What do we do with the Good News?
What do you do during a pandemic? You pray. You send your best minds into laboratories to find something that can thwart the disease. You follow protocols that hinder its spread. And, once a vaccine is proven effective, you do everything you can to deliver it to the world.
For all the harm it’s done, the COVID-19 pandemic presents us with a profound spiritual gift; it may be the single most compelling parable in our generation of how the Bible understands the human condition. And why it’s a matter of singular urgency to deliver the Good News to the world.
Every week I receive an e-mail from Dr. James Tour, a synthetic, organic chemist from Rice University in Houston. The most recent one began like this: “Dear Friends, this week three people gave their lives to Jesus. The three live in London. This is how it happened … ”
I urge you to go to his website, JMTour.com. Currently, his webpage begins the way I would expect it, "Professor Tour seeks to hire a talented synthetic organic chemist post doc to work on the synthesis of nanomachines for drilling into cells.” Whatever that means.
Then comes the surprise. The very next paragraph references a Zoom Bible study that Dr. Tour offers weekly for anyone interested. And then this: “Dr. Tour will initiate a private Zoom call with anyone who is not a believer in Jesus but would like to hear his story about how he became a man with faith in Jesus, the Son of God. If interested, send Dr. Tour an email to make the request.”
In other words, “If you’d like to talk to me about life and faith, about how Jesus came into my life, let’s talk. Let’s Zoom. Send me an e-mail and we’ll get started.”
I wonder if you’ve ever had a conversation with someone outside your family about faith and life? If you’ve ever nudged a person a bit closer to Jesus? If you’ve ever prayed for someone, or prayed with someone to embrace Jesus as the Lord of life?
If your answer is “not really,” welcome to a very large club! Your response may go further than that. “I’m not called to evangelism,” you might say. “Others could do that better than I.” Or maybe you’d love to be able to share Jesus with others but simply feel unprepared, unequipped. I share many of these feelings with you.
“In Jesus Christ we’ve got the 100 percent effective cure of the greatest pandemic ever to touch the human condition. The question for each of us is what will we do with it?”
– Rev. Dr. Jim Miller
But I also believe that this calling is one of the great privileges we have when we embrace Jesus as the Giver of Life —not just for us —but for the whole world!
I’d like to invite you to join me and Professor Jerry McCoy, physicist from The University of Tulsa, in a “laboratory” here at First Church. After Easter we’re going to gather a group of folks together, focus our thoughts on evangelism and take it to the streets. Really! Each meeting we’ll talk about what we experienced when we sought to engage folks to consider the person and work of Jesus.
There’s much we can learn about this aspect of discipleship and all kinds of reasons to learn it.
The great apostle puts it this way, “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation — to the Jew first and also to the Gentile!” – Romans 1:16
Let me know if you’d like to be part of this “living experiment” in the laboratory of evangelism. I’d love to have you join us.