On Sunday, we went downtown Iowa City to share the gospel with University students, using the resurrection of Jesus as a conversation starter.
Our witnessing team for the day
“Hi! I’m doing a little questionnaire about Easter. Could I ask you a few questions?” I asked two Asian students.
“We don’t know anything about Easter,” they told me.
“That’s okay! You can still answer the questions.”
“When did you first hear about the resurrection of Jesus?” I asked them.
“When I came to the States … on a TV show,” the guy replied.
“What do you personally believe about God and what happens when we die?” I asked.
“We don’t believe in God; we believe in evolution,” they both said.
“Well, when I look at that brick building over there and see the design and beauty in it, I know someone designed it. How much more our bodies, and this universe! How do you think everything started?” I asked.
“Through a big explosion,” he said.
“What exploded?” I asked.
“Gasses; chemicals,” he replied.
“Where did those come from?” I asked.
“Well … they were already there,” he said (or something like that).
“How did something come from nothing?”
After a bit of deliberation, he replied, “I guess there must have been a maker [of those original elements].”
Interesting! This Asian student went from claiming to be an atheist to believing in a “Maker” in just a few minutes.
“I’ll think about this,” he told me. He seemed to appreciate the Evolution Vs God DVD.
A few minutes later, I met Katherine and James, strolling down the sidewalk.
“Would you be willing to do an Easter questionnaire?” I asked them.
“Really?” I said, surprised. (A lot of people had been turning me down!)
“When did you first hear about the resurrection of Jesus? Like … was it Sunday school, or … ?”
“I think it was when I was 10 in California and a friend talked to me,” James said.
About this time, a homeless man walked up and began interrupting the conversation in a kind of strange way. I felt this was likely spiritual warfare and this gave me stronger determination to do the most I could to communicate the gospel to this couple!
I decided to get right to the point. [smile]
“So what does one do to get right with God, and know they will be with Him when they die?”
James and Katherine had an “earn-your-way-to-Heaven” mentality.
“So if you were standing before God and He asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say?”
“That’s a really good question!” Katherine said.
“I guess I would ask for forgiveness and try to prove to Him that I am worthy of getting there,” James replied.
After I shared about God’s justice, our sin, and His need to punish, I showed them some verses about how God’s rescue plan is a gift that we can either receive or reject.
“Have you understood this before?” I asked.
“No, I have not heard this until today; no one has ever explained it to me,” James said.
“Would you like to meet up again to study the Bible?” I asked them. There was interest, so I am praying this will work out.
I was reminded how a successful witnessing conversation is not getting them to “make a decision for Jesus” and then leaving them, but rather, giving them a taste for the Word so that we can continue to teach them! It reminds me of Ephesians 4:20-21, which I read this morning: “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus.”
You see, another way of saying that someone “got saved” could be they “learned Christ.” We may not always know the moment of spiritual birth (the moment God detects faith in their heart) but God does! Our responsibility is to teach Christ! “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).”
It is so encouraging to meet students who want to learn about the Lord. One guy that my dad talked with asked for his contact info and told him, “Don’t be surprised if you get an email from me about this.”
I was also particularly encouraged to see the teens on our witnessing team growing in boldness! It’s thrilling to see God orchestrating and working.