Today is the final installment of our short series on Evangelism. Thanks to Josh for being willing to edify us and encourage us through his writing. If you're looking for encouragement as you seek to grow in your faith I recommend looking him up on Facebook.
I want to share one story with you from a few years ago that I find to be so encouraging. It testifies to the fact that God orders our steps.
Just after I started sharing my faith regularly, I moved to Philadelphia for a summer. I was involved in a solid local church ministry and was able to learn how ministry is done in an urban setting.
One particular day I was supposed to go to a brother's home for a barbeque in the afternoon but I felt the Lord impress on my heart not to go. I instead went downtown and witnessed for a while and then went into a hotel lobby to read the Word.
As I was reading my Bible, I was suddenly very burdened to go to New York City and share the Gospel. It was already around 5 in the afternoon and I knew that if I were to go to New York I would need to stay the night and I couldn't afford that. I prayed for a while to make sure this was the Lord leading me and not my flesh. God reminded me of what He told Joshua, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
About 45 minutes later I was on a China Town bus filled with Chinese people en-route to New York City! When we arrived 2 and a half hours later, I was dropped off somewhere in lower Manhattan so I walked to the waterside overlooking New Jersey and spent some time in prayer. It was a beautiful evening and the sun was just going down.
After praying for the Lord to give me boldness and direction, I found a couple named Torio and Tamara who were taking a walk and enjoying the sunset. They were both young and very friendly. After some small talk for a few minutes, I asked them where they would go if they died today. They both agreed they would go to Heaven because they are good people. That is a very common lie from the enemy. So I walked them through the 10 Commandments to show them their sin and their need for the Savior and then shared the Good News of what God has done for us. They were very attentive and appreciated our conversation.
I caught a subway to Times Square and began witnessing to all kinds of people from all around the world. It’s amazing how many people you can meet in one evening in one city! After hours of great conversations with people, sometime around 3 in the morning I struck up a conversation with a man in an alleyway. He wanted nothing to do with me and told me to leave him alone, so I began to walk away but as I turned around to leave he called for me to come back over to him. I didn’t know what to expect! He asked me, "Okay, what question were you going to ask me?" Startled, I began to witness to him and we ended up having an amazing conversation. 30 minutes later he said to me, "Josh, you have no idea how much this conversation means to me. Your trip to New York City was not in vain!" I was stunned. As he was saying those words, I heard someone call out from behind us, "Josh?!!" I turned around and it was Torio, the boyfriend from the couple I had spoken with at the beginning of the night! This was 8 hours later and more than 60 blocks up-town in a city of hundreds of thousands of people!
It turned out that Torio happened to be playing in a band at a club nearby. We got to continue our conversation where we had left off back in lower Manhattan. He was shocked that God had crossed our paths again - So was I!
Just a few hours later I walked past the ABC studios where they film Good Morning America. I could see they were setting up for the show which would begin in an hour, so I went over and watched them get ready. A line soon formed to get in the building and be a part of the live audience. All of the people in line had reserved tickets months in advance to be a part of the show and were excited to be on television. After a period of waiting, a woman who worked for ABC came out of the studio and collected tickets and gave instructions to the audience members. She noticed that I didn’t have a ticket as she walked past and asked if I had reserved one. I told her I was just there to watch from the outside if that was okay. She said to me, "You know what? You're the only one here without a ticket and we have space inside so we'll go ahead and let you be a part of the show!" I was amazed! I went inside with the group and we were able to be on television several times throughout the show. Kevin Costner was the guest that morning so the ladies behind me were very excited!
At the end of the show they give you the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the news anchors and guests. I really wanted to share the Gospel with them since God obviously wanted me to be there that morning, so I waited until every member of the audience had gone up and met the anchors and taken pictures. Once everyone had left, I walked up to Diane Sawyer and gave her a tract booklet and got to share the Gospel for a few minutes with her and the Good Morning America weather man! It was such a blessing!
God truly orders our steps. Both mine and yours! Today He has placed specific people on our path that we have the privilege of sharing the Gospel with. It is simply a matter of obeying the Lord. We must recognize that time is very short and people are perishing, and we must understand that God has called us to share His Gospel with them.
The Lord is with you today, friend. Go find someone and share the message of salvation. This Gospel message is urgent and is backed by the power of God.
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16 Let us not be ashamed!