friendship evangelism

Beer with Jesus!

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and people say, ‘Look at him! He’s a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “Yet, wisdom is proved right by its actions.” Matthew 11:19 Gods Word Translation
This verse is the quintessential picture of the unplugged Jesus. We see here no pews, no stained glass, no sound or projection systems, not even any worship sets or sermons. There are people, but they are not dressed in their Sunday best, and they are not quiet and reverent. And yet here, in what appears to be the most non-religious of settings if not even irreligious, Jesus is not only present, but He is an active participant in engaging relationships. In the process He is listening, being moved with compassion and dispensing as only He can, His mercy, wisdom and healing grace.
There is a country music song out right now that has hit the charts entitled “If I Could Have a Beer with Jesus.” I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it. Some people might be surprised to hear that, knowing I am a believer in Jesus and a pastor besides. But I did and here’s is why. And it is related directly with this verse out of Matthew 11:19. For me the lyrics capture in a disarming way the genuine heart cry resonating deeply within the soul of both believer and unbeliever, to relate to a Jesus free from religious and judgmental stereotypes.
I was not surprised to hear Thomas Rhett, who wrote and performs the song, quoted as saying “Every time I play that song live, a lot of people will cry.” And listen to what Rhett reveals next. “I’ve had a preacher come up to me saying, ‘Man, I would love to get you up to Wisconsin and sing that song at our church service.’” My sentiments exactly! Except Thomas, why not just skip the Cheesehead state and come directly to Viking Land?
Why are people crying when they hear a song about a guy wishing he could sit down with Jesus in a quiet corner of a bar, “order up a couple of tall ones,” ask Him about some of life’s persistent questions and “be sure to let Him do the talkin”?

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Friendliness is next to Godliness

“Wake up and look around, the fields are already ripe for harvest.” John 4:35

Jesus’ way of lovingly engaging with people, disarming their defense mechanisms and speaking insight-fully into their lives never ceases to amaze me. He exemplifies, like no one else, the ability to reach across every barrier and befriend people no matter what their age, gender, social status, ethnicity or religious persuasion. The fact that he was criticized for being a “friend of publicans (tax collectors) and sinners” testifies to that fact. (Matthew 11:19)

What was Jesus’ secret? How did he engage with people and direct the conversation toward spiritual things?

His encounter with the woman at the well in John 4 provides four wonderful insights into how to befriend people for eternal purposes.

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Is salt on your content label?

Recently I was sentenced by my doctor to 18 days without any salt in my diet. I discovered it was like working in a salt mine but not being able to have any salt. It was a blessing in disguise however, because it radically opened my eyes to what Jesus was talking about when He called His followers to be the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

Salt is used primarily for two reasons — to add flavor and as a preservative. Every grocery store and restaurant would have difficulty surviving without it because it makes what they sell tasty –and even more importantly as a preservative it extends the shelf life of their products.

As never before, my diet helped me realize that as sodium extends the life of a perishable, how much more are we, as followers of Jesus, to be the salt of the world to extend the perishable lives of people into imperishable eternity. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54

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