubing, but we had to wait with 30 or 40 people in a shaded area for more tubes to arrive before we could get into the water.

I knew I had a captive audience around me and a prime opportunity for the Gospel, but I was fearful to open my mouth and share with everyone. For a few minutes I wrestled in prayer over whether I should speak up. Finally, with the nudging of the Holy Spirit and His powerful grace helping me, I let out a greeting of some sort to get everyone’s attention and then continued,

“Hello everyone!! My name is Josh and I am here with my friends to go tubing just like you all. I figured since we’re all waiting here together and no one is leaving until those tubes arrive, I would go ahead and take the opportunity on this wonderful Labor Day to share with you about the greatest labor anyone has ever put forth – and that is the perfect work of Jesus Christ on the cross…” 

Every eye was fastened on me and not a person spoke, so I continued and shared about the darkness of our sinful hearts and the Good News of Jesus’ sacrifice in our place. It was such a beautiful opportunity for the Gospel!

Afterward, to my surprise, most of the crowd clapped and thanked me for sharing! 5 or 6 believers came up to us and asked what church we were from. We were able to encourage them to witness to the lost!  

Sharing the Gospel made waiting around for tubes a total blessing!
Turn your delays into Gospel opportunities to tell people about Jesus!

After all, you’re delayed for a reason!!

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Our Waitress – For So Much More Than Breakfast

Over the last year, Our family has gone to a local breakfast place after church most Sundays. One of the servers there has taken such good care of us, putting up with picky eaters and rambunctious kids 🙂

While I’ve had some great divine appointments at this restaurant (one of them I shared about in a previous article entitled “Allison and the Orlando Shooting”), I often hesitate witnessing to servers because I know they’re busy, and a conversation would keep them from their other tables. Sometimes the best time to witness is when you know it’s slow. 

We recently found out that our sever would be leaving to move away and pursue her medical career. We certainly didn’t want her to leave without hearing the Gospel from us. The Lord put us in her life for so much more than breakfast! 

Paul mentioned in Romans 1 that we are obligated to everyone with the Gospel – regardless of profession, social class, race, belief, personality… It’s simple – We owe the Gospel of salvation to all people!

We got our server a nice card and wrote a thoughtful, Gospel-centered note inside, and we all put money together to bless her for her kindness to us. 

We went in this past Sunday on her final day of work and pulled her aside for a few moments to give her our card. We were able to share the Gospel with her and as we did, she had great big tears running down her face! It was such a precious memory. 

It was such a reminder that every person we come across is in our life for a reason. It’s not coincidence! We must see our daily life as our mission field – including the places we eat. 

This world is our mission. Pray for opportunities today to share the Gospel!

 The Lord is with you, friend!

Most Memorable Trip to Walmart

On this day Several years ago, I was walking through a Walmart to pick up a few things when I noticed a 16 year-old boy disrespecting his mom in an extreme way. I was so shocked by his harsh treatment of her. 

I followed them from a distance and prayed, being so grieved and broken. I can’t even explain how saddened my heart became as I watched them. I wanted to share the Gospel, but I was nervous and unsure of what to say. I finally walked over and handed them both a Gospel tract and told them that I go to a church nearby and began to witness to the son who was an athiest.

His mom stood silently next to him and occasionally she would say to him, “Oh you better listen to him, James. You need this.” I shared with him for a while and addressed his disrespect. 

Eventually this witnessing encounter turned into a counseling session! His mom, in tears, began to share with her son how lately she’s felt so unloved and unappreciated by him. Then James, also in tears, began to share with his mom how she’s been so angry and selfish wth him… This went on for a while. I explained to them that the Bible is God’s Word and it has everything we need to be a godly parent and a godly son, but first you need salvation. I went back to the Gospel and urged them to turn from their sin and place their trust in Jesus. 
Thirty minutes later, they both asked me for a Bible! God’s Word penetrates and transforms lives! 
Everywhere we go, we should be praying and looking for opportunities like this to share the Gospel. You never know what will happen when you take a step of faith for the glory of God!

Bang! Then A Horrific Sight

A night I’ll never forget.

untitled.png3 years ago today, I came upon an unforgettably horrific sight.

While I was driving home from a birthday party, I heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot or a tire exploding. I immediately pulled into a gas station and a man came up to me, very distressed, and told me that someone had just shot themselves as he pointed over my shoulder. I turned around and saw a man, naked, lying in a pool of blood in front of his car.

It was shocking.

Within a minute, police arrived and began to tape off the area.

A crowd of onlookers gathered in a nearby Subway parking lot curious about what happened. I walked over and started talking with them and discovered that I had a very captive and attentive audience since they all wanted to know what was going on! After explaining what I knew, I began to share the Gospel with them and pleaded with them to turn from going their own way to Christ, placing their trust in Him while they still have time. I used the man as an example of the brevity of life. He was here one moment and gone the next. Though his death was very tragic and most of us won’t enter eternity that way, there is no stopping our final breath from coming, and there is nothing more important than making sure we are right with God. Seeing death and the effects of sin up close can really sober a person.

Every person in the world is desperate for the Gospel even if their lives are very well put together.

We must take every opportunity to weave the Gospel into our everyday encounters and point people to Jesus, our Great Redeemer!

Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel today.

Time is short. The Gospel is urgent.

Unlikely Divine Appointments

Divine appointments are sometimes found in the most unlikely of places.

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On my way home from work one evening, I saw a thick cloud of smoke billowing up from a home that was on fire. I pulled over and watched as fire fighters worked to extinguish the flames and noticed a woman standing to the side with shock and sadness all over her face. I walked over to her and learned that she was the owner of the home.

I could only imagine the deep pain she must have felt watching her home and everything she owned go up in flames in a moment’s time. It reminded me of the brevity and fragility of life – We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, and soon everything we have will be gone. This is why the Bible reminds that today is the day of salvation. We must not wait for a future time to get right with God because we don’t know how much time we have left. Thankfully, this woman and her family were safe that day.

After praying for wisdom and grace, I was able to pray with the woman and gently share the Gospel with her. She and her family were Buddhists, so it was a great opportunity for the Truth of the Gospel. Our conversation was very comforting to her in her hour of distress, and she thanked me for speaking with her. I knew that God had sent me to her.

As we talked and watched the fireman work, a 10 year-old boy came up to me and told me that I had talked with him about Jesus a long time ago at a donut shop! We were able to pick up our conversation and talk some more about the Gospel! What a neat divine appointment!

Open doors for the Gospel are all around us, even in the most unusual places! Paul tells us to make the most of every opportunity, so we should always be praying for God to help us use what’s around us to share Christ with people.

When you view your day through the lens of the Gospel, you will start to see broken, lost people everywhere who are desperate for a Savior, and you’ll begin to recognize the opportunities you have to reach them for Christ.

May God change our perspectives!

Father & Son Evening Turned Missions Trip

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Yesterday evening, I took Simon to a coffee shop to read books together while Malissa finished up preparations for his birthday party. After reading with him for a while, Simon wanted to get down and walk around. I watched as he smiled and waved at a man a few tables from me. The man waved back and tried talking with Simon.

I walked over to him and we started chatting about Simon’s age. I handed him a Gospel tract and told him it’s a great, short read on the most important matter – our eternal destination.

As we talked, I learned that Visal is a Buddhist from Cambodia. He moved to America only one year ago to study and work. He is the only person from his family to come here! I began to share the Gospel with him and he invited me to sit down at his table! As I laid out the Gospel – the true condition of our sinful hearts, the gracious gift of God in giving up His only Son to lay down His life for us and rise from the dead, and His call for us to repent and believe – he listened.

It’s always a joy sharing the Gospel with people, but it was such a special joy to unravel the glorious Gospel to a man who has spent his whole life in Buddhism. I don’t know that he had ever heard the Gospel in truth as he did yesterday. Please pray for Visal. He seemed very interested, and I’m sure we’ll meet and talk again soon.

Without taking a step of faith and starting a conversation with Visal, he would have just been another patron at the coffee shop to me. I would know nothing of his life or his spiritual condition. I would have left and he would not have heard the Gospel from my lips.

Life is so much more fun when we step out in faith and rely upon God to help us make the Gospel known to the people around us! Pray for an open door for the Gospel today and see what God will do!

A Gospel Tract into a 3-Hour Dinner at the Airport

One simple Gospel tract hand-out or conversation with a lost person can reap eternal fruit.

waiting-at-airportAfter writing yesterday’s blog post about an amazing witnessing encounter I had in the airport, another great airport encounter came to mind –

Several years ago, I went to the airport to witness and met a man named Karim who was standing outside the arrival area, smoking a cigarette. I offered him a Gospel tract. He took it and asked what me it was. I explained to him that it was a card that contained a very important message about where we go when we die, and then I began to share with him about the sinful condition of our hearts and what God has done, in Christ, to make a way for us to be saved. He listened very intently.

After I finished talking, he said to me, “Josh, let me tell you something – I’m on a layover right now. I was just in California visiting my children who I’m separated from. I missed my flight here and had to catch a later one. I fell asleep and missed that one too. I finally caught a flight here and now my next one is delayed for 6 hours. I only have a McDonalds gift card and literally no money, so I was greatly looking forward to getting to Philly for my layover and eating some McDonalds with my gift card. When I got here, I made my way to McDonalds and found out they wouldn’t accept my gift card. I was so frustrated so I decided to come outside to smoke, and then you walked up with this message! I know that God sent you to me!”

As he shared those words, I knew as well that God had arranged our meeting. I asked if I could buy him dinner and he was thrilled! We went in to an airport restaurant and spent 3 hours together talking! He shared his life story with me and I shared Christ with him. It was truly amazing. Two weeks later, he called to tell me that he had bought a Bible and was reading it!

There are people like Karim all around us – people who are broken, helpless, hopeless, and dead in their sins; people who desperately need Jesus.

When Jesus saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion. He saw the people as sheep without a Shepherd, harassed and helpless. Oh that we might have the heart of our Savior with the people we meet today!

Pray for compassion for the lost – A compassion that leads to action. May we do something about people who are going to Hell. May we open our mouth and share the Gospel with them; may we open our lives and love on them; may we fall on our knees and pray for them. But God forbid, may we never, ever remain silent while they perish!