Tag Archives: Jesus

What does Christianity have to do with my life?

Last year, Power to Change (York) asked me to speak on this question: What does Christianity have to do with my life? I answered in two parts. The first can be found on my blog post entitled What is Christianity?, and what follows is the second part of my answer.

I want to highlight two gripping ways that Jesus Christ profoundly relates to you. I found these themes in the Bible; specifically in the ancient biography on Jesus written by his close friend Matthew.

1) Jesus is your judge.

Though many people don’t like the idea of judgement, Matthew’s biography clearly shows that Jesus talked a lot about judgement. In fact, Jesus taught that one day in the future, he will come and judge everyone who has ever lived.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus paints a picture of what Judgement Day will look like. He is the judge. All peoples will stand before him; and he will separate them, the sheep on his right, and the goats on his left. And their sentence? The sheep (the righteous) will hear: “Come, you who are blessed …” But the goats (the unrighteous) will hear: “Depart from me, you cursed …” Jesus is the judge. He is my judge. He is your judge.

In Matthew 7:24-27 we learn that everyone’s destiny is determined by how they respond to the words of Jesus: destruction for those who don’t trust him, taking him at his word; and life for those who trust him, proving their trust by doing what he says. According to Jesus, your destiny is determined by how you respond to him.

The inevitable event of Jesus’ future judgement ought to inform the way we respond to Jesus now. People save money now in light of future retirement. People pick academic programs now in light of future career plans. Future events have direct ramifications for how we live now. How much more the future judgement!

You may be thinking, “but I’m a good person; I’ll be okay on Judgement Day.” I don’t doubt that you’re a nice person; many Canadians are nice. But when we speak of judgement, the only person’s estimation of your goodness that counts is the Judge’s. So, what does it mean to be good according to Judge Jesus? The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is a great summary of his standards, that is, of true goodness and righteousness. He’s not only concerned with what we do, but what we think, and why we do the things we do; he cares very much about motives. A summary of these righteous standards is found in Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Truth is, he knows we’re not. In fact, in the sermon, he calls us “evil” (Mt 7:11). Not the most flattering pre-trial assessment. We need a Saviour. We need forgiveness.  This brings me to my second point.

2) Jesus has the authority to forgive your sins.

The name Jesus means God saves. Before his birth, and angel came to Joseph in a dream, saying, “[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). Judgement is coming. We deserve to be punished for our sins, but Jesus came to save us. Christianity is pretty simple; as John Stott taught, it’s a “rescue religion.”

In Matthew 9:12-13, Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick … I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus came to save sinners. He came to save people – people who realize they’re not good in God’s eyes and yet call out to him for help. He came to save the spiritually sick from the impending judgement that is coming.

The good news is that Jesus truly  does have the authority to forgive all of your sins. Anyone, no matter how corrupt your past (or how depraved your current habits), can find full forgiveness in Jesus. Just as he displays his authority over nature, disease, demons and even death, he shows his authority to forgive sins (Mt 8-9). In Matthew 9:1-8, he heals a man who is paralysed and proclaims his authority to forgive sins. Interestingly, he shows his authority empirically while proclaiming his authority to do what can’t be seen: forgive sin. The question is: do you believe? Do you believe he has the authority to forgive sin? Even your sins?

When Jesus came, through his death, resurrection and ascension, he ushered in the New Covenant. A covenant is when God establishes an arrangement with people whereby he is their God and they are his people. When it comes to the New Covenant, Matthew wants us to know that Jesus gave wine to the disciples, saying “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:28). God is establishing a relationship with people through Jesus Christ wherein people receive the forgiveness of all of their sins by faith in Jesus. As people forgiven by Jesus, God is their God and they are his people. Again, the way into this covenant is not by works or trying to be a good person. It is by faith in Jesus Christ. This is the only way to receive forgiveness; and therefore peace with God. Everyone from every nation and background is both commanded and invited to come to God through faith in Jesus Christ, the only one who has the authority to forgive sins.

How else will you receive forgiveness?

Though I could go on, those are a couple of pretty significant ways that Jesus Christ relates to you (and me!). You might not feel the relevance; but Jesus certainly sees it. May he help us to both see it and  feel it.

