Tuesday, March 4, 2008

How did it all start?

Recently I have received emails wondering how I overcame my fear to evangelize plus how I got involved with The Way of the Master. I thought I would share a portion with you too:

When I got saved, I was immediately caught up into a zeal for God and a passion for His glory. Evangelism was the by product of knowing that many of my friends and family did not know Jesus as Lord and Savior. The inevitable judgment for the lost, in Hell, broke my heart! I began involvement in evangelism with my local church doing outreaches, door to door evangelism, and other forms of reaching the lost all were part of my walk with God at an early age. I was preaching the "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you life" message. It was not until I was introduced to a street preacher at the Santa Monica Promenade in Los Angeles, California that my views on evangelism were radically altered.

It was under the preaching of Ray Comfort that my style of evangelism was changed forever particularly in the area of the role that the Law (the Ten Commandments) played in evangelism. I soon saw that God actually had specific laws which He had set up as the standard of righteousness and that we had broken specific rules from our Creator. Initially I was skeptical and pretty mad at this short little man with a funny mustache and catchy accent. I thought he was being mean. “How could he tell people they are going to hell?" I thought.

The way in which Ray spoke the Word of God with fire, conviction, and no compromise was shocking to me. I had never seen such a thing on the streets. So I continued to return to the Promenade, every Friday night--for years, actually.

Though at first I saw Ray as a man who was just being hard on people the more that I heard the message and considered the Scripture, the more I realized that what he was preaching was just Gospel truth. Then shortly after that someone gave me a message Hells Best Kept Secret and that changed my life forever. That was almost 10 years ago.

So how have I overcome my fears? Just thinking about the lost going to Hell, wakes me up out of my slumber. Plus, having watched just about every DVD that Ray has available and read every book has really equipped me to share my faith. Also, I have found others that are bold in sharing their faith and teamed up with them to hit the streets.

Here's a great place where you can link up with churches that use The Way of the Master in their Evangelism: My Fishing Hole

So, when I get timid or if I'm fearful which still happens, I think of what Ray has said--it goes something like this, “If you could conquer your fear of man "problem" if someone gave you 100 dollars every time you shared your faith—how come you can’t overcome your fear of man "problem" for the love of God?!”


Wretched Sinner said...

Thanks for sharing this Trish. I was first exposed to the "short little man with a funny mustache and catchy accent" a little over a month ago and it has change my life...and not in the "Best life now" kind of way. I guess it is more like a "best life for eternity" type of way. ;)

I just wanted to thank you for your ministry and contribution on WOTM Radio. BTW, you really need to get Todd to plug your site more. :)

Fish with Trish said...

Thanks so much for your encouragment! "BTW, you really need to get Todd to plug your site more." Shoot him an email at The Way of the Master Radio and tell him :-). That would be great :-)Thanks for reading my blog!

Mark said...

Are we all allowed to share our stories here?

I was saved in 1993 (well, technically I was saved before the foundation of the world, but I digress.)

When I was saved, I was discipled to share the "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you" message and even went on a missions trip to propagate that message.

Then I went to visit my Uncle and Aunt who were the only other Christians in my family. I lived in NH and they in MD, so we didn't see each other very often. But when I was down there, they shared a video about evangelism that they got at a Bill Gothard convention called "Ten Canons of God's Law." Yup, it was Ray Comfort, giving essentially the "Hell's Best Kept Secret" message. I thought it was quite different than my "God loves you" message, but didn't think too much about it.

A few years later (1995 or so) I was a volunteer staff with a large parachurch organization that used "God loves you", and I even lead a seminar on how to share "the gospel" that way.

A friend of mine gave me a cassette tape of "Hell's Best Kept Secret" and told me I "had to listen to it." I listened to it about 10 times! Rocked my world.

As an aside, I like this version of HBKS much better than the one that's now on the WOTM website. The tape version I have is longer and Ray shares more examples and supports his message better, in my opinion. If you want this older version of HBKS, you can download it here. (Right-click on the link and save to your hard drive.)

So starting around 1995, I began listening to HBKS fairly regularly (at least once or twice per year). I would visit raycomfort.com from time to time before there was a "Way of the Master" and I tried to put the Biblical principles in place in my evangelism as best as I could. I basically had a mish-mosh of the 10 Commandments, and God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you.

The watershed happened when the TV show came out. I watched the episode on WDJD and then I realized how practical this was and that I could do this.

I was hooked! I bought tracts, books, DVD's, and realized that people were dying and going to hell and I got a heart for them. I wanted to do what I could to be used by God in the process.

I began giving out tracts in public. I was so scared the first time, I still remember. I gave a tract to the lady at the deli counter who cut my turkey. I said thanks, and gave her a million dollar tip and just about died of anxiety! It's gotten MUCH easier since then, though I still struggle with fear, as we all do.

I know that God does the saving, but it is His good pleasure to use us in the process, and I wanted to be used by God!

When I heard about the Evangelism Boot Camps, I thought, "How cool would that be?" Finally there was one somewhat near me (NYC) so I decided to go. Going to boot camp and open air preaching on a NYC subway, and on the Staten Island Ferry, and in Time Square was a life-changer for me.

I'll never be the same, and I praise God for that.

The funniest part of EBC was when I got to meet Ray. He was my hero in the faith, and so there he was, next to me, and he put out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Ray." And I was thinking, "Yeah, no kidding!"

Very humble, and funny guy. He even laughed at my jokes, which shows he is merciful as well. ;)

I thank God for the ministry God has given Ray, and I hope to be used by God to reach the lost and to encourage other Christians to do so as well.

Fish with Trish said...

Hi Mark!

Of course you can share your story. This is great. Thank you for writing about it.

You said, "I know that God does the saving, but it is His good pleasure to use us in the process..."

Isn't it just amazing! The Lord is so good to us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Trish for emailing me back and sharing your story here! It's so encouraging for me as a new Christian because I too nearly had heart failure giving out my first gospel tract (I gave it and practically ran out the door!) I'm sure by God's grace I will get more confident with it.
Thanks again!