Monday, April 6, 2009

Serving up Spaghetti and Truth

We had a soldier join us at our recurring weekly outreach dinner. It was exciting particularly for one of our regular attending soldiers- who had approached this ‘new’ soldier "Bill". Bill has been in the Army for a few years and is a young infantry soldier. He said it was ‘weird’ that one of our guys approached him and talked to him about church and about Jesus Christ. Apparently, while at home on leave- some others had approached him and talked to him about Jesus Christ too. He even said while back at Ft. Campbell, he was driving down the road and someone pulled out a sign out of their car and showed him a sign- the sign read "Listen to Jesus". All he could say about it- was that it was weird. But we knew better that God was trying to get his attention- God had used these various different people while he was on leave and while he was now back at Ft. Campbell- now he was sitting at our dinner table openly discussing his thoughts about what faith in God meant.
Through the course of dinner, he asked me how I could feel secure about God since he knew someone who had said that that they had read the whole bible through- yet still was unconvinced about believing in God. He asked me if that bothered me- I responded "No- and let me share with you why… The issue is that it is NOT about data or information ABOUT God- but it is about a relationship with God- about Knowing God and Knowing Jesus Christ." (This comes from John 17:3)
After another plate of spaghetti and some cokes, we continued conversing with Bill about God and his experience with church and what he believed about God. Finally, Bill told us that he was interested in God and was open to learning more- but he was fearful. He said that he wanted to experience a "full" life but if he began pursuing a more extensive understanding about God- he wouldn’t be able to experience a "full" life. I asked Bill, "Is having a full life something that is really important to you?" He said yes. I told Bill that God was not in the business of trying to make life hard for us- but that the bible actually shows us that Christ came to give us a full life- and shared with him John 10:10…

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

In the end, Bill was still deciding on what he was going to do as far as God was concerned. I did reinforce with him that we were NOT intending him to make a decision right then or that we were NOT going to force him into doing anything- but we did make it clear to him that we were going to continue to share the Truth of the Gospel with Him if he continued spending time with us. He DID say that he would at least play some flag football with us that next Sunday afternoon and that he did enjoy hanging out with guys from the biblestudy.
During our post dinner- AAR, one of the things I challenged the guys who were regularly coming to our biblestudies is that there are going to be MORE guys like Bill out there that all have similar questions. If we are going to be involved in bringing Christ to other soldiers at Ft. Campbell- we are going to have to be ready to answers these questions. Therefore- coming up with some verses to share with guys when they ask these questions is not only a good idea- but it is THE idea to ensure we are bringing Truth from God’s Word to them rather than just our own words and reasoning. The challenge I left with the guys that night was:
  1. List 5 questions that you’ve heard soldiers as they’ve asked you about God
  2. Find 1 verse to answer each question and memorize each of these verses
The challenge that Peter leaves us in the bible is this: 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
We are urged to be ready to answer everyone for whatever they might throw in our direction. The issue is NOT about winning arguments- but there are some people who ARE sincerely trying to find out truth about Christ and God- if we are going to help them find Christ- we are going to have to be ready to share Truth with them.