05 Jan Bridge the Gap
On May 24, 1987, the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 50th anniversary. Unexpectedly, 300,000 people became stuck in a human deadlock for hours while trying to cross the bridge by foot to celebrate this momentous occasion.
The weight of just the 300,000 people caused the bridge to sag 7 feet. Engineers said afterward that the bridge was never in danger of collapsing. Although this was the largest amount of weight it had ever carried, the bridge was designed to protect those crossing from one side to the other.
A bridge is a very important part of modern transportation, enabling us to cross huge chasms without fear of falling. The Golden Gate Bridge was designed to protect people who were crossing from one side to another and could hold the weight of 300,000 people.
You can also build a bridge from your heart to another. In this way, Jesus was a bridge builder. And so are you.
Many of the students at your school do not know Jesus. They are stuck on one end of the chasm without any hope of crossing on their own. You, with your Christian friends, are safely on the other side. Is there a way to build a bridge between you and them?
Key question: How do we build bridges with other so that we can share the Gospel?
Key Scripture: Colossians 4:2-6
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Praying with Passion
When sharing the Gospel, start in the spiritual to affect the eternal.
We all have a cell phone! Even better than a cell phone, we are connected to God. We don’t need a phone to speak with him!
How can we pray?
Pray for open doors – “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” (Colossians 4:3)
Pray for receptive hearts – “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (Acts 16:14)
Pray for clear communication of the gospel – “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:4)
Practical Idea #1 – Once a week, take a moment to pray for someone that needs Jesus.
Practical Idea #2 – Talk with someone about Jesus while the group stays behind to pray.
Practical Idea #3 – Every week, focus your Campus Movement on praying for the same few students.
Pursue with Love
More than anything else, love can build a bridge.
We all have that one friend that we love dearly, but they embarrass us greatly. Sometimes, without realizing it, we end up treating Jesus as the “embarrassing friend.” This is because we are afraid of having awkward moments. But Jesus is actually the author of awkward moments!
In John chapter 11, Jesus finds his friend Lazarus dead for four days and shut up in a tomb. All the people gather as Jesus orders that the tomb to be opened. This is probably an incredibly awkward moment for Martha! The tomb undoubtedly smelled horrific and a whole group of people gathered to watch. This went against every custom and practice known to Martha. But, she obeys Jesus and has the stone removed.
Then, Jesus calls in a loud voice, “Lazarus come forth” (Jn. 11:43). The next thing they knew, a miracle took place! Lazarus stumbles out of the grave with his grave clothes still attached.
On the other side of the awkward moment was a miracle!
Sometimes being different or sharing the Gospel can feel awkward. Just like Martha in John chapter 11, we must get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Remember, there should be no fear in sharing your faith because perfect love casts out all fear (1 Jn. 4:18). Love must be the foundation of our personal evangelism.
Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity
You should not be on one side of a giant chasm with your “Christian” friends, while the lost and hurting are stranded on the other side. As you take opportunities to show the lost the love of Christ, one small step at a time, you can create a bridge and help them over. They may not respond immediately, but you are building a bridge to their heart. They will come to you and cross the bridge when the Holy Spirit leads them to.
How can we pursue other people in love?
Practical Idea #1 – Sit with someone at lunch who has no friends.
Practical Idea #2 – Offer to pray for someone.
Practical Idea #3 – Bring your teacher a small gift for no reason.
Brainstorm a few more ideas with your campus club or small group.
Persuade with Truth
After your prayers and love have built a bridge, you can help them cross the chasm safely from one side to the other.
The following acronym can help you in the moment of sharing the Gospel with a friend. Sometimes, the best idea is to connect with them on a personal issue (broken home, struggles, etc…) and then share the GOSPEL when the moment is right:
God created us to be with him
Our sin separates us from God
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died & rose again
Everyone who surrenders to him has eternal life
Life with Jesus starts now!
Copyright © 2012 – 2017 by Dare2Share Ministries.
Use this acronym as a road map in sharing your faith! Most importantly, be led by the Holy Spirit. There is no one size fits all when it comes to being a witness.
We want to build bridges with people, even those who are different than us, so we can introduce them to Jesus. You can build a bridge by showing them the love of Christ and true friendship with no strings attached. Either you can build a bridge or we can destroy a bridge, the choice is up to you!
We must be dauntless with our faith as we build bridges through praying with passion, pursuing people in love, and persuading with truth.
Now that you understand the basics of personal evangelism, ask the Holy Spirit to help you as you witness to the Lord Jesus Christ in both your words and actions!
Joe and Natalie Barnoske
Based on a teaching from Reverends Joe and Natalie Barnoske on personal evangelism and Greg Steir from Dare to Share.
Image from http://jstrickler.blogspot.com/2012_03_01_archive.html
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