What is Christianity?

It was a true joy to speak at a Power to Change event at York University last month. I’m really encouraged to see the way they’re engaging unbelievers with the grace and truth of Christ. I was asked to speak on this question: What does Christianity have to do with my life? Good question. There are hundreds of ways to answer the question, but what follows is the first part of how I responded. I’ll write another post on the second part.

We can capture the essence of what Christianity is from two angles.

1) “Follow Me”

Christianity can be summed up in two words, “Follow me.” These are the words of Jesus and this is the essence of Christianity. Christianity is not primarily a system of beliefs. Though it contains a system of beliefs, it is, in the first place, knowing the person of Jesus Christ and following Him. Jesus’ call to follow him is his call to trust him and prove that trust by doing what he says. Believing that he is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do. It is a call to love him, know him and follow him.

2) Christianity is built upon the truthfulness of Scripture, which is the lens through which Christians see the world.

The Bible governs a Christian’s beliefs about origins, meaning, identity morality and destiny. Christianity is founded on the truth of the Bible. The Bible is one story that reveals who God is, but the storyline is composed of four different stages.

1) Creation. God created the world and everything in it. He created it good. He created us good. He made us to live in his presence, under his rule and to enjoy him.

2) Fall. Adam and Eve rejected the rule of God and because God is just they suffered for it. According to God’s just dealing with rebellion, he cast them from his presence. Mankind was damned and doomed. The world was cursed.

3) Redemption. This is God’s a rescue plan; his peace making plan for his enemies. Redemption is what God has done to save rebels from their rebellion and to bring them back to himself to live under his rule, in his family, fully forgiven for the bad they have done. He sent Jesus to save people from the curse and their sins.

4) New Creation. This is the hope of what God has promised. Not only did Jesus come and die and rise and leave. He’s promised to return and judge the world. All rebels who are saved by Jesus will be with him, in his presence, living under his rule, forever. This is the hope of Christianity.

These four stages of the story of the Bible form the lens through which a Christians see the world. But Christianity is primarily about knowing and following the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus not only believed in and confirmed the truthfulness of Scripture, creation, the fall, redemption and new creation, He is the climax and main subject of the entire story. Everything else in the story before him foreshadows him. Christianity is about Jesus.

So now, in light of all of that, so what? What does all of that have to do your life? (Stay tuned for part 2).

I Asked Him, “What Do You Think of Jesus Christ?”

On Friday night I was at the bus stops at Lawrence and Don Mills with fellow workers (from New City Baptist and Westminster Chapel). Meeting much  indifference and hostility made it a sobering night. What follows is a short summary of one of those meetings.

I went up to a big guy who looked around 50. I opened my mouth and said, “Sir, I have a question for you,” and with a gentle smile, “but just to warn you, it’s a serious one.” He looked at me, waiting to hear what it was. “What do you think of Jesus Christ?” With much anger and resistance he said, “Not much.” I quickly responded, “Why?” With more emotion now and added volume, he said, “No more questions! You had one. That’s enough. Thank you.” We stood there silently for a bit. He looked very angry. I said, “Have a good night.” He replied, “You too.” I walked away.

Phil and I reflected on the exchange as we walked. Phil said, “That shouldn’t surprise us; people hate Jesus. The Scriptures are clear about this. Who knows the hypocrisy he’s seen in his life? But, either way, people hate God.” Afterwards, Phil prayed for him.

Let me pray for this man again. Father, please cause that man to reflect on my question, “Why?” Please put that question to his heart: “Why don’t I think much of Jesus?” If it’s because of the sinful conduct of Christians, please help him to see the foolishness of rebelling against Jesus because of what someone else has done. May he see that Jesus is always good. Lord, have mercy on him!

Nick Speaks of Jesus on the Streets: The Story and the Lesson

Nick is the lead worshipper at GFC Don Mills, but more importantly, he deeply loves Jesus and is committed to following him.  Below he shares a really cool story about his experience of speaking about Jesus when he came out with me two weeks ago.

