Hi, Jim Daly here. Today's culture deeply needs help, but in times like these, the light of Christ can shine even brighter.
So be encouraged to share his light in this broken world. Listen to the Refocus with Jim Daly Podcast. Without time limitations, I'll have deep, heartfelt discussions with fascinating guests who will encourage you to share God's grace, truth, and love.
Check out the podcast at RefocusWithJimDaly.com or wherever you get your podcasts. We're in a culture where people aren't really trusting the pastors any longer. So it's the friends they trust. So just say, look, do you want to have a look at the Bible? I'm no expert, but I've got some questions here. We'll let the Bible teach us.
Just see how it goes. That's Pastor Rico Tice about sharing your faith as a Christian. He's got a very simple and refreshing message for us today.
Your host is Focus on the Family President and author Jim Daly, and I'm John Fuller. If our listeners and viewers struggle with sharing their faith, and we all do in certain ways, today's program is going to be for you and for me. Sometimes it's a little uncomfortable to tell others about Jesus, probably timing and opportunity are part of it.
The person may be adversarial to the gospel, or you may not know how to open up on this topic about Jesus, and that's okay. We're going to hear more about that today with our guest, Pastor Tice. He has an inspiring message for us and a book called Honest Evangelism.
And the reason he's using that word is there's a cost to it, yet there's great reward in sharing the love of Christ with others. Rico is a passionate evangelist, and I'm looking forward to today's discussion. Rico Tice is the co-founder of Christianity Explored Ministries and is the former senior minister of evangelism at All Souls, Langham Place in London. He's a regular speaker at missions and evangelistic events, and he's developed Christianity Explored courses, which introduce people to Jesus all around the world.
And so his methodology has been used extensively. Let's listen in now to Pastor Rico Tice on Focus on the Family. Let's start with that question about what does it mean to share the gospel. What is the gospel? Well, we're talking about Jesus.
So where I always go is 2 Corinthians 4, verse 5, we preach Christ, and the word preach there is herald. So at the heart of the gospel is I'm speaking about Jesus, and I'm really looking to say three things about him. I'm talking about who he is, his identity, why he came, which is his mission, and what it means to follow him, which is his call.
And I think it's as simple and as clear as that. I've got to preach Christ, but who do you think he is? Why do you think he came? What does it mean to follow him? And what's amazing, Jim, is that as I speak of Jesus, this is what's extraordinary in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, in verse 6, as I talk about him, which just seems so pathetic, God takes the power that made the world, and opens people's blind eyes, and does a miracle, and gets them to see who he is.
Rico, let me ask you this, because that, yes, yes, in my soul it's jumping, saying yes, yes. But why do we as human beings lack the courage so often to share the gospel, to talk about Jesus, the work he's done in our individual lives, and to just be honest and open with the person in front of us? Well, in the book Honest Evangelism, I talk about the pain line, and there is a pain line we have to cross, there's a nervousness and there's a pain line, because as we speak of Jesus, now let's not beat around the bush here, we are saying to people, you are not an owner in God's world, you're a tenant.
It is his world. And that's offensive. You know, the aroma of Christ is offensive to people who are wanting to say, this is my life, I'll live it, rather than to be told, well, actually, each breath you get is a gift.
Let me ask you this, in England, I mean, we watch from a distance, obviously, as your cousins across the pond, as we all like to say. But, you know, we've seen that steady decline in Europe from the US's viewpoint, and we've seen Christianity so marginalized. What's that environment like in the UK, and how difficult is it to be a Christian in the UK?
Well, first of all, I think I want to say that it's a decline in nominalism. I mean, these people were never really Christians. My parents, and I love them dearly, but they're Winston Churchill Christians, that's what they were.
