Theology and Practice of Evangelism - Lesson 6

Sphere of Influence

Each of us has a sphere of influence in which only we can witness most effectively. “Please, God, make me aware of my opportunities for ministry.” Case study about what a pastor should say to a person he knows who is critically ill in a hospital.

Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Lesson 6
Watching Now
Sphere of Influence

I. Introduction to Sphere of Influence

A. Defining Sphere of Influence

B. Importance in Evangelism

II. Types of Spheres of Influence

A. Personal Sphere

1. Family

2. Friends

3. Co-workers

B. Church Sphere

1. Small Groups

2. Outreach Programs

3. Local Community

C. Wider Sphere

1. City and Region

2. Nation

3. Global

III. Developing and Expanding Your Sphere of Influence

A. Identifying Opportunities

B. Building Relationships

C. Sharing the Gospel

IV. Overcoming Challenges in Sphere of Influence Evangelism

A. Addressing Fear

B. Cultural Sensitivity

C. Perseverance and Prayer

  • In order to share the Gospel, you must know what it meant, and how people are understanding what you are saying. The gospel core is the least you can believe and still be a Christian. If the least you can believe is sufficient to get you saved, then the least you can believe is the most you can require of anyone.
  • Christianity is the only world religion with an understanding of grace. Your most important ministry will be helping people understand how much God loves them. The heart of the gospel is that God loves you. Sin happens when we attempt to live as if there is no God. God, since the fall has done everything he can to establish relationship. God wants to make himself known to you in a way that you can understand.
  • At the Fall, Satan gained control of the world. Jesus takes it back in Revelation 5 because he meets the qualifications. The core elements of the sermons of the apostles are authoritative proofs, prophecies fulfilled, God’s activities described, apostolic eyewitnesses and miracles proclaimed. You will be heard with authority to the degree you are willing to put your life on the line. You die spiritually when you rationalize sin. Wind moves from high pressure to low pressure. We access the power of the Spirit by repenting and believing. Two sins mentioned throughout scripture are self-reliance and oppressing the poor.
  • The lesson tells the story of a professor who faces personal struggles and overcomes them with the help of faith, healing, and learning to overcome sin, ultimately showing that it's possible to prevail over life's challenges with God's guidance.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the core components of the gospel message, its theological themes, and how to effectively communicate it for evangelism purposes.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into leveraging your personal, church, and wider spheres of influence to effectively share the Gospel, overcome challenges, and expand your evangelistic reach.
  • Gain insights into ministry experiences and the power of faith, prayer, personal testimony, and baptism stories to navigate emergency situations that are bigger than yourself.
  • You will learn from this lesson that you are uniquely equipped to minister to those in your sphere of influence and that the church is indispensable for your survival. By treating others with respect and recognizing each person's importance, the church can become the living, breathing body of Jesus Christ.
  • In this lesson, you will learn that people are often hurting, angry, lonely, or tired, ministry requires dependence on God and rejection is important, preaching the text is key, our weaknesses can be our strengths, and close community is crucial for doing the work of the kingdom, while leading someone to Christ without providing ample opportunity for growth and nurture is a mistake.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about Charlie Haley, a man with a pastoral background who is currently involved in retreat ministry and considering going into the mission field abroad. The lesson covers topics related to evangelism and ministry, including tract ministry, follow-up and discipleship, and the importance of love and forgiveness within one's sphere of influence. The lesson also discusses the importance of building relationships and addressing felt needs with spiritual solutions.
  • This lecture begins as Dr. Tuttle is relating a story about a lady he met on an airplane. Jesus chose people as disciples that he could demonstrate by showing and telling them, and then depend on them to reproduce what they had been shown and taught. When Jesus gets too close, we raise the religious question to change the subject. As a result of the sin in the garden, we lost our ability to perceive reality beyond the senses. The Holy Spirit came, not to compensate for the absence of Jesus, but to guarantee his presence. We hold the truth, but the world sets the agenda and has the right to ask its own questions.
  • Often, it is implied that once you commit your life to Christ, all your problems are solved. The Hebrew concept of soul is body, mind and spirit. The Greek concept is that soul and body are separate, and that soul is good and body is evil. Prophecy and spiritual gifts are essential for the body of Christ to function. In the teaching in mainline churches, there is sometimes a disconnect between faith and life.
  • Trusting the Spirit of God is the key in this lesson. By remembering and trusting the Spirit, one can be utterly dependent upon God and do the hard work in preaching. Dr. Tuttle shares his personal experience of trusting the Spirit and provides context for Paul's second missionary journey, including Paul's conversion and early ministry, Peter's vision, and the conversion of Gentiles. The Spirit of God also taught Saul how Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
  • Through a deep exploration of Wesley's Methodism and Calvin's Reformed tradition, you gain an understanding of their respective theological frameworks, evangelistic strategies, and lasting influences on modern evangelism.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the significance of Wesley's Societies, their organizational structure, theological practices, and the lasting impact on modern church practices.
  • By exploring the Ethiopian Eunuch story, you gain insights on divine guidance, Scripture's role in evangelism, and early church inclusivity, while learning to apply practical evangelistic lessons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively share the gospel through action evangelism by understanding its theological basis, applying key principles, employing various methods, and overcoming common obstacles.
  • You gain insights into action evangelism's importance, principles, and various methods, while learning to overcome fears and obstacles, and equipping others for effective Gospel sharing.