Friday night

Paul, Ricardo and I went out on Friday night to speak to people about Jesus. As is Paul’s custom, we walked around different bus stops to speak with anyone who was willing. We had a few good conversations but one that stood out to us was with a young man. Let’s call him Tim though that’s not his real name.

We met a man at the bus stop

Paul and I approached Tim (Ricardo stayed behind to pray) and told him what we were all about. We introduced ourselves by name and informed him that we were members at a church in the area and wanted to speak with people about Jesus. Paul began by asking him if he had any religious background. He told us that his mom was a Christian but he characterized her devotion as “moderate”.

Asking questions

Then Paul asked Tim about himself a little bit. “What are you doing?” Paul said. He responded by telling us that he was on his way home from work. Paul continued, “What kind of work do you do?” “Customer service,” Tim responded. At that point I broke my way into the conversation. “Do you get yelled at a lot?” I asked. “Yeah,” Tim laughed. I pushed the conversation a little further, “In this line of work do you see how messed up people can be?”

So began our conversation.

People are messed up

Tim agreed that some people are indeed messed up; but then he said that some people aren’t all that bad. In fact, he said that some people are good. In some ways Tim was right. People are made in the image of God and they do retain some of the good-ness that God created us with; but I told Tim that it’s interesting that you usually never meet anyone who thinks they are bad themselves. It is usually “other people” who are the problem.  He agreed at that point and said, “Yeah, we tend toward an ‘us vs. them’ mentality.” I wanted him to see that “we” are all part of the problem and not just “them,” so I asked him, “Tim if the world was filled with people just like you, do you think that all the world’s problems would disappear?” He said, “Probably not.”

The story of the Bible and its climax

I proceeded to tell Tim the story of the Bible and the climax of that story. It went something like this: Our world has been utterly destroyed by sin and we need a King who can put the world right. God promised that one day he would send his King and this is exactly what we read about in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus came into the world, in fulfilment of God’s promises, pushing back against sin and all of its effects. That’s why we see him healing diseases, forgiving sins, calming storms, casting out demons and even raising the dead. Jesus eventually died on the cross and rose again so that we ourselves could be forgiven of our sin and included in God’s kingdom. One day Jesus will return and make everything right. The thing about it, though, is if God is going to make the world right and rid the world of sin something has to be done about us. That means either forgiveness or judgement.”

The challenge

Afterwards, Paul challenged Tim. He asked him what he thought about this and if he ever thinks about these things. Tim told us honestly that he has always been indifferent to Jesus. He said that he’s indifferent towards a lot of things.

Our conversation continued for a while (he let three buses go by while we were speaking). He asked some good questions regarding the centrality of God and the importance of the gospel of Luke (We had copies that we were giving out). We let him know that the gospel tells the story of Jesus and is a good place to start but that the entire bible is God’s inspired word. Paul even had the chance to speak with him about Genesis 1-3.

This was an encouraging encounter. Tim was interested, open and honest. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again but I hope that he bows his knee to King Jesus and is welcomed into the life of the age to come.  Pray for him.

Five lessons learned:

1)      Talking about Jesus brings us joy: As I was speaking to Tim about Jesus I found that I myself was getting excited about Jesus. I began thinking, “Wow! This really is good news!”

2)      Seeing the gospels as the Gospel makes Christianity incredibly relevant to people:  There are many stories in the gospels about all sorts of people from all sorts of different walks of life. In Tony’s case he works in customer service. This is a career where one is continually yelled at and made to feel small. There are plenty of stories in the gospels about people who are “made to feel small” and how Jesus meets those people where they are. Ultimately, we see how Jesus came into the world to bring God’s kingdom and solve the systemic problem of sin that causes all the problems we encounter.

3)      Just be yourself and talk about Jesus: Evangelistic “schemes” can be incredibly helpful at times (I know I’ve benefited from them at times) but it’s important to just be yourself. We are talking to human beings not robots. Talk to people where they are at and then talk about Jesus. You don’t need a PhD in Missions to do that. Although evangelism can be hard work at times it can also be really fun when we are ourselves.

4)      Pray: God is in control and can soften people’s hearts. We need to plead with God that he would do just that and that he would lead us to those whom he wills.

