Fear can keep us from witnessing. But it also keeps people from Jesus. [Read about the witnessing encounter and then watch the video, “Fear is a Liar” below]
Carpe Momentum: Seize the Moment
Witnessing opportunities can often come “out of thin air.” Ours came because of hot air!!!
Recently (June 21st) we had an HVAC tune-up (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning). A technician came to our house to do the yearly check-up of our system. All checked out well. But it didn’t end there.
As my husband and I chatted with the technician, Dennis, he seemed to linger at our door. Our conversation was small talk until he mentioned that he’d had two heart attacks this past year. The conversation turned to one of spiritual importance, when I asked, “Are you a Christian?”
Now before I continue, some might think that the question was too bold? But why? I asked kindly and anyone who’s been asked that question after telling about a life-threatening experience would know why it’s being asked. Dennis had no reluctance in answering.
The question is not really the problem. It’s the answer that most people fear. “If I ask and the person says ‘no,’ what do I say then?” That’s what stops most people from asking. But if someone responds “no” to the question, “are you a Christian?” just ask, “why not?” Everyone has a story, and most people will want to tell you. That’s what I did with Dennis. When I asked, “Are you a Christian?” he responded “no.” I asked, “why not” and he hesitated before saying, “that’s an interesting story.” Then he proceeded to tell us his story.
Ready to Surrender
Years ago, Dennis had been reading his Bible, attending church, and learning about Jesus. He had come to the point where he desired to give his life to Christ and he had decided that he would walk forward during the altar call the next Sunday at church. Sadly, the night before, something happened that turned him from the pathway to salvation and put him on a roadway of fear.
Dennis told us that on Saturday night while sleeping, he awoke feeling there was something on him. It kept pressing him down and the weight was distressing and painful. We said that he experienced a spiritual oppression from a demon. He agreed.
The demon told him that, if he went forward the next day, it would hurt his children. This induced an overwhelming fear in Dennis that shook him to his core, as nothing in his life had ever done. The next morning he informed his wife that he would not be responding to the altar call.
Dennis then told us that he’s “not afraid of anything….except what happened that night.” He’s suffered a broken neck, resulting in difficult surgeries and recovery. He’s had both a shotgun and a gun held to his head and both times the men threatened to kill him. And just this year, he’s had two heart attacks and is living with clogged arteries. Yet, in all of these, he’s had no fear. He told us that he spoke calmly to the man who threatened him with a gun. The man robbed him and left him unharmed. The next week, that same man killed someone.
Dennis said that he is not afraid to die. In our discussion, it had already become clear that Dennis understood the Bible and that he believed in God, so I responded by telling him that he should be afraid to die because of where he will go. I told him, “there truly is a Heaven and a hell. And without Jesus, you will go to hell.” He had no problem hearing this. In fact, he agreed, but then said he couldn’t take the chance that his children would be hurt. He would rather go to hell.
In the Clutches of Fear
Dennis understands the gospel and he understands that he is gripped by fear. We talked about God’s faithfulness and goodness, of God’s power over evil, and about God’s protection of his children. Because Dennis knows all about God, he does believe that God is good, merciful, gracious, and even sovereign. But sadly, the fear of what he experienced continues to overtake his rational thinking and it is holding him captive.
Living a Good Life Without Jesus
Dennis went on to tell about how he helps homeless people. He has a farm and offers them work on the farm in exchange for money and food. He’s helped many, and he is a beautiful example of loving the less fortunate.
I said to him, “you’re living a life of service, a Christian life, but you aren’t living it with Jesus or for Jesus.” To which he replied, “I guess I’m kind of living undercover.” This was a new awareness for him and it seemed to convict him. He suggested that maybe God doesn’t want him to be undercover anymore. We agreed and suggested that he think about giving his life to Jesus. Sadly, again, he said he’s still too afraid.
We asked if we could pray for him and he readily agreed. My husband and I both prayed and asked God to remove this spirit of fear that is holding him back from coming to Jesus in faith.
Dennis was very appreciative of our conversation. We encouraged him to think about the things we had discussed. We reminded him that Jesus loves him and wants a relationship with him.
We told Dennis that he can pray a prayer at home and he doesn’t need to go forward at an altar call to do so. We gave him a book, a tract, and our contact information. We asked that he read the book, and the tract, and consider that Jesus is the only way to salvation. We reminded him again that Jesus is stronger than any demon, and, if he comes to Jesus, he will have nothing to fear.
Fast Forward Eight Days
Our conversation with Dennis was on a Friday afternoon. One week and one day later, on a Saturday, my husband and I were scheduled to serve at a 4:30 church service. At 2 pm we realized the temperature in our house was getting very hot. My husband checked the thermostat and the air conditioning unit. The AC was running but it was clearly not cooling the house. He called the HVAC company and we got a prompt call-back from Eric who told us he would be out in the late afternoon. We notified our service team leader that we would not be making it to church (fortunately, it wasn’t a problem). At 3:15 we got another call. This time it was Dennis saying he would be at our house in about an hour. He arrived at 4:30 and promptly diagnosed the problem and replaced a capacitor that had failed. The AC was working again.