Dr. Tuttle teaches three critical points around evangelism: how to share your faith story, what evangelism is and how to approach it, and that God has more invested in evangelism than we do – He is in control. God is at work. He wants us to, "show up and pay attention [to the Spirit]," and to care about people enough to "press" them by asking probing questions about what they think and what's going on in their lives.

Evangelism is essentially about the core of the Gospel, ministering in your sphere of influence and sustaining those you reach.

Recommended Books

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one...

Can We Talk: Sharing Your Faith in a Pre-Christian World

Dr. Robert Tuttle, Jr.
Theology and Practice of Evangelism
Sphere of Influence
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] The following lectures provided by biblical training. The speaker is Dr. Robert Tuttle. For more information, go to WW dot Biblical training dot org. Three days a week for five years at the Y health Center, he pressed £300 on his 70th birthday. Wow. Really? He started his ministry at Muscle Beach. Yes, I read that in this book. And I was like. Oh, boy. Yeah. It's funny you meet somebody at one point in their life and you have a hard time envisioning what they've experienced in other, you know, times. Okay. Does it work? Your stand that. Establishing one's own sphere of influence. Messianic complex is hard. Problem is, I'm teaching a course online on evangelism. And I'm doing a lot of things online. That some of that is not a different course. Same different text. And most of it's different, but some of the stories I used in both classes, so it's hard to remember. This is really important. Each of you has a sphere of influence where only you can minister most effectively. You come into contact with people every day. I could not relate to nearly as easily as you can because of who you are. You looking at me? I'll turn half your friends flat off. Is that okay? Well, of course it is. It's inevitable. I have a sphere of influence where only I can minister most effectively. You have a sphere of influence for only you can minister most effectively. When I was first converted, I thought the whole world must be revengeful. It's called a messianic complex. I took the cure of the messianic complex. I'm sure I didn't tell you about my experience on the South Side of Chicago. My first church. 21 years old. Took a church in the South Side of Chicago.

[00:02:20] A fourth of my members were alcoholics. I got a phone call 2:00 in the morning. I'd been there about two months. I got a phone call 2:00 in the morning when my guy said, Rev, there's a man over here. There's no there's there's a man come into the house with a gun going to shoot me. I said, No, he's not. I got everything under control. I thought the South Side of Chicago was still a problem area because I had not yet arrived. I'm mean, I'm pumped, You understand? I'm really pumped. I'm jacked. I mean, I've just experienced this wonderful thing filled with the Holy Spirit. I mean, I am Jack. I said, No, no, he's not. I'll be there in 10 minutes. I put my little Nash Rambler on to where you don't know what a nice rambler is, but. But my little Nash Rambler on two wheels around the first corner came to a screeching halt in front of the man's house. And was a two story house. I remember the Stokes smokestack from Campbell's Soup was behind it and I could still get a whiff of the stockyards behind me. 35th Street. 35th. Every light in the house was on both floors. Never forget this. And I walked into the living room. I go charging into the living room, and there's a man standing there with a 45 pistol, a boar on a sucker about that big around. And I pointed my finger at him and said, You're not going to shoot my member. And he said, Yes, I am. And what's more, I'm going to start with you. Any turn at 45 on me, shoved it up under my nose and laid the hammer back. And when he laid the hammer back, I threw up all over him.

[00:04:12] He cursed and fast and ran to the toilet. And I called the police, which is what I should have done to begin with, and never made that mistake twice. That's a guaranteed cure for the Messianic complex. Whew. My goodness gracious. Please understand. God is not called you to save the world. That has already been done. God has called you to be faithful to your sphere of influence. You don't have to go poaching in someone else's sphere. This is what you do when I help you here. You get up every morning and you pray this prayer. Please, God, make me aware of my opportunities from ministry. You know, we charismatics, sometimes our spirituality. Cripples us. We pray. We pray. We pray over parking places, for crying out loud. Not that God's not interested in parking places, but when I get up in the morning and when I say God, make me aware of my opportunities for ministry, I assume God's interested in parking places so I don't stop to pray, get spiritual, to get a parking place. If it's right, I'll be there. And it's not right. It's not. I won't be there. I just assume that God has a lot invested my life. Not that I'm special. It's just that you got it. And so when I get up in the morning, I say, God, make me aware of my opportunities for ministry. Help me pay attention. I'm. I'm moving through the day. Doesn't mean that I'm not praying without ceasing. I'm aware of God's presence. I just don't have. Stop. Get on my knees like my Muslim friends to get God's attention. Are like my Buddhist friends who are on their knees sliding around the temple. And I'm not so sure that's that's that's not a good thing to do.

