Why Do You Share Your Faith?

What are some reasons you find it hard to share your faith? Is it pride, fear, or anxiety? Do you worry what others might say or worry you don’t have the right words to say?

I’ve been there. I get it. It can be uncomfortable, unwelcomed, and honestly, sometimes I’ve left the conversation feeling like a complete bumbling mess.

Evangelism is messy and complicated. It’s not as picture perfect as it seems in “Evangelism 101.” We can memorize all the Roman Road scriptures and practice on each other, and yes, it’s good to prepare, but sometimes for any number of reasons, evangelism isn’t always easy. Some of you may be feeling discouraged by recent conversations and therefore a little hesitant to share your faith again.

As I read scripture recently, I was reminded of what Jesus said, “People can’t come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me” (John 6:44). These words should comfort you and challenge you. In our evangelistic fervor, we ask God to give us the words, but do we always ask God to prepare and draw people’s hearts? You may be doing everything right. You may be living out a godly life, loving others, and sharing the Gospel, but if God has not been drawing them to Him, your evangelistic efforts may appear to be making no headway. Keep doing what you are doing, and don’t get discouraged and give up altogether. If God is drawing them in, they are in a huge spiritual battle they know nothing about. Increase your prayers for those you are attempting to reach.

In my upcoming book, Spiritual Orphans: A Generation in Crisis, I share the story of my dear friend Albie’s encounter with Marilyn Monroe.

Remember when I told you about the man God sent into my life to speak a word of knowledge to me? The word spoken by him through the nudging of the Holy Spirit profoundly impacted me that day. However, what I first noticed about him was not what he said, it was the way his eyes looked. His eyes were like deep blue pools of fresh water. I was in a thirsty season hungering for truth and what this man possessed behind those eyes is what I longed for.

The Bible tells us many things about our eyes, but the thing I love (or hate depending on what stage of my life I was/am in) most is what our eyes reflect about the health of our soul. When I first met this man, his eyes drew me in. On the flip side, what he saw in my eyes confirmed for him that this was not a chance meeting but a God-arranged encounter. He saw my troubled soul reflected in my eyes that day. He saw the darkness I felt.

I didn’t know anything about what he saw in my eyes that night until the next morning. After my radical encounter with Jesus and the Holy Spirit that previous night, I was changed. I knew it. I believed it. My new friend saw it. When I came down for breakfast that morning, he looked in my eyes and he said, “The darkness has been removed. Now all I see is light.” Mind you, I was a newborn believer and had never had anyone deliver a word of knowledge to me, pray for me, and lead me in the sinner’s prayer. I didn’t know what it meant to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit, and never had someone spoke of the condition of my soul before. It was a little uncomfortable, but it was God’s way of getting my attention.

I didn’t know this man very long before I figured out who he was. His name is Albie Pearson. He played for Major League baseball in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He was known throughout the league for his short stature. He played hard and lived hard. An encounter with Jesus changed his life, but he ran in the shadows of the dugout and no one dared speak about their faith lest they be thought of as odd, weird or as a troublemaker.

The death of an American icon fueled Albie’s passion for ministry, especially toward youth. In the spring of 1962, Albie had the opportunity to escort Marilyn Monroe onto the field before a game to receive a charity donation. Albie said Marilyn was the loneliest person he ever saw in his life. She turned on her charm and her character in the spotlight, but as quickly as the lights faded as she returned to the dugout, her smile immediately vanished. Albie found himself staring into Marilyn’s searching eyes. Instead of turning from him, her eyes stared right back at him as she said, “What is it that you are trying to tell me?” Albie opened his mouth but said nothing.
After this night, Marilyn Monroe never made another public appearance. Several weeks later, Albie heard that Marilyn Monroe had died of a drug overdose. This news crippled Albie and later that night, he fell to his knees in his hotel room. He knew he wasn’t the cause of her death, but he had been given an opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with Marilyn and he didn’t take it. As he cried out to God, he made a promise that he wouldn’t allow that to happen again and he asked God to give him the courage and the strength to share his faith.

