If you haven't yet checked out Encounter Ministries, you need to! They are a ministry that God is using powerfully to bring renewal to the Church!
I just got back from their annual conference that was held in Toledo, Ohio this year. I attended last year as well and it was life-changing. This year was life-changing on another level! Fr. Mathias Thelan and Patrick Reis head up Encounter. The Lord truly works through them, I believe because of their humility and ability to yield to the Holy Spirit.
For myself, one of the most powerful talks of the weekend was given by Jeff Cavins. He talked about how simple it is to share the Gospel with people and we usually complicate it. He talked about the basic message of the Gospel that even Billy Graham would use which is:
1.) God loves you and has a plan for your life.
2.) Sin interupted that plan and seperates us from God.
3.) Jesus Christ died to save you.
4.) Repent and believe the Gospel, the "good news."
5.) Be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.
6.) Live in Christ, through his body, the Church.
7.) Go forth and make disciples.
Mr. Cavins also talked about how when you share the Gospel and God's love with people, the Holy Spirit confirms and backs up the message. Also, all 5 steps of the message do not have to be shared at once.
He then told story after story of how he shares the Gospel with people. Mr. Cavins makes it his goal to share the Gospel message with at least 2 people a day. Even though he is a bible scholar, he even shares this very simple message with people. He also shared ways the Holy Spirit confirms the message, often times by the person crying.
I never thought of it being so simple! I left feeling like, "Even I can do this!"
I left the conference with increased boldness and joy as the Holy Spirit truly blasted me and set me on fire with his love for myself and others!
I decided I was going to put what I learned into practice right away.
Before we left the hotel, I prayed and asked the Lord if there was anyone he wanted me to reach out to that day. The name Scott came to my mind, but that is all.
My friends and I then checked out of the hotel and started driving. We ended up stopping at a Bob Evans for lunch. When we were checking out, I had trouble paying my bill because the cash register wasn't working so the cashier had to call up the assistant manager. He came up and his nametag said, SCOTT! I paid my bill and Scott had walked away but I asked a waittress if she would call him back to the front. He came up, probably thinking I was going to complain. I then said to him, "This might sound weird but this morning when I was praying, your name came to my mind. I believe God wants you to know he loves you and he has a plan for your life." His eyes got big and then he started crying. He then said, "I really appreciate that! I have been going through a really rough time!"
Another opportunity happened the day after I got back. I went to the grocery store. In the line I got in was a cashier that was obviously irritated with everyone who went through her line. I ended up leaving without saying anything but felt like I should have shared God's love with her. I got home and realized I forgot a couple ingredients so I went back. I told the Lord if she was still there, I would share his love with her. Well, she was still there, in the same checkout. I got my items and got in her line. I was just going to tell her the same thing I told Scott which was, "God loves you and has a plan for your life." but as I was standing in line my heart started pounding and I felt the Holy Spirit so strongly! He impressed on me to tell her he sees what she is going through. It was finally my turn and she commented on how I would have been better off going to self checkout since I only had a couple items. I leaned in to her and said, "Dianna, the reason I got in your line is because God wants me to tell you he loves you and he sees all you are going through!" She started to cry! She then proceeded to tell me that she just got out of the hospital with Pneumonia and before that, her husband had died!
These incidents are really opening my eyes to the needs around me. There are so many hurting people that need Jesus! If we don't tell them about his love, who will?
Come Holy Spirit!!!