What does that mean? Well, that means that part of the culture was being Anglican, Remembrance Sunday when we remembered the fallen, a very important thing, but that was the most important Sunday of the year, because it was about being English. But it wasn't primarily about following Jesus. What do you think the aftermath of that nominal Christian approach has been in Europe? Well, it means that when it gets to the tough things, as the culture becomes more anti-Christian, for example, the uniqueness of Jesus, for example, the fact that the only place for sex is within marriage between a man and a woman, those things that the Bible says so clearly are things that actually the nominal people are not prepared to stand for. So church-going is no longer something that's culturally acceptable. So actually, I see it as a good time, really, because what's happened is there's been a purification going on. But actually, if you look at the under-35s in England, the 11% that are Christian are much more serious. They're much more willing to open the Bible with their friends. So I'm not discouraged, actually, because there's been a purification. So often people say to me, you know, I don't have that gift of evangelism, and I've never led anyone to the Lord. Talk about temperament and how that might play into your ability. An introvert may find it very difficult to talk to a stranger about something spiritual.
Sure. Well, I think what we've got to see is the New Testament talks about evangelism in three different ways. So there is the evangelist, whose job in Ephesians 4, 10, and 11 is to equip God's people for works of service. So my job at my church is to help the church family speak to their friends. There's then the pastor, who in 2 Timothy 4 is to do the work of the evangelist. And then thirdly, all of us are to be witnesses. And by the way, the word witness has as its root the word martyr, so it's going to be uncomfortable. But my job, therefore, is to say to the church family, okay, let's start trying to speak to our friends.
And I tend to say four things as I'm trying to get them going. Number one, celebrate people. God sovereignly has put people, Acts 17, on your street with you. He decides the times and places we all have.
He gives us each breath. So they're there with you, whoever they are, get to know them, celebrate them. Secondly, serve them.
So what's their biggest pressure? How do I actually, you know, by asking questions, I find out about my neighbors, make sure I welcome them to the street, and work out what the pressures are. Thirdly, telling.
The third area, I'm then looking to find a question that actually, as I'm looking to say something Christian, having got to know a bit about them, actually engages with the pain line. So, for example, there's a guy at the end of the street who loves his plants and flowers. He's watering them all the time. And I'm just looking to say to him one day, as my son loves to go and water the plants with him, just to say to him, Kevin, where do you think, I mean, I know you love flowers.
Where do they come from? I mean, where are you on nature? Now, actually, as I ask that question, I'm slightly nervous because we're opening up.
Well, where are you spiritually? But the fourth thing I tend to say to people as I'm designing the right question is also exiting. In Matthew 10, when Jesus says wipe the dust off your feet, it means that if the guy then is hostile, that's fine.
Go back to the plants. But make sure you've got a question for each person that just actually could end up with hunger. It could end up with hostility. It takes a risk.
You might be rejected. But what's the question for each person that you get to know? So, for example, the flat above me, they've just done a huge renovation in London. It's been going on for months.
And I can tell one of the guys who's there, it's a gay couple that are there. I can tell despite this massive renovation, he still hasn't got any peace. So I'm going to say to him, I'm going to say, mate, you know, despite all this building work, I don't think you've found peace yet.
So it's just a question that opens up a chat. If they don't want to take it further, you know, if I hit hostility, fine. I am in one level risking the relationship. But I might find hunger. What's amazing in London at the moment is you might get hunger. You might get hostility.
You just don't know until you try. Right. Let me ask you this. Not long ago in the New York Times, there was a story that I read that really caught my attention. It was about people breaking down the barrier for transgenderedism. And the way they were doing it is transgendered people were going door to door, in essence, evangelising their cause.
And this was a research study that showed that by talking to these people door to door, they had more buy in to the position of the transgendered people. And I thought to myself, wow, Lord, there's a lesson. Well, and Jim, I think this particularly on the street is where the doctrine of God's sovereignty is massive. I've got to believe that God has put me on the street and he's put them on the street as well in order that they be reached. That's the message of Acts 17, 24 to 28.
He decides the times and places in order that they be reached. Now, once I believe that my neighbours have been put there to be reached, it gives me the confidence to start celebrating them. Yeah. So I think that, I mean, you know, those people who've got the courage to door knock, you know, when someone opens the door, let's try and get to know them.
