Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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iINVITE Strategy
Encourage What Impression Are You Making?
by Tom Goodman
January 28, 2010

I read about sandals with treads that leave the words "Jesus" and "Loves You" as you walk along sandy or muddy ground.  The sandals can be ordered for about $25 from a website called "Shoes of the Fishermen."  The company also sells snowboots for those who want to leave their mark while walking in the snow.

I'll leave it up to you to decide if this is a worthwhile use of your money.  But as I read the story about sandals that leave the words "Jesus Loves You" wherever the owner walks, it made me think.  I couldn't help but ask what kind of "impression" I'm making in the lives of others.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul said, "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."  I've memorized that verse, and you should, too.

Paul said he shared two things with them.  First, he shared the gospel with them.  He wanted them to know Jesus, to know Jesus' forgiveness and guidance and power for living.  But Paul said he shared not only the gospel with them but also his life: his time, his energy, his heart.  He was enthusiastically connected with them.

You go to enough churches enough times and you'll hear a challenge to share the gospel.  The problem for too many of us is that even if we finally get up the nerve to share the gospel, we're hardly effective because we're not sharing the other thing that Paul listed:  We're not sharing our lives with them.

Maybe the missing ingredient that keeps us from being effective witnesses is friendship.  We need to nurture authentic relationships with those who need the Lord.  Mark Mittleberg of Willow Creek Church calls it the "Barbeque First Principle."  Invite them to a barbeque in your backyard before you invite them to church.  In other words, socialize, be real, and develop a no-strings-attached friendship with those around you.

You can buy some sandals that leave the Christian message as an impression in the sand.  But what are you doing to leave the Christian message as an impression in someone's life?

Come this Sunday at 10 and let's learn more about this important work!


Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.

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