witness: ”attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;” also “one who testifies;” originally “knowledge, wit,” formed from wit (n.) ness…a person who gives testimony.
Reflecting off the great weekend I had in Branson last weekend, I had to stop and remember perhaps the most powerful moment of the entire trip which I failed to mention in my report of the Future Congress in the last couple posts. It came on the day of travel on a flight from Branson Missouri to a lay over at Denver International Airport. After having breakfast with Douglas Hamp and Chris Pinto, we arrived at the airport and continued the conference in our own little way. The discussions were so fascinating that Doug decided to check to see if he can change his seat to sit in the same row as Chris Pinto. After successfully changing his seat, he told me I should ask to see if I can’t do the same. I eagerly went to the desk and got my seat changed to a row behind Doug and Chris.
Once we boarded the plane, I took my seat and realized that I was on the opposite isle from where Chris and Doug were. Not of much use to continue a conversation with them. But God has a funny way of working things out. Behind me were three ladies I met at the conference and to my right was a gentlemen named Keith who probably had no idea that he was about to get drenched with the Gospel.
As any conversation starts with a stranger, we began with small talk. He had asked about why I was in Branson and after describing the conference, he made a few remarks about how he doesn’t subscribe to religion. As we broke the ice, I began to ask him more about why he doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or “subscribe to any religions” as he put it. Most of it was answered with comments like, “well I’m a good person, I do good for others and so why do I need God or Jesus to live a good life?” Valid stance and I believe it’s a position many people take. I immediately recognized the opportunity and prayed to God for the words and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to work in me and in this brother Keith.
What happened in the next hour and a half was my first true experience of witnessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a non-believer, in person. I had done some things online in email, and in forums, and chats, but never in person. I can’t get into all the details because it would take forever to write, and quite frankly, I don’t think I can adequately recall all the details of the conversation. But I will say that the Holy Spirit moved inside of my to give me verses, analogies, metaphors, and concepts that any apologist would ever need to defend and to properly explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Keith had described how his current girlfriend was a Christian and that she does the “church” thing. He also mentioned how he “tried the born again thing,” but that it didn’t really change anything or work for him. God bless this man Keith because he really was a good man with a great heart. But we got into a lot of issues regarding God and eventually Jesus Christ that he didn’t know about. His pastors, when he “tried the born again thing,” merely told him to pray about the questions he had, which is disappointing. But nevertheless, I began to discuss the concept of morality, where it comes from, and why we have the ability to even conceptualize morality. He, like I am sure many others, felt that the idea that you need God to be a moral person was absurd. I explained how that’s a common misunderstanding of what the believer is saying. What I tried to convey to him was that the ability to rationalize between good and bad must mean there is an ultimate good of which we can measure or base our measurement of morality off of (that was wordy, but I hope you get my drift). I used all the analogies for example, if gravity is a law, there must be a law giver; we know there is a “law” of physics, which warrants an author who put in place that law of which we would not exist if it weren’t there. In the same way, if there is an ability to measure morality, it must mean there is a perfect moral basis to reflect your own morality off of. This was just one example of several topics we covered in the conversation.
The only explanation I have to the endless thoughts, concepts, bible verses, and answers I had for this man’s questions was the Holy Spirit. I have done a good amount of reading on many issues and continue to read the bible as much as possible, but I had no idea that I was adequately able to not only defend my faith, but also share the good news. I will have to say thanks to Chris White especially in this regard because his latest podcasts were very much on this issue of WHY the Gospel is the Good News.
At the end of the flight I said I would get off my soap box and told him thanks for listening. I asked him if it got him to at least think about things, and he replied, “Oh you definitely got me thinking.” I gave Keith a card so who knows, he may read this very post at some point, so Keith if you’re reading this, I am praying for you brother.
I told him that you don’t need any ritual or test or anything to accept Jesus Christ into your heart. It’s not like a jacket you try on and you grow out of or you grow sick of. It’s actually, as Chris White has stated, “a supernatural event that occurs in your life.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17
The only regret I have from the entire conversation was not asking him if he wanted to accept Jesus Christ right there in the plane. I am kicking myself for not doing so, but at the same time, I recall in the moment, feeling the spirit tell me not to because I had already given him way too much to ponder. It doesn’t mean I don’t regret not asking anyways.
The idea of repentance appears in the bible over 100 times. Repent, Metanoeó in the Greek. “Meta” meaning change, “Noeó” meaning mind or to think or understand. It’s really that simple. So Keith, if you come across this post, all you have to do is repent. And also, to any of the three ladies who were behind me praying for me and for this man, thank you! Praise the Lord Jesus for all that He is and all that He does.