Since The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was first published 21 years ago, people have been asking, “I’ve read your book, what’s next?” For years, author John R. Cross has been working on a sequel to his evangelism books, using it in Bible studies and gathering feedback. John applies the same style, which has blessed so many in his books about salvation, in this new book on sanctification. Please pray with us as we go through final proofreading and editing.
Seven years in the making! Finally the Chinese edition of the book, “By This Name” is now in print, a testament to the perseverance of the translator and those checking the manuscript for accuracy. We have several books in Chinese already: The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, All that the Prophets have Spoken and The Lamb.
This translation is the result of a partnership with Trans World Radio. The initial print run was 10,000 books, with half being in traditional and simplified script each. We thank the Lord for this project coming to completion, and look forward to hearing of it’s impact around the world.
Another story of a life transformed through the power of the gospel!
Evelyn*, a missionary in China writes:
“Would you tell me some Bible stories?” Lin* asked.
While going to school in the States, she had been exposed to some Christianity, and she was interested in learning more. I suggested that we go through the book, The Lamb, as a way to reach this searching heart. After going through the book together with me in three separate sessions, she received Christ as her personal Savior!
One question that she asked, when she heard that God promised to someday send a Savior was, “Why doesn’t He do it Himself?”
It was so exciting to take her through and show her from Scripture that He DID do it Himself!
We now use this book very effectively to introduce the promised Savior to those who show interest in this very needy country.”
Praise God! When newcomers to the Bible, like Lin*, encounter God by journeying through the storyline of Scripture, the Holy Spirit reveals truths about God’s holiness, our sinfulness, Jesus’ provision, and that there is salvation for everyone who believes.
Would you be prepared and available to share Christ with someone who asked you to tell them some Bible stories? Be ready! http://www.goodseed.com/beready/
(*Names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)
Cody grew up in a house where God didn’t really exist. He had great parents who taught him things like “don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal, show respect to others, respect your elders…” However, the family never went to church. The name of God was never spoken. Though Cody endeavoured to live a respectable life, he was ignorant of the true Source of right and wrong.
Then Cody met Julia. It didn’t take long before the two were married, and shortly after, Julia started a new job. She came home the first day and talked about how great everyone was at her new workplace. One person’s name seemed to stand out in particular. Her name was Liz and, “Wow! She is so nice!” were Julia’s words.
Liz began mentoring Julia at work and, after a while, wanted to get a small group together with Cody, Julia and a few others. The purpose would be to study the Bible. Cody’s instant response was an adamant “No!”
Time went on but whenever Julia talked to her husband about the opportunity, he was still resistant to the idea. When she asked why, Cody told her, “I don’t need to go to a Bible study or growth group or attend a church to have a relationship with God.” Looking back, Cody calls that “the biggest cop-out lie” he’s ever told!
It’s amazing the sort of impact one book can have. 20 years ago, in 1997, the book The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was published. At the time, author John R. Cross and the men working with him had no idea that it would be the catalyst for a global ministry and how many people would come to faith in Christ through it. It was just one book with a simple message: a straightforward, systematic presentation of the gospel from creation to the cross.
The writing of The Stranger was drawn from decades of missionary experience of those working among tribal people in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. These tribes, previously unevangelised and ignorant of the Bible’s message, responded well to a chronological presentation of the gospel. So well, in fact, that whole villages were putting their faith in Christ, without the age-old problems of syncretism and “rice Christians.” When the Bible was presented from creation to Christ, it made profound sense. The people would understand and believe. Lives were transformed.
But was it only tribal groups who responded so well to the creation-to-Christ method? What about the Western world? As John and his colleagues interacted with people back home in North America and around the world, they realized that some of these people were just as ignorant of the Bible as the tribal people. They knew nothing about God. They didn’t understand who Jesus was and why he came. We live, for the most part, in a post-Christian culture.
The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus was, in a sense, an experiment. It was a book that used the same method that had proven so effective with tribal groups—a chronological approach to explaining the gospel—except this time for the Western world. It was designed so that it could be given away or used to guide people to a clear understanding of the Bible. But would it be relevant and effective?