[00:06:20] It kind of got my attention. I watched them. Just moving that thing, getting out prostrate. Just the old dirty straight. Only about 10% are within our sphere of influence. On your good day. You had about 10% of what you shoot at. You know what that means If you're if you're the only one doing ministry in your church, 90% of the needs aren't being met. So how are you going to get all the needs met? You get everyone in on the fun. It truly is. Someone said to me, I said this morning. About ministry. Only 10% of us are called to be ministers or something. Well, I think everyone I truly believe in the priesthood, all believers. I think we're all chronicle of a minister. Doctor, lawyer, engine chief. We ordained some folks. We'd screw them up. Really mess them up. You help your lay people understand. Everyone has a sphere of influence for only they can minister most effectively. And believe me, your sphere is just as important as mine. And your spirit just as important as is. Are his or his or hers are his. Just as important. It'll be different because of who you are. But I'm telling you that when you serve a church, you're not yet ordained, are you? When you serve, you plan on serving a church one day. When you serve a church. If you try to do it all yourself, you'll burn out in 2 to 5 years. And if you try to do it out of your own steam, you'll do it quicker than that. Some of my brightest students burned out in 2 to 5 years because they were trying to do it out of their own steam and trying to do it all themselves. Be secure enough to realize.

[00:08:05] I mean, that's why churches have trouble with translations. I was writing a book one time on transitions, helping churches transition. And the ones that had the difficult time transitioning were the ones that did not understand lay ministry. And let's pray to do it all. God has called you to be Pastor Shepherd. But what the pastor and the shepherd does, it gets the people. He or she gets the people in touch with their own gifts for ministry. Because every person in the church. Has a sphere of influence for only they can minister most effectively. You will minister effectively in your sphere. You model that. But please disciple people, get them in touch with their own gift for ministry. I'll say it many times in this course. Our lay people are hesitant to do ministry. At least three reasons. You know what they are. They lack motivation. We've lost our sensitivity to fire and smoke. We don't understand why we no longer believe what's at stake. I cannot tell you how true that is. Oh, that's true. Yes. Universal. Are you mean like on the mission field among Christians? It's not true. Oh, boy. Not true amongst Christians. I thought you were talking about people of other religions. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. There are people. People, Amish people. Not only aware of of hell. They're doing battle with the enemy on a daily basis and they understand what's at stake. Absolutely. Thank you for bringing that up. I took 15 Garrett Evangelical students to. Brazil guy named Rick Barton. Fame. Interesting guy. Great crazy guy. Absolutely crazy. And his wife, Lucy, is that mover and shaker. I preached for 10 minutes and he had interpret for 30 and I'm not sure what was going on, but what was coming out of him was a whole lot better than what I was putting down.

[00:10:18] I've had that happen in Africa, too. Anyway, the invitation was for lies, salvation, baptism and the Holy Spirit, which is not necessary, I think normally are baptized in the Holy Spirit at the point of conversion, but salvation, baptism, the Holy Spirit, healing and deliverance. All right, 15 Northwestern students, you understand? And I'm saying they won't go anywhere near deliverance. Everyone went to Deliverance and they're get on their knees very humble and say, Nice devil, you know, I still. And you know what the devil will do? Yeah. Majority world. Not to third. One third, but third world. But majority world. What I call the majority world. The devil manifest himself and he began to manifest himself and would bear his teeth and bite my students. And you only have to get beat about once or twice. And you learned that you thought you were getting off like that move of sitting back here it in you. I was hoping you don't you only you only have to get bit once or twice. You learn how to take authority. Never, ever kneel in front of the devil. You hear me? Never, ever kneel in front of the devil. You take authority in the name of Jesus, you take authority. Never kneel in front of the devil. And those Northwestern students went back to Northwestern, Jack. I mean, they learned the principle. You will have to get bit by once, but once you learn how to take authority, they learn how to take authority and took that campus by storm. We had revival time for about six months. I also had another experience. So I'll tell you another experience about that trip. Went to a little town called a Chiba. It had a couple of million people. It's like saying little town in China now has 30 million people.

[00:12:07] Went to go to Cuba and there was a big church right down the middle of town with a tent. You know, one of these blow up tents. We put air in it. And a judge and his wife had started this church and like like three or 4000 members. But she was the mover and shaker, and half my students were women. So I thought it'd be good for her. To talk to our students at lunch the next day. I said, Would you mind coming and talking to our students about ministry from a woman's perspective? You see, I didn't say a woman's perspective, but I assumed she would understand what I wanted. So we're at lunch. I'm sitting at the back of the room, kind of all gathering. And all of a sudden I hear her out of her mouth and God fill my teeth with gold. I'm saying. Holy. Don't do that. These are Northwestern students. Don't do that. So I said, Excuse me, would you repeat that? She said, God, fill my teeth with gold. I said, May I come up there? She said. Come on up here. I said, would you mind opening your mouth? She opened her mouth, and I've never seen such gold in my life. I mean, the margins on these fillings was the margins were perfect. And I said, May I ask you a question? She said, Sure. I said. I'm not asking whether God did it. I don't care whether God did it. I want to know whether or not Dennis did it. She looked at me and said, No, Dennis has ever been in my mouth. And this woman, this woman, when she spoke, she rang true. She really did. She. There was something about this. She told me something.