Let's celebrate who they are. And we're in a culture that's increasingly individualistic. So the guy next door to me is 82 and he, you know, he loves motor racing. I'm not a petrol head. I don't really get it. I mean, I'm beginning to find out about it now because Michael's into it.
Now, that's what you do. Just have a doctrine of creation that means you celebrate them, find out what their pressures are, and actually people really appreciate that. Now, in this country, and I think it sounds like in Europe as well and in the UK specifically, there seems to be greater polarisation at every level.
It's socioeconomic, it's political, it's neighbourhood to neighbourhood. People are divided in this country and it kind of creates a barrier, even for the Christian community, to be willing and courageous enough to break through that, to talk to people. It's like, you know what, my life is busy, my day is busy, I'm raising my kids, I don't got time to engage people at a barbecue or, you know, really? Well, and brother, you know, I think that goes back to our prayer life. I mean, I really do think that, I mean, John, I worked at All Souls with John Stott for 17 years and he got up at 10 to 5 each morning and slept for half an hour each afternoon. I adopted one of those two habits myself, but, you know, he was somebody who prayed for the people around him. And I think if we're praying, then that does something to our heart. The Lord opens up a door, but I pray that I'll have a real love for these people, that I'll be wanting to celebrate them. And I think, therefore, God's sovereign, he's put you at the barbecue next to this person, find out about them, ask questions. And, you know, as you do that, just ask the Lord, say, Lord, you know, is there a question I can ask that just sees where they are spiritually?
So often, Rico, we turn it into a competition, though. We can be offended if a person isn't willing to be open to the discussion. So we find the hook, but then we get irritated with the rebuttal.
And how do you calm yourself and not let your emotions, your humanness kind of take over the moment and let the Lord flow through you? Well, Jim, that's a great question. And it's so fundamental because we are promised there's going to be rejection. Our Lord Jesus was rejected. We're aliens and strangers in the world, 1 Peter 1.
So, therefore, the key issue is this. Is my identity in the grace of God? In other words, whether you accept or reject me does not make me more valuable. What makes me valuable is Christ died for me. Now, as Tim Keller says, you know, it's like those old-fashioned Coke machines.
You can get that in at the top, but you've got to knock it to get it down into your heart, you know, because you feel the money going down. Well, do I really believe that my identity is in Christ? So, you know, as I wake up each morning, how does God feel about me? He's delighted with me. Why is he delighted with me? He's delighted with him because he's delighted with Jesus.
And I relate to God through Christ's performance, not my own. Now, when I start really believing that, whatever reaction I get, I'm secure. Right. You're calm. Yeah, I'm calm. You don't have to take it personally. And I know I'm loved. I mean, Victor Hugo said, life's greatest joy is to know that you're loved.
Let me put this to the test. Family members can be the most difficult people to talk to about the Lord. And you have a story about that in your own family.
How does that work within the close quarters of people who know you well? Well, brother, obviously, mine's a story of failure. I mean, what put me into the ministry was watching my grandmother die in 1988. And she died absolutely persuaded, as so many English are, that because she was a good person, God would accept her.
So there was no need of Christ. And as I was with my grandmother as she died, I didn't speak to her about the Lord Jesus. And the reason I didn't was I feared more what my parents would think of me and my family would think. And so as I reflected on that, I loved myself more than her. And that's why I didn't speak with her.
What's interesting is she was such a doting grandmother, she wouldn't have minded what I said, I think. But I didn't speak to her because my identity wasn't secure and because I had this idol, this idol of wanting to be accepted, wanting to be respected in my family. And Rico, I think you're onto something there that I just realized as you're speaking, and that is that I feel sometimes a pressure to win the opportunity to talk about Jesus. And sometimes those around me who know me best, I feel like I've made so many mistakes. And there's no way I can get over that hurdle.
What's the starting point for that? Well, brother, we've got to remember the qualification for being Christian is not are you good enough, but are you bad enough. You know, it's amazing when we run Christianity Explored, which is basically just this journey through Mark's Gospel. We just let the Gospel tell the Gospel.
