|Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. — Paul ( I Tim. 1:15-16) NIV|
Jesus Christ transforms lives. Just as He dramatically redirected the life of the apostle Paul, the Lord continues to change the lives of men and women today. Bill Fay, the author of this booklet, is one of those people. He was pursuing his own goals when the Lord brought him crashing to his knees.
Early in life Bill had determined that he was going to be number one in whatever he did — no matter what it took. In college he discovered ways to cheat to reach his goals. But more important, he learned how to gamble. In fact, his exceptional talents as a card shark helped pay his way through college.
After college he landed a sales job and rapidly moved up the corporate ladder. But his life took on a new dimension when he visited Las Vegas, the gambler’s mecca. Because of his card skills he was noticed, and he made connections with prominent people in the underworld. While keeping his corporate job intact, he began to be a channel for mafia money around the country.
Bill moved from city to city, job to job, wife to wife, pursuing his self-centered goals. He thought he had it made when he became the president and chief executive officer of a large heart pace-maker company. He had limousines, big expense accounts, recognition, Rolexes, diamond rings, and gold on his hands and around his neck. BUT amid all the money, power, and glamour, life was lonely and empty.
In addition to his regular corporate job, Bill then decided to get involved in another enterprise that would make use of his marketing skills. He built one of the larger houses of prostitution in the United States. This business, however, got him into trouble. He was arrested on charges relating to his new venture, and his corporation fired him. But Bill started an executive search business and began making money again.
As a relaxing diversion during his high-rolling, high-stress life, Bill would escape to a vacation spot in Colorado called Lost Valley Ranch. He didn’t know it at first, but the place was staffed by believers in Christ. He did notice, however, that there was something different about the place.
Bill could out-argue any believer who dared to take him on, but one Easter morning he heard something that would eat away at him until he gave his life to Christ. During a service in an open field, a young man about 22 years old talked about the difference between happiness and inner peace. Bill listened intently because he knew he didn’t have inner peace. But when the young man said that peace comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Bill got on his horse and muttered, “I don’t need that kind of junk in my life.” And he rode out of the meadow.
Some time later, Bill walked into a racquetball facility and met a man who would play a key role in his coming to faith in Christ. Dr. Paul Grant had gone to play racquetball that day after asking the Lord for an opportunity to share his faith. The two men met, and Paul lovingly told Bill about Christ.
Paul invited Bill and his wife, Peggy, to church. After the service he invited them to his home. Paul and his wife, Kathie, radiated a personal relationship with Jesus. Although moved by their testimonies, Bill was not ready to give his life to Christ.
Still on probation from his previous arrest, Bill was caught in a police sting. After a weekend in jail with a bond of $250,000, his life came to a crisis point. Bill sat around his house for 2 days in tears. The pain in his life was surfacing. He considered escaping through drugs, alcohol, and even suicide. By God’s grace he didn’t take any of those options.
Bill’s wife suggested that he call the pastor who had married them. After some initial reluctance, he picked up the phone. What he had heard 7 years before at the ranch was on this mind. He told the pastor he wanted inner peace. The next day he drove 85 mile to a little country church. Kneeling on the dusty floor, he came to know Jesus Christ in a personal way. That was on March 4, 1981. He left that church a different man.
He returned home and stood trial, but the case was dismissed. As he left the courthouse he determined never to go near a jail or prison again. But the Lord had other plans. For the next several years he visited prisoners to tell them about Jesus.
“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” — Philemon 6 NIV
Since then, Bill has shared his faith with people from all walks of life and has taught many others to do the same. But in Bill’s own words, “The greatest miracle of all is not the change in what I do but in what I have become. The pursuit of power, money, and women has been replaced by the pursuit of the virtues I had once scorned: love, honesty, loyalty, self-sacrifice, self-discipline, humility, faith, patience and endurance. And because I know that the only life worth living is through Christ, I have made it my life’s work to share Him with others.”
In the pages that follow, Bill will explain how he shares his faith with confidence, and how you can too. ~~ The Editors
|About the author: Bill Fay is a graduate of Denver Seminary, is the chaplain of several police departments, works as a chaplain in cooperation with the Colorado Sectional PGA and the PGA of America. has an internationally syndicated radio program “Let’s Go”, and is a national speaker and seminar leader.|
Have you ever wanted to share your faith but chickened out? When I ask that question in meetings at churches, ever the pastor’s had goes up. That’s normal.
What makes it difficult for us to share our faith? During a seminar I was leading, people gave these replies:
A) I’m unsure how to guide the discussion to the Scripture.
B) I fear rejection.
C) I don’t know how to start a conversation about spiritual issues.
D) I lack confidence that the Lord will speak through me.
E) I can’t imagine that some people would even care to hear what I have to say.
We’re going to deal deal with the how-to questions in the pages to follow, but we first need to clarify our role and the proper attitude.
