I was going to share my current insights in Matthew and the Sermon on the Mount in this week’s blog, but I will postpone it a week. I just felt impressed to share the insights in my personal walk as of late, because it is in line with my previous blogs from the start of the year.
As addressed in one of those blogs, I felt as the end of last year was nearing, God was calling me to “drive.” I was inspired to drive in many areas of my life. To drive with any indecision. To drive in my relationships. To drive in my home and my workplace. To drive with my husband. And to drive in church.
This would most definitely be due to the fact that so often I am afraid to make a wrong decision, to be wrong or to fail. The result can be complacency or indifference. I also, since moving to Europe, have discovered how my American traits so easily offend. I speak honestly and openly. I am free. Passionate. Uninhibited. I don’t hide my faith. I surmise, too, that what is meant as encouragement stemming from the Word of God comes off as overconfidence, pushy, know-it-all-y. This has made me passive and quiet. I have sort-of lost my footing, and some confidence, too.
So God has told me to “Drive!”
Feeling like I am blessed here with time right now (this is not the case during the busy summer months, though), I have wanted to bless God with a tithe of time. Trusting God with His Word, pushing myself to a new challenge, getting out of my comfort zone, wanting to be a presence in my community, feeling like a drastic shift in the world is around the corner, I have stepped out in faith.
I have begun a mid-week Bible study at a cafe in my hometown. That is one thing, and another is street evangelism. One day of every weekend, my husband, myself, and a friend go out onto the promenade and hold up a sign. “Are you going to Heaven? Take the free test.”
Of course, as you can imagine, we get some strange looks doing our street outreach. We get ignored. We get jeered at. But some people take us seriously. It is these people I want to talk about.
Now, first, I think it is important to behave like Jesus did. Apart from His disciples, He didn’t approach people; they approached Him. And second, He didn’t come for the well; He came for the sick. Keeping this in mind, I want to reach the spiritually “ill,” so I don’t mind if people think me odd. The sick and wounded will come as they will.
Having never done anything like this in Europe before, knowing the indifference of the Spanish, and that most of them are professing atheists, if not Catholics, I am surprised at their response! I can tell you, even though it is the start of the year, I feel so blessed by doing this already.
Some of you may be embarrassed just thinking about the idea of standing on a corner of the street with a sign, and some of you may be inspired. If only you could see the look on the face of someone who has perhaps gone to church for years but never understood the gospel or has no church background at all hear the Good News. The Costa del Sol is a multi-cultural place. There are seriously dozens of nations represented here, and not just travelers.
We have been approached by a couple of British people, but most of those wanting to know what we have to share have been Spanish and North African. Those raised in Islam have a strong spiritual seed and already have a deep faith-base. They believe in God and that Jesus was a prophet.
But like the Spanish Catholics we have encountered, their faith is works-based. Imagine the look in their eyes when they hear that God will accept them as they are. That He loves them. Full stop. That we enter a relationship with God based on our faith in His Son, Jesus. That all it takes to begin this rewarding journey is to believe that Jesus is His Son.
I do realize that it is God that removes the scales and opens the eyes. I also know that “…Faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God…” So it is my desire to be a beacon and to spread the Word through a street ministry.
Healings and super miracles aren’t even necessary for this to happen. Signs and wonders don’t have to be present. All I had to say before I saw a heavy weight lift from three beautiful, young Islamic girls was that God’s gift of grace was through faith.
What amazed me was the response of the Spaniards. Those we have spoken to have absolutely no concept of grace. Their journey is a religious one, filled with must-do’s, do-not’s, tradition, and superstition or quite the opposite, with a real anger, hatred or denial of God
After being approached by Spaniards in either category, giving them an explanation in my best Spanish, at first, I thought my explanation of grace in Spanish was a really poor translation. After seeking someone to translate better, the deer-in-the-headlights look remained in those receiving my message. It wasn’t my Spanish that confused them, it was the message. Works are so engrained in religion.
One Spanish man took a minute to grasp the idea. After hearing enough, and comprehending what he had heard, after being moved, he moved along. The wave he gave us, the look of humility in his eye, the blessing he spoke over us as he left was sincere. Above all, his body language told us he was touched and grateful that someone cared enough for him and his neighbors to stand on the street in the driving wind to tell them God loved them. That was satisfaction enough for me.
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…