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DocReits December 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Hi David,

I appreciate your counsel to make friends of the world and your theme on removing “self” in evangelism. I have a captive audience in the patients I see as a doctor and I use this as a place to plant seeds. I try, during different times in the exam, to add that everything we do is just postponing the inevitable, which is that, “no one escapes this life alive”.

That often brings the conversation around to my point that it is sad for those who have no hope beyond the grave. Some are amenable to talk further… others fold their arms in defiance. I then simply state that I am a Christian and my hope is in Jesus.

Some wish to continue, some remain silent. I then state that we have all broken God’s Laws and that our only hope for rescue from God’s judgment is to turn from our sins and trust Christ. “I need God’s forgiveness more than anyone” is how I conclude.

If silence remains I simply finish my exam and escort the patient out. This all takes just a few minutes. I don’t press for anything. I simply plant the seed. Some no longer visit me, which is OK. Some say, “I have never thought of it that way”, which is more OK. Seeds…

A few problems, if you will allow, with the time taken in building friendships, is that people diie. The other problem I have found, is that people come to know you well, and you never get around to switching your topic of conversation around to spiritual matters, as your basis for friendship has always been around secular matters. I appreciate the bicycle story and your switching topics…that is not the norm.

Am i saying don’t build friendships…No! I am saying that perhaps there is a middle ground. Setting aside the folks who make spiritual notches in their gun belts, I believe there has to be an immediacy and plaintive appeal(tears as General William Booth advised) in warning the lost of their condition.

Western Christianity is way too much, IMO, into “pot luck evangelism”. Trust me, I was a youth minister for years and we used every tactic known to modern man to get the lost into the corral. Soft evangelism was our method. “God has a wonderful plan for your life”. “God wants to be your friend”. “Won’t you let God be your friend so you can live in heaven forever?” “Lets make a deal…your sins for God’s forgiveness”.

All of those “ploys” are indirectly true…and that, IMO, is/was fatal. Sure, some were saved, praise God. But many were like your bicycle friend. They were sorry, all right, for the things they did wrong, but it ended there. “Altar Christians”, I called them. Every Sunday(or twice a year) they came to the altar, and cried like babies, but nothing changed. They were just as much the sons of hell the next week as before the altar trip.

So what am I saying. Please reference for me one place in Scripture where God calls unbelievers His friends? John 15:13 you would cite, but it is followed by John 15:14, only those who do what God commands are His friends. Show me one place where God says He has a wonderful plan for the unbeliever’s life?(Jeremiah does not count, as that promise was to the nation of Israel, who went immediately into their 70 year captivity). All of those people(contemporary to the prophecy of Jeremiah) died in captivity…the nation only survived.

God’s “wonderful” plan for the unbeliever is hell! That reality follows me daily. It should haunt all Christians. Does that give us pride in knowing we escaped perdition…God forbid! Does it give me a reason to pray for boldness in warning (not sharing, in some soft speak friendship evangelism) that our(theirs and mine) destiny lies in One hope, One Person, One God…Jesus Christ..the only One capable of redeeming us from eternity in hell? Yes!!

God shake our Western Christian world to the very core of our being. Unfortunately/fortunately persecution will be the antidote to the poison coursing through our sleeping souls. It is coming. Perhaps not in my lifetime but the winds of change are upon our country. Christians are being marginalized more every day. It is currently a hate crime to speak the truth. Our Christian parents would shudder in disbelief.

Time is of the essence. I think most of the Christian’s efforts must be directed into knowing the few scriptures necessary to tell folks why they believe what they believe.
In my estimation, approximately 10-15% of Christians can do this. That is tragic.
All of our efforts must be in speaking the truth in love:

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Eph 4:14,15).

Forgive me for this aggressive post. I know where you are coming from in making friends of the world. Some of my dearest friends are atheists. I never leave a meal with them without themselves or myself stating that they know where I am coming from…that they must trust Christ. In the end, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts, whom He will. We must trust Him.

I so desperately want them saved.

DocReits

David December 27, 2013 at 7:15 am

hello David, I just want to share something.
I have a deaf step sister, About 35 years ago I was with my family [and step mother, sister and brother] and I noted that there was no-one spending time with Wendy [my deaf step sister]. She would be sitting with us not being rude by reading, or going to her room, but couldn`t “speak“ or join our conversation. I am a Christian, and was one then too. So I asked Wendy to teach me sign language, which she enjoyed, and after a few days we were having our own conversation, chatting, and so forth. We really had a great time.
Now she has become a Christian, loving the Lord, not because I tried to push, or preach to her. Just being her friend and that was enough.
She once remarked that I was the only one who bothered to take time to learn from her.
Bless your ministry brother.
Yours in Christ, David from central Europe

Dr.Patricia Anderson June 9, 2019 at 6:06 pm

This article was wonderfully informative. I thank you for it. As a retired Surgeon and now a Pastor I was blessed by this.





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