We need to get away from a “win them” mentality. People do not put their faith in Christ because we cleverly “force” them to believe. We must realize that if we “win” someone to Christ, he’s probably not saved. D.L. Moody, the evangelist, was riding on a train when a drunk came up to him and said, “Mr. Moody, I’m one of your converts.” Moody replied, “I’m afraid you are, because you’re obviously not a convert of the Lord’s.”
We also have to believe that success in God’s eyes is sharing our faith and living out our Christian life. He does not measure success by how many people we lead to Jesus Christ. Our job is to be faithful to Him.
Still we fear failure and rejection. There is no stronger feeling in the world than that. It hurts. But we must remember that it’s the gospel people are rejecting, it’s Jesus they’re rejecting. It’s not us. It feels like us sometimes, but we have to get free from that desire to cause the conversion. Jesus said. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
“Success isn’t leading someone to Christ. Success is acting out your Christian life, sharing the gospel, and trusting God for the results.”
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (I Cor. 2:3). But that didn’t stop him. In fact, most of the New Testament was written by that “coward.”
God understands that we might be afraid. But we have no excuse not to tell others about Christ, because His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor. 12:9).
I dread every hospital visit I have to make. It’s hard for me. But it doesn’t excuse me not to go to see the people that God puts in my path in hospitals. We’ve got to go ~ whether we like it or not.
Remember Moses. He stuttered. Moses would not have been a good TV personality today. God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the wise and the strong. And if anybody qualifies for that, it’s me.
And finally, If you are thinking that the person you are considering talking to is an impossible case, you’ve got to trust that God is the God of the impossible. You and I need to remember our part and God’s part in the process of sharing our faith.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations'” (Matt. 28:18-19).
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20).
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty’ (Zech. 4:6).
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (I Cor. 2:4).
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
“No one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:65).
How Can I Share My Faith Without an Argument?
I would like to outline a simple step-by-step approach that I have used in sharing my faith with others. By following this method I have avoided unnecessary arguments that would have hindered a complete presentation of the gospel.
First, I ask five questions to determine the other person’s spiritual condition. During this time I am probing for information, not presenting my case.
Next, I have the person read several key Bible verses and ask what the verses say to him or her. The goal here is not to preach but to allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction as the person reads and thinks about the truths of Scripture.
The third step is another series of five questions. These summarize the truths of the verses the person has just read, and they call for a decision to receive Christ.
1. Do you have any kind of spiritual belief?
2. To you, who is Jesus?
3. Do you think there is a heaven and a hell?
4. If you died right now where would you go?
5. If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it?
|STEP 1 ~ The Approach
When you ask questions, it allows people to express their viewpoint. People love to give their opinions. When you ask a question, don’t respond with your own answer. Then you won’t end up on some rabbit trail. The minute the other person says he’s going to reincarnate of fizzle when he dies, you are going to want to jump in and respond. But don’t!
In addition to the following questions, I sometimes use other introductory “bridge” questions. Here’s one of my favorites: Do you go to church anywhere? It’s so nonthreatening. Try that on people at work and watch what happens. That question can serve as an effective transition into the questions that follow.
1. Do you have any kind of spiritual belief? The first question does not ask people if they believe in God. That’ll give you the response, “None of your business.” But if you ask them if they have any spiritual beliefs, they’ll talk to you, some for 5 or 10 minutes. Let them talk, because when they’re done they’ll have very little to fight with you about. If they simply answer yes without explaining, go on to the next question.
2. To you, who is Jesus? When you ask a person what he thinks of Jesus, he will usually respond. “The Son of God.” or “The man who die on the cross.” But if I were to ask one of you who Jesus is, I hope your response would reflect your personal relationship to Him. I hope you would say, “My Lord and my Savior.” So listen carefully to the person’s answer.
3. Do you think there is a heaven and a hell? The third question is safe. It is an intellectual question. It simply asks what they believe about the life to come.
4. If you died right now, where would you go? If heaven, why? I asked a woman, “Do you think there is a heaven and a hell?” Her exact words were “Absolutely not.” But the forth question is personal. So when I asked her where she would go when she died, she said, “Heaven of course.” The issue went from her head to her heart. When you start talking about the personal aspect of a person’s life, he or she will get very serious.
If people answer, “Heaven,” you ask, “Why?” The answer they give will pinpoint their true beliefs. If they say, “I don’t know,” continue on to the next question.
5. If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it? The last question is a tough one. Jesus drove the Pharisees and Sadducees nuts with hard questions, so I make no apology for asking them.
What are the two possible answers to questions number 5? Yes or no. If it’s yes, you go on. If the answer is no, stop. And I’ll tell you what will happen almost every time you stop. The person will say, ” Well, aren’t you going to tell me?” Very rarely will you ever get a no that sticks. If you do get a no, remember, it’s not your problem, it’s God’s.