5)      Worship: Evangelism is worship. Whether you experience a Tim or a person who wants nothing to do with you God is glorified when Jesus is proclaimed.

What Are You Living For?

One month ago marked our first Friday evening on the streets for the fall. John and Sidney, from Westminster Chapel, joined me for what turned out to be a very encouraging evening. But there was one conversation in particular that I’d like to share with you.

We met two young teenage girls close to the bus stops. It was great to hear Sidney share the gospel with them. The girls listened to her speak of Christ. Sidney told them why Jesus came and about the forgiveness and life that he offers. She did an excellent job sharing the good news about Jesus.

And how did the girls respond? Well, they just looked at us smiling and giggling. They seemed terribly awkward and unsure of how to respond. We thought we’d try to ease the awkwardness by asking questions, hoping that two-way discussion would blossom. Their answers were quick and simple; and they kept giggling. One of the girls knew a little bit about Christianity. She said she’d been to a Christian youth event with her relative. The other girl did not seem to know much about the faith.

I sensed they were just waiting for the conversation to end, but not because they were angry; they just didn’t know why this stuff was important. And it was a Friday night! Why talk to strangers about Jesus? Sounds a little weird. I sensed the need to cut right to the heart. We were real people talking to real people about a real Judge and Saviour! We were talking about stuff that really mattered. So, I cut to the chase and interjected: “What are you living for?”

The one girl looked at me, thought for a moment and said, “High school.” I said, “Why?” She said, “To go to University.” I said, “And I’m assuming in University, you’ll live to do some more schooling; but what for?” She said, “To get a job.” And then I said, “You’ll get a job and then you’ll live to find a husband. And then you’ll live for your kids and your work. Then you live for your kids to go to University. And then you live for your retirement and then you’ll die.” They were silent and listened closely.

I pleaded with them, “Look nothing is more important than Jesus Christ. He said that one day you will stand before him and give an account of your whole life; and all that matters is how you’ve responded to him. That’s pretty serious stuff. It’s not the kind of stuff you should put off. Take your Bible and read the four Gospels that are all about Jesus. Look into these things. Don’t put it off.”

We said our goodbyes, but I couldn’t help feeling utterly refreshed and sobered by getting to heart of things. When we’re out on the streets talking to people, we’re talking to real people about a real living Saviour. Let’s get real and talk, not religion class style, just trying to get the answer right. Let’s talk about what we’re really living for; and why living for the Lord Jesus Christ is all that matters.

Day 20: Laughed At

Our second last day of summer evangelism wasn’t without challenges. Ricardo and I sought to speak with a young lady waiting for her bus. I told her who we were, where we were from and that we were out sharing the Gospel. She instantly felt awkward and started laughing. I encouraged her that these are important conversations to have. By God’s grace she was too nice to dismiss us. She engaged in a conversation that ended up recruiting a small measure of mockery (and some more laughing).

What follows is an abbreviated summary of what happened.  Y refers to the lady; P refers to me; and M refers to another lady who joined in.

P: What do you think of Jesus?

Y: I don’t know. (And looking at me as though this was a silly question).

P: Well, what do you know of him? Surely you have thoughts of some kind.

Y: Well, I don’t really believe in God.

P: Why do you hold to atheism?

Y: I just grew up with it and I’ve always believed it.

P: Well, in light of the world we observe, do you think it’s a more reasonable position?

Y: I don’t know.

P: Do you believe in the big bang?

Y: Yes.

P: Well, why do you opt for order coming from chaos over the idea that God created everything with order?

Y: Well, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just don’t believe.

P: Well, have you ever read the Bible?

Y: Not really. But the Bible is not reliable.

P: Why do you think that?

Y: It was written by men.

P: So you’re saying it’s corrupted because it was written by men and men make mistakes?

Y: Yes.

P: But think about this: you are a person. So how do you know you’re not making a mistake in your judgement of the Bible. You said men make mistakes. (She seemed to understand my argument and her body language indicated that she conceded).

P: And surely it wouldn’t be too hard for an all powerful God to keep his Word pure, even through men. (She agreed on this theoretically).

