The movie “The Longest Day” is the story about the Allied invasion of the European mainland at Normandy during World War II. It is said that no matter how good a battle plan you may have, you can throw it out the window once the shooting starts. This movie showed that to be true. Henry Fonda played Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. whose group landed on the wrong beach. As they discussed the problems of reinforcements and heavy equipment coming ashore in a different location, General Roosevelt said “The reinforcements will have to follow us wherever we are. We’re starting the war from right here. Head inland. We’re going inland.”
After the execution of Stephen, the new disciples were scattered across the country. Philip was listening to the Spirit and saw one of the Queen’s officials from Ethiopia sitting on a chariot, reading the Scriptures. Here’s an interesting note: if someone is reading the Scriptures, it may be an invitation to talk about them. Philip asked if the official understood what he was reading. The official was apparently puzzled and asked Philip to explain. “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35) The end result was that the official joyfully accepted Christ and followed Him.
It would be nice if we could figure out a script to share Jesus with others. Someone could write a book about it, we could read and memorize it, and everyone we talked with would be so overcome by the message that they would turn to Christ. Ok, some have tried and some of those books have been very successful to a degree. If the truth be told, however, that style doesn’t fit everyone – either on the side of those who want to talk about Jesus or on the side of those who need to hear about Jesus. The key to sharing the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ is that we must be flexible to share the same basic story in different ways to meet the needs of those with whom we are sharing. We can never change the underlying message: we all sin and fall short of the glory of God; God loves us and sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin; we need to ask Jesus to forgive our sins and take control of our life. How we present that message may change, though, depending on the person we are talking with. Obedience to the call of the Holy Spirit will guide us.
The key, though, is that we are sharing our Jesus story. What’s your Jesus story? How did you come to know Jesus? More importantly, how is Jesus walking with you right now? How is He making a difference in your life? Our encounters with people who need to know Jesus don’t always begin at the “right” place for any canned approach, but God provides many different ways for us to share the good news about Jesus. Look for those opportunities, and when they arise, start right there and proclaim Jesus.
Lord God, so often I am concerned about saying the right thing, or not having the right Scripture memorized to talk about Your grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Remind me that when I talk with people about You that the most powerful thing I can tell them is how You are working in my life and let me share joyfully instead of fearfully.