Through our travels, we have shared our faith with lots of people in many countries throughout Asia. We learnt a good way to start a conversation about faith at Soul Survivor (Christian festival) just before we left England. When we are having a friendly conversation with someone (almost always our drivers or tour guides) we will ask the following question; what’s the best gift that you could have or the best thing that could happen to you, this opens the door for us to share that for us Jesus is the best gift and He gives us hope.
There were times when we had very awkward silences, sometimes this conversation lead to answering questions about our faith and sometimes we would have conversations for hours and even pray with people and encourage them to find a church. Sometimes the conversation started after someone would ask us what our previous jobs were before leaving England, after my response that I used to work for churches, they would then start asking questions about the church, faith etc…
There was a time when I had a word for a driver in my head, the word was cancer, I didn’t know how to share this and what it meant. The driver then started talking about a terminal illness that his family has and then go on to talk about his mum who has cancer and this year was hard on him, how surprised was I to hear this. I shared that I had the word cancer stuck in my head and then we prayed for his mum and for him in the car just before arriving to our hotel.
We also found out that there was a festival near where we were staying in Hanoi, Vietnam and to our surprise, it was a Christian festival with thousands of people becoming Christians at the end.
When we were in Malaysia the first time, we were told that evangelising to Muslims is not allowed so being rather safe than sorry we did not talk to Muslims except with our host when we volunteered in Langkawi island who asked us questions after our little church service in our bedroom with two other volunteers who were very interested in finding out about Christianity and one of them made a decision to follow God right there and then, we continue to pray for her and her boyfriend that God will carry on the work that He started in them.
While we were in Malaysia the second time around, we watched a Youtube video which really challenged us about what it means to take up our cross and follow Christ and what it means to share the gospel. We decided not to be afraid but to lay our lives down and this has already brought us fruits, a conversation with a driver for hours about who the Messiah is, the cross, Islam, rules, traditions, culture etc…
I believe that God is moving through Asia and there are so many people who are just waiting to hear the good news. After being immersed into so many religions through our travels, my faith in Christianity has grown stronger and I truly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and people around the world need to hear this and experience who He is.
Christianity in Europe and the West
In general, sadly Europe and the West has turned to individualism and egoism from faith and fearless Christian living. Even when we were in Australia and New Zealand there is so much more awkwardness about sharing our faith or just even say God loves you to people, people have built up a wall, might think that Christianity is no longer relevant and being a Christian doesn’t seem cool, it’s too much effort to grapple with spirituality especially with so many religions out there and in a culture where you have to tolerate all religions and everyone’s differences people are afraid to say anything that might even in the slightest come across controversial. If you share the gospel with others, people might look at you and talk about you like a Bible basher in a negative way.
Of course, this is discouraging to Christians and for these reasons many churches have become a lot more lenient and a lot less straight forward about how they share the gospel and have even changed the way they operate and some try to put all their energy into modernising. Lots of new initiatives started in almost all churches that will focus on friendship evangelism and bringing people into the church through lots of incentives. Many churches tolerate pretty much everything and in many cultures, it has become offensive to confront people even in a church setting, everything, everyone is welcomed and accepted and can stay as they are.
I am not saying promoting community and showing love, acceptance is not important, it is definitely a big part of being a Christian especially in today’s world. However, if we are saying that’s all there is to it, are we then saying that Jesus is not as powerful as He used to be, He is not the same as He was in the New Testament where people’s lives were transformed, they were healed and the gospel was spreading rapidly because the disciples were willing to put their lives on the line and did not back down in spite of opposition. Are we saying that Jesus is no longer relevant in modern society? Then why follow Him in the first place?
Individualism has influenced Christianity to become self-focused and putting a greater emphasis on what we can get out of it; yes Jesus gives us everything but do we really deserve to be called sons and daughters of God if we only care about ourselves and look to God from a high pedestal and expect everything yet give nothing back. Following Christ means that we are no longer the same but that we turn our backs to the flaws of the world and stand out.
In our recent visit to a church the sermon was about the Great Commission and the focus was that whatever we do or say (even just having a cup of coffee with someone) and sharing who we are with others we are already partaking in the Great Commission, this might partly be true, our goodness is a form of evangelism but this is only a small part of it.
Having a Christian character and being ourselves when we are around other people should come naturally to us as its part of who we are, there is a distinction between this and sharing the gospel with others.
Questions for all Christians
Do we need to fear to share the Good News when we have the most powerful, mighty God on our side?
He calls us to surrender our lives to Him completely and to trust Him. Are we surrendering everything to Him or only when it suits us and when we are not ridiculed?
Do we give Him the control over our lives and our actions or do we find it hard to let go of control and carry on justifying our actions to ourselves so that we don’t feel guilty about them?
Should evangelism be like a chore or should it come from a heart that is so full in love with Christ that wants everyone to know about this love just like when we are in love with a person and can’t stop talking about him/her with our friends and families constantly.
How to step out of your comfort zone
We share the Good News with others because we believe that God could change a person’s life for the better. This message is worth hearing and all of us have a responsibility in part taking in the Great Commission with no exception.
- Don’t be afraid or ashamed, the gospel is the power of God. Don’t let others discourage you but stand up and gather your strength.
- Get excited about sharing your faith in Jesus and offer to pray for the sick and bring freedom to the captives who need you. In Ephesians 1, Paul says that the power at work in you is the very power that raised Jesus Christ from death. Your body is a vessel that carries the power of God. Exercise the authority that was given to you.
Jesus has modelled how we should live and what we should do, He gave us authority and power so study his life and teaching, our mission is not about ourselves but about others around us.
- If your friend or family member turns away from you because of talking about God or your actions that are Christlike then continue to pray for them but collect your strength from your identity in Christ and remember that you are loved and treasured and you are the son/daughter of God.
- Stay humble, you are not better than others, don’t be judgmental but stay kind, loving and patient in all circumstances.
- Search and thirst for opportunities and don’t be satisfied with where you are, we should not be content with where we are, we fall short every single day.
- Evangelism is not about having the right arguments and lots of knowledge but it’s about our willingness and listening ears. Don’t worry about what you are going to say or do but be open and pray for opportunities and for guidance.
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”
(1 Corinthians 2:1–2, NIV).
The first disciples laid down their lives every single day for the sake of the gospel and did not care about what other people thought of them, they were fearless and the result was that people were set free and were given a chance to reconcile with God. If we are afraid to share this news with others, I wonder whether we really truly believe in the life changing message of the cross.
We can change the negative perception of a Bible basher into a positive one. Bible basher definition is “someone who tries in a forceful or enthusiastic way to persuade other people to believe in the Christian religion and the Bible. “
This is a definition based on previous experiences of evangelists who might have stood on the street corners and told everyone to repent or they might go to hell, there are still some Christians who might evangelise on the streets, others who might quote different Bible verses and use them like a club and beat one another over the head with them and we bash unbelievers as well.
So my main challenge for us is to change the meaning and perception of Bible bashers into a positive expression to those who enthusiastically share who Christ is and through this service, thousands are set free, healed and find peace.
This is the kind of Bible basher I want to be.