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Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 14, 2021 6:00 am

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 14, 2021 6:00 am

Greg Koukl pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

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Get involved in promoting the sanctity of human life with Focus on the Family see life 2021.

It's a six episode digital experience to help you embrace the pro-life cause with truth, compassion and empathy. See like 2021 premieres on Focus on the Family's website and social media channels on Friday, July 16 at 7 PM. Then each week will debut a new episode equip you on the pro-life issues of our day to hear from respected leaders and see amazing testimonies from women and men whose lives have been impacted. So join us for this life-changing six week experience online. Premiering on Friday, July 16 also mark your calendar now for the culmination of sea life 2021 with the celebrate life live experience in Dallas-Fort Worth on August 28 for more details, visit Focus on the life. Jesus very rarely got to the so-called gospel, you know, getting get out that that the steps and invite people to receive Christ.

A lot of what he did was get to the bad news and he didn't get to the good news.

What was he doing he was getting people thinking about the things they needed to be thinking about was what I call putting a stone in their shoe knowing them in a good way. Greg Koegel joins us today on Focus on the Family to give you some practical ideas for how to share your faith with anybody you run into your house to spoke Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John John don't mention very often that we have five strategic areas in mind Focus on the Family. The first is evangelism and discipleship. Today's program fits into that.

Of course, second would be marriage, and then third parenting and advocacy for children that's our ultrasound machine project are foster adoption efforts and then engaging the cultures so if you wonder how we decide shows what we want to do and typically it's going to fit in those five areas and that today I'm really happy to say we are concentrating on evangelism and discipleship with our guest at when you look at the culture today there so often this angst about sharing faith should I do it. Should I not might be embarrassed. I might be called the name and I think at the end of today's program and with the resource were going to talk about. You will be fully equipped to engage somebody in a discussion about paternity about their relationship or non-relationship with God and what they can do to remedy that you and Greg.

Coco is an apologist for the faith is founder and president of stand to reason ministry sees the host of a talk show and he's written a number of books including one that were talking about today tactics a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions and we have copies of that here at the ministry give us a call 800 a family or click the link in the show notes a great welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you, Phyllis. It's a real treat to be with you now. I want to start in interesting spot when you were younger and you like many people in your 20s. It feels like you are smarter than the average guy you thought I don't need to be a Christian. I mean I'm smarter than these guys and I have that smart hi why did you have that feeling.

I was raised in a Christian environment and it was very perfunctory. You know you just can't go to church on Sundays. You do the thing basically but it was nothing else in our life really that was deeply informed by by R's are spiritual convictions. We lived a secular life. Most of the time it's like a lot of people, and so when I was about 17 years old. Maybe 18 I was challenged by mental convictions and somebody asked me do you really believe that and I thought to myself. Now I guess I don't really believe it. And then I walked away know this is mid 60s and so there were lots of distractions that were entering the culture that time there were a lot more appealing than religion. And so I went that way and I left religion behind me and then I got I was at Michigan State University honors program there honors college there in a prelaw program and and I just like you mentioned. I.e. I thought it was too smart to be a Christian. I thought it was for four people who needed to have other people do their thinking for them basically and I just didn't want any of that.

So I just walked away from that and for about six years I totally embraced a secular culture and in some ways that give such validity to your conversion and the other aspect I like about it that you wrote about in tactics is just a slow process. It was, it wasn't this instantaneous blinding of a light that's right you know there's only yes or no. I mean it did and that truly is how most people come to faith units over time.

That's a really good observation.

It's pertinent to our discussion today because very few people nowadays when you hear the gospel for the first time or even the second time or maybe the third time say alright I get it I'm in water. I sucked up, you know, there's lots and lots of resistance to the gospel and so when we when we have an evangelism technique that is focused on harvesting. Okay, let's pray with the person. Let's get him to sign on the dotted line. Let's close the deal man that really puts a lot of Christians out because that seems like fighting words for a lot of folks in our culture with the hostility that seems is building more and more okay this just scares people away. Christians and I understand it completely and so there sit on the bench rather than being engaged, and over the years I have come to understand that before there can be a harvest.

