Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another phone fish

Yesterday, I got a call from Ellen from, yep, you guessed it, U.S. Bank. I politely listened to her offer trying to entice me into consumer debt for one low, low price. But, after she finished, I had a few questions for her.

We are on the National "Do Not Call" list and filled out the form with the Direct Marketing people opting out of telemarketer solicitations. If they call after all those obstacles have been put in place, then it is truly a Divine appointment. My only response is, "Yes Lord, I am here ready and willing to serve." After the second call just days apart, I'm thinking of removing my name from the list so I will get calls. I'm in a season of my life where I am no longer awakened by newborns in the middle of the night necessitating a daytime nap.

After Ellen had concluded, I asked if I may have a few moments of her time. She said, "Certainly." I asked her where she thought she would do when she died. She said, "Heaven." I asked, "How do you know?" She said, "I'm a Christian."
I have found that when someone states that they are a Christian, you need to ask them a follow up to try to determine whether they are a true or false convert. Thus far, in my tiny sampling of witnessing encounters, I have only met one person that I suspect might have been a true convert. I made that mistake for many years. The minute someone declared, "Oh, I'm a Christian." I thought, "Whew! Thank goodness!" and I would quickly bring the encounter to an end. We are in grave error if we try to pronounce them "saved." Salvation belongs to the Lord and only He knows. However, we must pause when someone professess belief in Christ and press a little further to determine if they know what they are talking about or not.

I asked her, "If I had 3 minutes to live, tell me how must I be saved?" She said, "You must repent of your sins and believe in Jesus." There was something about her answer that sounded canned. Don't stop there either. Press further.

"Ellen, do you read your Bible every day?" I asked. She said, "No, it's been awhile. I don't have time." When witnessing, don't come off like you have all the answers and that you've never had struggles of your own. If you do, you are deceived and will most likely offend the person.

I encouraged her to really carve out some time and shared with her that I have had seasons of my life that were busier than others too. I had a season when I worked full-time and went to school full-time. Now I'm married and a mom of 4 kids whom I teach (that's my full-time day job) and do the bookkeeping for our business (my part-time job) and there are so many things that beg for my attention. I told her Bible reading is one thing that gets me through each day.

I encouraged her to read it every day. I told her, "If the president of the United States wrote you a letter, Ellen, wouldn't you want to just rip it open and find out what He had to say to you?" She said she would. I said, "The Bible is God's word to you. As Christians we need to read it because that is the only way we know what God would have us do and how He would have us act. If I told you I was a jeweler and you brought me a real diamond and a fake and I couldn't tell the difference between them, you wouldn't believe I was a jewler, would you?"

She said she would not. I still gave her law and grace but didn't have to go through each command. Ah, finally! That confounded stoplight preaching technique paid off! Using that, I was able to give the entire Gospel in about 45 seconds. I have found if anything about the Gospel message offends the listener, they are most likely not a Christian.

She thanked me for talking with her. I don't say this for kudos. Again, please let it sink in, that vast majority of people you speak with are NOT going to yell, scream, holler, curse you, spit on you, hang up on you, etc. This is a lie from the enemy that unfortunately, comes rolling off the lips of well-meaning Christians who are ignorant of the truth and have, more than likely, never witnessed or can't even remember the last time they did. If the person does curse you the Bible says you are blessed.

She got really quiet and in a small voice said, "Please pray for me today." I said, "Let's pray right now." She said, "If you can make it quick." I understood that she was at her job as a telemarketer and that this was probably being recorded. So I prayed that among other things God would help her carve out those times to spend with him in Bible reading and prayer.

I finished and she was crying now as she thanked me once more for this time spent encouraging her. I gave her another quick tip and encouraged her that in addition to reading the Bible every day, to buy some index cards, hole punch them in the corner, and told her to write a scripture with the reference on them. I told her she can carry these with her and can pull these out at doctor's appointments, on her lunch break at work, at the stop light in traffic, etc. She said she would do that. Please pray for her and pray that you are open and prepared for these opportunities to share the Gospel. You never know when you are going to be presented with an opportunity to give an answer for why you believe.

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