Jill Jarrell Newsome
Saved On The Front Porch
This article was in this month's Decision magazine (Billy Graham Evangelical Association) about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
"Teresia Jearlds had no idea that Franklin Graham was in town until she asked some convenience store clerks what all the commotion was across the street at Legion Stadium. Returning to her house, beer in hand, she felt compelled to sit on her front porch and listen. 'I can't explain it,' she said. 'This voice in my head said, 'Teresia, go sit on that porch.'
When she heard Franklin's message and his invitation to accept Christ, Teresia knew she had to stand up.
'I'm standing up on my porch, crying like a baby, saying the prayer out loud. Since then, I cannot explain the peace that has come over me. I found every excuse not to go to church, but God brought church to my front yard.'"
This story got my attention in several ways. First, how important our witness is - it could save someone’s life for all eternity like Teresia. Second, if we are obedient God will do the rest!
In Luke Jesus tells the parable of the leaving the 99 sheep to look for the one lost sheep. Luke 15: 3-7, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." Several thousand decision cards were turned in in Wilmington so I am sure there were others. When I read this story, I could see Teresia standing on her front porch and I could hear Heaven rejoicing. I imagine it sounded like a touchdown for your favorite team....against your number one rival....on steroids..infinity! All of heaven rejoicing! All over her! Just that one! And Jesus loves and rejoices over each one of us that way! I do not know why I always find these stories so amazing. Luke 1: 37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
The story also amazes me that the Billy Graham Evangelical Association set up to share the Gospel and invited all of Wilmington. This girl did not choose to go but God put her at the right place at the right time to hear it anyway! Not only that, she sat there and listened to the whole thing AND participated. This was God! The BGEA was just being His hands and feet and that is what He asks of us. 1 Corinthians 12: 27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” He will do the rest!
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples in Acts 1: 8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Mark 16: 15, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But we were also told that God will do the growing - we just plant seeds. 1 Corinthians 3: 7, “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
I have read that what scares Christians the most about witnessing is that they feel too much responsibility. They feel they have to quote scripture. The article said we should think about the difference between a witness and an attorney. It is the job of the attorney to press the case, to show the evidence, and to ask for a decision. Jesus does not tell us to be His attorney. We do not have to convince people to accept Jesus. The Holy Spirit will do that. We are called and commanded to be a witness. That means we just have to share what we have personally seen, heard, experienced and how our lives have changed.
If we are the person outside the church on our porch it is time for us to stand up and cry out to Jesus. John 3: 16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
If you are a Christian but your priorities are all messed up, remember how great our God is. Ask God to give you joy and let Him help you find your way in His way. Jeremiah 29: 11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
And if you are nervous about “witnessing” remember, Jesus did not ask you to be His attorney. He commanded you to be a witness. Just share what you have seen, heard and experienced. To be a real follower we must witness.