Washington -- Graffiti from the 1800s discovered by workers renovating the Washington
Monument has quite a different tone from that usually found today on the sides of
buildings and subway cars.
"Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a
monument to his own memory more lofty and enduing (sic) than this," reads the
inscription which can now be viewed by visitors to the monument.
It is signed BFB. No one knows who that is, or who left the small drawings and 19th
century dates on other walls.
The markings in the lobby of the monument were covered over when it was decorated at
the turn of the century. They were found when workers removed marble wainscoting as part
of a year-long $500,000 renovation which was just completed.
Spokesman-Review, June, 1994.
George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the
name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in
prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1968, Currier's sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent
to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that
farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told
even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.
Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier's plight, found
him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.
Sweeting concluded that story by asking, "Would it matter to you if someone sent
you an important message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the
urgent message was never delivered?"
We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible
to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that
people get the message?
Our Daily Bread, November 6, 1994.
The phone rang and I greeted a young pastor friend from Arlington, Virginia.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Studying," I replied. "Nothing special."
"Are you sitting down?"
"Your father just trusted Christ this evening."
"He what? You've got to be kidding!" I blurted out.
Such an inappropriate response grew out of long detours in our father-son journey. Ever
since I received Christ as a boy my concern has been for the salvation of my family and
loved ones. On repeated occasions I had broached the subject of the gospel with dad, but
his response was less than excited.
My father has always been a very important person to me. Not that I approved of
everything he said or did or that I imitated him consciously in any way. We weren't really
close friends, either. But he was important in my life because of the indirect impact he
made upon me.
Dad was a military man. He had seen action around the world. During the periods when he
was embroiled in battle, I would become very sensitive to his spiritual need. I and my
family prayed for him, but at times I'm afraid my faith sputtered. His response was always
the same: Son, don't worry about me. I'll work it out with God (as if God could be
manipulated like a Pentagon official).
God brought a man into my life, a man with a passion for men. His name was Butch
Hardman. One day before we knew each other Butch was boarding a plane in Detroit when a
friend handed him a cassette tape.
"Ever hear Hendricks? Here's a tape you should listen to." On that tape I
related my father's spiritual need.
Butch listened and something about the anecdote reminded him of his own father with
whom he had shared Christ shortly before he died. He began to pray for this unknown man,
George Hendricks. Some months later Butch attended a pastors' conference in Philadelphia
where I was the speaker. He shook my hand afterward. That was the only time our paths
crossed before a remarkable incident in Arlington.
Butch was driving the church bus down the street, having discharged all his passengers.
He saw a man standing on the corner who reminded him uncannily of Howard Hendricks. Could
it possibly be...? He backed up the bus, stopped, got off, and went over to the man.
"Are you by any chance Howard Hendricks' father?"
It is easy to imagine the startled response. "Er-ah (I can envision my father's
critical once-over with his steely blue eyes) yeah -- you a student of my son?"
"No, I'm not, but he sure has helped me. Got time for a cup of coffee?"
That encounter began a friendship, skillfully engineered by the Spirit of
God. Butch undoubtedly sensed dad's hesitancy when he discovered he had met a
preacher. For a long time Butch did not invite him to attend his church. He
simply suggested that dad drop by the office for coffee. Patiently he endured
dad's cigars and his endless repertoire of war stories. Before long he also
learned that dad had been diagnosed as having a terminal throat cancer.
Months later Butch was at his bedside. "Mr. Hendricks, I'll be leaving shortly for
a Holy Land trip. Instead of my listening to you tonight, would you let me tell you a
Butch had earned his hearing and he began simply to relate the interview of Jesus
Christ with Nicodemus as recorded by the Apostle John. At the conclusion dad accepted
Butch's invitation to receive Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior. Then dad got up out
of bed, stood, and saluted with a smile. "No I'm under a new
Commander-in-Chief!" That night Butch called Dallas.
The last time I saw dad alive I could not believe he was the same man I had known. His
frame was wasted, but his spirit was more virile than I had ever known.
In accordance with dad's specific provision in his will, Butch Hardman conducted the
crisp military funeral in Arlington cemetery where the gospel of Jesus Christ was
presented to the small group of family and military attendants. As the guns saluted their
final farewell, I knew God had vindicated forty-two years of prayer.
Howard and Jeanne Hendricks, Footprints,
Multnomah Press, 1981, Page 16-19.
I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham
was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and
sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark
glasses, no one recognized him.
Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening
intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open
sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped
the man on the shoulder and asked, "Would you like to accept Christ? I'll
be glad to walk down with you if you want to." The old man looked him
up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, "Naw, I think
I'll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night."
Billy and I have had several good chuckles over that incident. Unfortunately,
it underlines how, in the minds of many people, evangelism is the task of the
"Big Guns," not the "little shots."
Lieghton Ford, Good News is for
Sharing, 1977, David C.Cook Publishing Co., Page 67.
The Thames, flowing through London, was at low tide, causing the freighter to
be anchored a distance from shore. The long plank, which led from the ship
across the mud flats to the bank, suddenly began to jiggle precariously.