There has always got to be a season of lectures: gardening alright, it's that period of time that that we experience if we become Christians as adults that we been thinking over mulling over listening, pushing away from the table, coming back to the table asking questions that long period of time.

That usually has multiple people involved in our lives doing a little here, doing a little there before the harvest is ready, and that's the thing that I focus on in my approach, and in the point is, it's always in the back your mind, that should be is this person ready. Do you think this person's there, but a good approach is to consider yourself the gardener answers water into Tylan to pick out a couple weeds and those weeds in my mind would be people that have errant beliefs about Christianity about Christians who Christ was, that's the weeding of the spiritual garden and that person's heart. That's right. In fact, I'll put it more strongly than that I have been a Christian for 47 years most of that time I've been in active ministry stand to reason is 28 years old so I've spoken more than 80 college and university campuses around the country and other places the world but I never have it as my goal to get something to sign on the dotted line. When I engage in a conversation with them about Christ and the reason I don't do that is because I have a plan that I found to be much more effective to making a difference, especially in the gardening thing I learned a long time ago that I wasn't really a good harvester even though I pray during the Jesus movement with people to receive Christ. I realize that what I do when I speak it at events when I write books when I'm on chosen in my own radio show where my doing, I'm I'm just gardening. I'm telling I'm planting I'm pulling weeds here and there and in the process of gardening over time people get ready for the harvest and when the harvest is ready when the fruit is right. It just falls into the basket. It's easy when the fruit is ripe and this is why think most people are not harvesters but they been forced into a harvest mode. I think most people are gardeners. That's good and were to unpack that and explore that over the next few minutes that let me start with the phrase that I've used it which is something like this. You can't argue someone into the kingdom. I may say that slightly differently.

It's more like the finger wagging, because what I have found is that when you are arguing with somebody vehemently with emotion. If I could say it that way people's hearts tend to close down and how we people do you respond to that are in-your-face light arguing with emotion right but you do say there's a way to argue lovingly and I would accept that but I just think the finger wagging argument my own spirit closes down to somebody whose horse rushing me emotionally well. My approach, that is, if anybody gets mad I lose alright as I Matt I lose if they get mad.

I lose okay and a lot of times people people get mad because of the style now. My response to that comment that you can't argue anyone into the kingdom is maybe a little different because I'm thinking of arguing as making a case as opposed to getting into a quarrel. If you get no quarrel. People get mad there blocked off but if you're making the case, offering reasons for it. That's powerful when used by the Holy Spirit. Let me ask you, in that context. So how do you refrain from the emotion of making the case and I think that's key because unlike the may be detached attorney whose pleading with the judge or the jury that seems very applicable but when you're in it going. Listen, that is stupid what you're thinking. Well listen I'm chuckling now because I met Focus on the Family and in families you have discussions that sometimes are tense and that's like asking a husband. How do you keep from getting emotional when you're with her life and the answer that of course is practice. You have failures you come back to the table you work it out. You reflect and how you did because it's not easy, but I found all the more confidence a person has in their view, alright. The more courage they're going to have in addressing issues and the more grace they're going to have in engaging people and this is why apologetics the. The art of giving answers for challenges, or making a case for your review. This is why it's so important for the rank-and-file Christian to be able to traffic and, in some degree because this gives them the confidence and we are confident of you view, you don't have to raise your voice. You have to shake your finger at people, you can just slowly, carefully, graciously offer something like using the game plan that I discussed in the book tactics and in a few simple steps. Get into a conversation that doesn't cause you to get so angry I had so many people is said thank you for this book because it's changed my life and this is the phrase I get most often gentlemen from those who talk to me about the book it's changed my life because it's given them a tool that allows them to do the very thing that you're talking about Jim and that is to have a conversation without having a fight in order to touch on some of those but I am kinda knocking the arguments of the way here in the beginning so temperaments another one for me because I tend to be more extroverted, so I can be on an airplane and have a discussion with somebody and you know sometimes I feel for the more introverted person who starts with just speaking to a stranger can be intimidating but doesn't do it there position in Christ, or anything like that. It's the way God is made in the more introverted I mean is it their fault anyhow. How does that more introverted person take on the challenge and talk to someone. All this is such a good question because it fits perfectly into the first step of the game plan that I discussed in the book what I want to encourage people to do is to get just think about getting into the shallow end of the pool. The simplest way to do that is to ask questions of people currently what Jesus did is what Jesus did like 360 sometimes in the Gospels. I mean he is questions all the time but I call this the Columbo approach of the Colombo tactic after Lieut. Colombo from 1960s TV fame and he would solve the crime by coming in low-key under the radar.

