Wow — can you believe we have started a new year? So here I am, another year older, but feeling more strongly than ever that I want to live until everyone hears about Jesus! How about you?
Below is a great testimony about witnessing as a way of life from Rev. Larry J. Martin, the worship minister at North Florida Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida. It illustrates how we must always have our spiritual antenna up and waving in the air. We need to hear God whenever He speaks, and sometimes He speaks right in the middle of our daily lives, doesn't He? And since we are all trying to cut back and have fun at the same time, what better way to meet people than going to yard sales! How many wives would die to have their husbands actually be excited about going to garage sales? My wife would probably faint on the spot. Read Larry's account and notice the lesson he learned.
Five A.M., "like clockwork," I thought as I rolled out of bed and felt the cold hardwood beneath my feet. I walked the dog, had my coffee and usual bowl of cereal, and spent some time doing my devotions in the back yard of our North Florida home. Then it struck me; it was Saturday! In about twenty minutes, all over the city of Tallahassee, it would be "yard sale heaven." I woke Susie just long enough to kiss her goodbye and tell her where I was going, and I was off!
I was at my fourth garage when right in the middle of one of those meaningless, "small talk" conversations, I heard it. "Ask them the 'Key Question.'" At first I just smiled inwardly and thought, "Where did that random thought come from? I mean, this isn't Thursday night!" Then quietly, I heard it again; "Larry, ask them, 'In your personal opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?'"
After being involved in FAITH for many years, over the next few moments it came into perfect focus in my spirit; the "Key Question" isn't just a popular visitation night tool — it's THE question that the world so desperately needs to hear the answer to all day, every day!
After a few general exchanges about life, family, and the value and meaning of it all, very naturally and with no uncomfortable awkwardness, there it was; "So tell me, in your personal opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?" A delightful dialogue followed in which these yard sale hosts received far more than they bargained for as they affirmed their salvation in Christ and recommitted themselves to His service.
For me, of course, it was the invaluable lesson that the "key question" is an everyday lifestyle, not a one-night-of-the-week device for taking care of my responsibility to witness. May we reach the world for Christ every single day!
Let's make a spiritual resolution to share Jesus more in 2009. This may be the year He comes back, and I want Him to find me witnessing and begging my lost friends to come to Christ because I care for them and want them to be in heaven with me.
Happy New Year! I pray you and yours will be blessed, healthy, and happy in 2009.
Bobby H. Welch is pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the SBC Executive Committee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.