The smallish man who was carefully pushing his barrow across the plank from the
freighter to the shore lost his balance and found himself tumbling into the
muddy waters. A roar of laughter erupted from the dockers and from the tall
worker on board ship, who had jiggled the plank. The muddied man's
instinctive reaction was anger. The fall was painful; he was dripping wet and
knee deep in muck. "This is your opportunity," a voice whispered
in his heart.
The victim, unknown to his tormenters, was a clergyman disguised as a docker
in hopes of getting to know how the dockers felt, lived and struggled. Perhaps
as he gained their confidence and made friends, he could tell them of the love
of the Savior, who died to give them new life and hope and joy. George
Dempster came up laughing.
A docker made his way to where Dempster had been dislodged, dropped some
empty boxes into the slush and jumped down to help him out. "You took that
all right," he said as he helped Dempster clamber back to the boxes he had
dropped. His accent was not that of a cockney. He was no ordinary docker.
Dempster told the story of this unusual docker in Finding Men for Christ. He
recounted the ensuing events:
"Did I? Well, what's the use of being otherwise?" I replied and
followed this by a challenge.
"You haven't been at this game long."
"Neither have you," he retorted.
"No! And I shan't be at it much longer if I can help it.
Tell me your yarn, and I'll tell you mine."
I was watching his face as well as I could with my eyes still half full of
mud. He was trying to scrape some of the slime from me and meanwhile becoming
almost as filthy as I was. We agreed to exchange yarns. I therefore
proposed that we should adjourn to a coffee shop nearby and over a warm drink
exchange the story of our experiences, and how we came to be "down
under" life's circumstances.
Along we journeyed through Wapping High Street, up Nightingale Lane to London
Docks and so "To where I dossed (slept). When we reached the Alley and I
indicated the door he said, "Do they let beds here?"
"Well," I replied, "I sleep here, come in and see."
"Oh! I've often passed this place but did not know they put men up
We entered and I instructed that a cup of coffee and something be brought for
my friend, while I disappeared without explaining to anybody exactly how I came
to be so inelegantly decorated.
Mud baths had not yet become a prescribed treatment for certain human
ailments, but never could such a remedy, however well prepared or appropriately
prescribed, prove so effectual as this one. It had been involuntarily taken it
is true, but for like results who would not undertake even such drastic
treatment daily? "His ways are higher than our ways." His permissions
are all for somebody's good, and in this instance the reason for His permission
was not long unrevealed. A hurried bath soon put me right. After donning my
usual attire, while seeking Divine guidance I hastened to return.
"Here we are, now for our yarns," I began.
He was staring in amazement and was for a few moments lost for reply.
"This is your yarn, is it? What do you do this for?"
The first part of his question needed no reply, but I did not hesitate to
answer the second.
"To find you."
He looked perplexed as we sat gazing at each other; then dropping his eyes
before my enquiring look, shook his head sadly and rose as if to depart.
Restraining him I said cheerily:
"Now, friend, a bargain is a bargain. Thank you for helping me out of
the river and thus giving me the privilege of meeting you, but you promised, you
know, and I want that story of yours. You can see mine."
He was a tall, well-built man in middle life. There were indications beyond
his speech that his years had not been spent in his present conditions and
surroundings. His features gave evidence of intellect, and the obvious
deterioration was recent. His expression was softening even as we stood facing
each other. The previous callous demeanor was giving place to something finer. I
pursued the question, feeling certain now that here was the purpose of my
"Come now, tell me if I can be of help to you."
Very decisively he answered at once, "No, you cannot."
"Because I've gone too far."
As I prayed silently, presently he looked me squarely in the face as if
measuring whether he could trust me and confide. No words came, so I continued.
"Does it not appeal to you as a very remarkable thing," I asked,
"that we should be sitting here like this if you have really gone too
"Was it an accidental thing that I happened to get a job alongside you
at that particular wharf this morning? Was it mere chance that those rascals
chose me for their rather cruel joke? Is it pure coincidence that of all the
crowd you should be the one to fish me out? Or -- did Someone know where to find
you and is even now answering someone else's prayer for you?"
From the pocket he drew hastily two photographs. "These are
mine," he said, laying them gently upon the table. One was the
picture of a fine-looking lady, the other bore the figures of two bonnie young
girls of nearly equal age, obviously the daughters of the elder woman. I
was looking closely at them when I heard a groan and then a sob as my friend
again dropped his head upon his arms.
"Yours! And you here like this? Why?" It was a sad story,
but, alas, only too familiar.
Bit by bit I got it from him; although several times with an almost fierce
"it's too late," he would have left me. He was a fully qualified
medical man with a fine record. He had married into a well-known family
where there was no lack of money. Having conducted a splendid practice in the
south of England, all went well for him for years. Two girls were born to them,
and it was a happy home with a very wide circle of friends.
But as so frequently happens, the allurements proved too strong for the man
whose gifts and natural endowments made him a popular and welcome guest wherever
he went. He was too busy to continue his regular attendance at church; gradually
he ceased altogether and always had plenty of excuses to offer when his wife
urged him to accompany her.
The girls were sent away to school where they were educated with a view to
following a medical career, but he who should have been their guide and helper
failed in his obligations because he had become addicted to drink. At
first this fact was hidden, but the habit grew stronger until it mastered him.