Albie stayed true to his promise. How do I know? Because the minute I met him, Albie with his welcoming eyes and soft tone walked right up to me and said, “Jesus loves you, Erin.” Many people before me heard these same words spoken by Albie and his wife, Helen. After a career-ending injury forced his retirement in 1966, a youth ministry was birthed out of Albie and Helen’s modest home in Riverside, CA. They welcomed all. Even the drug dealers knew him as “preacher man” and dumped “deadbeats” on his porch. Albie and Helen cared for the youth as their own. They lived out spiritual parenthood for the struggling youth in their area.

Albie also went on to plant churches through his international ministry and in 1997 he and Helen founded Father’s Heart Ranch, a group home for abused and neglected boys. Albie knew that the only way to reach the youth was to help them understand and see their need for their heavenly Father and witness the love of their spiritual parents—those who care for these boys at Father’s Heart Ranch.

Albie’s encounter profoundly impacted his life, his ministry, and the lives of so many people he has ministered to over the past fifty-five years.

I also read recently about the founder of the Word of Life Camps, Jack Wyrtzen. Jack didn’t grow up as a believer, and in fact at times, he ridiculed religion. After joining the National Guard at the age of eighteen, he became fast friends with a heavy drinker named George. Somehow, Jesus got a hold of George and George became a totally different person. Jack and the other guys made fun of George, but there was something about George that Jack admired. George repeatedly gave Jack copies of the Gospel of John, but Jack ripped them up over and over. However, one day he finally read a copy.

A short time later, George asked Jack to play trombone in a gospel service. The preacher held nothing back as he spoke of hell. Jack left the service angry, but couldn’t get the message off his mind. That night as he struggled with why he was so angry, he discovered Jesus’ love for him, knelt down, and surrendered to Jesus.

The next day, George called Jack to apologize for the preacher’s message. Jack responded to George by telling George, “I got saved.” Jack immediately started studying the Bible and praying, but he didn’t want to tell anyone, including his girlfriend, about his newfound faith.

Some months later, a friend told Jack about the death of his brother. Jack immediately shared the gospel with his friend. His friend responded with anger, but not because of why you may think. Jack’s friend was mad at Jack because Jack hadn’t shared this message of hope and heaven sooner. Jack’s friend was mad because maybe his brother could have heard the gospel message before he died and ended up in heaven. His friend said, “But you never said a thing!”

This rocked Jack and convicted him to the core. Jack promised God that he would never miss an opportunity again. Jack stayed true to his word. Jack, along with a few others, began holding evangelistic services in Brooklyn, New York. These services expanded to radio broadcasts. Their rallies filled Madison Square Garden in 1944 (20,0000 people) and Yankee Stadium in 1948 (40,000 people). The first Word of Life Camp was established in New York in 1947, and from there, camps were established throughout the world.
Jack’s missed opportunity, like Albie’s, fueled a passion for evangelism at all costs. Both promised God they would never miss another opportunity to share the life-giving Gospel message.

I don’t know what motivates you to share the Gospel, but I do know that you and I can only share the Gospel message if we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we lack courage and wisdom to share the Gospel. We see this in the book of Acts. Before the day of Pentecost, the disciples weren’t sharing the Good News. But after they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they preached the Good News to everyone and anyone they came into contact with. The words Jesus said in John 6:44 rang true for them. There were many who were drawn by the Father because when they heard, they believed. There were also many who heard but didn’t believe. Maybe they still needed some time, but that was on them, not the disciples.

The same will be true for you and me today. Don’t give up sharing your faith. You won’t always know the work God is doing behind the scenes. Marilyn Monroe was seeking something, but Albie didn’t speak up. Jack had been watching the miraculous transformation in George’s life. In my own life, I was seeking answers even before I realized God was drawing me to Him.

Evangelism isn’t neat and tidy. It’s about listening and obedience. It’s about love and action. It’s something God asks us all to do. Start doing it if you aren’t. Keep doing it if you are. Don’t let it be said about you “But, you never said a thing!”





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