P: The Bible is trustworthy and it clearly teaches that God created the world out of nothing, that he created everything good and that we are the ones who’ve messed up the world. We’ve sinned by disobeying God’s commands. And now we’re not good. And that’s why we feel guilt.  You ever feel guilt?

Y: Yes (smiling with the look of, “Why are you talking about this?”).

P: Me too. You know, the reason we feel guilt is because we have it. It’s that simple. It’s real, but that’s the very reason why God sent Jesus into the world. You know about the Cross? How Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead? The reason he came to do that was to save us.

Y: Wow. This is intense. (smiling)

M:  (Shouting from about 12 feet away, and with all manner of mockery), “What Jesus are you talking about?”

P: (I looked over at her and was silent for a few seconds, and with firmness I said back to her) The Jesus of Scripture that even non-Christians and liberal Bible scholars don’t deny existed.

(Though M was silenced, Y and M were now both laughing with each other at me).

P: (speaking to Y) Look, the reason we’re out talking to people is because these things matter and we care for you. Thank you for taking the time to let us speak to you. Take care.

At that moment Y walked over to M and the two became friends. We could overhear them laughing together and M saying how she needed to “save” Y from me.

By the grace of God, Ricardo and I prayed for them. And by the grace of God we truly considered ourselves blessed. But I really felt opposed spiritually. I felt little and despised by people. I was laughed at. I felt, in the smallest measure, something of what my Saviour felt. And it was good.

Day 18, by Yosef: Youth Encounter

Yosef, a faithful brother and member at Westminster Chapel, has been co-labouring with us in the gospel periodically this summer. It’s always a great joy to have him work with us. Below he shares about a really neat experience he had preaching the gospel to a bunch of teenagers at Shops at Don Mills. 

A group of five teenagers were hanging out by the mall. My heart went out for them and, excited, we approached them and asked, “Can I ask you guys an interesting question?” “Sure,” they replied. “What do you think happens after you die?” “Oh, you go to heaven!” replied the youngest of a group of Filipinos who, soon we would discover, were exposed to Catholicism. So we began digging together around their misconceptions, and asked, “Everyone?!” He answered, “Well, only those who are good.” From there, using Jesus’ interpretation of the commandments (Matthew 5), we took some time to show them that no one is good according to God’s standards.

While three of them were showing signs of interest and understanding, others remained silent, indicating they were either contemplative (maybe convicted) or simply disinterested. Overall, they seemed to show a partial understanding of what Jesus has done. They seemed ignorant to the deep offense of sin against a pure, blameless and holy Judge. After we thoroughly explained the gospel and challenged them to give their lives to Jesus – to which they responded with stifled faces – we decided to let them dwell on it. Rony and I left them with some tracks, played with their skateboards to show friendliness, and parted ways. Our prayers are that God would preserve the seed planted in these young people’s lives and give growth to their faith. May they, like us, be brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Amen.

Day 14: Jesus Rose from the Dead?

Have you ever met someone who never heard of the resurrection? Yes, I’m talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’m talking about someone who has never even heard that Christians believe such a thing! I met one. I met him about 3 weeks ago. He’s a young Muslim man from Turkmenistan. Jack and I met him near the bus stops. What follows is a very abbreviated summary of our discussion, for we talked for quite some time. P stands for Paul and Y for the other man.

(At first we introduced ourselves, the church we go to and what we were doing).

P: So, what religious background do you have?

Y: Muslim.

P: What kind? Are you Shiite or Sunni?

Y: Sunni.

P: We’ll I’ve talked to many Muslims and I’ve read most of the Koran so I know that you guys believe that Jesus was a prophet (he nodded), and that he performed miracles (he nodded again), and that he was born of the virgin, Mary (he nodded again).

Y: You read the Koran?

P: I read 81 out of 114 Surahs. I took a class on Islam in school and learned quite a bit about it.  But I’m a Christian. How about you? Have you ever read parts of the Bible?

Y: No.

P: Do you know what the Bible teaches about Jesus?

Y: Yes, you guys believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

P: Yes, Jesus himself taught that He was the Son of God. Now, that doesn’t mean that he is any less than God. In fact, he is fully God and equal with God.

Y: Well, how can Jesus be God if God sent him?

