A Post-Pandemic Passion: A Burning Heart For People!
By Johnny Jernigan
I have always been intrigued by the Prophet Jeremiah. He was just like us. He had a desire to see people turn their lives to God, but, fear, intimidation and ridicule seems to have derailed him more than once. He wanted his message to penetrate the hearts of his audience, but he was mocked, beaten and criticized for what he had to say. So, where did that leave Jeremiah?
In Jeremiah chapter 20, he has a discussion with God. He says in verse 7 of chapter 20 that, “God deceived him.” He asks, why did you send me to talk to this kind of culture? But then he offers a rhetorical statement in verse 9. He says, “but if I say, I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in.” Then he makes this truly shocking statement: “indeed I cannot.” Wait a minute. He was mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and insulted, and yet, he still wanted to declare God’s heart to these people? Yes, and he did.
That brings me to this pandemic.
I have found in these past several weeks that people are scared, fearful, and searching for meaning in this quarantine. They want to talk. Like Jeremiah, we have a culture that often ridicules, mocks, or even rejects our message. So what do we do? We must ask God for a burning inside of us so that “his burning will force us to speak to this culture.”
How? I am glad you asked.
People often ask me, how do you talk to people about Jesus so easily? My response is, I just ask kind, loving, and direct questions. As I interact with people, I ask these kinds of questions:
—Are you a Christian? —Can I tell you the greatest thing that has ever happened to me? —Are you a believer?
This cuts right to the heart of each heart. Are they a follower of Jesus, or some other religious leader? Their response will guide you which way to go from there in the conversation. This allows you to then share your story of salvation or even the Roman’s Road scriptures. It is so exciting where this takes the dialogue with others as the Holy Spirit steps in on the scene.
Let me challenge you to ask direct questions. Ask very loving questions, but also “very direct” heart questions. These questions prompt the heart so that you can speak about what burns in you, “from the inside.” This way, your heart is not burned because you could not get the conversation started. I dare you to try this. It is amazing where things go from there! Questions open the heart and the mind of the listener for open and passionate dialogue.
I dare you, ask someone a Jesus question, NOW! Then, hang on for the ride of your life!!!