Helping others open up to change.

Good Monday Morning,

In last week’s tip, Awareness of Heart Responses to the Gospel, I referred to previous references I’ve made to the book I Once was Lost by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp.

Subtitled, “What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path To Jesus”, the authors cover five thresholds a non-believer must cross before placing their trust in Christ.

  • Trusting a Christian. Moving from distrust to trust.
  • Becoming curious. Moving from complacent to curious.
  • Opening Up to Change. Moving from being closed to change to openness.
  • Seeking After God. Moving from meandering to seeking.
  • And Entering the Kingdom. Actually crossing into the Kingdom itself.

Each threshold has specific faith issues the non-believer must have satisfied, and there are ways for us as believers to come alongside them in their journey.

Today I want to discuss how we can help those we share with become open to change.

I’ve shared with many over the years who seemed interested but were not willing to change from living for self to living for God. I took care to ask permission to share Christ. Some have been attentive and even seemed to enjoy spending time with me (trusting a Christian). They might have even asked questions (provoking curiosity). But I mistook their friendship and curiosity for a desire to change the direction of their lives.

A friend of mine says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. But you can put salt in it’s hay.” Here are some ways to help make them thirsty.

  • Ask questions about their assumptions.
  • Point out inconsistencies in their thinking.
  • Ask if they are settling for lesser goals or standards.
  • Have they accepted mediocrity, pain or personal failure as just the way it is?
  • Share your own struggles and how God has come to your aid.
  • Offer to pray for them. If they agree, pray with them right then.
  • Involve them in Christian service or acts of kindness

Beware of setting up “gotcha” scenarios with your friend, but, rather, engage them with gentleness. We respect the process that God is taking them through. Everts and Schaupp say that it is important that we be patient as they “try on” what it would be like to change. It’s also important that we be praying “our guts out for them”.

Francis Schaeffer used to talk about “taking the roof off”, pointing out the logical inconsistencies or the natural consequences of their belief system.

I happened to be looking through our MyStory@cru.org page recently. Leslie’s story caught my eye. If you read her story, notice her transition to becoming open to change and how that was key to her to placing her faith in Christ.

Have a great week launching and building new movements.

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