Witness

THE SOCCER MIRACLE

soccer heart

by Debbie Huber

In 1983, in a small province in Algeria there were some tourists who were trying to set up their tents on a windy day. A group of Muslim locals watched as the wind blew over their tents so they offered their help. Expressing thanks to the locals the tourists asked if they would like to engage in a friendly soccer match. The locals were hesitant to play because their best player was very ill that day. The tourists, who were Christians, asked to see the sick young man so they could pray for him. This intrigued the Muslim locals as they did not know that God would be interested in a single individual.

Amazingly, the next morning the young man felt no signs of sickness and they played the game. This caused the Muslim locals to ask questions about this God who healed their friend. The visitors explained the gospel to the locals and then went on their way. Several of the men heard and believed in Christ that day. 

This one simple event, “the soccer miracle” changed Algeria and started a revival where many came to faith in Christ in that country. 

These tourists were not missionaries but men who loved God and sought to share the gospel with others. They were faithful with the opportunity God gave them and left not knowing how God would use their words and actions.

How are we using the seemingly small interactions in our day? Every interaction can be a gospel interaction.

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, – Philippians 1:27a

Do we show grace when someone is rude to us? Are we pursuing being a servant? Are your hearts filled with gratitude for what Christ has done for you that you seek to share Him with others? Are you asking God daily to keep you aware of gospel opportunities?

We will not often see the fruit of our faithfulness but God can and will use our gospel interactions for His glory. 

May our prayer be saturated with the joy of this verse:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

DO YOU HAVE GOSPEL FLEXIBILITY?

Last week I wrote an article on “Watching Our Cultural Diet”.

Today, I am encouraging you to watch out for cultural inflexibility.

The point in my previous article was guarding what we allow into our lives, while my point today is making sure we are touching lives in the world around us.

There are several practical problems that come up as we become culturally Christianized.

We have fewer relationships outside of the church in which we can share the gospel.

Our changes in lifestyle make us increasingly uncomfortable with the culture around us. This is a good reality, but unbelievers can feel our discomfort and think we are looking down on them.

Our conversation is peppered with “Christianese”; words that are confusing to unbelievers.

We can become judgmental on people we think have flagrant sins, rather than being burdened for their souls.

Sometimes we can think that our use of “Christian” symbols, words, plaques and music is witness enough. However, it is not enough for people to know we are Christian or religious, they need to hear the actual truths of the gospel (Romans 10:17). It is the gospel which leads people to salvation not religious influence.

We have to exercise thoughtfulness and prayerfulness to overcome the obstacles of Christian culture, but the Holy Spirit is eager to help.

Don Carson provides a few thoughts on these issues in this article “Are You Flexible for the Gospel?”

HAVE YOU TRIED SHARED EVANGELISM?

I am reading through “Compelling Community” by Mark Dever for the third time (this time it’s with the pastors). Near the end of the book I was struck afresh by his reflections on the corporate witness of the local church.

Dever points out that fruitful evangelism should not be limited to church events or individual witnessing. He offers a third category of “community witness”. When a church practices vibrant biblical community, this is a very compelling witness of gospel truths.

Here are some of the ways Dever suggests we can put Community Witness into practice:

Talk about life at church

We easily talk about what is going on in our life during conversations with friends and acquaintances. Try salting those conversations with what is taking place in our church life. Let people hear about biblical community in action. It should be obvious that sharing complaints about church would be counter-productive to the gospel.

Mix our circles of hospitality

When you have neighborhood or family events, invite church friends. And when you have a gathering with church friends, invite unbelievers you know. When we are in a small group, we have a natural pool of people to include in these social events that are common to life. Over time they will build relationships with our family and friends.

Invite church friends to join you in evangelism

Include a church friend in a spiritual conversation you are having with someone at a coffee shop, or you can invite a believing friend, and an unbelieving friend to read the bible together with you once a week.

Connect church life to your neighborhood

Find ways to impact people in the neighborhood around your church or around your small group. Get together with fellow believers and discuss how you can share life within that community.