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December 10, 2021 5:00 am
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Friends of Focus on the Family and give families help this Christmas with a gift of appreciated stock by donating appreciated stock you create tax savings while turning resources into help for hurting family and you will also receive a tax inaction on the fair market value of your gift. Let our team help you make the most of your giving to learn more visit give families hope.com that give families help.com Jesus is very rarely got to the so-called gospel. You know you get off of the steps and then invite people to receive Christ. A lot of what he did was get to the bad news and I 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. 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 hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John.
John don't mention it very often. But we have five teacher areas in mind of 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 culture. So if you wonder how we decide shows and what we want to do a typically skinny 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 standard reason ministries. He's 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 fellas, that's a real treat to be with you now. I want to start in an interesting spot when you were younger and you like many people in your 20s. It feels like you are smarter than the average guide you thought I don't need to be a Christian.
I mean I'm smarter than these guys and 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 I 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 it 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 a second time or maybe the third time say alright I get it I'm in one way 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 standard 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 shows and 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 ripe.
It just falls into the basket. It's easy when the fruit is right 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. 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 a motion 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, 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 that's I mad I lose if they get mad. I lose okay and a lot of times people people get mad because of the style know 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 maybe 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, though 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 want 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 of 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 sometimes I feel for the more introverted person who starts with just speaking to a stranger can be intimidating to do with their 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 some well 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 coming 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, we do really don't know how to navigate what we just take a few moments and this is a very strict first step of the game plan. Not worried about getting them to sign of the data line not we 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 the emotion.
So yes, that's right. We want you to get a copy of this book by Greg Cook will is called tactics a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions. I we've got it here at Focus on the Family and her 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 it and I've use that term in the past, not even knowing this is something that you point you use that Columbo approach with the woman who declared herself as a weapon 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 how you are out in the jeweler of a portion.
This is in in in northern Wisconsin. We have a place and 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 I 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 then 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 is not 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 odd 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 have 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 did not respond to it. No notice that in every's 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 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 Nicodemus, also in IEEE it 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 you 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 and 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 does 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 ripe that 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 golf or anything else for 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 but in another way of saying that too is some you always draw the line somewhere depend upon your moral compass right that whether 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 and that's a wet 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 whether 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 to talk an objective moral terms, even when they try to deny objective morality. 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 the way were wired. This is what God is done even though even claim that night, but then you talk about same-sex adoption. Now these are really touchy subject like people are listening right on going. I can't believe 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 uplink 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 then 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 to notice I'm not, because it wouldn't be natural yes notice I'm not a pausing my own standard. I'm just applying their standard consistently. 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 for 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 government 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 that 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. 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 the stone facing stone in their shoes and therefore I mean seriously that's really important copy. As you can take it but the great man. This is been so good and I get excited about this.
I don't write the spirit in me. I love these discussions and I love the thoughtfulness in which you've done this you mean you have taught this at viola you.
You're just living it, and I so appreciate that. Example, some of us you know were trying to keep marriages together appear to be better parents but when you get right down to it.
This is a critical part of our lives is actually teaching people about who Jesus is and helping them better understand in a gracious way. So thank you again for being with Scylla. I trust you picked up great ideas for guest to share your faith in if necessary to take a stand that was Greg Koegel on this best of 20, 21 Focus on the Family presentation. He did such a great job outlining what some of those conversations can look like he did John and we barely scratch the surface of his book tactics a game plan for discussing your Christian convictions, but we've given a solid sense of the great content that's in it, and you know I can't think of anything more important than being equipped to talk to another human being about Jesus and that's why Focus on the Family is here.
We want to give you the tools you need to share your faith and to help others discover the hope we have in Christ. As Christmas approaches, we can further that hope as well as the healing the peace the grace and the joy that Jesus Christ came to give us when you support Focus on the Family you come alongside those who are struggling to give those families hope and when you donate today. A gift of any amount will send a copy of Greg's great book tactics as our way of saying thank you for ministering to couples on the verge of divorce families in crisis. Bewildered parents, frightened mothers considering abortion and others who just need a touch of hope and now through a special year and matching opportunity. Your gift will be double dollar for dollar God will use your gift to bring healing and redemption to twice the families so on behalf of those families. You'll touch. Thank you and I am grateful to you for your help.
Donate today to Focus on the Family and get your copy of the book tactics we've got all the details so you have a super weekend with your family and your church family as well and then join us on Monday as Gary Thomas explained difference between loving your spouse and truly cherishing me the difference is, it focuses me on my obligations. I need to sacrifice a need to serve.
I need to be faithful.
Sharon spoke to me on the beauty worth the wonder of my house on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today. Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Just like a warm fireplace when it's cold outside, the joy, the Christmas season gives comfort. I'm John Fuller, and Focus on the Family is excited to let you know about our Christmas stories podcast.
Each episode brings heartwarming conversations to bring your family closer together and remind you of the hope we have. You can enjoy that firstname.lastname@example.org/Christmas stories your past shows and the brand-new email@example.com Christmas