Thursday, August 11, 2011

How To Use A Tract You Don't Have

Dennis Nunn just concluded a 4-day, 5-meeting “Every Believer a Witness Revival” at FBC Pelham. It was terrific, on more than one front.

It was entertaining .. Dennis is that sort of speaker .. and it gave us a lot of useful thought as to how to start a Spiritual conversation; practical ways to go about it. But what convinced me it was something special was a couple bunch of happenstances that weren't on his program.

Have you ever noticed that God does that, sometimes?

I talked to Dennis several times during the revival, as we'd previously met on blogs, including this one, and we'd spent a couple hours chatting in the coffee shop at Ridgecrest a few years ago, he and CB and me. I'd gotten a brochure from him and had left it with our pastor. When I left last night, I told him I was going to blog about the experience.

Now, I'm a cautious sort, so I emailed a friend who is a pastor of a church where Dennis mentioned he'd held a revival. I asked him for his thoughts about whether his message had a lasting impact. Here's his response:

"The lifestyle and intentional verbal evangelism approach advocated and taught by Dennis Nunn is a continuing blessing to our church. When it becomes part of the church DNA sinners are saved throughout the community. We will be baptizing over 100 converts to Christ for the 5th straight year and we do not have "altar calls"."

Hmm .. I estimate that church is about the size of FBC Pelham. Hmmm ...

One of the "happenings" that appealed to me was that the general “pattern” for telling your story, which he recommended, was Paul's testimony before Agrippa. What makes that “special” to me is this: in 1970, I took part in a 4-retreat training program called “Shamgar”, named after the guy mentioned in Judges 3:31. The idea was to equip us to be witnesses for our Savior without needing a Bible, a tract, or any other external “aids”. Like Shamgar, who slew 600 Philistines with a oxgoad .. a pointed stick .. our objective was to learn to use whatever was in our hand, for Him. And the testimony “pattern” we learned was Paul's testimony before Agrippa!

41 years ago!

Some coincidence, huh?

One of the options Dennis suggested was to carry tracts with you, and give one to someone when it seemed appropriate. He had quite an assortment of tracts, with varying themes, and he shared several ways to give one to someone. And he actually demonstrated by walking around the sanctuary, giving some out to the congregation. The one he handed to me: Billy Graham's booklet “Steps To Peace With God”.

Guess which one we used in Shamgar … the one we memorized so we could draw it out on a cocktail napkin at a dinner meeting, or whatever, when the occasion arose.

Yep. Billy Graham's “Steps To Peace With God”. Those same verses, in fact, that I used in the Nassau Airport, which I talked about here.

One of the things Dennis did was to ask us to commit to telling our story to someone the next day. The next day, he asked us to commit to giving one tract away the next day. So I picked up some of the latest Billy Graham tracts, to hand out the next day (Wednesday).

The next morning, Peg and I went to Home Depot to buy some stuff to finish my patio door project. When I went to get some nails for my nail gun, there was a man there looking at framing nailers. I put a box of the nails I needed in Peg's shopping cart, and she headed for the lumber aisle for some trim I needed. I struck up a conversation with the guy looking at nail guns.

I told him "For what it's worth, I have a Porter-Cable, and I love it". That led to a discussion about nailer angles, nail types, etc. After a few minutes of that, I rode off toward where Peg was.

When I got to the end of the aisle, I didn't even slow down .. I flipped a U-Turn, said "Wait here a second..." and went back to talk to the nail gun guy. I told him "Hey .. we got this thing going on at church and I was supposed to hand out a little booklet today, but I forgot to bring it, so I guess I'll just have to tell you how I came to trust Jesus."

I then shared my testimony with him and asked him where he was going to go, when he died. He waffled on the answer, so I said "You can do one of two things ... you can fix it right now .. I'll help you .. or you can go away and think about it". He said he'd like to think about it and I told him OK. I said "That sort of thing happens only when the Holy Ghost convicts somebody of sin, righteousness and judgment. And I can't do that .. it's not my job".

He did seem to understand what I was telling him. I stuck out my hand, shook his, and told him I was "Bob with one "o"" .. he laughed and said he was Claude, and that he was in Home Depot all the time and would probably see me again. That, in fact, he recalled seeing me before.

It was a neat time, and I got to share it Wednesday night at church.

What really iced the cake, though, was at lunch today. We struck up a conversation with our server, when she brought the bill and my credit card back, and she asked for my ID (that's written on my card in the signature line). When I showed it to her, she said ... "Cleveland .. hmm .. do you have any kids or grandkids?". We said we sure do, both. She got kind of animated and said our grandkids, Matthew and Meredith (and 4 of their friends from church) had been in the night before. They'd told her they were going to give thanks for their food and asked her if there was anything in her life, they could pray for!

That's one of the things Dennis suggested we do!

WOW.

Thanks, Dennis.

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