This post was written by my good friend Peter N. He is a faithful man who loves Christ. I asked him to write this post after watching him faithfully evangelize at a restaurant this past weekend. I have learned much from him and I hope you will too. In this post he shares the story of what happened while attending my highschool alumni basketball game. This story serves as a great reminder of the importance of praying for open doors (and also attempting to turn conversations toward Christ). I trust you will profit from reading it.
Unexpected turn of events
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to join Steve F., John M., Paul M., and Georgie M. to a yearly alumni basketball game in Listowel, Ontario, where they grew up and went to high school. The players were made up of past and present students of Listowel District Secondary School who played basketball. After the game, the tradition is to eat dinner at a particular restaurant. I had personally not planned on attending this event, but in God’s sovereignty I went along with them.
Praying for open doors
Paul M. had prayed before the game for evangelistic opportunities throughout the day. Once again the five of us prayed before dinner in the car for doors to open to share the gospel during dinner. The Lord answered us.
Discerning the situation
We entered the restaurant and only three of the players were already seated, T, S, and K. Once seated next to them we began to engage in small talk with the three who were there, snacking on peanuts and waiting for others to arrive. Others began to arrive while I was intentionally probing the three to see if a conversation would develop where the gospel could be presented. Nothing seemed to be going anywhere with K and T (they were not that talkative), but I began to have a conversation with S (who was quite talkative), asking about his work, life, and family.
The Lord opens the door
By this time, most had arrived, were seated, and we had ordered our food. As I continued to ask S about his family he mentioned his sister on an exchange program in another country. He remarked how she would come back next year “guaranteed.” That word struck me, guaranteed. “There really are no guarantees in life,” I thought. I proceeded to say that to him hoping that it would lead to a spiritual conversation. Thankfully, it did. He responded by asserting that if there are no guarantees in life, how can that statement be a guarantee? He was right. But the statement is still true from a human perspective. We as humans can make no guarantees apart from the promises of God. In that sense there are no guarantees in life. I asked him, “What do you think happens to you when you die?” That began an hour-long dialogue between him, Paul M., John M., and me.
He claimed to be a good person and on that basis God would accept him. He was skeptical of the exclusivity of Christianity and the Bible’s claims. He argued that he could not simply accept our testimony without having studied them himself. Paul M. clearly described the gospel to him. Paul M. challenged him to repent and believe the gospel, and by waiting he was actively rejecting the gospel. He needed to make a decision now. He chose to reject the gospel, excusing himself by stating he was going to wait for it to be revealed to him. In the meantime, he would continue searching for truth and be a good person.
I challenged him to search for the truth; not to dismiss the claims of the Bible and Christ without first having studied them himself, and without bringing presuppositions to the text. I urged him to read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel because it adequately explains the history behind the formation of the canon. Steve F. suggested he read The Reason for God by Tim Keller. This is another excellent book, which highlights the rationality of believing in God and especially the God of the Bible. He said he would read them. I pray he does. I got his e-mail address to follow-up with him. I will in the coming weeks.
It all started with prayer
It all started with the prayers in the car, before and after the game. The Spirit gave us the willingness and intentionality to proclaim the gospel to S, not to mention in the hearing of T and K. The Lord was sovereign. He answered our prayers. He gave us the boldness we needed. To Him belongs the glory forever and ever.