You ask any question you like. But week three tends to be the crunch week. And I begin by saying Jesus in Mark 2 verse 17 said, I didn't come to call the righteous but sinners. In other words, the qualification for being here is not are you good enough, but are you bad enough. I became a Christian because I'm a bad man and I needed forgiveness. So therefore in my family, I just think the issue is to be honest about it. You know, I'm working on this.
I'm sorry about that. I admit these things. And the reason I come to Jesus is I need help. And I think it's very disarming when there's that honesty and we mustn't be too presented.
And I think with anybody that level of honesty is disarming. And can I say again, it begins at the start of the day as I look at the Bible as I see my wrongdoing as I say Lord Jesus, I'm so sorry as I see my sin afresh. The Bible's like a mirror.
I'm sorry. There's that moment of like the prodigal coming back to him when I say Lord forgive me. There's that moment of being embraced. It's the most glorious moment in Christian faith as I ask for forgiveness. Then I repent and I try to get going again. Well, I think we've got to bring that not just vertically but horizontally.
So when we're getting stuff wrong, we say look, hands up. I'm sorry. Rico, you talked about talking to the family. My wife Jean, she's the only Christian in her family. There's four other siblings and her mom passed away not long ago. And she did something even back with her mom and dad when they were both alive called a family conference. And my wife's a biochemist by training. So she's very scientific. So she called the family meeting and went out to California and sat everybody down in the living room and went through a very detailed explanation of the gospel and talked about the Lord. She had one brother put his hand up and say, Jeanie, I love you but I'm an atheist.
I don't believe any of this. That's the pain line you're talking about, right? Define that pain line that you mentioned a while ago when you put yourself out there and you get virtually no response back.
At least what you could see. Well, that's right. And what must happen is, I find with new Christians, they've just come to faith, they bounce up to their family and then they get a knock back like that. And they think they've done something wrong and they really haven't. They've just given people the opportunity to hear.
And what I find in England is people get knocked back. They hit the pain line a couple of times and then they say, evangelism is not for me because it's painful. I can't do it because I'm too nervous or this feels uncomfortable. What should that person do when they hear that in their heart?
What's the next step they should take? Well, brother, sister, you've got to keep going. I mean, you know, we've got to say, Lord, I believe in the Holy Spirit.
Help me to love these people but I'm going to keep speaking. Now, it's very interesting in Acts chapter 18. I think almost the key verses in Acts are verses 9 and 10 where Paul is told by the Lord in a vision, keep speaking, I'm with you. He's sovereign, he's in control, so your wife is going on speaking, God bless her. If a brother puts his hand up and says that, but I'd also say, you know, she's had a go, wipe the dust off your feet at one level, so come out of it. Don't think you've got to keep going. If someone said, look, I'm an atheist, I don't want any more, well, fine, she's giving him the opportunity. But don't stop crossing the pain line and saying to people, do you celebrate Christmas, would you come and do that with me?
I mean, in England, that's still culturally acceptable to ask anyone to come and celebrate Christmas. So I'm keeping saying to people, do that. The big issue we've got, because Christianity is less acceptable, is trying to train the churches to say, look, would you like to look at the Bible with me? So just confidentially, individually, we'll just look together, we'll just be Bible sharers, let me just open the Bible, we'll just look at a passage, I'll ask some questions, I'm not the teacher, the Bible's the teacher, but let's have a look. Now, if you can get to that where, again, it's a big pain line to say, do you want to have a look at the Bible?
But they can just say yes or no. Right, you're not going to, you'll still hopefully be breathing after that question. Yeah, although I've got to tell you, the first time it happened with me, I mean, so I'm at rugby training, I'm 20 years old, I've come from a tobacco family, I'm not from a Christian home, it's my second year at college, and I'm literally lining up for a drill at rugby training, and this guy called Andy Roberts, who's right next to me, says I've had a terrible summer. I said, oh, Andy, he said, yeah, he said, my brother was killed in a farming accident. I said, mate, he said, yeah, he said, my brother was a Christian. I said, your brother was a Christian, he said, yeah, he said, it's made me think, I said, and it just came out before I knew it, and I said, well, do you want to look at the Bible with me? And he went, yeah, okay. So I didn't know what I was going to do, but someone had told me ISR 53 was good. Did you know that?
