The Pastor's Windshield for Sunday, January 15, 2023
You may remember the fictional dog, Lassie, from the shows, movies, or books that featured her. Lassie was portrayed as a beautiful Collie, a dog breed that’s known for friendliness and affection.
Those positive characteristics of Collies makes “LASSIE” an appropriate acronym for some basic points about Christian outreach. In your witness of Christ in your daily life, the six elements of “LASSIE” would be helpful for you to remember and to practice. “LASSIE” stands for Listen, Ask, Seek, Share, Invite, and Encourage. These elements of relational evangelism are not necessarily sequential but are all positive things to keep in mind as you reach out to loved ones and neighbors with the Gospel. Here are some more thoughts:
Listen – The book of Proverbs emphasizes listening. Proverbs 17:27 says, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” You might think that the first step in witnessing would be opening your mouth to talk about Jesus. Hopefully you get to that point, but first, be a listener. Get to know the unique person in front of you.
Ask – Jesus loved to ask questions. For example, He asked His disciples questions like, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And, “who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-14) You don’t have to start with Jesus’ very direct questions, but as part of your listening, try asking open-ended questions that will help you learn more about the other person and encourage further discussion.
Seek – When Paul was in the city of Athens, he sought a point of connection between the local people and their beliefs and the Christian Gospel. He began his message by referring to an altar in Athens which was inscribed “To the unknown god” (Acts 17:23). As you seek a point of connection for beginning to share the Gospel, perhaps it will be something the person has said in your conversations, something they experienced previously in life, a struggle they’re having, some change in their life, etc.
Share – Peter tells us to “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Sharing your Christian faith means telling someone why you have hope. Perhaps you might say, “I have hope because of God’s promises” or “What gives me hope is that Jesus died and rose again for me.” You might also share a specific verse from God’s Word which is a source of hope to you. After all, only our Lord’s Word can truly be called “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Invite – As Jesus was beginning to gather His disciples, Philip appealed to a skeptical Nathaniel with a simple invitation: “Come and see” (John 1:46). We can invite others to “come and see” as well. Perhaps you invite someone to share a meal with you and you witness by offering a meal prayer beforehand. Perhaps you invite someone to attend a church function such as a meal or Bible study. If you think they’re ready to do so, you can invite them to come meet your pastor or to attend a worship service with you.
Encourage – Paul writes to the Thessalonian Christians, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). You might encourage this person to continue thinking about something you’ve said or written to them. You’ll be an encouragement by doing such things as following up with them, checking in, sending them a card, emailing them a devotion, letting them know you’re praying for them, or by personally praying with them.
Each of us has room to grow in reaching out to our loved ones and neighbors with the love of Jesus, but keeping in mind these simple ideas gives us a good place to start!
I’d also like to invite and encourage you to attend the “Each One Reach One” Workshop at St. Matthew on Sat, Feb. 11, 2023 from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Rev. Bill Zwick will be with us to lead us in Bible study and discussion while sharing more practical ideas about sharing your faith. Please RSVP to the church office and mark your calendars for this helpful event.
Peace in Christ,
                  Pastor Kory Janneke