Tonight I came to some rather profound conclusions about "lifestyle evangelism." If your definition of "lifestyle evangelism" is: be really nice to people and if you show them the love of Jesus enough, they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Folks, it ain't so.
My husband and I arrived for dinner. Right at the front door, I ran into a friend that I'd gone to school with since grade school. His name is Greg. He is and always has been such a sweet person but carries so much pain from those school years so long ago. Pain is real. Kids are cruel.
Bill was able to talk to him about Christ and showed him the curved illusion tract. He doesn't currently attend church but assured us he is a believer. We invited him to try out our church.
I spoke to another couple who were Christians and were intrigued by my tracts. They had never seen any like them.
I talked with many people that I had gone not only through all four years of high school, but also elementary and middle school. It just dawned on me that I'd spent a significant chunk of my life with these people and yet, I had not engaged in any meaningful discussion of the Gospel with them while in high school. I guess that is why I am one of the biggest opponents of "lifestyle evangelism."
We are told in 1 Peter 3:15 "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. "
This verse is most often used by lifestyle evangelism advocates to "prove" that people will be asking you about Jesus during the course of everyday events. This verse is telling the believer to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask, but this is predicated upon the believer being persecuted and not denying the faith in the face of persecution. Don't take my word for it, go to the Word and read it in context 1 Peter 3:8-22.
This evening, I was with 200 people that I had been REALLY NICE to for 8-9 years (grade school - high school) and not ONE of them came up at any time and asked me, "You've been so nice to me all these years, so tell me how do I accept Jesus?" I had invited people to church with me in high school, told them I went to church, even brought my Bible to school. I was active in my youth group, went on retreats, choir tours, and didn't get into trouble. I never smoked, drank, took drugs, or slept around at all during high school and NOT ONE person wanted to abandon their lifestyle to follow the Lord because of my behavior. Back then, anyone who knew me well enough usually prefaced one of their week-end exploits with, "You're such a good girl, you wouldn't want to know what I'm about to do/have just done." I don't say this arrogantly to proclaim my goodness. On the contrary, I believe that I was a false convert at the time because I had only made an intellectual ascent to Jesus and then engaged in a life of moralism. I thought, "I've accepted Jesus, so now I'm going to be very, very good." This is so wrong.
There were many people who professed to be Christians like the classmate who ran into me at the reunion and told me about her 15 yr old daughter in high school. She sends her daughter to a Christian school and told me that her daughter is giving her fits. "That G_g d_mn girl is going to be the end of me!", she declared as she almost pulled me down while leaning on me because she was so drunk. At least my classmate is a Christian. wink, winkThese ladies, I have known for almost 30 years. They are sweet and I was so glad to be able to catch up with them.
Another friend who recently divorced, was telling me that he almost needs to engage in reconnaissance type maneuvers to keep tabs on his teenage daughter. I'm not naive to believe that everyone will believe they should raise children the way I do. There are stylistic differences which I place under the "disputable matters" category. What is NOT disputable is the fact that we MUST be raising our children to fear the Lord and engage in a deliberate lifestyle that brings honor to God's name even to the point of death. Not many people want to hear that.
Here's a picture of me and my husband. We discovered that we were a bit of an anomaly. There were about 5 couples who had been married over 15 years. We astonished quite a few when they found out we have been married almost 18 years. They almost choked on their pork tenderloin when they found out we had four children AND enjoyed their company! This should not be! We should not be the exception but the norm. I honestly thought more people who had married young would still be married. There were plenty of people who were married tonight but they were either newly married (less than 5 years) or on their 2nd or 3rd marriage.
I was able to reconnect with a lot of people and had many nostalgic conversations. I wasn't very fond of high school. I don't really know of many who are. But, I was able to get several pictures with people and I go their e/m's so that I can keep in touch with them.
There were a number of people who had experienced the pain of divorce and there were those who wanted to marry but have not found the right person yet. Many were successful from a financial and career standpoint but, I wonder how many were truly happy and truly filled with a drive to serve the Lord? I was amazed at the number of people that just seemed to have it all but ...
It was quite difficult to do any real talking after the dinner time was over due to the fact that they turned the lights down so low and cranked the music up. It made any meaningful conversation almost impossible. I was really frustrated about that. But, I am convinced that I talked with the people that I was supposed to talk with and have to rest in that.