His practice as well as his home and family were neglected. This naturally led
to great unhappiness and depression. In spite of the loving devotion and care of
his wife and daughters, he went from bad to worse and finally decided to
disappear. So by a number of subterfuges he effectually vanished from the world
which knew him and became a wanderer.
After years of wander in America and Canada, he returned to London. He had
never been discovered; he had never communicated with his kin. Down, down he
went, living the life of a casual hand, sometimes finding a job, sometimes
literally begging for food. He slept out at night, often in lodging houses
with those with whom he had nothing in common save a degraded and sinful way of
life. When he could get drink, he took all he could obtain to drown his
sorrows. Once he was lodged in the Tower Bridge Police cells but was
discharged and warned. He had simply been found "drunk and incapable,"
and his identity had not been revealed.
Now this thing had happened, and it could not be explained away by saying it
was a coincidence. There was more in it than that. "Someone" had known
where to find him. Suppose those three whom he had so shamefully deserted
had been all the time praying for his recovery? Recovery that he had so
foolishly resisted -- so often longed for -- so often dreamed of. Suppose
it were true that God was now "causing all things to work together for good
to them" -- those three -- "that love Him"? Suppose that He was
at this moment giving him another --possibly a last -- chance to return?
Such, he later admitted, were his thoughts, and he began to pray for himself.
He had known in past days the comforts and consolations of worship. Now he began
to pray very deeply and truly as he heard from a friend the old, old
message. Presently he said calmly, "I see," and kneeling by the
table, he and I talked with God.
Never can I forget his prayer. At first the halting, stumbling petition
of a brokenhearted repentant sinner who felt acutely two things. First,
his base ingratitude to a merciful God Who had not cut him off in the midst of
his sins, and then the cruelty of his conduct toward those who loved him on
earth. As he confessed his feelings in these ways, he seemed to become capable
of clearer utterance.
How long we thus communed I do not know, but we were both much moved as we
stood to shake hands. I seemed to feel again his grip on mine as I now record
"And you will stand by me?"
"Yes," I answered, "as well as another man can."
"Then I'll prove what Christ can do."
We then fell to considering whether it would be advisable to write at once to
his wife and tell her the news.
"No! Not yet. Please God we'll try and improve matters before we do
that. I must find out more about the position there first. There are the girls
to think about. I must not spoil their careers. About now they must be in the
midst of their exams. No! Please wait a while until by God's help I am a little
more like a father they need not be ashamed of -- then!"
So we planned. With the aid of a friend who had influence in a certain large,
well-known company, he was found a berth in the warehouse, packing drugs and
chemicals. In a few weeks, the results were surprising. He was found to be
so useful that a better paid job was offered him. Soon it was discovered
that he knew a great deal about the contents of the packets he was handling, and
when he admitted that the work of a dispenser was not strange to him, he was
It was then that he agreed to my suggestions to write to his wife and inform
her that he was alive and well. Very carefully I wrote, telling her something of
the events above recorded and suggesting that if she would like to see me on the
matter I would gladly arrange to meet her.
A letter came back, breathing deep gratitude to God for His wonderful answer
to prayer and for His mercy. An expression of appreciation for the human agency
He had provided, and an explanation that the two daughters were facing some
difficult hospital examinations. It would therefore, she thought, be best to
defer any meeting until they were through. But would I please keep her informed
of his progress. It was a wonderfully understanding and gracious letter
considering all the circumstances.
I showed him the letter. He was deeply moved as he carefully and
eagerly read it, then returning it to me he said quietly, "I must ask you
to honor her wishes. Painful as delay is to me, I must submit. I deserve it and
much more. Will you now pray with me that I may prove worthy of her confidence
and their love?" Six months passed, each day bringing continuous
evidence of the "new birth" and of his loyalty to Christ. There was no
wavering or falling back. Whatever struggles he had with the enemy, no one saw
the least evidence of any weakness. In every way he was proving that he was
"a new creature," that "old thingshad passed away."
Two brief notes had come from the wife asking more details than my letters
conveyed. I gladly told her all she desired to learn. Then one day there
came a letter asking me to arrange a time for her to visit me. This was soon
done, and without telling either of them what I had planned, I made my own
arrangements. He was not informed of the impending visit but patiently awaited
In due time the day arrived, and the wife kept her appointment. I instantly
recognized the lady of the photograph, and to my intense delight she had brought
her elder daughter with her. Both were much affected as I told them as much as I
deemed needful of the facts. I felt it would be wise to leave the husband to
give his own version of affairs.
Then, at a suitable moment, I said, "Would you like to see him at
once?" I had not revealed to them that I had him in an adjoining room. But
when the wife and daughter said eagerly together "Yes, please," I
opened the door and led them in to him. The lady had approached her
husband with a smile of welcome and had kissed him; the daughter had put her
arms about her father's neck, and I heard just two words, "Dad,
darling." It was no place for an outsider, so I made for my study and
there lay the whole case again before the Father, asking that His will should be
done. He heard and answered.
For an hour I left them alone. Then he came to fetch me. His eyes were
very red, and I thought he walked with a new and firmer step. No word was
said, but he looked his deep gratitude as he beckoned me to return with
him. As I entered the room, the wife approached me with an eager look
which spoke eloquently of the tense feelings she had. When, after a few
moments, she found voice, it was to tell me that it had been arranged to await
the second daughter's examinations, which were just pending. This girl did not
yet know the purport of her mother's visit to London that day with the sister,
who now told me on top of her own success in the exams, she was overjoyed at
finding her father.