Chunhua’s* knowledge of the Bible was spotty at best. As a little child in China, she remembered her mother talking about Christianity, but she had no grasp of what it meant to have a relationship with God. This all changed when she came to Canada as an international student.
The experience of living in a foreign country was one she had looked forward to for years. But when the excitement and novelty wore off, Chunhua found adjusting to the new culture and language difficult. She was lonely, having never been away from her parents before.
It was at this critical juncture of her life that she met a group of exuberant Christian young people who ran a ministry on campus for people like her. They were about bringing college students together in meaningful and supportive friendships, all the while introducing them to the message of the Bible. As part of their get-togethers, they would show the Videobook of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus and they invited Chunhua to join them.
At first, Chunhua hestitated to commit, but the friendliness and sincerity of her new friends finally won her over. She started watching the DVD series together with other international students. She loved what she learned.
Chunhua discovered that, as a result of what Jesus did on the cross, she could have a relationship with God as her kind and good Father. This meant everything to this young girl living alone in a foreign country.
She shared after: “I have been able to establish a more solid understanding about the Bible and Christian belief. The DVD filled the gaps in my knowledge framework about the Bible and helped make sense to me of how the world operates.”
Speaking of the video sessions, she says, “Without it, there would have been no possibility for me to start seeking Christ and establish my own belief.” Now, as a result of the welcoming friendship of her Christian friends and their faithful witness, she understands and believes the gospel.
What a testimony to the great opportunity we have to reach into the lives of international students and immigrants! If you want more ideas of how to do so, as well as other testimonies, check out our full-length article How GoodSeed tools can help you reach International Students.
(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)
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.
It is always such an encouragement to hear how believers are strengthened in their faith and understanding of the Bible through chronological resources. Janie’s* testimony is an example of this. She was a participant in a recent Worldview Rethink study led by two of our staff and wrote the following email to express her thanks.
It is with great pleasure that I look back to our study, By This Name… Raised in the church, my whole life revolved around Christian activities. I was well taught all the Old Testament stories, believed in the authenticity of the Bible, had accepted Jesus as my Saviour, and knew the presence of God in my life.
There were years when I did not live my faith, and was ashamed of my behavior, but I was never ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Never did I feel abandoned by God, rather that I had abandoned Him, or tried to. We know how He draws us back.
I entered this study with many precious gems of Biblical knowledge knocking around loose in my head. This study brought them together as gems in a single piece, pointing our way to eternity.
It was one of those days that are irrevocably engraved on his memory, and the small details remain vivid to this day. He can still remember the fresh autumn air on his face, and walking across the field with his two children. It was a warm fall day, a beautiful Sunday… until the mobile phone began to ring in his pocket.
“Tomasz*, please come home!” The voice of his wife sounded strange.
“Has something happened?”
“Just come home, please! Immediately!”
When Tomasz looked into his wife’s face a short time later, he knew something terrible had happened.
“Please call your parents in Poland. Let them tell you. It’s about your brother.”
A despair spread over Tomasz when he heard about the house fire. Then came the crushing realization that his brother had likely died in the flames.
Any remnant of hope was crushed when, a few days later, the police identified his brother as a victim of the fire. In a moment, a life had been extinguished. The life of his only brother.
Until then, Tomasz had lived a traditionally religious life. He knew that God was the supreme authority in a person’s life. Accordingly, he endeavoured to be a man of good deeds. He prayed, revered the saints and visited the church–all in an effort to please God. But the sudden death of his brother highlighted the transient nature of life. Tomasz felt a yearning to change the way he was living.
In his mid-fifties, Claude was very religious. While he identified himself with a traditional church, he had gleaned so much of his thinking from other religions that his views were very muddled and hardly representative of his own church’s belief system.
He had become especially interested in the Eastern practices of yoga, chakra, astral voyage and so forth, as well as in the occult. His driving desire was to find that which was true. So his search continued.
A naturally curious individual, Claude was happy to learn more about religion when given the opportunity to study the Bible. He and Henri began their sessions, reading By This Name together and progressing through the Bible’s message in a way that was organized and clear.