But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, I Pet. 3:15
Yesterday I was getting a beauty treatment at the salon. After my pedecure and manicure it was time to do my hair. Ok, so I only went to get a hair cut. Anyway the lady who cut my hair also cuts my wife Michelle's hair. Michelle had been there last week and the lady (Anna from Chec Republic) asked her what she did for a living. Michelle told her she worked for a church. She said "really, my friends in Oregon have become spiritual and they are so different now. It has been good for them. What is new born?" Michelle began a conversation with her about "new born" during the hair cut. Well, there I am yesterday and she says "so your pastor yes?" I say "yes I am" and then she starts in on how her friends are "new born" and everything and then she asks "Is this new born in bible?" And away we went. I had a little new testament I like to keep in my back pocket and I showed her John 3 where Jesus says you must be born again. She said " I am catholic all my life and I did not know Jesus said that".
I did not press the new born issue any further. I tried to remain respectful and give her some space to think. She remained very pleasant and open. I gave her one of our Christmas Eve Service invitations. I told her she could choose from three different times and she seemed to appreciate the invitation. It was too easy.
Notice I did not get into and argument with her. I did not try to convince her. I was not going to tell her what I thought was wrong with catholics. I only had a "gentle and respectful" conversation that was easy for both of us. I do not believe that we are to fight with people. I feel that we are to be open to those who are open. And believe me, a lot more than you think are open to spiritual things. If they are treated with respect by a person who lives before them respectably, they often will become open. Then, "gently" you can ask a question or make an invitation. Many times people will ask you a question that opens a doorway to the heart.
Have you invited anyone to an environment where they can hear some good news lately? I have invited my neighbors (who I have been building friendships with) and I am actively keeping my eyes open for others to invite. It is too easy. Jesus said for us to invite people to the eternal party that he is hosting. Did you know you can have conversations with people who don't yet know Christ and look for simple opportunities to invite? Do you ever find non-threatening ways to let people know about your relationship with Christ or that you go to church? The relationship is too good not to share it with others who need Him. I felt joy that comes from obedience as a result of my conversation with Anna. I look forward to our next talk.
Luke 14:23 (NLT) "Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that my house will be full."
Invite someone to Christmas Eve this year. The service will last one hour, it will be fun, and at the end a 10 minute good news moment will happen "with gentleness and respect". Maybe someone you know needs to be encouraged with hope this Christmas. Maybe someone you know is hurting and alone this year. Invite them.