[00:13:59] For truth. I believe it. I believe it was. You told me, Sandy. You told me some truth. I believe it. I said all If God, God did it, why gold? I mean, why wouldn't God just fill your teeth with an animal? And she said, Listen, listen. God feels my teeth with an animal out my mouth. What do people see? Teeth. God fills my teeth with gold out my mouth. What did they see? Miracle. Hundreds of people have come to Jesus because of these teeth. Now, I got to tell you, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I believe that. Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturdays. I tried to ask the right question just to make sure we were all we weren't misunderstanding. Anyway. Each of us has a sphere of influence where only a weakened minister most effectively. Matthew seven. Don't give two dogs What a sacred. Yeah. One Christian's dog is another Christian's disciple. I like that. I cannot minister effectively in your sphere of influence, but you can. My dog may be your disciple. Your dog may be my disciple. See what I'm saying? Be faithful to your sphere of influence. I've traveled so much that I kind of wore out the memories of my family. And so I'm down to my 83 year old dad. So I'm taking my 83 year old dad to New Zealand with me. Back when I was doing a down under circuit every two or three years. My dad. We're in San Francisco going to Auckland and I love New Zealand, by way. It's a great country. They took my wife there last year. And my dad sat next to when he likes the wind. I'm sitting in the middle and on that and on the aisle is a landscape architect.

[00:15:56] From San Francisco. And, you know, we're we're getting acquainted and. I said, What do you do? He said, I'm a landscape architect. And then he said, What do you do now? I never say I'm a minister ever, any more than I say I'm an evangelist. I'm professor of World Christianity. Read my card. People. Here. Too much. When you tell them you're an evangelist, it just a turn off. And so I just. I just. But my dad, who's a minister sitting next to me, I didn't want my dad to think I was ashamed of being a minister. I said, I'm a minister. I always say I'm a teacher, you know? And if you want to know more, you have to actually ask questions. I told him I'm a minister. He said, Well, I was and I. I'm an atheist. Almost like he proud of it and it caught me, but I said, Whoa. How does a landscape architect who gets to work with nature's beauty get to be an atheist? He said, Just lucky, I guess. My daddy poked me and said, Son, this man's going to be tough, even tougher. Then the landscape architect made a mistake. He asked me the wrong question. He said, Why would anyone want to be a minister? And I got to tell you, this man, I saw this man turn around from being an atheist. Proud to be an atheist. So that he would actually help me talk to him about God. It took 30 seconds. That's all it took. You know what happened? I said. He said, Why would anyone want to be a minister? I said, Let me ask you a question. I had not thought about this. I had never used the line before. I have not used it since.

[00:17:47] I said, if you could know for sure. There really is a God who loves and cares for you and who makes a power available to sustain you in your life, would you be interested? He said, You bet. I said, That's why I'm a minister. I want to help folks just like you. Come to know there really is a God who loves and cares for you and who makes a power available to sustain you in your life. He said, Tell me more. We're going to New Zealand, for God's sake. The only place he can hide is in the toilet. I had to be rude not to lead that man to Jesus. My dad just sat there the whole trip with. It's a no brainer. We still correspond. To this day. That was years ago. Yeah. You smart not pull that off. I'm not smart enough to pull out all. That man was in my sphere of influence for that moment. I was going just a month, two months ago. This is just two months ago. I'm going to Erie, Pennsylvania. To preach. For a weekend. One of my weekend gigs. I do it once a weekend. And I'm in Detroit sitting on an airplane getting ready to take off for Erie. And I've got somebody in Erie waiting on me to pick me up and take me to where I'm staying. The stewardess stands up and says, We're over. We got too much weight. We need two of you to volunteer to get off. And I got somebody waiting no matter what to do. This other guy is up and off. They said we gave you a $400 voucher and give you a place to stay. And I guarantee you a a a seat on the plane tomorrow morning, first thing tomorrow morning.

[00:19:35] So I got to thinking. I had my cell phone. I never forgot. I never. You've never seen the cell phone, but it's in the room. But I swapped out my cell phone call. This guy was waiting. I said, Do you mind if I come in tomorrow? He said, Not a problem. So I volunteered to get off. And here's this guy sitting out there. He's given up his ticket as well. They gave us and were chatting, you know, they gave us a $400 voucher, got us a room and the Marriott and with a great supper, gave us vouchers for supper. It was great time. That plane never left the ground. Everybody else on that plane got no voucher, had to pay for their own hotel and paid for their own supper and were not guaranteed a seat on the flight the next morning. We didn't know that until we got the error the next morning. Anyway, I'm getting acquainted with this guy. They're taking us together, you know, to the hotel. I noticed. And his briefcase, which is an open kind of briefcase. There was a Bible. And I said. You better be careful. You cut yourself on that thing, he said. What do you mean? I said it's not a Bible. Who said, You know, I just bought the first Bible, Aaron. I just bought it today. I'm thinking I need to get into God. Whoa. I mean, we had a glorious time. He has emailed me twice since I've been in Columbus with his wife. His name's Jesse. His wife named Katie. His daughter is Hannah, as other other is son, is Mac. And is his other. His other son is Calvin, Calvin, Mac and Hannah. Rachel. They're all praying for me this weekend that I can be effective.