"Do dare not tell Margery yet. She is rather highly strung, and as Dad
says, it might interfere with her progress. But won't she be just delighted. You
know she has never ceased praying for this." So spoke the daughter, still
holding her father's hand, as if unwilling to part again. It was a most
affecting scene, and one felt that there was Another present, rejoicing with us.
"If all goes well we shall, please God, make home again when Margery is
through, and oh what a day that will be."
The mother was now feeling the stress of it all and needed rest and
refreshment. A happy little meal was prepared, and thanks were given to Him Who
had thus brought His promises to fulfillment. But the best was yet to be.
A happy home was restored.
In a certain south coast town, a place famous for its exhilarating air and
for many of its citizens who have made history, there is held every Sunday
afternoon a Bible class for young men. Sixty or more of the finest young fellows
in that district meet week by week. It has been the birthplace of many splendid
young Christians. Some of them have entered the Civil Service and today hold
important positions at Whitehall, where I have had the joy of meeting them.
Coming one day along one of the corridors in the colonial office, I met a
friend who said, "I'm very glad to see you today, because I promised that
the next time you came this way I would ask you to come along with me and meet a
man who wants to see you. He has another friend in the home office who also
wants to meet you. Have you the time to do so?"
I assented and was led to the room indicated. Here was a man holding a
responsible position who, upon being introduced, said, "I'm glad to meet
you, sir, because I have an idea that you must be the gentleman of whom a very
dear friend of mine often spoke. May I ask if you were acquainted with Dr.
"Yes indeed, I know him very well."
"Then I guess you are the one of whom he spoke. I owe everything in life
after my own parents to Dr. ______. He was a wonderful factor in the shaping of
my career and that of many others. How did you come to know him, sir, if I may
so question? And do you know his gifted family?"
Of course I could not tell him under what circumstances I had first met the
doctor, the beloved physician who had sat in the leader's chair of that Bible
class Sunday by Sunday teaching youths the Way of Life, nor that it was he who
had helped me out of the river that day when I had my involuntary mud bath.
George Dempster, Finding Men for Christ ,London:
Hodder & Stroughton, 1935, quoted by Ruth Bell Graham,
Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, 1991, Focus on the Family
Publishing, Page 85-94.
In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are
T.H. Huxley, a well-known agnostic, was with a group of men at a weekend
house party. On Sunday morning, while most of them were preparing to go to
church, he approached a man known for his Christian character and said,
"Suppose you stay at home and tell my why you are a Christian." The
man, knowing he couldn't match wits with Huxley, hesitated. But the agnostic
said gently, "I don't want to argue with you. I just want you to tell me
simply what this Christ means to you." The man did, and when he finished,
there were tears in Huxley's eyes as he said, "I would give my right hand
if only I could believe that!"
Our Daily Bread, January 24, 1993.
I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into
infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and
furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths.
Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.
Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were
making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another
little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that
she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step and it trod air. She was
over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry that I heard. Then I saw more
streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all
made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew
themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at
empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.
Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simple agony, why no one stopped them
at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could not call;
though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come. Then I saw that
along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were far
too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the
people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed
blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some
trees, with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains.
Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them it disturbed
them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number
started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would
pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait
for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chains yet. It would
be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work
There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to
get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go and sometimes
there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.
Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; buther mother
and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must
not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and
rest for awhile, but no one was sent to guard her gap and over and over the
people fell, like a waterfall of souls.
Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the
gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called -- but nobody seemed to hear. Then
the roots of the grass gave way and with a cry, the child went over, its two
little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl
who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she
sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no
one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And
then they sang a hymn. Then through the hymn came another sound like the
pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a
horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was --the Cry of the
Then thundered a Voice, the Voice of the Lord. "And He said, What hast
thou done? The voice of thy brothers' blood crieth unto Me from the
The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered
about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and the weird wild shriek of
the devil-possessed just outside the gate. What does it matter, after all? It
has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?
God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out
of our sin!
A young man enlisted, and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in
the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing
cards and gambling. Before retiring, he fell on his knees and prayed, and they
began to curse him and jeer at him and throw boots at him. So it went on the
next night and the next, and finally the young man went and told the chaplain
what had taken place, and asked what he should do.
"Well," said the chaplain, "you are not at home now, and the
other men have just as much right to the barracks as you have. It makes them mad
to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you just as well if you say your
prayers in bed and don't provoke them."
For weeks after the chaplain did not see the young man again, but one day he
met him, and asked -- "By the way, did you take my advice?"
"I did, for two or three nights."
"How did it work?"
"Well," said the young man, "I felt like a whipped hound and
the third night I got out of bed, knelt down and prayed."
"Well," asked the chaplain, "How did that work?"
The young soldier answered: "We have a prayer meeting there now every
night, and three have been converted, and we are praying for the rest."
Oh, friends, I am so tired of weak Christianity. Let us be out and out for
Christ; let us give no uncertain sound. If the world wants to call us fools, let
them to it. It is only a little while; the crowning day is coming. Thank God for
the privilege we have of confessing Christ.
Moody's Anecdotes, Page 73-74.