Scratching his head mumbling you know and then you mind if I ask you a question kind of thing and then he asked the question. So if we are Christians who want to make a difference for Christ but we do really don't know how to navigate what we just take a few moments of this is the very strict first step of the game plan. Not worried about getting them to sign of the data line not worried worried about getting to the gospel yet that might not happen in this conversation. This might be a simple gardening conversation.

Okay, we just put a stone in someone's you just get them thinking what is you start gathering some information and sometimes this general information about the person we you mentioned something about relationship.

Earlier Jim.

Sometimes a relationship that's congenial for sharing the gospel can happen in just a few minutes. If we are gracious and show interest in the other person and so the more information we can gather from that person not only about themselves but if we start moving in spiritual topics or they come up about their ideas the better. And so this is why I encourage people to use a question like what you mean by that. When somebody brings something up that has a spiritual context or a challenge.

While all Christians are hypocrites or the Bible's been changed or will Jesus never really existed. Now somebody seems to be straightforward claims but if you asked the question what you mean by that.

Now the ball is back in their court. You're showing interest in their point of view and you let them talk and the more they talk the better it is for you because you're getting more information that you might be able to use the moment in these kinds of questions disarm the person and give a little bit less oxygen to that emotion.

So yes, that's right. We want to get a copy of this book by Greg Cook always called tactics a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions. I we've got it here at Focus on the Family and our number is 800 the letter a in the word family or click the link in the episode notes that Greg in fact that Columbo approach. I love it and and I've use that term in the past, not even knowing this is something that you coined that but you use that Columbo approach with the woman who declared herself as a Wiccan which the issue of abortion right talk us through that, because again, it's another great illustration of how to engage in a conversation give us the set up what you said and hang around in the jewelry of a portion. This is in in in northern Wisconsin.

We have a place that I know I John you're from Wisconsin state. I love it there and so I go fishing when I go up there. I did as a kid and I hear a cut this big smallmouth bass like a picture of it. I wanted to get it digitized and so this young lady was helping with the process okay and I noticed that she had a five pointed star around her neck. That's a pentagram it's often in the cultic symbol so I asked her does the jewelry have religious significance for her and she said yes I'm a pagan and that she began to talk a little bit about it and I realized, as I'm asking more questions. Notice the questions getting more information. I realize I'm talking to a witch and so I just asked are you Wiccan and then she said yes and explain your view, we respect all life is what she said and I said all that's great if you respect a life that would probably make you pro-life with regards to the abortion question, which is known actually pro-choice.

I said, isn't it strange for a witch to be pro-choice and she said what could because most of our pro-life as it turns out and and so she's it is a little bit and then she says the strange thing she said I know I could never do that, referring to abortion. I could never kill a baby is so odd that she's identifying abortion is baby killing even though she's in favor of it right and so and so I said will maybe you would want to kill babies but maybe we should stop other people from killing babies and she said I think everything should be taken into consideration.

I said okay what would pick it legitimate to be able to kill a baby and she said incest Sosa standard kind of slogan from pro-choicers and so then I said if I had a two-year-old standing next to me would had been conceived by incest that on your view.

I should all be allowed to kill this child and that stopped her in her tracks because she was a fair application of her view, but she didn't know how to respond to it. No notice that in Everest step of the way I am using questions to either gather more information, or in this point to exploit a weakness in her view and she didn't know how to respond to it. Okay now I did notice at this point that the line was growing behind me. Okay, so I needed to stop my conversation now like my I hadn't got to the gospel yet all right but notice I was not on that train. You know I wasn't pursuing that approach.

