After more than a decade of cultivating a relationship with one of our neighbors, I finally got around to having a conversation with him about spiritual matters. I’ve been thinking, “why didn’t I do this sooner?” It’s so easy to get in to a perpetual cultivation strategy and procrastinate about addressing spiritual issues. Sometimes the timing is just not right, but when we pray and trust the Holy Spirit’s leadership, the time will come. When we pray and trust Him, He often gives us unique and creative ways we might not think about.
Finding Common Ground
These particular neighbors (a couple from a Middle Eastern country) recently received a diagnosis that the wife had terminal cancer. When my wife and I learned of the cancer, we started praying for them. However, it was just this past week that I took the opportunity to pray with the husband. He was very open as I shared with him the power of praying in Jesus’ name. I asked him if there were any of his family members who were followers of Jesus. He said, “No they are all Muslim.” Then I was able to share how many people throughout the Middle East and North Africa were experiencing healing, deliverance and salvation through a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth. The door was then open to share about what the Quran says about Isa Al-Misah and about the Injil. Of course, that led to sharing more about what the Injil says about Isa. Finding common ground is so important to gaining trust and building relationships.
Reaching out in Difficult Times
So often it’s the difficult times or crisis situations that provide the most fruitful witness and ministry opportunities. However, we don’t have to wait until bad things happen to find common ground and bring Jesus into our conversations. The Lord is faithful to do so as we pray and trust Him for wisdom and direction. If we consistently sow the Seed of His Word and share our God stories and testimonies, we can have confidence that occasionally we’ll connect with fertile soil. It’s really about the spontaneous outworking of the indwelling Christ.
Relational Disciple Making
It is encouraging to receive feedback and reports of the work of God in people’s lives we’ve shared with. I recently reconnected with a man I lead to the Lord more than 30 years ago. He was a next door neighbor for only one year. During that time we had multiple conversations about the Lord and spiritual matters. You could call it a mentoring or discipling relationship. Since those days, this former neighbor has been instrumental in many family members and friends coming to the Lord. In fact, some became actively involved in ministry. It is an example of the reproducing life of the Lord Jesus in and through each of us who follow and trust Him.
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SOURCE: Assist News