Thursday, August 11, 2016

Taking Conversations Further

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life….” John 6:35a

Horns started beeping so I changed lanes. Suddenly I realized I had been caught in a funeral procession and had been blocking the flow. I mentioned to my passenger friend, Zari, that 4 way flashers indicated we were in a funeral procession. She freaked out. “Oh no, someone died. That’s spooky.” Without thinking I replied, “No, Zari, you don’t need to worry. When you belong to Jesus, your soul goes right to Jesus.” She became quiet.

Fatimeh couldn’t read English well enough to figure out what her mail was about. There was an ad on having insurance for a funeral. She wanted me to explain what the paper was about. When I told her she drew back in horror and said, “I didn’t come here to die. I came here to live.” A long conversation developed about death and eternal life.

I saw a rainbow one day and mentioned it to Iman and asked her if she knew the story of the first rainbow. She didn’t. After I told her the story of Noah and that a rainbow was a sign of a promise we talked about personal promises God has made about His care for her.

Rania and I were talking about chameleons which led to sharing how, like the chameleon, we can be changeable and deceptive.

Next to the most frequently asked question I receive of how to meet Muslims is how to further conversation with Muslims into something spiritually productive. Perhaps you long for this, too, but just don’t know the secret of how to do it. First of all, it is not a matter of ingenuity. It is about being tuned into the voice of the Holy Spirit for He whispers the ideas to us. Most of the time it comes spontaneously like the above conversations. There is no planning. The opportunities just arise under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, I do not feel I need to give the whole nine yards of a gospel presentation. Usually it is just a nugget of truth here and a nugget there. Over a long period of time the nuggets form a lot of truth or impressions.

I suggest you read through a gospel and notice how many times Jesus takes an ordinary thing and brings in a spiritual truth or analogy from it. One of the most obvious examples of this is to read the seven I AM statements He made: I am the door/gate, the vine, the way, truth and life, the resurrection, the Good Shepherd, the light of the world, and the bread of Life. He took almost anything: a tree, fruit, seeds, wheat, sand, grass, flowers, weather, and used it to teach a spiritual truth.

In the same way, as we relate naturally with our Muslim friends we can use all sorts of things and turn them into spiritually productive lessons. I’ve used: a movie, a story or current events in the news, an advertisement, a life experience, a picture, a word, an emotion, a value, money, gems, animal or insect, the weather, a name, a dream, a holiday or cultural event.

Reread the gospels and learn from Jesus. He will show you. He was a Master Teacher who went beyond chit chat.

Dear Heavenly Father, open my eyes more so I can see how Jesus did it. Amen.