P: That’s a good question. But let me be clear, the Bible teaches that God is One. But what that means is that He is one in essence. But the Bible also teaches that God is three persons. Jesus is the radiance of God, that is, he is the exact representation of what God is like and the reason He came to the world was to save sinners.

Y: You guys make a big deal about Jesus. Why? He was just a prophet like the rest of the prophets.

P: Well, Jesus was a prophet, but let me read to you what Jesus said (I opened my Bible) in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus is saying that the whole Old Testament, that is the first 39 books of the Bible, were primarily foreshadowing his coming. You know what foreshadowing is? (He nodded). So, all the prophets who came before Jesus actually wrote about him and anticipated his coming.

Y: Okay

P: For example, in Isaiah 53, (I turned to Isaiah 53 and began to read selected verses) the prophet Isaiah says, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows … as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not … we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our [sins]; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the [punishment] that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed … and the LORD has laid on him the [sin] of us all.” You see he’s talking about a man who would come and suffer for the sins of God’s people. He’s pointing to Jesus.

Y: Okay, but every prophet died.

P: Yes, but Jesus never sinned. He came to suffer of behalf of sinners. What the Bible teaches about Jesus is very different from Islam. Islam teaches that your works get weighed in the balance, and hopefully your good works outweigh the bad. But the Bible teaches that we are all sinners and therefore guilty before God with no way of removing our guilt. But God, because he is loving, sent Jesus to save us from our sins. It was through his death that God punished the sin that we deserve. But it’s only those who follow Jesus that benefit from his death. And furthermore, Jesus rose from the dead.

Y: You believe that he rose from the dead?

P: Yes, the Bible clearly teaches that. You never heard that?

Y: No, you believe he rose from the dead?

P: Yes, that is what I believe. It’s what the Bible clearly teaches. In Isaiah 53, Isaiah goes on (reading from the Bible), “they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, it was the will of the LORD to crush him … the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied.”  Did you hear that? He will overcome death.

Y: Well, maybe it’s just a spiritual resurrection?

P: Look, even if you think it’s a spiritual resurrection, who is this passage talking about? It’s hard to deny that this is a passage about someone who God will send to suffer for the sins of his people.

Y: Look, I need to get back into religion and brush up on the Koran.

P: Well, here (handing him a Two Ways to Live booklet), please read this too.

That was it. Off we went. May the risen Lord save him. And may our risen Saviour send us out into the harvest fields of our city! We now have neighbours who have never heard of the resurrection of Jesus.

Day 13: Different Hearts


He was a white man. He looked around 60. I thought, “Oh boy, these are the type that often get annoyed when I try to speak. But, you never know!”

I started, “Hello sir, my name is Paul and this is my friend Ashar. We’re from the church just on the other side of those buildings over there. And we’re out talking to people about the Gospel. Do you have a religious background?”

With anger in his eyes, he shot back, “Religion. You want to talk about religion!” I knew this wouldn’t please him, but with a smile I gently replied, “Well, Jesus.” This just set him off. He responded by swearing at us and accused us of harassment.

By the grace of God, I remained calm and gently drew his attention to the fact that he was the one yelling and swearing at us. Then we walked away, but only to get another ear full of this man swearing and shouting at us and even saying, “I don’t care what you do, go sleep around with whoever you want; do what whatever you want, just don’t talk to me about religion!”

I wondered, “What happened to him in years gone by? What was his experience of Church? What kind of Christian exposure has he had? Why such intense hostility toward God?” His heart appeared to be as hard as the hardest rock could be! But Jesus is still mighty to soften and save. So we prayed for him.


Yet, not long after that experience, we crossed the road and found another man waiting for a bus. This man was likely in his 40’s, a Jamaican man, out doing some job hunting. He gladly heard the message of the Gospel. Not only that, he let a number of buses pass by simply to listen, learn and to ask questions. We had the Bible out and looked at some Scripture. He shared a bit of his story and seemed moved by the main theme of our conversation: Jesus came to save his people from their sins.

He was very thankful for what we shared and expressed serious interest in visiting our church. We prayed for the Lord to provide him with a job, but in such a way that it would be unmistakeably from above.

