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FIRST-PERSON: Making evangelism good news again

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–What greater gift could anyone need for Christmas than Jesus? And God is dropping in our laps historic opportunities to give that gift to many people who will receive it with joy. Think of what is happening right now and what is just around the corner.

Only a few days ago, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was released as a major motion picture. I remember reading these great books by C.S. Lewis for the first time as a new believer. I was amazed that these wonderful stories were so clearly allegorical of the Gospel and were written by a former atheist! I read the Chronicles to each of our children when they were young -– more than once. To this day some of our most precious family memories are of our children sitting on my lap as I read, imitating the voices of lions and mice and all kind of amazing creatures.

Now Hollywood has done us a favor and made a movie out of it, giving us a tremendous tool to share the Good News with friends. What would happen if every Southern Baptist took one unreached friend to the movie and then out to eat to talk about it? I will tell you what would happen –- if one out of 15 of those people accepted Christ and were baptized we would meet President Bobby Welch’s goal for us of a million baptisms. All of us can do this!

On Dec. 20, another tremendous opportunity will air on ABC. Barbara Walters will host a special on heaven. Imagine this for a title — “Where Is It? How Do We Get There?” That sounds like a Gospel tract! Of course, my guess is that Barbara won’t give us the answers from God’s Word. But that’s not her job –- it’s ours! And the day after this special everyone will be talking about it. But will we be in the discussion? I want to challenge you to ask everyone you know who is not a follower of Christ to watch the show –- with you if possible -– and then talk about it. Then be ready to share the Good News with them. You’ll find this to be much easier than you think –- and a wonderful experience. People are open and will talk to you about spiritual things. We just need to give them the opportunity.

At the North American Mission Board, we are ready to help you. If you are sharing with someone and need some help, we are waiting for your call — live, 24/7. Just call our evangelism response center at 1-888-JESUS-2000.

What an amazing God we serve. He is drawing the world to His Son because of His awesome love even for those who have rejected Him. I am a member of a secular book-of-the-month club and my featured selection this month is a new book by the best-selling horror author Anne Rice, called “Christ the Lord.” Yes … Christ the Lord! Listen to her comments about the book: “In 2002 I put aside everything else and decided to focus entirely on answering the questions that had dogged me all my life…. I had been reading the Bible constantly … and I decided that I would give myself utterly to the task of trying to understand Jesus himself.” Wow! How much more open can people be than that?

But let me ask us –- do we love people like that? Why don’t we all decide that before we open gifts this year, we will open our hearts to at least one person who may open their heart to Jesus? I can’t think of any better way to make evangelism good news again.
John Avant is vice president for evangelization at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

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  • John Avant