Instead, I was gardening and so I was free to do what I could in the circumstance I had and leave it there and let the Holy Spirit work with Greg. What was so important, with that and for all of us to think about is that you're helping them kind of unshackle their philosophy. That's right, which is a good thing to do. You're not there to win and I think so often, even Jesus demonstrated that the courses that the winner of all times right he wins. But whether he encountered the woman caught in adultery. The woman at the well or all of his additional IEEE if he doesn't display kind of this I must win the argument mentality. He does exactly what you're saying. He leads the person to a conclusion which is a righteous conclusion. That's what you're talking about now you know it. It's interesting to mention Jesus here because Jesus very rarely got to the so-called gospel, you know, getting get out that that the steps and then invite people to receive Christ. A lot of what he did was get to the bad news and he didn't get to the good news. What was he doing he was getting people thinking about the things they needed to be thinking about. He was what I call putting a stone in their shoe annoying them in a good way yeah Greg were running out of time and there's so many great questions are probably the biggest question in the world. The number one search on social media. If God is so good why is there evil in the world. I mean, it's the question, and you consider it a self-defeating argument. Why well I have a way of putting this and this is one of the more complex issues and it's hard for people to get it sometimes, but let me just put it this way. All right, this is dealing with the argument I'm not bringing tactics and at this particular point. Okay, everybody in the world doesn't matter when they lived, or where they lived. No one thinks true that something is wrong with the world that the world is not the way it's supposed to be all right. But think about it.

There can't be a world away that it's not supposed to be right now. Problem of evil unless there is a way that it is supposed to be in there can't be a way the world supposed to be without a spouse or so.

If there is no God, there is no way for the world is supposed to be.

There is no right and wrong. There is just what people want. Or maybe what the revolution has tricked them into believing but there is no right and wrong to be violated for the problem of evil. What this means is an article got a little quickly here. But what am I going more detail in the book and this what this means is the problem of evil is not a good argument. Hence, God is a good argument against atheism.

It is one of the best arguments for the existence of God, and that's called the moral argument for the existence of God. What I want to tease that out just a bit because in the book you you equate that to the score of the bowling match are probably a way that if we didn't have the score we wouldn't know who's winning yes it is right that is, I think that was a good way to apply that correct STL God you don't know a good bowler from a bad bowler unless you have a way of keeping score or golfer or anything else I that matter football you have to have keep have a way of keeping score.

So when we say there's bad in the world were saying that something is happened that gets a low score when it should be scoring high, but my question is where does the scoring system come from the scoring system can only come from someone who has the authority to make the rules for the whole world and that's God. If there is no God, there's no scoring system, and if there's no scoring system.

There is no absolute good or bad. There is just personal feelings and personal beliefs and opinions.

And that's all you can say moral relativism. Okay, but there is really a problem of evil.

Everybody knows that therefore there must really be a scoring system. Therefore, there must really be a God when in another way of saying that Sue is some you always draw the line somewhere depend upon your moral compass right that whether you're a believer or nonbeliever. There's always something going on in the world, sex trafficking, exploitation of children that everybody's going to agree upon.

Generally, that you point those of the current hot buttons to a natural point place to go when people are trying to deny objective morality start pushing their hot buttons because the fact is Jim everybody is made in the image of God, and they have a moral machine built and what they like it or not. This is part of the inside out tactic that's in the book.

It's going to come out there going to talk an objective moral terms, even when they try to deny objective morality. You hit that inside outgoing describe it since we such well, as it simply means that since everybody is made in the image of God, and they must live in the world that God is made.

That means there is truth inside them. Read about this in Romans one and Elijah well they do acknowledge that this the point that they don't do it consciously. It's what God put on the inside is going to come out on the outside.

That's the inside out, and all we have to do is listen for it and pretty soon people start saying things that are fully consistent with the Christian worldview, but they are not at all consistent with the worldview. They say they espouse. And that's the inside out factoring if your word for it. You can then ask questions about the contradiction that you hear one of the examples you use and that is in the areas of same-sex marriage if that's a natural function that some of claim that this is way were wired.

This is what God is done even though even claim that night, but then you talk about same-sex adoption of these are really touchy subject like people are listening right now going. I can't believe you about that, but it's a real formidable argument that you make it go through that idea of same-sex marriage, and then you know parenting within same-sex adoptable. Think of the argument that is offered oftentimes in favor of homosexuality and therefore justify same-sex marriage and that is homosexuality is natural for me and therefore you can't object to it.