Apparently it's good. So I got my four questions, I went round to his flat in Redland in Bristol in England, and I knocked on the door and went in, and I started reading ISR 53 with my questions, and I started sweating. I was so nervous, I was sweating.
He said, Rika, you're sweating all over the Bible. I said, no, I'm fine, I'm fine. Because you hadn't done this before.
Never done it before. I asked him the four questions. He's a typical rugger head. He goes, yeah, no, no, yeah. So we're finished in two minutes. Then I say a little prayer, and then I said, do you want to do it again? He said, yeah.
He said, are you going to sweat so much next time? Actually, I'm just saying, when you start, it's scary. But Andy and I were friends, and I was the only guy I think he knew who was Christian. Now, can I say, we're in a culture where people aren't really trusting the pastors any longer.
So it's the friends they trust. So just say, look, do you want to have a look at the Bible? I'm no expert, but I've got some questions here. We'll let the Bible teach us to see how it goes.
Let me ask you this. When you get the question that you can't answer, so many times Christians will attempt to answer the question, and they fumble and maybe give the wrong answer. What should you do when you really don't know the answer? Oh, brother, tell them you don't know. So I always say the cults have all the answers. You know, they've drilled people.
They've got all the answers. If I don't know, I say, well, that's a great question. I don't know. I'll come back to you. But that's what I love about the Christian Explored Course, that we're on a journey together. We'll say, look, come on next week, and I'll try and find something for you.
Just answer honestly. Yeah, and we begin the course with the question, you know, if God was here and you could ask him any question, what would it be? So we start with, look, what are your questions? We want to listen.
And of course, people come up with stuff, and you're going, my dear friend, I've got no idea what to say to that. That's desperate suffering. But we're then on a journey looking at Jesus and looking at Jesus in Mark's Gospel, but at the same time, trying to bring their experience to bear as we look at the Creator of the world. And I think it's one of the core things here at Focus on the Family. Of course, we're dealing with marriages and difficulty in marriages.
We're dealing with parents who are struggling with prodigal children, all of those things that are normal life issues. But at the core of Focus's heartbeat is reaching people for Christ. And last year alone, we had over 210,000 people come to Christ or rededicate their life to the Lord through the radio and through other efforts here at Focus on the Family. That's probably, it is the most significant number that I track here at Focus is are we doing the fundamental job of turning people toward the Lord so they can start that relationship with him, find salvation in him, and begin to sort out the difficulties that they're having in their life. It's a pretty good thing to do, isn't it? Well, I thank God for you, brother, and thank you again for the help you've been in Britain to get things started as well with the family work we're doing there. Just to say on that, yeah, absolutely.
I mean, I think Colossians 3, verse 13 is a massive verse. Bear with one another. Forgive whatever grievances you have against each other.
Well, how am I meant to do that? Forgive as the Lord forgave you. So the mechanism of reconciliation is the cross. And I always say to people, there are two phrases in family life, in married life that are absolutely crucial, and they are, I'm sorry I was wrong, and that's okay, I forgive you. And that brings in the cycle of forgiveness, and the cross is what enables me to do that. I look at what I've been forgiven by God, and then I can forgive others, and I can ask for forgiveness.
Yeah, Rico, it sounds like you are a broken, humble person, that you recognize you're a sinner saved by grace. How did that happen? You mentioned your first time explaining to your friend about the gospel, but how did that happen for you?
Who reached out to you? Well, interestingly, it was the death of a loved one. So on the 6th of August, 1982, I was from a Christian home. I was at an English boarding school, and my godfather was killed in a cliff fall. A cliff fall?
A cliff fall, yeah. He'd emigrated to Canada. He had a little boat. He moored at a small island, went for a walk. There was a tree that had fallen across a cliff path.
