We asked, and you shared! Here are more stories from you, our readers, on how you let your faith shine in your daily lives.
Witnessing through the written word
I had the blessings of sharing Jesus with many children for 22 years. I retired from teaching in 2003.
That year a unique opportunity to share Jesus with adults began. Our daily newspaper has a “Public Forum” column for readers to share their thoughts. One day a writer accused Martin Luther of removing the Apocrypha books from the Bible, thereby removing evidence of the existence of purgatory.
I felt compelled to reply about the completeness of Jesus’ salvation with Bible passages. That started a correspondence in the paper on a variety of religious topics that was to last until 2007.
In my research on the Apocrypha I learned that St. Jerome was the first to state that seven books in the Old Testament were useful for history but “not of the same quality” as the other Old Testament books for doctrine. He suggested that these books be grouped together and placed at the end of the Old Testament. I wrote that Martin Luther was the first to follow St. Jerome’s suggestion. Luther did include the apocryphal books in his German translation of the Bible, but it was the Puritans who requested that the apocryphal books be removed.
The necessity of purgatory continued to be discussed at least once a month. One day the writer shared this thought: “Whenever I pass a cemetery, I pray for the souls there, that they may be received into heaven.”
I replied that it was kind of him to think of others’ salvation, but it was not necessary to pray for those who have already died believing in Jesus as their Savior. I had already shared Jesus’ words about passing from death to life. This time I used 1 John 1:7: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” I ended with this question, “If Jesus’ death purified us from all sins, what is the need for purgatory?”
That 1 John verse ended the discussion of purgatory.
Later I discovered one special result of sharing Jesus through the newspaper. A few years ago, I was visiting an elderly friend in a nursing home. The last time I saw him, he said, “I have read all your letters, and they comfort me. I want to ask you a question. Do you have to belong to a certain church to be saved?
“No,” I replied, “if you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, when you die, you will be with him in heaven.”
With tears in his eyes, the gentleman grasped my hand and smiled, thanking me for coming to see him.
A few weeks later, my husband and I attended his funeral in his hometown church. I found myself startled to hear these words after the homily: “He was a fine Christian man, but when he died he still had icky things clinging to him, like we all do. You can help him be found worthy in God’s sight by praying for him and offering the sacrifice of the mass.”
Later my husband and I shared our thankfulness that our friend knew the truth: “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
Zion, Russell, Minnesota
Opportunities at an assisted living facility
I volunteer at the local assisted living facility. It is a way that us laypeople can share the good news of Jesus. Our witness plants the seed of faith in some. For others it encourages them in their faith.
I have two memorable events concerning sharing the message of Jesus at the assisted living facility:
- I was engaged in conversation with several elderly men.Somehow the topic of discussion shifted to circumcision. The discussion centered around reasons for circumcision. There were the typical comments of “ouch.” One man said he was circumcised at age six.
How can a conversation about circumcision be turned into a gospel message? I asked myself.
My contribution was telling them the good news that we no longer have to follow the Old Testament law of circumcision because Jesus took our place and died on the cross to fulfill the law and pay for our sins. I found it to be a unique opportunity for sharing the gospel message.
- After our chapel services, I help push the wheelchair-bound residents to their respective lunch rooms.
One lady complimented me on the service while I pushed her chair. I thanked her and then asked if she got anything out of the message. Her reply? “Yes! Lots of questions!”
“What kind of questions?” I pressed.
She replied, “Too many to ask here.” Then there was a long pause. “How can I be good enough? How do I know if I’ve done enough good things?” she suddenly asked.
That was my “jailer of Philippi” moment! I knelt by her chair and told her, “You don’t have to. The beauty of it is Jesus has done it all. He paid for all your sins when he died on that cross for you.”
Ministry at assisted living facilities is awesome.
Christ, Baxter, Minnesota
Outreach at 35,000 feet
It was a simple question that normally would have a simple answer. But the young man next to me on the plane did not anticipate my response.
I was quietly reading my Kindle when he asked. Likely he thought I would say I was reading John Grisham or Danielle Steele. Instead, I told him I was reading a book about the culture war against Christianity. He seemed surprised. But that answer led to a conversation that lasted for the duration of the flight.
He was a well-mannered young man in his late 20s or early 30s. I am in my 60s, so I was surprised he engaged me in conversation. Yet, it was clear the conversation was led by someone other than us! He said he was raised in the church and had good parents, but he had not been to church in years. We talked about marriage and its importance, and he agreed that a Christian marriage was important and he would only marry once. I shared that my own marriage was 45 years old, but my relationship with Christ was lifelong. I told him how important church was to my life and how engaging with God’s Word kept my faith strong. We discussed how today’s social upheavals have changed the culture, and I told him these changes resulted in moving “boundary stones” and could destroy our country but not God’s Word.
The young man was polite and receptive. He did not offer much in the way of argument, and he seemed to be thinking about what he was hearing. As the flight came to an end, he told me he did not feel close to God. I said, “There is a verse in the Bible that says ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you’ ” (James 4:8). I asked him to keep that verse in mind, and he said he would.
I have no idea if this nice young man ever thought of our conversation again. I do know that whenever he comes to my mind, I pray for him. I pray for a nice, Christian young woman to enter his life. And I pray that he comes near to his God.
Living Hope, Chattanooga, Tennessee
What’s your story? How have you shared Jesus? Every encounter is different, and we want to hear from you. To whom in your life did you reach out? How did you respond to a know-it-all? E-mail responses to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “How I shared Jesus.” Include your name, congregation, and contact information. Questions? Call 414-256-3231.
Author: Multiple Authors
Volume 106, Number 9
Issue: September 2019