Brett had big hopes for getting a handle on how to share his faith, and breakfast with Pastor Kelvin promised to be a step in the right direction.
A bottomless coffeepot and a disappearing stack of donuts on the table of their diner booth would only enhance his prospects.
Their bibles were open at 1 Peter 3: 15 - “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asks you to give an account of the hope that is within you,” but Brett was still struggling…
“But I don’t have a testimony, Pastor,” he protested. “I was raised in a Christian home; I attended a Christian school; I’ve only ever played sport with church teams; and I teach in a Christian school. Nobody would notice anything I say.”
“Do you mean you haven’t ever been bad enough to suddenly become good enough for people to notice a change in you?” his pastor replied. “Brett, is your testimony about you, or is it about Jesus and the hope that he gives you?
“Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would give us power to be his witnesses; in Acts 1:8; so we may discern what he is doing wherever we are – with us and in the lives of the people around us; even if they don’t know he’s there for them,” he continued.
“It doesn’t matter how bad or good you have been. Maybe your worst crime was to burn your dad’s toast on Fathers’ Day when you got him breakfast in bed! What matters is how you open your heart and mind to discern what Jesus is up to in your world.
"Then you may be his witness to those around you; and as they discover how available he is for them, they are more likely to want to know more about him.”
“But what about the questions they’ll ask?” countered Brett; “I won’t know what to say!”
“Not a problem, Brett,” said his pastor. “If you keep showing your interest in them, your conversations will keep going as long as they want. If they ask something you don’t know, offer to check it out and get back to them. That kind of respect will cut more mustard with them than trying to dazzle them with science. Besides, if you clutter up your mind with answers to questions they may never ask, you’ll be less alert to what they really want to know.”
“But Pastor, what about being ready, like it says in this verse in 1 Peter?” asked Brett.
“I find it helps to pack my story into three simple sentences,” Kelvin replied. “What life was like before I became a Christian; how I came to Christ and how life is for me now. It’s short enough to catch their interest, and because it’s my own experience they cannot argue with it.”
Brett leaned forward: “So, what are your three sentences, Pastor?”
A smile flicked across Kelvin’s face: “I thought you’d never ask, Brett. If they ask me I just tell them: ‘Before I became a Christian I was a foul-mouthed fool. Then I was almost shot dead and I realised how much life I was wasting. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and he filled me with peace that has never left me.’
“Your story will be different, Brett, but shape it up and it will be your story. And I guarantee you that God will release opportunities for you to share it as you keep looking for his grace working with anyone in your circle of influence.”
As their donuts disappeared; they finally reached the bottom of the coffeepot. But when Brett left the diner, his feet were firmly on the ground, his testimony was taking shape and his heart was reaching for the skies.
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