He tried to climb over the tree, slipped and fell off the cliff and fell to his death. That was the first time I saw my father weep. And I realized no one in my family had any answer to his death.
And a maths teacher said to me, when Christ rose from the dead, he rose to get you through death. And I remember thinking, if that's true, it's the most important thing in the world. Then at the same time, interestingly, I thought I was such a great guy, I owed it to the world to record my life. So I'd kept this diary night after night, and I found out I was a total idiot.
So that was an amazing experience too. You know, I'd write in the diary, wouldn't it be wonderful if there was world peace? Yeah, I'd never lay aside the weapons of malice and sarcasm I used in my own self-defense.
I'd write in the diary, you know, wouldn't it be great if the starving were fed, but I'd ask my parents for a larger allowance and eat it. And, you know, I just saw in myself there was this massive gap between the real and the ideal. Years later, I read in Romans, Paul writes, I don't do the good I want to do. You know, the evil, I don't want to do this, I keep on doing. And again, this maths teacher then said, as I'd take that diary and I spoke to him, he said, look, when Christ died on the cross, he died that you could be forgiven.
And I've never really moved from those two experiences. Jesus died on Good Friday so I could be forgiven my guilt. And he rose on Easter day so I could have hope in the face of death. And for me, the next 30 years have been about telling people that. And the Lord Jesus is the one who can do this.
But then as he dies on Good Friday, he dies so we can forgive each other. So can I say again, for family life, I'm sorry I was wrong, that's okay, I forgive you, or that's okay, I love you. Those phrases, that is the cycle that keeps intimacy because if you're not saying that, what happens is sin puts the Great Wall of China up between you. So people at my church, single people, they come to me and they say, I'm lonely, and I say, no, you're not. They say, no, I'm lonely, I say, no, no.
The people in bad marriages are really lonely. And the heart of that is we're not forgiving each other. So I look at Jesus and I have grievances, Colossians 3, 13, but forgive whatever grievance is, forgive as the Lord forgave you. So that is the heart of what keeps me forgiving. And it keeps the intimacy both with the Lord and with my wife and family. Well, and it keeps you in a humble place, which is a good place.
Rico Tice, author of the book Honest Evangelism, what a great example and what great stories are in this book to help us be more courageous about sharing our faith and telling people the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks for being with us. It's been an absolute joy to join you here, and I am looking forward to walking in the Colorado Hills this afternoon. Those are mountains. Mountains.
Sorry, yeah, mountains. How dare I. Good to have you here. Yeah, yeah. Well, what a great conversation with Rico Tice on Focus on the Family. He is a wonderful guest, and I hope you'll download the program and listen to it with your family or share it with your small group. This is the kind of approach we need to have with our friends and our neighbors as we share the good news. Again, the title of Rico's book is Honest Evangelism, How to Talk About Jesus Even When It's Tough. It's 100 pages of exciting reading about evangelism that should give you a jumpstart to be a little more bold in sharing your faith. Get a copy of Honest Evangelism when you call 800, the letter A in the word family, 800-232-6459, or check the program notes for all the details.
And when you contribute generously to the work of Focus on the Family to help us share the gospel around the world, we'll send you a copy of Rico's book as a thank you gift. Next time, we'll hear from Mark and Jill Savage as they share about a difficult season in their marriage and how God moved in. And he came and found me that morning and said, I want you to know that I'm filing for divorce this week.
In fact, he had a piece of paper and he had a line drawn down the middle, and he said, so this is our world, this is my yard, this is your yard, and this is the fence. And we've been meeting at the fence, but I don't want to meet at the fence anymore, so I'm filing for divorce this week. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. . Your marriage can be redeemed, even if the fights seem constant, even if there's been an affair, even if you haven't felt close in years. No matter how deep the wounds are, you can take a step toward healing them with a hope restored marriage intensive. Our biblically based counseling will help you find the root of your problems and face challenges together. We'll talk with you, pray with you, and help you find out which program will work best. Call us...
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 10:12:24 / 2023-05-23 10:26:01 / 14