It followed a talk Jim LaMontagne gave on John 9.
HELPING OTHER PEOPLE OPEN THE BOXES THEY PUT GOD IN
Not only are we in the process of discovering this God who is far more than we can imagine, but our Kingdom mission is to help others do the same.
So, how can we do that?
1. Pray each day God would lead you to someone. Ask God to help you not miss the opportunity(ies) he will bring. Ask that he show you favor and establish his redemptive mission in your life. Ask him to help you take a risk. tell him without his help you will likely hesitate and miss who he has waiting for you.
2. Remember everyone shares your humanity and bears the image of God no matter how muted or distorted. Treat them with dignity and humility. Everyone has longings and desires like you. Everyone wants to matter to somebody as do you. Everybody has been hurt (sometimes crushed), by their own actions, or by those of others. While some are deeply hardened by what they have lived through, many are not.
Letting this really sink deeply into your heart helps you open to people who are offensive or have radically different life experiences, are just plain scary, or hard to connect with. It also helps you connect with friends, colleagues, and family members who don't follow Jesus or are antagonistic to Christians.
3. Everyone has a story worth listening to. Find out what it is. See if you can connect some of it with your story - very important. Listen for the pain or disillusionment. Look for life-questions they might be asking without being aware of it. Don't pounce when you hear one; just pray and remember what they revealed to you so you can connect.
4. If you can, tell your story, do so in a way that connects you to theirs and shows how you previously put God in a box. Tell how he changed your view. Always point them to Jesus: what he said about himself, and your life-changing experience of him.
5. The purpose is not to debate, but to listen and connect. Your goal is to have a chance to tell the reason for the hope within you. Be able to tell them what convinced you Jesus is the God of all creation.
6. You will encounter skeptics, cynics and people satisfied with their lives. If they want to argue just to argue, don't. If they want to really address hard questions, ask God for wisdom and simply reveal what you believe and why. Ask questions of them to further clarify their position, but let God do the convicting.
May Jesus teach us how to listen and respond with intelligence, grace, compassion and humility.