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FIRST-PERSON: Making evangelism good news again

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–I believe that a Christian should never have a boring day. Bad days? Yes. Restful days? We need more of them. But boring days? How can that be if we are really the missional ambassadors of the King of the universe, Who is active in, around and through us every second?

I don’t have boring days. But I definitely have weird ones. In fact, I am known for the strange things that seem to happen around me. At least it makes for good sermon illustrations. One of those strange events happened the other day. As I am writing this, it is wedding week at the Avant house. My oldest daughter is getting married in just a few days. I am sure that I am not emotionally ready for this, but it is coming anyway.

My future son-in-law came over last night and my daughters and I decided to join him for a swim in the pool. We were all standing in the shallow end talking when my daughters began to scream and point toward me. I thought that was strange until I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a Copperhead snake was swimming by my shoulder! I think my daughter Christi levitated out of the water. I on the other hand, being strong and courageous, calmly killed the snake with my bare hands. (Well, OK, I jumped out screaming like a girl.)

I thought the snake might have bitten me on the shoulder. My poor daughter was beside herself, wondering how her snake-bit dad was going to walk her down the aisle. But after further examination of myself, I realized I had escaped unscathed. I had told my daughter to expect something funny or unplanned to happen in and around wedding time. But a snake in the pool I did not expect.

Kind of reminds me of another serpent. He is also invading the lives of people, slithering around them, seeking to keep them from the marriage supper of the Lamb. He often does it with a forked-tongue whisper, by simply convincing Christians to stay quiet about their faith, to spend all their time with believers, and to doubt whether people without Jesus really go to hell anyway. I am so glad that our Lord has done the same thing to that serpent that we did to the Copperhead in the pool. He crushed its head.

How important is it that we live in the victory that Jesus won for us? That we refuse to let our enemy keep us quiet? Think about it this way — I am sure glad that someone shared Christ with the young man who is about to marry my daughter. Aren’t you glad that someone shared Christ with those in your life that you love the most? Well, be that someone to someone else!

By the time you read this, my beautiful daughter will have married the man we have prayed for all her life. He is a good man –- God’s man. That is an indescribable joy to me and to our family and friends, but is not that significant or even known to others. But the Gospel is an indescribable joy to the whole world! Let’s tell it to them, defeat the snake in our lives –- and 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