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Praying for Some Practice

As I considered what to share this month, it became very clear that the best thing I could share wouldn’t come from me, but rather from a recent EMI participant who wishes to remain anonymous. This individual came to an Endurance Ministry Institute Presenters Conference hoping to become more effective at ministering through endurance sports. However, she quickly found out that the training she would receive was meant for much more than race-day triathlon ministry. This would be a time of equipping that would prepare her to share Jesus more effectively with family, friends, and others whom the Lord would bring her way through divine appointments. As she left EMI, she was encouraged to prayerfully ‘practice’ her new skills with whoever the Lord would seat next to her on the plane ride home. This is her story, or rather the Lord’s story of how He moved through her on the way home…

When I got on the plane I had a window seat. The guy next to me seemed nice, but then he went fast asleep. I mean, mouth-open asleep. I was thinking, ‘Well, maybe I will just practice on my next connecting flight.’ Then I started reading the Bible. I am totally paraphrasing, but it said something like, ‘If you are going to obey God you better not slack off.’ It was about sharing the Word, I think, and that we don’t have an excuse not to. How is that for God putting me back on track?

So I started praying for the guy who was now snoring with his jaw hanging open. I prayed that God would soften his heart, and he would be open to God’s Word. I prayed that God would use me, and I would boldly say what He wanted me to say. Right before the plane landed the guy woke up. I knew I had to say something, and so I said what I was encouraged to say.

I shared that I had just learned something at an EMI conference that I wanted to go over with my son. I was looking for someone to practice with, and asked if he would be willing to go through it with me. He agreed. We went through the whole verse and picture, and it was like the guy had read the script! God had definitely been working on his heart while he was sleeping. He was completely there.

At the end, when I asked him where he was in the picture, he pointed to the sinner. I asked him if he wanted to be on the other side. He shook his head yes. I said do you want to say a prayer to be on God’s side. He said yes. I said do you want to say it with me or on your own. He said on his own. I asked him if he wanted to say it out loud or quietly. He said quietly and bowed his head and prayed. When he opened his eyes, I asked him if he had a church and suggested that he should get plugged in right away. I also asked him his name so we could pray for him (Nick). Being a new brother is not easy, so we need to pray for him.

It was so easy! God just let it happen.

I learned so much at the EMI conference. One of the concepts I had not thought about before was when a gift becomes yours. This doesn’t happen until you receive it. The EMI watch analogy really opened my eyes regarding the need to accept God’s gift and how that happens. EMI also reminded me that giving a gift is something we do to show someone we love them. God’s gift of salvation is easier to explain with this understanding. It is also easier for me to understand the love behind the gift, the love that motivated the gift of the Gospel.

How is that for inspiring!? I am so grateful for this testimony and simply praise the Lord for how the Holy Spirit moves, for the good news of the Gospel, and for faithful brothers and sisters who are committed to make disciples! Yes!

As I close, I simply ask… are you ready to share the Gospel with someone whom the Lord intentionally sits next to you on a plane, with your son, with a co-worker, or with your running partner? If not, now is the time to get equipped -- either through your church, another ministry or EMI. If you are, God bless you as you faithfully fulfill our common mission! 

For God's Glory!

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15.

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