A school assignment turns into a time of rejoicing

Peter and Louise Johnson* have lived in the same neighbourhood for almost two decades. And right next door to them has always been the same older couple, Bill and Mary Robinson. Over the years, the neighbourly relationship between the two couples has developed into a deep friendship. In many ways, they consider each other just like family.

The Johnsons knew from early on that their friends were not believers. Over time, Bill and Mary revealed that while they had grown up in ultra-religious homes, at some point they’d left church life due to “the bitter taste that had been left in their mouths.” Though this experience was now part of their history, the Robinsons maintained the “good works for Heaven” mentality that they’d been steeped in. The Johnsons longed to see these dear ones come to know the Saviour.

When Mary had a heart attack years before, the Johnsons had taken the opportunity to share the gospel. However, they quickly realized that while a seed may have been planted, nothing had changed regarding the Robinson’s views on the Bible.

What was obvious to Peter and Louise, however, was that their friends were searching. Bill was a big reader and often his books were of a religious nature relating somehow to Jesus or the Bible. Usually they were books off the New York Times Best Sellers and not necessarily biblically sound, but he seemed to have maintained an interest in spiritual things, despite his aversion to church.

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The gospel at your workplace: believe it, apply it, live it

electrician-1080554_1280What does it look like to be an ambassador for Christ? Does it mean speaking in front of thousands of people in a crowded auditorium? Or does it mean blazing a trail through a jungle to make contact with a primitive tribe? While both of those scenarios are definitely ways in which God uses his children to reach the world with his gospel, often our calling is much more ordinary. Often it is right in our daily workplaces that we have the greatest opportunity to share the life and truth of Jesus.

Take Jack*. You might think his job inconsequential—he worked in building maintenance at an independent living facility. But somehow Jack attracted the attention of his manager. He took note he was a Christian and appreciated his consistent testimony in the workplace. As a result, he asked Jack if he would offer a Bible study to the residents who may like to attend.

Jack was more than happy to do so and began offering studies. At first there were only a few attendees, but that changed after Jack invited a local pastor to start teaching a chronological Bible study based on The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. The room quickly filled up with attendees eager to learn the main theme of the Bible.

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How can I help a 70-year-old man understand the gospel?

Old manVicky* sent us an email with an urgent question:

What can I give to a 70-year-old man in the hospital with heart problems? He’s very religious and believes he is a “good man.” Do you have any audio or DVDs? I am not sure he will read. He is so not open to the gospel, because he believes he does not need it. Thanks so much for any help.

Vicky

We explained to Vicky that we were in the midst of producing an audiobook edition of By This Name. In the meantime, given the elderly man’s condition, we recommended the following ideas:

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Over 90 and trusting Christ for the first time

90-year-old man

Since the launch of The Story that Matters, we’ve seen individuals and churches give out hundreds and hundreds of the 64-page booklet. One reason people like to use this small book is that it provides background and information about the God of the Bible (who he is and what he is like), the problem of sin and the salvation that Jesus offers. For someone with no background about the Bible, the booklet uses a historical narrative to introduce God in a way that makes sense.

Recently, we received an email from Amanda.* She had ordered ten copies and passed several to her sister who helps care for an elderly neighbour. Amanda relates what happened:

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My grandkids actually paid attention!

Reading a book vs electronic entertainment

Computers, televisions, video games and smart phones monopolize children’s attention these days. So accustomed are they to the allure of a glowing screen that one wonders if something as simple—something as “old fashioned”—as a book can even hold a child’s attention?

We have found that, time and again, there is still nothing quite like a parent, grandparent, or other trusted adult sitting down, opening the pages of a book and reading aloud. Even in this digital age, young imaginations are swept along into a good story. Reading is still a captivating and highly effective way for children to learn.

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“The Lamb” for my father-in-law

old-man-nursing-home-72dpiAileen’s* father-in-law, George, had been in a nursing home for some time. As his health progressively failed, the time came when Aileen learned that he didn’t have much longer to live. Though her family had prayed for George’s salvation for many years, he had never been open to the gospel. Aileen prayerfully decided to take a copy of The Lamb with her as she went to visit him.

Day after day, as Aileen sat at George’s bedside, she read the book aloud. He listened intently and gazed at the colourful pictures through rheumy eyes. Carefully he pondered the questions at the end of each chapter and answered them quietly but clearly. By the end, Aileen watched as George softened to the message of hope offered in this simple book, and she was certain he believed. What a relief to know her father-in-law was saved! At times George was too sleepy or weak to interact, so she spent that time visiting other residents, reading The Lamb to them.

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Lord, where would you have me use these tools?

Praying handsThe warm spring sunshine lit the windows of the church fellowship hall. Nestled among a group of 50 or more TERM Seminar participants, Marie* felt a growing sense of anticipation. She had spent three days learning how to share the gospel, concluding with hands-on experience in guiding a course. Now, she had been won over by how simple it was to use the Worldview Rethink curriculum to lead someone through a clear presentation of the gospel message. Along with her fellow participants, Marie had been asked to think of people in her life with whom she could invite to a course. She started to make a mental list.

Back at home, Marie prayed, “Lord, where would you use me? Where would you have me use these tools?” She took her responsibility as an ambassador for Christ seriously and started with a neighbour. She invited Laura* to sit with her through a study of the Bible.

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Before we slip into eternity

The road

At a Christian school conference, Jim* excitedly approached our GoodSeed booth where our staff were introducing Worldview Rethink curriculum to schools. He had a story to share. Some years ago, he had seen a copy of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus on a co-worker’s desk and had borrowed it to read. A short time later, he was at a farmers’ market and spotted a stall where a stack of copies of The Stranger were being given away. He happily took a copy for himself. He said the book put the Bible together in way that made profound sense to him.

Jim wondered, how can I make good use of this resource? Then an idea struck him. First, he drove over to our office and picked up a case of The Stranger. Second, he pulled out his address book and thumbed through it, looking for old friends with whom he had lost touch. Next, he penned each of them a long, personal letter. He ended each one with these words of invitation:

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How do I share the gospel with my elderly father?

Chinese Stranger Book and Audiobook

Question: I want to share the gospel with my elderly father. He loves to read his Chinese newspapers but I’m not confident he will read through The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus if I give him a copy. What do you suggest?

Answer: We would recommend spending the time to lead him through a study. If you set aside about 11 hours, you can try this: each of you hold a copy of the Chinese edition of The Stranger and you read it out loud to him. Do a section or several sections each day for two weeks. It’s best to complete the book in the shortest possible time so as not to break the flow of the narrative.

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27 groups and counting!

The Stranger Videobook

(Editor’s note: Many retired people have time on their hands. How can they use their time to be effective ambassadors for Christ? Here is Kevin and Seana’s story.)

We met an elderly couple who had recently ordered two cases of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Kevin and Seana* were retired, but they were putting their time to good use by getting involved in a ministry that helped new international students settle into their city. Kevin and Seana helped the students find accommodation and get furniture. They showed the students around town, and even helped them find supermarkets that stocked familiar foods.

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