I remember hearing of a man at sea who was very sea-sick. If there is a time when a man feels that he cannot do any work for
the Lord it is then -- in my opinion. While this man was sick he heard that a man had fallen overboard. He was wondering if he
could do anything to help to save him. He laid hold of a light, and held it up on the port-hole.
The drowning man was saved. When this man got over his attack of sickness he was up on deck one day, and was talking to the man
who was rescued. The saved man gave this testimony. He said he had gone down the second time, and was just going down again for
the last time, when he put out his hand. Just then, he said, some one held a light at the port-hole, and the light fell on his
hand. A man caught him by the hand and pulled him into the lifeboat.
It seemed a small thing to do to hold up the light; yet it saved the man's life. If you cannot do some great thing you can hold
the light for some poor, perishing drunkard, who may be won to Christ and delivered from destruction. Let us take the torch of
salvation and go into these dark homes, and hold up Christ to the people as the Savior of the world.
Moody's Anecdotes, Page 44.
A model from the world of real estate becomes instructive at this point. A firm in Salem, Oregon, assigns 500 families to each
agent. Agents are expected to contact each assigned family once per month for a year. The contact may be personal, a telephone
call, or a letter. Research indicates that it takes at least six contacts for people to remember who the agent is and the firm
represented. During this time of "building relationships," agents are encouraged not to go in the house (good psychology,
everyone else ins trying to get their foot in the door). Furthermore, they are encouraged not to ask for a listing during
this "get acquainted" time. Obviously, there would be exceptions to these restrictions, but they do illustrate an understanding of
what it takes to create a favorable climate for selling real estate. After the initial year of regular contacts, the agent
continues to communicate with the assigned families on a scheduled, systematic basis. Research reveals that if this
pattern is followed consistently for one-year-and-a-half, the agent will secure 80% of the listings.
What does the real estate firm know that we either do not know or overlook? First, people
do not like to be confronted by strangers seeking entrance into their homes. In fact, in many communities this is socially
unacceptable. The sales person or any other unknown professional who arrives at the door is
automatically confronted with a high sales resistance. If the door is opened, it is done with a
determination not to be "taken in" by sales talk. The salesperson professionally represents the product, and
consequently the sales pitch is discounted at least 50 percent. However, if a friend comes over and shares a glowing personal
testimony concerning the value of the agent's product, the reaction is apt to be markedly different. A satisfied customer
makes the most effective salesperson. Second, people are more inclined to do business with acquaintances than strangers.
Third, it takes time and effort to build a healthy decision-making climate. Fourth, there is no substitute for time. Often
it is necessary to "make haste slowly."
Joe Aldrich, Friendship Evangelism, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
A true heart of compassion will let those on the way to destruction know they can escape, but the only escape is through
Jesus Christ. We need to tell people they're in trouble with God and that God alone has provided a way to escape.
But How? Do we all have to share the same way? No, the unbelieving world is made up of a variety of people: young, old,
rich, poor, educated, uneducated, urban, rural, with different race, personalities, values, politics, and religious
backgrounds. It's going to take more than one style of evangelism to reach such a diverse population!
So what is your style?
Confrontational? (Acts 2) Repent and be baptized, save yourselves from this corrupt generation.
Intellectual? (Acts 17) Paul debated with the philosophers on Mars Hill to convince them.
Testimonial? (John 9) One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!
Relational? (Mark 5) Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.
Invitational? (John 4) The Samaritan woman at the well begged the people of the city to come and hear Jesus for
Serving? (Acts 9) Dorcas impacted her city by doing deeds of kindness. Don't ever think you're a second class Christian
because you don't proclaim Christ like Peter or Paul. Discover your own method. Then get out of your chair and use it, for the
Glory of God. Live by faith, not fear!!!
If to be a Christian is worthwhile, then the most ordinary interest in those with whom we come in contact would prompt us
to speak to them of Christ.
If the New Testament be true--and we know that it is--who has given us the right to place the responsibility for soul-winning
on other shoulders than our own?
If they who reject Christ are in danger, is it not strange that we, who are so sympathetic when the difficulties are
physical or temporal, should apparently be so devoid of interest as to allow our friends and neighbors and kindred to come into
our lives and pass out again without a word of invitation to accept Christ, to say nothing of sounding a note of warning
because of their peril?
If today is the day of salvation, if tomorrow may never come and if life is equally uncertain, how can we eat, drink and be
merry when those who live with us, work with us, walk with us and love us are unprepared for eternity because they are unprepared
If Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men, who gave us the right to be satisfied with making fishing tackle or
pointing the way to the fishing banks instead of going ourselves to cast out the net until it be filled?
If Jesus himself went seeking the lost, if Paul the Apostle was in agony because his kinsmen, according to the flesh, knew
not Christ, why should we not consider it worthwhile to go out after the lost until they are found?
If I am to stand at the judgment seat of Christ to render an account for the deeds done in the Body, what shall I say to him
if my children are missing, if my friends are not saved or if my employer or employee should miss the way because I have been
If I wish to be approved at the last, then let me remember that no intellectual superiority, no eloquence in preaching, no
absorption in business, no shrinking temperament or no spirit of timidity can take the place of or be an excuse for my not making
an honest, sincere, prayerful effort to win others to Christ.