Now the equation there is. If it's natural that it's moral. If it's not natural that it's not moral. Okay, but when you think about that line of thinking that there holding if homosexuality is natural for them.

That makes it good then having homosexual couples having children is not natural for them. So therefore on the same standard they're offering, then having children or adopting children is not right, it's wrong not notice I'm not, because it wouldn't be natural yes notice I'm not apprising my own standard.

I'm just applying their standard consistently and asking them to live by that yes if working to be honest about this. If this is really the moral standard you're living by then.

This is what results. This is another tactical taking the roof and it can be very, very powerful and in different circumstances. This is an example of one of now and again I think I think one of the core things there in my coaching or my leadership in this area is to always remember that God's heart is for everybody regardless of where they're at in life and I don't care if you're same-sex attracted or a Pharisee within the church to look down on other people who don't live according to your standard it's equally wrong and and I just want to make sure that people understand that your mission statement I rented outside us is partnering with the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel and boy that's my spirit as well as my project. That's what I want people to see. You can use reasons arguments a technique like the tactical game plan, but we want to partner with the Holy Spirit. When we do a Greg were right at the end we have stuffed this half-hour with different price, scribbling notes, that's what you don't have to get a copy of the book. I explained that I that in a minute but speak to the person who is starting to feel like, okay, maybe I can do this they been reserved in their faith.

But God says to us to go out and proclaim the good news to the whole world so that we don't get a get out of jail free card here with you part of the expectations we become part of the family God that we will share that with others appropriately and that's what I love about what you're doing but how can they know when it's the right opportunity to start a faith discussions by the core question yeah well this is where I think the garden concept comes in and I mentioned earlier switching metaphors are getting into the shallow end of the pool. If you use the tactical game plan even the first two steps and just start asking questions of people, drawing them out in a personal way asking what you mean by that. If they raise a spiritual issue a point of view. Ask them. The second question, how did you come to that conclusion, not notice. This puts no Christian at any risk of any kind, because were not putting anything on the table. We are just drawing the other person out, but I but I promise you, Jim.

I promise your audience they will be amazed just by these first two steps, not even trying to make a case how powerfully the Holy Spirit will use those first two questions of the game plan to get them moving forward and put a stone in someone's shoe. It's amazing stone in their shoes and therefore head that's really important. I talk you.

As you can take a Greg and this is been so good and I get excited about this.

I don't buy the spirit in me. I love these discussions and I love the thoughtfulness in which you've done this you yummy and you have taught this it by all a you you're just living it, and I so appreciate that. Example I some of us you know were trying to keep marriages together and help parents be better parents but when you get right down to it. This is a critical part of our lives is absolutely teaching people about who Jesus is and helping them better understand and a gracious inviting way. So thank you again for being with the local listen again. We can cover everything in the book tactics but we've given you a solid sense of the great content that Senate. So get a hold of us here at Focus on the Family to get your copy if you can partner with us. That's a great way to do it for a gift of any amount. We will send you a copy of Greg's book as our way of saying thank you for being part of the ministry and you get a great book.

I'm really excited to get this information in your hands, and I can't think of anything more important than being equipped to talk to another human being about Jesus Christ. I'm also excited about her upcoming event to celebrate life live experience that's coming up in Dallas-Fort Worth on Saturday, August 28, so mark your calendar and make plans to join us in person. The lineup of pro-life speakers and musicians is just outstanding and I can't wait to see how God is going to use this event to inspire multiple generations to step up and take a stand for life and you can find out more about the celebrate life live experience in Dallas-Fort Worth on the 28th and you can also donate and get your copy by our guest tactics game plan for discussing Christian convictions all the details are in the episode will join us again tomorrow please. As we help you better understand the different season in your marriage this season of planting good routing don't want to clean our relationship. Self nature and relationship spring is really important on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once again help you and your family try your marriage, restart your ventures, not a story of content in front there are thousands of stories just like from Focus on the Family's legacy community folks to leave a legacy get through their well dressed other estate planning tool.

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