22 Feb Talking About Jesus
By Jono Lippman
When I was in college, I traveled to Costa Rica with Brendan, my best friend from childhood. I was sitting in a small beach café and was on the last eight pages of an engrossing novel when I felt a prompting to speak with the woman sitting next to me.
Up until that point, nothing had gone smoothly in our travels and we were functionally homeless. I ignored the prompting, but it only became stronger. I started to argue with God inside my mind, “I am on the last eight pages, let me finish!”
The waiter arrived, interrupted my internal argument, and asked me if I would like to order. I told him I was just reading for a moment. I then turned to the woman. “Was that rude?”
“No, I think it was okay.”
“Nice to meet you. Where are you from?”
“Awesome. I’ve met so many Canadians traveling. What are you doing here? What do you do back in Canada?” I asked.
“I’m a doctor. I’ve been traveling for a few weeks with one of my girlfriends.”
“Sounds great.” Our small talk continued as her friend and Brendan sat down.
“So, Jono, what do you do?”
“I’m a student.” (Life was simpler when that was a sufficient answer.)
“What do you study?”
“Communications, and I minor in biblical studies.”
“Really? We have a question for you… We were talking the other day about Adam and Eve. We know the Bible is just a book of moral stories, so we were trying to figure out what moral was to be taken out of the story of Adam and Eve. So, what is it?”
Brendan and I laughed a little; it seemed too easy, like evangelism t-ball.
I responded, “Well, first of all, though the Bible is full of a lot of stories that can teach morals, it is not a book about morality. Actually, it is the exact opposite. It is a book showing man’s complete lack of ability to be moral. Though you can draw a moral out of Adam and Eve—for example, man is naturally passive or mankind is rebellious toward God—that is not what the story is about. The Bible is a book that highlights man’s complete rebellion against God and what God has done to bring us to Him again. Ultimately, the Bible is about Jesus. All the stories in the Old Testament point to His coming, and all the writings in the New Testament explain Him.”
These two educated, older women held onto every word we were saying. Brendan and I were filled with excitement. Talking about Jesus had never seemed this easy.
We continued to travel and make friends. After spending a couple days with a few missionaries and Monica, a girl from Berkeley, we were departing. Multiple times Monica, who had spent her time partying and drinking throughout Central America, made a point to tell us how “kind” we were.
I blushed, and the Holy Spirit nudged me again. In my mind I thought, We are kind because we are loved by Jesus, and you can share in this freedom. This time, I ignored the prompting and simply said goodbye. What a failed opportunity.
Talking about Jesus with people is common to those who are willing to go outside their comfort zones and look for intentional conversations. I left that experience wanting to be better about those conversations.
I was so deeply grateful to have these experiences with my friend Brendan. He and I have shared life together since we were three. We are now part of a group of five men who have decided to ascribe value and intentionality to our relationships.
We have been groomsmen, travelers, students, co-workers, and co-missionaries through life. We have laughed, cried, and fought for each other through many seasons. If there is one decision I have been proud of, it has been intentionally pursuing these relationships throughout my life. I am a better man and follower of Jesus because of their friendship. We also encourage each other to talk with others about Jesus even when it makes us feel uncomfortable.
After college, I joined the leadership team for Northshore’s Student Ministry. My hope is that students who come through our ministry get the opportunity to form life-changing, real relationships which drive them closer to Jesus and make it easier for them to talk about Jesus, no matter where they find themselves in the world.
If you’d like to learn more about volunteering with the Student Ministry, contact Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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