walk in the word
46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. —Acts 2:46-47
By now in the month, you will have read about our Red Apple/Green Apple approach to evangelism, modeled after Jesus’ pattern. And I’m guessing you’re thinking about the serious flaw in this whole apple thing: you’re not Jesus. Neither am I. We don’t have the ability to discern the thoughts and minds of the people around us, so how do we determine whether someone is a red or green apple?
I found the answer to that question by personally baptizing thousands of formerly red apples who are now members of God’s kingdom. When you have spiritual conversations with that many people and ask how each one came to Christ, you quickly see a pattern emerge and engrave itself on your mind because every person tells the same story.
“I was going along, thinking I was too sexy for my shirt, and then God dropped a boulder on my life.” That’s it. That’s every adult conversion story I’ve heard in almost three decades of ministry. Now, the label on the boulder may change, but apart from that the stories are identical. For some it was a failed marriage, a profound loss, or a personal loneliness that wouldn’t go away. For others it was a persistent addiction or an existential crisis or misery with everything they acquired when they found out it couldn’t fill the longing in their souls. For many it was simply the realization that the love they longed for did not come in a horizontal human package but only from a Vertical source, and the weight of sin they carried could be lifted only by a Savior.
God uses the circumstances of life to ripen people to the gospel. Apart from that circumstance, we can target people and take them to dinner and testify through words and example to the truth about Jesus, but they will remain green to the gospel. Only when God Himself moves in their hearts to ripen them through a circumstance or condition that bankrupts their own ability to solve will they respond to the gospel.
Therefore, look for the people around you who’ve been pinned down by boulders. Be aware of your friends and family members who’ve started to realize their best efforts at life just aren’t cutting it. Offer them the same Christ who lifted your boulder and set you free.
Prayer – Father, open my eyes to the red apples around me. Help me to keep loving the green ones, but give me the courage to open my mouth, my hands, and my heart to those around me who give every sign that You have prepared them to receive the seed of the gospel. Teach me to notice plowed ground that displays Your work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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