by Calvin Bergsma
The cold prairie wind bit through my jacket, February sure isn't the month to hitchhike on Interstate 80. I shoved my numb right hand deep into my coat pocket, and used the other one. I probably look weird hitchhiking with my left thumb, but its better than losing the correct one to frost-bite. Maybe I look weird; that's why nobody's given me a ride for the last hour and a half.
My name is Calvin Bergsma and I do have a car. But, I like the unexpected, and knowing that I'll soon be getting married and she will expect me to settle down and act normal. I thought I would take one last impromptu hitchhiking trip to Oklahoma to visit my brother John at Oral Roberts University (ORU).
"God, please have someone stop - the sun's sliding behind the horizon, and I'm freezing". A few more minutes crawled by, and I searched my mind trying to think of some spiritual technique that I could use to get a ride. I got it! The Bible says to ask in faith - not doubting. I gritted my chattering teeth and believed as hard as I could. Several more cars raced by and I figured I would have to modify my approach. Why didn't that work? I then remember hearing some faith teacher say, that I had to pray very specifically - "Okay, Lord, please have this next car.... I think it's a red Camaro.. No, it's a Firebird - yeah, a red Firebird - license number I M 2... late. Shucks".
I don't understand - what am I doing wrong?
That's when I remembered the book I had just read about ministering spirits (angels). It said that God sends them to watch over us and to help us. I think I'll ask my personal angel to stop a car.
"Angel!" (I didn't know his first name) "Stop a car for me."
Suddenly in my mind's eye I saw a scene that made me burst out laughing. (The cold must have been numbing more than just my hands). I saw this big angel standing about a block down the road with his sword drawn and waiting for the next vehicle to come. As it past, he took off running about 60 Mph alongside the unsuspecting motorist, trying to position himself perfectly to execute my wishes. With the accuracy that only an angel can exhibit, he thrust his mighty sword into the front left tire and jumped back. The car thumped to a stop right in front of me. Now there were two people in need of a ride! I sure am glad that God directs the angels and not me! If we gave our shortsighted orders we'd be in big trouble.
A gust of wind brought me back to my senses, and at the same time, one of God's thoughts broke into my mind. "There is a particular person that I want you to share with. He's coming - just be patient. In the meantime, communicate with Me, and enjoy my presence. Please don't miss Me, and what I provide for you, by substituting techniques or theories." At the same instant I felt the familiar peace which told me He would never leave me or forsake me. I didn't hear an audible voice, but after awhile, the sheep get to know the Shepherd's voice.
It wasn't long before a young man in a pickup truck stopped and gave me a ride. He was on his way back to school after a short visit home for the holidays.
In the course of the long ride to his college, he told me of a number of unusual events that were happening between him and his roommates, involving drugs, unexplained happenings, and unprovoked outbursts of violence. After listening to him vent his frustration and fear about his circumstances, I shared some of my own experiences. I told him how I became a Christian and received deliverance from demonic oppression. I assured him the same things God did for me God would do for him. On hearing this, he asked if I would come to his apartment and talk to his roommate.
Considering my alternative of sleeping outdoors and dying in the snow, I agreed to go with him!
When we arrived, his roommate was high on LSD. No matter what I said I wasn't able to get anything across to him. All of a sudden I felt what I believed to be the Holy Spirit telling me to audibly pray and ask that in the name of Jesus, he would come off his high, so I did.
Immediately he was totally sober and I had his complete attention. I spent the majority of the night ministering deliverance and salvation to both of them.
The story is very involved about what happened that night, but, when the sun rose the next morning in the city of Davenport, there were two tired young men whose lives would never be the same again. This is a true experience. I was only 24 years old at the time, but God has used me many times since to communicate His love to individuals that have crossed my path. God wants all of us to share the Good News of the salvation that Jesus Christ provides.
Here is a list of simple things I have learned that help me in personal evangelism.
1. If you want to share Jesus, then rekindle your first love.
The desire and ability to share God's message of love and forgiveness comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How can anyone share what they don't have. Or, how can one tell another how to experience real life without experiencing that life himself. "Stir up the gift that is in you" (2 Ti.1:6)
The first century world was evangelized in a very short time with no TV or RADIO. This was accomplished by friend telling friend, telling neighbor, telling butcher, telling baker and candlestick maker. They were EXCITED ABOUT WHAT GOD DID FOR THEM THROUGH JESUS! Are you excited? You should be.
2. Talk in simple language.
Please don't use King James English when telling others about God. (Even God does not talk that way any more). If you knew nothing about religion or didn't know any of its pet phrases, how would you answer someone who asked you this question? " Brother, would you like to place your life on the alter and be a living sacrifice, and become a born again, Holy Ghost filled, tongue talking, sanctified, washed in the blood of the lamb Christian? PRAISE GOD!" I think you would probably run away from the sick deranged person that would ask such an insane question.
Think before you talk, and use words that you are sure they will understand - Jesus did, Apostle Paul did.
3. Do not argue with people.
This immediately polarizes you (puts you on opposing sides) from the one you are trying to reach. Instead, tell them how you felt before you met Christ, making sure that you identify yourself with them. Never give them the feeling that you think you're better than them because of what you know. Let them see your humanness. But don't end there. Give your personal testimony telling them how you received help. No one feels like they're being preached at if you just tell what happened to you personally. Remember, it not your JOB to make them believe. Your job is to tell others what Christ did for you.
4. Pray that God tells you what to say.
There is a key to unlock any door. If you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will tell you what words or actions will unlock the heart of the one you are sharing with. This does not have to be profound. The key may be as simple as, my name is Calvin what's yours. Or, do have a sister named Jane, no, well you look just like her. Just say what you feel the Holy Spirit might be telling you to say. If you're wrong, or miss it who cares, the only thing you could hurt is your pride, and even that's not all bad. But if you're right, you will not only find it easier to step out in faith next time, but you may have saved a soul from spending eternity in hell. Eternity - think about that - and take a chance.
5. Sharing Jesus with others is addicting.
This is the key to having revival in our own hearts as well as in our community. We've got to share Jesus with the ones who we come in contact with. If the water in your well is stagnant, and you feel your Christian life has lost its zest, start doing what Jesus said is every Christian's job. You go into all the world and preach the gospel.. "Freely you have received, freely give".. And for God's sake, don't hide your light under a bushel basket.