I don't know exactly when it started. Right around the turn of the year, I think. I came across a video on Youtube called "Hell's Best Kept Secret". It's from a series of videos called "The Way of the Master", which is also a TV series though to be honest, TBN would rather you see "Your Best Life Now" than this show, which airs at about 2 am.
It's hosted by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron...yes, THAT Kirk Cameron.
God had been speaking to me, I believe, before that. "Be Fruitful." How God? How do I be fruitful? Go to church? Listen to "good" music only? Never have a glass of wine with dinner? Tithe?
"Do the work of an evangelist."
Ah, crap. I have a saying that I'm fond of: I'm really more of a preaching to the choir sorta guy...
Then I saw a video about doing just that, going out to the Lost and telling them the Good News. I was convicted of my own sinfulness, even while doing the "right" things, and that no one was out telling people that they were lost and had earned Hell but God, in his love and mercy, had made a way for them to escape.
So, I bought the book "The Way of the Master". That only made things worse. It convicted me like I had never been convicted before. I was sinful. Even as a Christian, I was every bit as sinful as the Lost. I had lusted after women, I had stolen without even realizing it (making copies of software that I never bought etc), I had lied. I needed to repent.
I bought the book "Why Revival Tarries". The author is right, we need to pray more, not just for revival, but for everything. He was also wrong on this one count: we can pray all day but if no one does the work we're still in sin.
God commissioned US, you and me, to go out into all the world and make disciples for Jesus. Every time we shrug off the urge to walk up to a stranger and tell them about Jesus we sin. Every time we fail to tell someone we know the truth about the sin in their lives, like living together, we sin. Every time we separate ourselves from or are offended by the very sinners God came to save WE SIN. That's a whole post in itself.
So here it is August. In a week my church starts the Way of the Master Basic course on evangelism. It gives you some tools to break the ice and start THAT conversation without having to beat someone over the head. I am reading "Radical Reformission", the idea that we need to be out among, friends with the lost in their culture, but different from it. Just like we do when missionaries go to Africa. We don't try to make them all white American suburbanites we meet them where they are...where Jesus met us.
I've said all this to get here: I have sinned. I have sought the approval of man before that of God. How? By being afraid of the rejection from folks if I tell them about their desperate situation and The Way out. I have chosen, repeatedly, to be liked or, at least, not disliked, instead of telling warning people to flee from the wrath that is to come. Are there people in Hell right now because I was afraid of them? And by that fear, ashamed of Jesus?
I never thought I was ashamed of Jesus. If anyone asks me a question about Him, I answer directly. I admit to being a Christian...it's no secret. Yet, every time I refuse to tell someone about Jesus I prove that I am, when the rubber hits the road, ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
I repent. I have no idea how to fix that flaw in me, but I will. I will pray because Jesus is the source of our strength. But just praying isn't enough. I need to find concrete ways to force myself to do things I am uncomfortable doing. Hopefully, this Way of the Master course will help.
I may not be the guy standing on the street corner today. Or even tomorrow. I will get there, however.
Here's the part of the video that really got my attention, there's three other parts before this one and I encourage you to watch all four. Watch how the kid's attitude changes from mocking and light-hearted to serious and concerned. The fields are ripe, my friends, over flowing in fact. If you aren't telling people about Jesus, repent. I'm not talking about street preaching, I mean just talking to the people you interact with every day. Now. Before it's someone you love who dies without Christ.