August 11, 2014
God has recently given me several opportunities to share my faith in Christ. Many of you may have noticed that I’ve gotten flamboyant in my old age—with my shaved head and white hat. But I’ve also gotten bolder in talking about Jesus.
Some months ago, our children’s pastor, Amy Patton, gave me a Jerusalem cross to thank me for being the host in the 9:00 am nursery. Recently, I decided—during a retreat day—to wear that cross visibly to my workplace at McDonald’s. The Jerusalem cross is an ancient Christian symbol, and the black tiles surrounding our font in the sanctuary are in the form of a Jerusalem cross. But because it has an intricate design, it isn’t immediately recognizable as a cross. actually invites questions. I’ve had several people ask me, “Dan, what is that medallion you are wearing?” This has given me the opportunity for conversations about Jesus. I start by saying, “This is a Jerusalem cross. I wear it to remember that Jesus took away my bad stuff when he died on the cross, and gives me a new kind of life through his resurrection.” One day as I was stepping off the elevator at work, a person remaining on the elevator asked about it. I only had five seconds, but during that time I was able to say, “This is a Jerusalem cross. I wear it to remember what Jesus does for me.”
I’m praying and planning about how to expand those conversation openers into deeper conversations. This fall coworkers and I started a “spiritual discussion group” during our lunch hour. Once a week we discuss one person’s question based on this opening question: “If you could ask God anything you wanted, and you knew God would give you a personal answer, what would you ask?” In the past, when I’ve led discussion groups like this, I’ve had atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Jews, secular people, and even some Christians engage in interesting discussions about “How can a good God permit evil?” “What is heaven like?” or “Is there more than one way to heaven?” Most of the people who come to this discussion group might not come to a Bible study, even though they might have a Christian background. Some of my Christian friends say their faith has been deepened by the discussion group. I’ve also had friends from a non-religious background, or a background other than Christianity, grow in their openness to Jesus. I recently discovered that one person turned from atheism to faith in Christ, partly through the influence of this group, and her life has been radically transformed. I’m praying that I can see many other people come to a full faith in Christ, and thankful that my church equips me to see these conversations through.