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Readers' Responses

Gospel of Convenience

Praise God, Brother Bode,

This was truly a blessing.  (Actually, the Lord had been ministering to me in this area as well.  I/we definitely need to do better.  I was thinking about it especially as it pertains to those in my neighborhood, etc.)  Thank you for your obedience and boldness.

K
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Hi,

Hope this email gets to you!  Saw your website while surfing, found your articles very helpful.  Would you be able to give me some additional advice concerning my situation at work?

I decided to write you after I read the articles about Ministry - Lifestyle or Outreach and Gospel of Convenience.  I really enjoyed them and plan to read a lot more on your site.  I am a Seventh Day Adventist but I'm not dogmatic about my religion - only my faith in Christ.  I believe the body of Christ exists in individuals throughout many denominations and has to do with the heart more than a set of creeds.  However, I find the Adventists come closest (for me anyway) in applying the truth of the Scriptures and I love fellowshipping with them!  Just fyi, in case you're curious...

Anyhow, I work as a volunteer 4 days a week at a soup kitchen/assistance center out here in Melbourne, Florida.  It is so wonderful being in service and encouraging others!!  I so enjoy it and it is Christ who drives or compels me to do this work.  I've only been at it a few weeks and I'm trying to figure a way to witness in a very gentle way in words (as well as my actions).  These individuals are indigent, discouraged, and pretty hopeless in the eyes of the world.  I know that they hear "it all" - meaning "have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior"?  They need a job, food, shelter, and the bare necessities, and for me to approach them with a canned speech that they've heard time again and again and yet they still feel unloved and unwanted.  I want to build their trust first.  I don't want them to see me as some young white girl trying to make herself feel better and less guilty about their situation by giving them a sermon.  I believe I was led to your website for a reason - possibly for your advice.  There are no accidents when it comes to our Creator. 

Please let me know how you think I could handle this or let me know of an article I should read.  Sorry this is so lengthy!  

Your loving sister in Christ,

C
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My Response to her:

Sis. C,
 
I think it's very, very noble of you to volunteer to take care of the needy.  Even more noble is your heart to seek and save the lost.
 
I like your genuine concern to want to witness in a gentle way in words and actions.  First, let me say that I believe that you are doing the right thing by first just being there for the needy, without beating them over the head with the Bible.  To borrow my pastor's saying, Truth must first be
lived, seen, and then proclaimed. That way, you are more credible when you open your mouth to witness.  So, let your light so shine among men that they see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.
 
The other thing I have to say about witnessing in this type of setting is what I call friendship evangelism. That is, to genuinely befriend the people to earn their trust first, and then when the opportunity presents itself to then share the Gospel with them. Because, what I found is that many people in situations like this have a problem trusting people because they've been disappointed in the past, even by Church folks, and so have a problem trusting.  So much so that they put up a wall.  And that wall has to come down brick by brick, which sometimes takes time.
 
Oh, also be mindful that we are not called to save folks, we are called to witness in a gentle way.  Only the Holy Spirit saves. The reason I say this is so that you don't get your feelings hurt, should folks reject you or don't want to hear what you have to say.  Once you share the Gospel, in a gentle and non-combative way, I think you would have done your job.
 
I pray this helps.
 
May God continue to abide with you, as you abide in Him.  Amen.

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