Monday, June 17, 2019

4 Steps to Changing a Life

““When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” – Luke 10:8-9

In 1850, a gardener named John Gray moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. John was unable to find work as a gardener, so he took a job as a night watchman. To keep him company through the long winter nights, John found a watchdog: a little Skye Terrier named “Bobby.” Together John and Bobby became a familiar sight trudging through the old cobbled streets of Edinburgh. Through thick and thin, winter and summer, they were faithful friends … until John died of tuberculosis two years later.

John was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and in the days afterward, Bobby touched the hearts of the local residents when he refused to leave his master’s grave. Every morning Bobby could be found at John’s graveside, even in the worst weather conditions. Before long, Bobby’s fame spread throughout Edinburgh. Crowds would gather at the entrance of the Kirkyard waiting for the one o’clock gun that signaled Bobby’s appearance as he left the grave for his midday meal. Bobby would follow a local cabinet maker to the same coffee house where his master used to eat, and each day at the coffee house, Bobby was given a meal.

The kind residents of Edinburgh took good care of Bobby, but still he remained loyal to his master. For fourteen years the dead man’s faithful dog kept constant watch over his grave until his own death in 1872. Bobby has a headstone at Greyfriars Kirkyard that reads: “Greyfriars Bobby. Died 14th January 1872. Aged 16 years. Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”

In Luke 10, we’re given a close-up look at the loyalty and devotion of 72 of Jesus’ followers. The Lord hand-picked these men to go ahead of him into the towns of Judea to prepare the way for his coming. And in verses 5-9, he gave those faithful messengers—and you and me today—a four-step model for leading people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Step 1: Pray and speak kindness and peace into people’s lives.
In verse 5, Jesus tells the 72: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this home.’” The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom,” and over the centuries it became the common greeting among Jews. As Chuck Swindoll explains, “The meaning [of shalom] goes deeper than just the absence of war, battles, or arguments. It carries the idea of wholeness and prosperity in every aspect of life…. The term shalom described the quality of life promised in the kingdom of God.” So, how does that translate into our culture today? Well, for you and me, Step #1 of effective witnessing means that we pray for the person we are hoping to share Christ with and that we speak kind and edifying words into their lives.

Step 2: Build meaningful relationships with others. Jesus told his messengers, “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you … Do not move around from house to house” (verse 7). Sitting down to a meal together was a sign of friendship and acceptance in Jesus’ day. So, is it a good idea to spend time getting to know someone before we tell him about his need for Jesus? Yes, it is. If you’re like most followers of Christ, the longer you’re a Christian, the fewer meaningful relationships you have with nonChristians. So, it takes some effort to shoot a text to a co-worker, and say, “Hey, would you like to grab lunch today?” It takes a little effort to reach out to your next-door neighbor and say, “Hey, would you and your family like to come over to my house for dinner on Sunday night?”

It takes some effort, but Christians who follow Jesus’ command to build relationships with nonChristians will be blessed with more opportunities to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Step 3: Meet felt needs. When Jesus told his 72 messengers in verse 9 to heal the sick, I’m convinced that he was saying, “Before you address the person’s greatest spiritual need, first address the person’s felt need.” A drowning woman isn’t ready to hear how Jesus saves until someone throws her a life preserver. A starving man isn’t ready to hear the message of salvation until his belly is full. In the same way, if you and I are able to meet a physical need for someone we hope to lead to Christ, we should meet that need. As a wise man once said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Step 4: Tell them about Jesus. Finally, Jesus said, “After you heal the sick who are there, tell them: ‘The kingdom of God is near you’” (verse 9). In other words, “Jesus is coming. And since Jesus is coming, salvation is coming. So, you’d better decide today who you’re going to follow and serve. Are you going to follow Jesus, or are you going to follow someone or something else? I hope and pray that you choose to follow and serve Jesus.”

Sharing our faith and doing good ministry can bring us great joy. But nothing compares to the joy of knowing Christ personally as Lord and Savior. He is our greatest joy. So, why do we share him with others? We do so, in part, so that they too can experience life’s greatest joy.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Victorville and the author of "Holy Huldah! Lessons You'll Never Forget From Bible Characters You Never Heard Of." Visit, and join us for our Worship Celebration Sundays at 10 a.m.

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