Lifeboat Skills, Salvation Thrills!
It was the biggest disaster of it’s time. The Titanic crash of 1912 into an iceberg resulted in 1503 people dying including passengers and crew. Many of those lives could have been saved but weren’t. You see some of the life boats were only half full. Maybe it was the idea that loading them to full capacity as they were lowered into the water would be too much stress for the boats. Later the boats were filled to full capacity and the boats held firm. Since many of the boats were under filled there was opportunities to rescue a lot more people who were floundering in the ice cold waters. Instead of making the attempts it was decided that rescuing others would endanger the ones in the boat and might result in the boats tipping over. Among the cries of help from hundreds of people the lifeboats paddled away. Within a half an hour the desperate cries ceased.
It was a fall night at the ball field. My softball team had won the game but I couldn’t help noticing the shortstop from the other team. He had an incredible arm and realizing that our shortstop play was a weak part of our team I engaged him in conversation. I found out his name was Steve and he would be more than happy to play ball with us the next year. I took his phone number and gave him a call the following spring. In getting to know Steve as we played ball together I noticed that a lot of things were going astray in his life. He was a heavy drinker who drank to the point of passing out on occasion. He was a single guy who wouldn’t settle down as he was involved in many relationships. From my view Steve’s life was going nowhere and I thought that maybe I could help him.
After the games I would discuss life with Steve. I was a person that he trusted and liked. He was more than happy to share his bat with me. It was a bat that felt perfect in my hands. Still Steve continued down his wayward road. A few of my teammates discussed how they went golfing with Steve and afterwards he passed out from too much alcohol. As the summer season closed our team qualified for the state tournament. Unfortunately Steve couldn’t work his schedule out to go. I made arrangements with Steve to meet him at his work and borrow his bat. Steve worked as a salesman for modular homes and he was very good at it. He was the top salesman in the company. I met him and he gave me a tour of the place. Finally we sat down in his office. I meant well and I felt I knew that Jesus could save Steve, but I went about the conversation in a round about way. I talked to him about my daughter I had lost and told him that I had hope of seeing her again. He assured me that I would. I didn’t go any further with Steve and to this day I regret it. I’m sure I thought I was easing myself in and leading by example. I left with Steve’s bat but Steve remained in the water.
It was a Saturday in February the following year. I was away that day and a message was left on my answering machine. It was a good friend of Steve’s that we had brought to the ball team with him. The message was stunning…Steve was dead. Apparently he was on his way to one of his girlfriends in the morning. He was driving rather fast down the road when something happened. Nobody knew if he passed out or had some kind of heart problem but Steve plowed his truck into the rear of another car at a pretty high speed. Steve was dead at the scene. To this day I have regrets of the lost opportunity I had with Steve.
I have read that over 90% of Christians have never led someone to the Lord. Most Christians don’t even think about it. Jesus told us in Mark 16:15 to “Go unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” With the fact over 90% of Christians don’t I have to wonder why not? One reason might be that we don’t have a plan. The old saying comes to mind..”If we fail to plan we plan to fail.” Another reason might be that we are comfortable where we are in the boat and don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. We need to realize that our boats are not full. There are many who are searching and you or I might be the ones called to reach them.
We’ve been taking this Soul Winners class on Tuesday nights the last few weeks. Jeremy who is my pastor is teaching the class. Jeremy has perfected a plan that he uses that has won many souls for the Lord. It is a simple plan that is designed to get the person to a place where they need to make a decision. If you think about it that place was where you and I were before we became Christians. I literally felt like that if I didn’t accept the Lord when I did there would be no more opportunities. I don’t know what would have happened but that was the message the Holy Spirit had put in my heart.
The conversation works with both people we know and people we don’t know. After an exchange of pleasantries the first question to ask is “Do you like to talk about spiritual things?” Normally people don’t mind or are even interested in such conversation. Our society leads us into a direction of being inclusive and listening to everyone’s point of view. Normally the answer is yes. Jeremy states that if the answer is “no” it is time to back track and back off. However, if the answer is yes the next question is…”Have you ever considered becoming a Christian?” This question is answered in a variety of ways, from Yes to I already am, to NO. The next question is “If I asked you what a Christian was what would you say?” Jeremy calls this the litmus test. It shines a light on where they are and what they believe. Listen to their answer and then ask them if they would mind if you shared with them 4 scriptures of what a Christian is.
Here are the 4 scriptures.
ROMANS 3:23….FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD
ROMANS 6:23..FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD
JOHN 1:12 YET TO ALL WHO RECEIVE HIM, TO THOSE WHO BELIEVED IN HIS NAME, HE GAVE THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD
REVELATION 3:20 BEHOLD, I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE, AND OPENS THE DOOR, I WILL COME IN AND EAT WITH HIM, AND HE WITH ME.
At this point say their first name…as an example “John, Jesus is knocking at your hearts door right now! Will you let him in?
If they say yes ask them to repeat after you…
Lord Jesus, forgive me of my sins and make me your child.
I am sorry for my sins and want to live forever in heaven with you.
Thank you for saving me.
Ask them if they were serious when they prayed. If so reassure them that they are born again and that Jesus is now dwelling in their heart.
Jeremy has assured us that this is not a gift it is a skill. Some people praise Jeremy saying he is so gifted in soul winning. Jeremy has practiced and made himself better much like when we practice a skill for improvement. It isn’t a matter of a gift it is a matter of willingness. Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone and rescue the lost and dying? Many people cross our paths every day. As Christian’s how willing are we to reach out in faith and pull them into the boat? I don’t know if Steve would have accepted the Lord that day those many years ago, but the pain that I have of not putting him in a decision making position is still with me. How about you? Would you be willing to put somebody like Steve in a position to get saved? As the light of the world we are called to hear and respond to the cries of the dying before their voices fade away.