J. Wilbur Chapman, If.
When he was the pastor of the Methodist church in Scarborough, William Sangster had an eccentric member who tried to be a zealous
Christian. Unfortunately, the man was mentally deficient and usually did the wrong thing. While working as a barber the man
lathered up a customer for a shave, came at him with the poised razor, and asked, "Are you prepared to meet your God?"
The frightened man fled with the lather on his face!
W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching &
Preachers, p. 215.
"Millions of surveys which we have helped to take around the world indicate that
approximately 98 percent of the Christians do not regularly introduce others to the Savior."
Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for Christ, quoted in
Why Christians Sin, J.K. Johnston, Discovery House, 1992, p. 140.
A 1980 Gallup poll indicated that out of all evangelical, American believers, "only two percent had introduced another
person to Christ."
J.K. Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 140.
Christ met unbelievers where they were. He realized what many Christians today still don't seem to understand. Cultivators
have to get out in the field. According to one count, the gospels record 132 contacts that Jesus had with people. Six were
in the Temple, four in the synagogues and 122 were out with the people in the mainstream of life.
J.K. Johnston, Why Christians Sin, Discovery House, 1992, p. 142.
A man once testified in one of D.L. Moody's meetings that he had lived "on the Mount of
Transfiguration" for five years. "How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?" Moody
bluntly asked him. "Well," the man hesitated, "I don't know." "Have you
saved any?" Moody persisted. "I don't know that I have," the man admitted. "Well," said Moody, "we don't want that kind of
mountaintop experience. When a man gets up so high that he cannot reach down and save poor sinners, there is something
W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching &
Preachers, p. 202.
The secret to neutralizing fear is to embrace the threatened disaster and count it as not too high a price to pay for
obedience to Christ. This attitude of faith may not totally eliminate the uneasiness and apprehension. It will, however,
allow you to go ahead and act in obedience to Christ. The problem of fear is not the fear itself, but the fact that we
allow it to immobilize us. Being afraid is no sin. Shrinking back fearfully from obedience is sin...fear can stop you in your
tracks as a Christian...but it doesn't have to. You can trust God...(and) move ahead in obedience because you understand fear
and know how to deal with it.
Wayne McDill, Making Friends for Christ, p. 103.
When I am conscious of the fear of failure holding me back, I go through a kind of personal checklist:
1. Does this fear come basically from pride, a fear that I will not live up to my own
expectations or to those of others?
2. Do I remember that God has called me first to faithfulness, then to efficiency?
3. Do I trust that the Holy Spirit is working before me, with me, and through me?
4. Do I remember that I am called to be neither more nor less successful than Jesus Christ was?
5. Do I remember that God does his greatest work when I seem to be weakest? Isn't
that, after all, the mystery of the cross?
Leighton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, p. 65.
What makes people hesitate to share their faith? Here are some of the fears that have been mentioned to me: "I am afraid I
might do more harm than good." "I don't know what to say." "I
may not be able to give snappy answers to tricky questions." "I may seem bigoted." "I may invade someone's privacy." "I am
afraid I might fail." "I am afraid I might be a hypocrite." Perhaps the most common fear, however, is that of being rejected.
A survey was given to those attending training sessions for the Billy Graham crusade in Detroit. One question asked, "What is
your greatest hindrance in witnessing?" 9% said they were too busy to remember to do it. 28% felt the lack of real information
to share. None said they didn't really care. 12% said their own lives were not speaking as they should. But by far the largest
group were the 51% whose biggest problem was the fear of how the other person would react!
Leighton Ford, Motivations of the Early Church for
Witness, Good News is for Sharing, P. 25-7.
For God so loved the world, not just a
The wise and great, the noble and the true,
Or those of favored class or rank or hue.
God loved the world. Do you?
Leighton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, p. 15.
The report indicates a great deal of ambivalence among Americans with regard to their beliefs. For instance, while 62 percent of
the respondents said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, 65 percent said the term "born again" does not
apply to them; fewer than 50 percent strongly agreed that the Bible is the written word of God and is totally accurate in all
The Barna Report: What Americans Believe, 1991,
quoted in Christianity Today, September 16, 1991.
According to the book Life of Francis d'Assisi, Francis once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to town to preach.
Honored to be given the invitation, the monk readily accepted. All day long he and Francis walked through the streets, byways,
and alleys, and even into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At day's end, the two headed back home.
Not even once had Francis addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young
companion said, "I thought we were going into town to preach."
Francis responded, "My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. We were seen by many and our behavior was
closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!
Daily Bread, December 15, 1991.
1)Care: show concern for the person, and concern for your life before him.
2)Dare: it takes courage to witness--courage if the person is a stranger to you, and even more if the person is a
close friend or relative.
3)Share: If you want to make a lasting impression, share yourself with the person. Get involved
in his interests, get your shoulder under his burden, be genuinely glad when he has a success.
4)Prayer: Don't discount the effectiveness of prayer in the preparation of people's hearts
for the Good News.
Adapted from S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p.
I read about a court case that was lost because of the silence of an attorney. The distinguished lawyer Samuel Hoar (1778-1856)
was representing the defendant. When it was time to present his case, he told the jurors that the facts favoring his client were
so evident that he would not insult their intelligence by arguing them. The jury retired to deliberate and returned in a few
minutes with a verdict of guilty. Samuel Hoar was astonished!