[00:21:39] And teaching you folks, they're all this all these families that just two months ago I met this guy and he came to the worship services that weekend with this whole family. I know these folks now. The Maisy going home. Delta Airlines sometimes changes your flight. You know, you have updates and sometimes I don't pay much attention, attention to that. So I'm thinking my flight is at 330 in the afternoon. We're sitting in a restaurant at 115 in the afternoon, have just ordered our meal. And my host said. What in flight changed? I said, I don't know. I think it was, but they're never more than a few minutes, you know, He said, I think your flight leaves at 130. This is 115. We just order a meal. He went out to the car, came back and said, Your flight leaves in 15 minutes. We're just 5 minutes from the airport. I made the flight. I don't know how I made the flight. I made the flight. I go back to the back of the airplane where my seat is, and there's a screaming child baby in my seat where I'm to sit down. And there's no room underneath the seat for my briefcase. There's an empty seat back beyond. At the very end of their back. And there's a woman sitting there and I said, Do you mind if I sit here? There's room under there underneath the seat from my briefcase. She said, Of course, sit down. I remember they had just given me a little quilted blanket. The old women had. Oh, women like me. I really do. God bless them. I like them a lot. I can relate to old women. They got to be 90. Like I say, I can really relate to one.

[00:23:19] I sat out on the plane, tech takes off and we're getting acquainted. She's from Taiwan. I said, Oh, I've been to Taiwan. She had never met an Anglo who'd been to Taiwan. I said, I've been a couple of times. And she said, What do you do? And I said, I'm a teacher, you know. What do you teach? Theology. What's that? What's the LG? A sister study of God. She said, You know, it's interesting that you should say that. For the last six months. I have been aware of a presence in my life. That someone is looking after me. And that someone loves me. I said, Well, what do you think that is? She says, I think it's one of my long dead ancestors. I said, No, that's probably not one of your long dead ancestors. That's the Holy Spirit. Now. Leaving this woman to Jesus. I'm telling you, I gave her the blanket, just giving me. You know, you can't do this. You. You. You can't manage this. All I did. So help me God. Make me aware of my opportunities from ministry. When I get out of the bed in the morning, get on my knees. I got on my knees this morning at 4:00, begged God to help me cause you folks would be all over me. I mean, it's so important. To believe that God has more invested in what takes place in this room than I do, and God has more invested in what takes in this takes place in this room than you do. I know you're paid a lot of money to take this class. But God has more invested than you do. I know you had to fly all the way from Texas to take this class and the expense of staying in a hotel.

[00:25:11] But God has more invested in what takes place here than you do. This class is more important to God than it is to anyone in this room. And it's not much of a stretch to get out of bed in the morning and beg God. God, get me out of the way, please. Madam, the subject I'm teaching here this weekend, please don't let anything I do or say distract. From what needs to take place. Don't let my personality. Some of you might not be in my sphere of influence. For all I know, I might be turning some of you folks flat off. When you know who I am, you're taking a class. Knowing a little bit about who I am increases the odds of your being in my sphere of influence. But there's no guarantee. I've had people in my class just sit and scowl at me for a semester. Not like me at all. And is that okay? Well, of course it's okay. I came back from Europe with a Ph.D., a wire rimmed glasses, and Harriet Miers thinking I was their favorite son. And in the rural south. Did I tell you this yesterday? My father was a pastor. The lead church and the conference. The radio station was offering free time. I didn't tell you this offering free time for anyone who wanted to make a case for whatever I say a lot. Take some of that. I got. This is a mid sixties, you understand? I got on the radio and begged the people of Stanly County. This is in the rural South mid-sixties. I begged them to integrate their churches and when I walked out of the radio station, they were waiting on me. They didn't have their capstone, but I knew who they were.

[00:27:05] Half of members of my church. You know what they did? They took me by the tie, drugged me under an old oak tree and bit beat the 11 mischief out of me. I've still got lumps in the top of my head and scar tissue on the inside of my lip where they beat me. And about once every two months or so, they would run me off the road, drag me out of the car and beat the hell out of me. And Beth, how can you do this? I'm your pastor, for crying out loud. Somebody was was wired every Sunday that the moment I got off text, they were wired to stand up in the middle of my sermon and say, I don't have to listen to this ball anymore and walk out on me. That's very disconcerting for a young pastor. I had that happen more time. I had more crosses burned down on my lawn. I stopped filling in the holes where they burn the crosses. It's a very distinct noise to hear a kerosene. So cross go up. I had a bishop and the bishop that ordained me twice. Then my house got to preach that Sunday morning. Here goes the cross. He's back. The curtain. That's Billy. You don't want to cross burnings. Billy, I just. Black smoke like the whole neighborhood's going up and fire and flames. I had six members in that church. You know how many kids I had? The youth department. 80. We had concert with Bill Stages outside that year. To this day, I'm a legend in Stanley County. I'll tell you one more story. What? That was Stanley County, right, North Carolina. I had a man. A farmer. And his barn burned down. He thought he got the word out that if he ever caught me on his property, I was his mate.

