Individual or Small Group Study
Bringing Eternity to Others
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A while back I was on a weekend away with friends, none of the ladies on the trip were following Jesus. My prayer for that weekend was that God would use me to make an impact for eternity, including a conversation somehow about faith.
We were spending two days and one night together. That first night we all went out for dinner and had a great time but somehow, I felt I had missed the boat so to speak. There was no conversation about Christianity and I wondered if I had missed any opportunities to witness about Jesus because I got too carried away having a good time. I went to bed that night very disappointed. What followed was a startling dream from the Lord.
That night I had a dream about the reality of eternity. A dream that revealed to me that indeed heaven and hell both exist and when people die, they go to one or the other, it was very vivid and real to me. As a believer I already knew this but for some reason the Lord wanted to burn this into my mind again. Needless to say, I woke up startled and was very keen to somehow share Jesus who is the way the truth and the life. I woke up refocused to somehow share Jesus with my friends.
- Have you or anyone you know ever had a dream about heaven? Explain
- What stories are often told about heaven?
- What experiences have you heard others about their encounter with heaven?
- What does the Bible say about heaven?
A Conversation About Christianity
Having woken up with this new found focus on eternity, I got out of bed and headed to the kitchen. One of my friends came out and sat with me. We watched some TV and had a hot drink together. As we sat and talked, I was eager to have a conversation that would somehow raise the topic of Christianity. All of a sudden, I remembered her telling me a story about her five-year-old. Her daughter goes to a state school and receives Religious Education. The daughter had come home and asked her mummy where people go when they die. I recalled that at the time my friend did not know how to deal with this. So, right there and then, I asked her if her daughter had been asking lately about life after death. The question was not forced, it came out naturally and this led to a great discussion about Christianity and hope. We talked how death is not final, how there is an afterlife and how Jesus brings hope. It was a great conversation.
My friend did not fall to her knees and call out to Jesus. We did not spend thirty minutes praying together BUT we did have a great conversation about Christ. She did get to hear a little more about Christ and she understood that Jesus brings hope. I was so excited because I knew God was doing something in her heart and drawing her closer to Himself.
- Describe a time where you have had a good conversation about Christianity with someone who is not a believer.
- What stops us from having good conversations?
- Who could you have a conversation with this week about Christ?
- What could you say to get things moving along?
Eating with Those Who Don’t Know Christ
After the conversation about Christianity, the other ladies came out from bed and I offered to cook some yummy omelettes for breakfast. We sat down and ate our second meal together; a lot of fun and laughter as we reminisced on old times. There is something about sitting down and having a meal with people that seems to take relationships to a new level. In the book, Eats with Sinners, Aaron Chambers explains that eating with someone was a statement, not just an act of hospitality. When people ate with others in Jesus time, they were stating that they were willing to be connected with and accept the individual or group with who they were eating. This practice of Jesus, being intimate with those not following Christ, was one of the big reasons the Pharisees criticized him. It was legally forbidden in first century Palestinian Judaism, to mingle with non-believers, with beggars, with tax collectors and prostitutes. It was a religious, social and cultural taboo.
- Describe the times when you have eaten with those who don’t know Christ and how this has changed the relationship for the good.
- Why do we sometimes spend more times having meals with believers than non-believers?
- Who have you had a meal with and felt from that time you were more accepted by? How did it make you feel?
- Who could you schedule time with to have a meal together?
Sticking at It
The friends I went away I’ve have known for more than 25 years; they knew me as a non-Christian for the first decade. At times I have wondered if they will ever come to know Christ and at times, I have felt like giving up. I have to remind myself often that conversion is a process in people’s lives. If I look at my own life, I can see that it took over twenty years before I put my faith and trust in Christ. I am glad today that people and God never gave up on me. We need great resolve, great commitment to keep reaching out to people if we are going to continue with the task of bringing eternity to others.
- Tell your stories of leading people to Christ or witnessing to people who are on the journey to faith.
- What was the time frame for them?
- What was your own journey to faith?
How has God moved in the lives of those you are reaching out to? What did they understand of Christianity years ago and how is it different now?
Pray and ask God for a heart that will not give up at reaching out to others. Pray for strength, for resolve and stick-ability to the great commission.
Chambers, Arron. Eats with Sinners: Reaching Hungry People Like Jesus Did. Ohio: Standard Publishing, 2009.
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