Would you like to hear me speak on “Bringing Jesus to Work?” I’ve been invited to address the men’s group of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church on September 25th at 7 AM. If you would like to join me, please click for more details. Registration closes Sunday morning.
This is the story of how I became the guy who talks about Jesus in normal conversations.
“I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve,” Tom told me.
Tom invited me into his office, and this is how he started the conversation.
“What does this have to do with me?” I asked.
“You seem to bring up God and Jesus in conversations all the time. It’s like normal for you to talk about God. That’s just not me,” he said. “I believe, as a Christian, I should talk about my faith but don’t feel comfortable doing it. Were you always this way?”
This brought back some memories.
I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ while going 80 miles an hour on I-16 East while headed to Savannah from Macon. I was listening to Adolph Coors IV tell his story. At the end of the speech, he asked me why I was holding on so tight. Why didn’t I surrender to the God who created me? And so I accepted Christ’s sacrifice. Confessed my sins. Released my guilt. Followed him as my Lord.
I had been fighting God since I walked away when I was 18 years old. Here I was at 40, tears in my eyes, asking him to take me back. I remember the joy of this reconciliation.
Then I told no one. Not even Kathy.
One night, after a Southeast Software Association meeting, I was walking to the parking lot to get in my car and go home. I made it a point to catch up with Bill Leonard. I wanted him to know I’d surrendered my life to Jesus. Of all the people I knew, I wanted to tell Bill. He had been helping me find my next step in seeking to know God.
I met Bill at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. He pointed me to a Bible study and invited me to other Christian business events. He never pushed but was always there to answer questions and make connections.
“I wanted you to know I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life,” I said.
“That is great news,” he exclaimed. “Now you need to be a table host at this year’s prayer breakfast.”
“I can’t do that. People know me. They would be shocked if I talked to them about Jesus. Invite people to a prayer breakfast? No way,” I said firmly.
I became a table host. I invited people.
All the people I invited were non-religious people. Those were the people who were my friends. This was difficult for me. In fact, I must confess, I was embarrassed. I was the guy who would either avoid God as a topic of any conversation or, if God came up, take a pretty aggressive position against religion. And now I was inviting them to a prayer breakfast.
The breakfast changed everything.
Everyone who attended thanked me when it was over. One said, “I was surprised you invited me to this. I had no idea you were a Christian.”
That’s the change.
I was public with my faith.
Somehow going to church allowed me to be a Christian but remain private about my faith. But once I invited people to a business event with a Christian focus, I was positioned as the Christian business guy. And I had no idea how to deal with this.
I say that because some of my friends wanted to talk about my faith. They’re friends. They’re interested. I would tell them what happened to me and how I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Some would ask what Jesus meant to me and if it had changed my life in any way. The point is, once I was “outed,” the conversations just started happening.
I realized God is calling everyone to him.
There is something inside each of us that knows there is a God. We just don’t know him or where to find him or even where to find out about him. But many of us are interested and want to have the conversation with a trusted friend rather than a preacher, pastor, or priest. Those people toe the company line. What happened to me and how I changed seemed to be interesting to the people who knew me.
I invited a few people to a prayer breakfast, and the next thing I knew, my faith was the center of conversation. It just happened.