[00:29:01] You understand that, being from Detroit? His barn burned down. So being his pastor, I go through the community taking out money to help pay for his barn. Had that lot of money in my pocket. It was back in the day, the great big wide tires. You don't remember that. But you weren't even born. But. But not in that time. You're 20 years old. I could you remember that? I know, but not just out about that big around. Yes, it got you into this great big wide. And I had my hand in my pocket around this weight of money. And I go up and knock on the door. Here comes the summertime long driveway, a dirt driveway about half a mile up to the house, piles up on the top of the hill, a little farmhouse. And the door was open, but the screen door was there. You enter this. And I knock on the door. I got my hand, him a poke around his money. And when he he sees me, he backs up, kick that door open. Bam! That door almost took my head off. And before I can peep, he's got me. By the time that great big old wire to swinging me around round is far more on the end of my to beat me on the top of the head with his other hand Got me by one time one hand and beat me on the top of the head with the other hand. And I got my hand in my pocket around enough money. I can't get my hand out of my pocket. I can't let go my tie. I'm a dead man because he's choking me to death. Not not told about the sound of a man's navel. I'm telling it can't be gold.

[00:30:36] Why not just blow bore? And I'm jibia. I too. I had cut it off. But I'm not. He's swinging me around, partner. How so? How could this be happening to me? Finally. I got loose from him. And there's blood in my eyes. I turn around and walking to my car. You know what he did? He ran up behind me and kicked me in a seat of the pants. And I said, Jesus, now I box for six years. Golden Gloves intramurals do. I said, Jesus, there's no man. I want to take off that. I'll take that off anybody. I cannot take that off air. I want to get him on a little and I won't hurt him bad. I turned on him and looked him in the face just so he knew I wasn't afraid of him. I sense God saying, Tuttle, if you're going to preach the gospel, you've got to live the gospel. And I'm turning around again to go to my car. And he said, Why don't you hit me? Why don't you hit me back? I turned on him just. Just to let him know I wasn't afraid of him. And said, Jesus, sir, Jesus won't let me. And God actually told me to put my bones bones in the car and go home. Imagine God talking to me that way. God needs to be sanctified. I come to that? I never got out of my pocket. I had to give that money back. The people who gave it to me. Two days later. Now get this. His wife later told me I had him. He did not sleep for three days. He did not take his clothes off for three days. He thought I was special. You know why? Because he knew I wasn't afraid.

[00:32:32] He could see it in my eyes. You know, I'm not afraid of you. Not your all. Trust me. Give it your best shot. I've been up before it and heard that bad. I had a biker threaten to shoot me last May, A year ago. These are just these crotch rockets going up the mountain. Drive me nuts. I can't even think so. I go out and have a little talk with them. One of them jumped off his rock and said, I'm going to help you. I'm a 70 year old man. I said, You're going to what? He said, I want to help you. I said, You're going to help an old man. Where's the fun in that? What did your mama teach you? Go ahead and give it your best shot. Let's get you to jail where you belong. I would. To God He was ready to die as I am. He said I'm more ready to die. I said, That means one of two things. It means either you got nothing to live for or you know Jesus. Do you know Jesus? He said, No, I don't know Jesus. I said, Let me tell you about Jesus. I gave him 15 minutes of Jesus. He got on his rocket and went home. Anyway, back to this guy. But I was. I was. I was I had just preached to young people in Houston, Florida, five years ago, and I preached Friday evening at 7:00. They said, you got to come back at 1030 and price to 350 young people at a pizza party at the football game. I said, No, I'm not going to do that. They said, But we told them, You're coming. I said. I had to go back to my room and take a nap.

[00:34:04] I get up in front of 350 kids. They are wild. You know, I said. I said human to stand up here and sing and dance and pretend to entertain you, which I cannot do. They said, Oh, well, first of all, I said, I'm 65 years old. You know what that means? In unison, they said, No, no, I'm 65 years old. You know what that means? You're old. I said, Yeah, it also means. 20 years from now, I'm in the ground. You're still in your prime. You're going to stand up here and sing and dance and pretend to entertain you. Are you going to tell you something that'll change your lives forever? I said, tell us something. So I gave him 15 minutes to do this. Don't ask me for 60 minutes. I gave him all I had. And 15 minutes after I gave him 15 minutes. Do you know what they did? I said, You do what Jesus tells you to do. You're not gonna win football games. They won the game. You take the state back for God and they applauded Jesus. Ha, ha. Well, I took the first plane out of town. Good boy. Anyway, this guy, three days later, this guy went back again by the time. Just 300 people in this town and had a general store, which is also for gasoline. And I'm walking now the general store with a sack full of groceries, a man. And he had drove a white Datsun truck. You'll learn something in the story. This was back in the days when you couldn't put your own gasoline in. You had to have an attendant to put the gasoline in the truck. So the attendant put in gasoline. He's a little white Datsun truck. It's a hot summer day.

