I thought the title of this post would get your attention.  It sounds harsh, but that is the message many Christians send to the unchurched.  Though it is true in many cases, it’s not the way to win friends and influence people.

Many verses in God’s Word have guided Marla and I through the years, but one verse has remained constant as the key to our ministry life.  I Thessalonians 2:8 says, “We were delighted to share with you, not only the Gospel of Christ but our very lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” That pretty much sums up our goal in life.

Friends Drinking Coffee Together photo

My life’s passion is to make it very hard for people around me to go to hell but I believe there is much more to that than simply getting in people’s faces and screaming in their face, “GOD LOVES YOU AND YOU’RE GOING TO HELL”. (That’s one reason some secular people believe “evangelical = Christians who hate people”.)  I believe and have learned that as we get involved in people’s lives and truly love them, they will eventually allow us to Christ with them.

Once I actually told a non-believing friend, “I will always be praying that you will get to know Jesus, but if you never accept Christ, you will always be my friend.”  That statement let my friend know that he meant more to me than just another “notch on my Bible.”  He matters to me.  The old chiche is true:  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Not many Christians would disagree with their lips that reaching people for Christ is important, but their lives speak a different message.  According to Barna, only 12% of Christians will lead someone to Christ in their lives. How can that be if Christ is truly number one in a believer’s life?  Churched people become so involved in their church that they forget that there are people outside the church.

The first step in sharing your life is often becoming friends.  It’s not a forced thing when you really care about those who don’t know Christ.  Just take time to get a cup of coffee, take a walk, or go with them and the kids to a ballgame.  Just live your life with others, be their friend, and share Christ along the way.

In what ways have you met friends outside of the church?  What else comes to mind when you read this?

I ran across the “Lion Chaser Manifesto” today by Mark Batterson. I’ve read it countless times and every time I read it I am convicted to live with more passion and purpose in my life. I hope it is half as encouraging to you as it is to me.

http://indrajit.wordpress.com/2006/03/11/lion-vs-tiger-clash-of-the-titans/

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!”

Now go out and pursue God and all that He has for you today!