Different Hearts

Now, I’m not saying the Jamaican man is seeking God; I don’t know (even Herod wanted to meet Jesus and Felix gladly listened to Paul).  One thing was obvious however: he was more open to learning about Jesus than the other man.

The two men seemed so different; I mean, their hearts were different. One was intensely hostile to even speaking about God. Talking about God was like death to him! The other man had an appetite to learn more about Jesus. He seemed sincerely sobered by the truths that Jesus came for sinners and that forgiveness is gained by faith in Christ’s work alone.

So what?

Well, there are two things:

1) Don’t be discouraged by hostility. People’s hearts are in different conditions (just like their bodies!). Even if you meet a number of people who are hostile to the Gospel, take heart, there may be someone else right around the corner who is willing to listen. Keep fishing.

2) Pray for God to humble hearts. Think  of the soils that Jesus speaks about in Matthew 13. The only way for the seed of the Gospel to actually take root and bear fruit is when it’s cast on good soil. Good soil is a humble heart.

So, let’s press on in the work our Lord – To Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Day 11: Danielle Talks with a Muslim at Timmy’s

I love hearing from those who hit the streets with me! In this post, Danielle shares about our experience at Tim Horton’s last Thursday. She’s a faithful woman who loves Christ and is zealous to reach out to others with His love. Check out what happened!

Last Thursday, Paul and I had the opportunity to talk to the people of Don Mills about the gospel of Jesus. Our conversation with a young Muslim woman named Nadia really struck me.

Paul and I had gone in to Tim Horton’s because he needed to use the washroom. While waiting for him, I noticed a young woman playing with her phone. I went up to her, introduced myself and explained that we were going around talking to people about Jesus, and asked if I could sit down. She smiled a little bit and agreed.

Before long, I found out that Nadia was a Sunni Muslim and was eager to celebrate the beginning of Ramadan the following day. She explained that for Muslims, Ramadan was a month of fasting and doing more good deeds than usual: donating to charity, for example. We got into a discussion about the role of doing good works and the difference between salvation by works and salvation by grace through faith. At first she was insistent that Muslims and Christians believe the same things, just that “the name for God is Allah and the name for Jesus is Mohammed.” Paul gently but firmly explained to her that Mohammed lived after Jesus had died and risen, and that they weren’t the same person. Mohammed was a prophet. Jesus is the Son of God, God incarnate, who came to dwell with humans, eventually dying for us so that our sins may be forgiven.

Paul and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with her, pointing to the Bible as our authority and using our lives as a testimony. Nadia explained that although some Muslims treat Ramadan as only a one-month gimmick before going back to their normal lives, she tried to live a lifestyle of doing good works. I explained that although I had grown up with a similar mentality of trying my best to be good to make God happy and to earn His forgiveness, God is so holy in His righteousness that even my best attempts don’t meet His standard. I know myself, and if I had to be honest with myself, I know that I am a sinner and in need of God’s mercy.

I was really encouraged that Nadia was spending her break talking to us about Jesus. She was insistent that people are “born into” their faiths or religions. Paul and I gave examples of people we know who didn’t grow up in Christian homes but, by the grace of God, became aware of their sin and are now reconciled to God through Jesus. The conversation took a turn for me, however, when, instead of questioning or challenging us, Nadia simply said, “Well, how would you like it if someone in your home converted from Christianity to another religion?” She then explained that her family was very religious and that her branch of Islam is the strictest.

Paul urged Nadia to make an informed decision when making choices, not just because of familial pressures or fears. We offered her a copy of the gospel of Luke, which she accepted, and gave her my contact information. I pray that she would contact me and ask more questions or ask to check out church with me.

Our conversation with Nadia reminded me of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13, specifically the seed that was sown among the thorns: “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22). It seemed like Nadia was beginning to understand the gospel and was showing a lot of interest in Jesus, but she was worried about the cares of the world: what her family may say, perhaps.

Our conversation with Nadia was also a strong reminder to me that we are to fear God and not man. We must remember that God is the holy, uncreated, Creator God, and man is sinful creation. Jesus Himself said, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).”

To the praise of His glorious grace!