[00:35:39] Hey, stand the wheel when the window roll down, sit behind the wheel. I just. Something came over me. I got a sack full of groceries. I went over to him, leaned over, looked at Buford. I should put my hand in the wind to put my finger on his nose. I said, Buford. You better pray to God in heaven. I never wipe out on Jesus, because if I do, do, I'm coming. Your number one. You know what Buford did? He went home, slept like a baby. Let him run off the hook. So I'm going to just kept my hands off of him. I had him. But I had to put my finger on his nose and stick. Just lost him. And I've worried about it ever since the guard had already done the work. I had him. Here's a freedom. And I had to go put my hands on him and hold him. And he went home and prayed and slept like a baby. Shoot, he ain't no different than anybody. I thought he was different. Sorry to tell you that. Well, I've thought about that a bunch and regretted it. He was my member, my church. Let me read you something. I had a student bring this to me. I want you to read it with me. 932 Thursday night. I'm poring endlessly over an aggregation of fragmentary list. A few organize sheets and several small scraps of improvised paper. Reminding myself of things like. Bring betting props, pick up nine volt battery, four CD player, buy candy, bring a pair of pliers and get more duct tape. My solicitor's examination and reexamination of everything I've already written down for the sake of retaining and retaining does nothing for my ability to relax. Tomorrow, 40 high school seniors will be delivered to the doorstep of my place of employment with the expectation that I will teach them something valuable and show them a good time in the process.

[00:38:05] I am preparing for Friday's high school field trip and the only way I know how restlessly. My temporary I.D. fix is interrupted by an instant message. Heidi asked if I'd like to go downtown and hear a band. Immediately. I recognize that I won't sleep tonight if I go. But this thought is seasoned by the knowledge that I am. Unlike the sleep sleep. If I stay in the grand scheme of things that are good for my psychological well-being. On this day, hearing a band seemed a brilliant idea. We leave for downtown, speaking loudly over a chorus of latter era Switchfoot. Weary and enthusiastic. I feel free for the first time tonight. He pulled up to the curb and exit, careful to park on the side of the road, not subject to a constant blitzkrieg of pigeon droppings. We wander through the faint sizzling sound of late night sprinkles, sprinklers, slaking nearby lawns delivering clumsy, calculated steps to avoid the trails and puddles of accumulated water. We approach a parking meter? Not at all. Unlike every parking meter we have already passed. But for the lone and pensive old man leaning his arms atop to rest. As we draw close enough, he begins to speak to us. He tells us that he has no money. He tells us that he is from Somalia, but has lost his papers. He tells us that he needs enough changed to stay at the homeless shelter or he'll have to sleep under the bridge. He tells us that God knows that he is in need. He scans our faces for recognition. Heidi's eyes are transparent and I see her struggling. I'm sorry, she tells him, but I can't give you cash. If. If you want to come with us, I can buy you something to eat.

[00:40:15] His eyes brighten tangibly and he says over a subway sandwiches? Sure. Heidi replies. And we're off. I asked the man his name, and now he came here and how he came here from Somalia. His name is Mohammed, and he tells us of how he traveled from San Diego to Jacksonville with a carnival, how his bag was stolen with his Social Security card and working papers, how the carnival abandoned him without pay at their last stop. The story of how he came from Somalia is lost in dialog, but we have already arrived at the subway. Get any plan you like, says Heidi. And Mohammed orders a 12 inch roast beef sub and a chocolate chip cookie. Heidi approaches the counter for the author and the cashier eyes are trio with what I can only describe as a semblance of disgust. He swipes her card and she begins to sign the receipt. The cashier looks at her, looks at Muhammad, looks at her again. You know, he was just here eating 15 minutes ago. Heidi looked up at the cashier, nonplused, but does not respond. She looks down and finishes with the receipt. The three of us walk out of the restaurant in silence and when we arrive outside. Muhammad Thanks, Heidi. We shake hands and he says that God will bless us. So I'm conflicted. I feel anger. I felt it from the moment the cashier revealed that Muhammad was eating at Subway only 15 minutes prior and yet, strangely, are not so strangely. I'm not angry with Muhammad. I am angry with the cashier. I'm certain scam artist are not this weary. Old man had no idea when or where his next meal was arriving. It doesn't matter if he was choosing this path or if this path was thrust upon him.

[00:42:13] Why do so many people believe that choosing to live off the charity or are naive are not naivete? Naivete of others makes for an easy life. A thing is not easy by virtue of being a choice. Perhaps he was an addict. Perhaps he was a liar. Perhaps he picked out these two credulous girls a mile and a distance. So what? I can't blame Mohammed. I am Mohammed. There are days when we are all Mohammed. There are days when I'm so subject to my appetite. Such a slave, to my own desires that I am numb to God's faithfulness. There are days I cannot wait on my manna from heaven. So I trick my neighbor out of hers and the cashier, perhaps even meaning well. And all his condescension becomes my accuser to. I cannot begrudge him his 12 inch serve and chocolate chip cookie. How he chose to love this man as best she could, best she knew how, and it was beautiful. Perhaps there is something that gives me hope to know that humanity can still be scammed. How's that for prose? That's a worthy little piece of prose, folks. I would. God, I could write half that. Well, I wrote a novel, wants to give it to my wife, and she read it and gave it back to me and said, Well, you're no Charles Frazier. Who wrote Cold Mountain. You know, they happen to live in Asheville, in my home. Would the God my prose was that good in that great. We are, Mohammed. There but for the grace of God, folks. I want to give you a case study, a first case study. Is Chapter four, not Chapter eight. So I want to go back here. What page did I say? It's on.