My husband and I told Dennis, “this wasn’t a coincidence that you’re here again. We think it’s a God-incidence.” He agreed. Today was his day off and, when the company called to see if he might be able to work, he was available to do so.
We asked if he had given any thought to our previous conversation. He said, yes he had. He then told us that during the week he’d had a test done to determine the blockage to his heart and he was waiting for the results. We reminded him that, with his heart problems, he should give serious consideration to what will be his eternal destiny. He agreed. But again, he said that he is still afraid because of what he experienced.
I asked for his contact information and told him I wanted to text him a link to a song that I hope he will listen to. He gave me his cell number and said he would listen.
In our previous conversation, Dennis had told us that he’s asked God for a sign. We said to him (as have many others have) that his being alive is a sign (remember, he’s had a broken neck, been held at gunpoint twice, and had two heart attacks). We suggested that his return to our house was another sign from God. He thought so, too.
Dennis is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. If you didn’t know that he’s not a Christian, you would think he is. Our two conversations were lengthy and we learned a lot about his life and his faith that I haven’t shared. He does believe in Jesus. He believes Jesus is God and that He is the Saviour. He just can’t put his trust in Him. This is an example to us that it’s not about head knowledge. Saving faith is all about trusting Jesus.
It is our prayer that Dennis will come to Jesus and start letting his good works glorify the One who desires to begin a good work in him.
As Dennis left, we told him that he is letting Satan win. The fear that he experiences is controlling him and that’s exactly what Satan wants. We reminded him that Jesus is more powerful than Satan and told him, “if you come to Jesus in faith and trust, He will save you and give you His Holy Spirit to protect and direct you.” He understood everything. So we closed with, “don’t let fear win” and an hour later I texted him a YouTube link to Reasons for Hope Jesus’ video of the song, “Fear, He is a Liar.”
Carpe Momentum: Seize the Moment
The lesson for us is to listen for opportunities to share the love of Jesus and the saving grace He offers to all. We should never let fear stop us from sharing the good news of the gospel.
Carpe Momentum. Look for opportunities to ask questions that will open spiritual conversations. Test the “waters.” It’s okay to ask, “are you a Christian?” (at least for now it’s still okay). The answer will determine the direction of your conversation. Be ready, be willing, and be bold. Don’t let fear win.
Please Pray for Dennis
Ask God to help him overcome his fear so he can come to Jesus in faith and trust.
Fear is a Liar, words and music by Zach Williams; video by Reasons for Hope*Jesus
Another God-incidence on July 27, 2018
On Wednesday, July 26th, the HVAC company called to “schedule to complete the tune-up work of our system.” We thought it was done, and we reminded them that their technician had been here to install a capacitor, but we were told that the company’s notes showed there had been rain during the original system checkup and it had not been completed. So they scheduled a 1-3pm window for the technician to come out the next day.
My husband and I both wondered if Dennis would be returning for another conversation but then we thought that it could be a different technician.
Well, the next day the doorbell rang and I opened the door to see Dennis standing there. I said, “Hi Dennis. Why do you think you’re here?” He responded, “I think I know.” I invited him in and my husband joined us.
Dennis had been surprised to see us listed on his call list because he knew the system tune-up had been completed. The rain had started after he had completed the necessary testing. So he wondered why he was scheduled at our house again.
Of course, we told him that we believe God sent him back. He agreed, saying it certainly seems that way. We had a good conversation about his desire, but inability, to trust in Jesus. He wants to take that step of faith but says he just can’t do it.
I asked about his hearth health tests and he told that he has a 50% blockage, which they will just watch at this time. We talked again about his eternal destiny. He understands that if his sins are unforgiven he will go to hell, not Heaven. He then shared that he never wants to come to Christ in a time of need (deathbed, death threat, etc.). He feels it should be a desire, not need, that causes him to trust in Jesus. I suggested to him that he is always in a time of need and that he has been since the day he was born. We talked about the difference between worldly/physical need and spiritual need. We talked about the condition of his soul being dead and needing to be born again. I told him the only way he can come to Jesus is when he understands that he is in need of Him. I told him that Jesus died for all people but only those who receive His free gift of forgiveness of their sins are saved.
All of this made sense to Dennis and it seemed to answer his objection to not wanting to come to Jesus in a time of need. We talked again about trusting Jesus instead of trusting Satan who is the father of lies. We talked about what a joy it could be if he turns to Jesus and trusts in Him. His salvation would be a testimony to his whole family, who all need to know Jesus.
I asked Dennis if he would speak with a pastor friend of ours whose church is near his home. He said, sure. When Dennis left, I contacted the pastor and left a message to set up a meeting between the two.
Please pray that Dennis will overcome his fear, see his need, and surrender and trust in Jesus. God has been calling Dennis, and He continues to call him in many ways. God really wants Dennis in His family. . . and so do we.
I’ll post an update when God reveals the rest of the story!
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