I SAID JESUS!
I said, "Jesus," in a normal conversation and the reaction was surprising.
A conversation started by a woman in the Bronx, we were on the topic of people who are homeless:
Me: "I know what you mean; my husband used to do homeless ministry in Missouri; he would try to show the love of Jesus to those men."
Her: "Yeah, you should have seen what one homeless man did on the train..."
So the reaction was not much, some would say it was non-existent. But that's the point. Many times in my life I have been scared to bring up the subject of Jesus, God, anything at all that resembles holiness. And I know I am not alone. I have spoken to many people who confess they wished they could share Jesus with others more conversationally but it's hard. Why is that?
The fear, for me, and perhaps for others, comes from a fear of rejection. We all know what we learned in church...don't worry, they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting Christ. That's so true in principle but does little to curb the fear of rejection. Because when someone rejects something or someone you base your whole life on, it stings just a little.
This woman may not have jumped up and asked me to tell her more about this Jesus, get into a deep conversation with me, and asked to be baptized right there in the library where we were meeting (a scenario possible only in my head), but the important part was what she did NOT do.
She did not reject me. She did not stop the subject and reject Jesus or any mention of Him. This created a boldness in me that only comes with first saying those words....Jesus...and continuing to say those words in everyday conversation until it becomes second nature.
This may not be easy but you have to start somewhere. Did this stop my fear problem? I wish I could tell you yes. I wish I could say, "Do it once and you will be able to do it always." But that's not honest. The answer is no. No. I still struggle with fear every time I bring up Jesus in a conversation. But, to be truly honest, every time I do it, the fear shrinks and the boldness grows.
When I mention Jesus in a conversation, the reaction is surprising. My reaction is surprising: boldness and willingness to do it again.
Please pray for me as I go out more often into the community with our kids. To Marshalls, Zaro's, the park, the library, and more. Pray for boldness and pray for the people who hear about this Jesus I speak of.
Action point: Bring Jesus up in conversation as you engage your community!