"How," he asked, "could you have reached such a verdict?"
The foreman replied, "We all agreed that if anything could be said for a case, you would say it. But since you didn't present any
evidence, we decided to rule against you." Silence had lost the case.
How often the opportunity to speak a word of testimony for Christ is lost because we remain silent. Those who need to hear the
gospel may conclude that salvation is not important enough to talk about.
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Are read by more than a few,
But the one that is most read and commented on
Is the gospel according to you.
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day By
By the things that you do and the words that you say,
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true,
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Do men read His truth and His love in your life,
Or has yours been too full of malice and strife?
Does your life speak of evil, or does it ring true?
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Feeling a concern for witnessing can mean that you will have to stand up and be counted, and this can bring some degree of abuse.
Years ago I was praying with one of my children at bedtime, and I asked him if he had any problems we should pray about.
He couldn't think of any, even though I could think of a number! Rather unwisely, I pressed the point and asked, "Don't you have
any problems at school?" "No," he replied quite firmly. "Don't
the kids give you a hard time because you're a Christian?" Again the answer was "No." Thinking back to my own traumatic school
days, I said, "But kids always give you a hard time if you let them know you're a Christian." His reply was frank beyond
belief: "All the more reason you don't let them know!" And quite happily he turned over to sleep.
With the refreshing candor of the very young, he had put into words the practical
reasons why many Christians don't witness. They don't want to take the consequences.
S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p. 88.
Why people don't witness:
1. 90% have failed in witnessing attempts in the past
2. The are biblically illiterate
3. They leave it to the professionals
4. We shouldn't impose our faith on others
Ron Hutchcraft, Wake Up Calls, Moody, 1990,
You lived next door to me for years
We shared our dreams, our joys, and tears.
A friend to me you were indeed...
A friend who helped me when in need.
My faith in you was strong and sure
We had such trust as should endure.
No spats between us ever rose;
Our friends were like...and so our foes.
What sadness then, my friend, to find
That after all you weren't so kind.
The day my life on earth did end
I found you weren't a faithful friend.
For all those years we spent on earth
You never talked of second birth.
You never spoke of my lost soul
And of the Messiah Who'd make me whole.
I plead today from Hell's cruel fire
And tell you now my last desire.
You cannot do a thing for me...
No words today my bonds will free.
But do not err, my friend, again;
Do all you can for souls of men.
Plead with them now quite earnestly,
Lest they be cast in Hell with me.
Motivation in witnessing
Gen. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, could never be accused of mincing words or doing things half-heartedly. He
believed if he could hold each of his young Salvation Army officers over hell for a few minutes, he would never have any
trouble keeping them motivated about being witnesses to Christ.
S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p. 87.
Definition of a witness
A witness is someone who by explanation and demonstration gives audible and visible evidence of what he has seen and heard
without being deterred by the consequences of his action.
S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p. 76.
One proud, surly, lordly word, one needless contention, one covetous action may cut the throat of many a sermon, and blast
the fruit of all that you have been doing.
Richard Baxter in Gildas Salvanus: The Reformed Pastor.
I care not where I go or how I live or what I endure so that I may save souls. When I sleep, I dream of them; when I awake,
they are first in my thoughts.
Britain's King George V was to give the opening address at a special disarmament conference, with the speech relayed by radio
to the U.S. As the broadcast was about to begin, a cable broke in the New York radio station, and more than a million listeners
were left without sound. A junior mechanic in the station, Harold Vivien, solved the problem by picking up both ends of the
cable and allowing 250 volts of electricity to pass through him. He was the living
link that allowed the king's message to get through.
Warren Wiersbe, Prokope, July-August, 1988, p. 3.
Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original "race" run to save
lives. Back in January of 1926, six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an
outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults
with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. But it wasn't long before Dr. Welch's supply ran out, and the nearest
serum was in Nenana, Alaska--1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a group of trappers and prospectors
volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams!
Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out from Nome while another, carrying
the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite, fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after
144 hours in minus 50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was lost to the potential
epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life.
A Christian baroness, living in the highlands of Nairobi, Kenya, told of a young national who was employed as her houseboy. After
three months he asked the baroness to give him a letter of reference to a friendly sheik some miles away. The baroness, not
wishing the houseboy to leave just when he had learned the routine of the household, offered to increase his pay. The lad
replied that he was not leaving for higher pay. Rather, he had decided he would become either a Christian or a Moslem. This was
why he had come to work for the baroness for three months. He had wished to see how Christians acted. Now he wanted to work
for three months for the sheik to observe the ways of the Moslems. Then he would decide which way of life he would follow.
The baroness was stunned as she recalled her many blemishes in her dealings with the houseboy. She could only
exclaim, "Why didn't you tell me at the beginning!"
Leslie B. Flynn, Dare to Care Like Jesus.
As D.L. Moody walked down a Chicago street one day, he saw a man leaning against a lamppost. The evangelist gently put his hand
on the man's shoulder and asked him if he was a Christian. The fellow raised his fists and angrily exclaimed, "Mind your own
"I'm sorry if I've offended you," said Moody, "but to be very frank, that IS my business!"
Even if people reject the gospel, we still must love them.