[00:44:11] And it's in chapter four. Yeah. 45. Okay. Anyway, let's read this case study. Tom Hamilton, a young pastor, sat listening intently to Amy, the young girl sobbing in front of him. It was 245 Sunday morning. They sat in a small waiting room outside the intensive care unit in a local hospital. Visitors were allowed into the ICU on the hour one at a time, but only for 10 minutes. Earlier that night. Amy and her boyfriend Pete are Peter Pete Mullins. Had been involved in an automobile accident. She had been treated for minor cuts and bruises and released, but paid had been severely injured and the prognosis was not good. His internal injuries were so serious that most of his major organs were not functioning properly, although he had an occasional moment of consciousness. The chances that he would survived the night were slim. We're all striding the core of the gospel. Pete's parents had just stepped out of the waiting room. Leaving Amy and Tom alone, she immediately drew him aside and while sobbing, said, There's something I must tell you. I know Pete's parents think he is a good Christian, but I am not so sure. Just recently, he has started to agree with his parents and no longer believes that he must have faith in Jesus. All that is necessary, he claims, is to believe in God. Christ was a man, a prophet, maybe, but nothing more. Tom, I'm worried. Is it enough simply to believe that God is, although he does not know what Peter's dying? Can you say something to him, please? Background. Tom Hamilton is the pastor of New Hope Congregational Church. He has served that church for just over three years and is, according to those who know him best, a loving, caring person who has a heart for his people.

[00:46:21] He also has a heart for evangelism and makes every attempt to preach the whole gospel. In fact, some have complained that Tom is too evangelistic. Those most offended by Tom's zeal were Pete's parents, the Marlins. Several months earlier. The issue regarding Tom's evangelistic concern came to that, came to a head at one of the church board meetings. Tom was introducing a plan for involving more church members in the task of evangelism. When Bob Mullins Pete's father jumped to his feet. Tom, I object to all of this. You're a good pastor. We know that you care for people. Our church is growing. More and more families are attending our services. Why put all of this in jeopardy with an evangelistic approach that will turn them off? Your God is too small. You need to soften your appeal to include those who might understand God differently. Surely the God of them, the God of the Muslim, is the same as the God of the Christian. What difference does it make just so long as we are sincere? Well, do what Jesus did. Preach sermons about everyday life. Let's feed the hungry bellies and let God tend to the soul. With that, Bob sat down to mild applause. Obviously pleased with himself. A few others made additional comments before the plan was tabled for further consideration. Pete Mullins Pete is just 17. He was raised in a Christian home and attended church regularly. In fact, he was the president of the Youth Fellowship. When you know it, Tom and Pete had an extensive close relationship. Pete admired Tom, and two years earlier had expressed a sincere desire to know God better. Tom had challenged him on a number of occasions to make Jesus Christ Lord of his life.

[00:48:11] But Pete had kept putting it off, saying, All in good time, Tom. All in good time, Amy. His girlfriend had wanted to press the matter, but had kept putting it off. The night of the accident, Bob Mullins had called Tom to the hospital when Tom arrived. Bob and Shirley Mullins were warm and appreciative, but then Bob added. Go in there and see him. But if he should be conscious, do not get to evangelistic. He does not know just how serious it is. And you will scare him to death. Comfort him. He's already a Christian. Just let him know we love him and pray for him. The dilemma. Tom Foreman is spinning. Pete's parents are concerned for Pete's comfort and support. Amy is concerned for his salvation. Tom is concerned for both. Pate no doubt feels helpless. He has no freedom. Tubes are running in and out of him, Tom. Thanks to himself. What can I say? He probably won't even be conscious. Just at that moment, the doors to the ICU are open. Tom walks into the room. He sees Pete as he approaches the bed. He hears the machines whirring. Suddenly, Pete's eyes open. This case has a number of facets. Even if the decision is made to say something, what should Tom say and how should he say it? What about Pete? What might he be feeling? How can Tom minister most effectively to him if God does not interfere? Pete will probably not live out the night. What can Tom realistically hope to accomplish in 10 minutes as pastor? What is Tom's responsibility to Pete? Should he take Pete's parents advice? Should he take Amy's advice? Questions to consider. What are the issues regarding Pete's relationship with God? What is your advice to Tom regarding Pete's, regarding Pete, regarding his parents, and regarding Amy? What would you do? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in all of this? What about the issue of healing? What you want people on the cheap.

[00:50:37] Those five break up are Maybe, Maybe. Why don't we have. For here. For here. And then you three. Okay. You can go in the other room. Stay for about. Oh. How long do you need? 20, 20 minutes. Just to talk about this, and then I want to come back and talk amongst ourselves.