A good example of this was reported by Ralph Neighbour, pastor of Houston's West Memorial Baptist Church (in DEATH AND THE CARING
COMMUNITY, by Larry Richards and Paul Johnson):
Jack had been president of a large corporation, and when he got cancer, they ruthlessly dumped him. He went through his
insurance, used his life savings, and had practically nothing left.
I visited him with one of my deacons, who said, "Jack, you speak so openly about the brief life you have left. I wonder if
you've prepared for your life after death?"
Jack stood up, livid with rage. "You *** *** *** *** Christians. All you ever think about is what's going to happen
to me after I die. If your God is so great, why doesn't He do something about the real problems of life?" He went on to tell
us he was leaving his wife penniless and his daughter without money for college. The he ordered us out.
Later my deacon insisted we go back. We did. "Jack, I know I offended you," he said. "I humbly
apologize. But I want you to know I've been working since then. Your first problem is where your family will live after you die.
A realtor in our church has agreed to sell your house and give your wife his commission.
"I guarantee you that, if you'll permit us, some other men and I will make the house payments until it's sold.
"Then, I've contacted the owner of an apartment house down the street. He's offered your wife a three-bedroom apartment
plus free utilities and an $850-a-month salary in return for her collecting rents and supervising plumbing and electrical repairs.
The income from your house should pay for your daughter's college. I just want you to know your family will be cared for."
Jack cried like a baby. He died shortly thereafter, so wrapped in pain he never
accepted Christ. But he experienced God's love even while rejecting Him. And his widow, touched by the caring
Christians, responded to the gospel message.
Larry Richards and Paul Johnson, Death and the
Sometimes telling a story has as much effect on the teller as it does the listeners. Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher,
"My grandfather was lame. Once they asked him to tell a story about his teacher, and he related how his master used to
hop and dance while he prayed. My grandfather rose as he spoke and was so swept away by his story that he himself began to hop
and dance to show how the master had done. From that hour he was cured of his lameness."
When we tell the story of our Master, we too experience His power.
D.L. Moody and once spoke with a woman who didn't like his method of evangelism. "I don't really like mine all that much either.
What's yours?" She replied that she didn't have one. Moody said, "Then I like mine better than yours."
Timothy K. Jones.
During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, there was a shortage of currency in the British Empire. Representatives carefully
searched the nation in hopes of finding silver to meet the emergency. After one month, the committee returned with its
report. "We have searched the Empire in vain seeking to find silver. To our dismay, we found none anywhere except in the
cathedrals where the statues of the saints are made of choice silver."
To this, Oliver Cromwell eloquently answered, "Let's melt down the saints and put them into circulation."
G. Sweeting, How to Witness Successfully.
A good witness isn't like a salesman, emphasis is on a person rather than a product. A good witness is like a signpost. It
doesn't matter whether it is old, young, pretty, ugly; it has to point the right direction and be able to be understood. We are
witnesses to Christ, we point to him.
John White, The Fight.
Many years ago some men were panning for gold in Montana, and one of them found an unusual stone. Breaking it open, he was excited
to see that it contained gold. Working eagerly, the men soon discovered an abundance of the precious metal. Happily, they
began shouting with delight, "We've found it! We've found gold! We're rich!" They had to interrupt their celebrating, though, to
go into a nearby town and stock up on supplies. Before they left camp, the men agreed not to tell a soul about their find.
Indeed, no one breathed a word about it to anyone while they were in town. Much to their dismay, however, when they were about to
return, hundreds of men were prepared to follow them. When they asked the crowd to tell who "squealed," the reply came, "No one
had to. Your faces showed it!"
Nineteen out of every twenty who become Christians do so before they reach the age of 24.
After 25, only one in 10,000
After 35, only one in 40,000
After 45, only one in 200,000
After 55, only one in 300,000
After 65, only one in 500,000
After 74, only one in 700,000.
Leadership, V. 1, p.55.
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, evangelist and founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, told a simple story from his life. It
seems that one day Dr. Chafer was walking along the street when he encountered a flagman sitting in a little house at a railroad
crossing. He noticed that the man was reading a large family Bible. Though a sign on the door said, "No Admittance,"
Dr. Chafer went boldly through the door to greet the man. In reply to a question from Dr. Chafer, the man said that he read the
Bible a lot. So Chafer asked a second question--one most people are too timid to ask these days--"Are you saved?"
The answer of the flagman carries the sentiments of many: "I never could be
good enough to be saved."
Dr. Chafer countered, "Friend, if God would make an exception of your case, and give you salvation
outright as a gift, would you receive it?"
"Mister," the flagman replied, "I don't know what brand of fool you think I am that I
wouldn't take a gift like that!"
Chafer asked the flagman to read John 10:28. It took the man awhile to find the passage, but
then he read, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish..." Then Chafer directed him to Romans 6:23, where he
read, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The flagman was amazed. He said to Dr. Chafer, "Stranger, I don't know who you are, but you've
done more for me today than any other man." Chafer crisply replied, "What have I done for you? I've got you in a trap. You
told me that if it was a gift, you'd accept it. Now, what are you going to do about that?" "I will accept it right now," the
flagman responded. And he did. Dr. Chafer prayed with him and left. That is the simplicity of the gospel. The gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Today in the Word, May, 1990.