but don't

A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

A TRACT!   That's your idea of witnessing?"
   "Yeah, Pat.   Then you follow up by asking them if they've . . ."
   "NO, NO, NO!   That's too confrontational.   You'll scare them away.   They'll
know where you're coming from!"
   "But, I'm not ashamed of . . ."
   "Shame has nothing to do with it, Mark . . . Look, you haven't been saved as
long as I have.   You don't know all the finer points yet."
   "Finer points?"
   "You can't be too pushy now-a-days; people won't stand for it."
   "But Jesus said--"
   "I know what Jesus said.   But Jesus lived then and you live now.   Times are
different.   People are different.   They gotta have their own space."
   Mark Adams frowned.   He was only trying to do what came natural to him as a born
again Christian.   And while it was true that most people didn't like having some
other religion "pushed" upon them, true Christianity wasn't religion.   It is a real,
life-changing, personal relationship with God, something that Mark hadn't known
for most of his life, and still wouldn't if someone else hadn't approached him.
   "Look, Mark," Pat said, putting his arm around Mark's shoulder.   "I sense you're
confused.   So you just observe and I'll show you how it's done."
   "You mean you have your own tracts?"
   "Then how--"
   Pat vigorously shook his head.   "YOU DON'T USE CONFRONTATION, you under-
stand?   That means no tracts and no bringing up the issue first.   Instead . . . you
practice lifestyle evangelism."
   "Excuse me?"
   "Just behave like a Christian and they'll come to you asking questions."
   Mark paused, drawing his eyebrows.   "You mean they'll approach you?"
   "OF COURSE!   The minute they realize you're different, they practically come
crawling, dying to know what makes you tick."   Pat smiled and leaned back in his chair
with both hands behind his head.   "THEN, and only then, do you tell them about Jesus."
   "This works?"
   "Just watch . . ."

Day One . . .

   "Anyone bite yet?"
   "Don't be funny.   This takes time.   You have to establish a pattern first."
   "A what?"
   "For example, I get here at 8:00 a.m. sharp everyday.   After a while, they'll notice
how prompt I am, and the rest is history."
   "But Marsha in accounting gets here at 7:45."
   "Is she a Christian, too?"
   "No.   She's a New Ager."

Day Three . . .

   "You're in a good mood today."
   "I'm trying to display the joy of the Lord as much as I can."
   "Is this more bait?"
   "Why not?   Once people see it, they'll know something's different."
   "I see . . . so what kind of jokes you gonna tell?"
   "You know, like Henry Dannon does."
   "Henry Dann--?"
   "Yeah.   He works in the mail room; cracks everyone up all the time.   Never seen
him have a bad day."
   "Must be born again, huh?"
   "Nope.   He's Jewish."

Day Six . . .

   "I read the e-mail you sent."
   "What'd you think?"
   "It was a good report.   You got the point across--"
   "No, no, I meant the P.S. at the end."
   "I'm not sure it was necessary to tell everyone you were not going to the office
party because you don't drink."
   "But don't you see?   Now they'll definitely conclude I'm different."
   "Sure.   Maybe they'll think you're like Hank Mathews.   He doesn't drink either.   He's
a Jehovah's Witness."

Day Nine . . .

   "What's that?"
   "A dozen donuts.   It'll show everyone how generous I am.   That'll get their
attention.   Here, have one."

   "No thanks.   Already had two.   The boss brought some in.   They're by the--"
   "Never mind!" Pat said, letting the box land hard on his desk.
   Mark hesitated, then said, "Look, Pat.   These are all good things you're doing.   All
Christians should practice them.   But the Bible says, ‘There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
  (Rom. 3:11)   You can't just
wait until they come to you.   Jesus said we are to be ‘fishers of men’ (Matt. 4:19) and
I've yet to see fish begging to get caught."
   "But people want answers; they're looking for something," Pat said.
   "Yeah, and the devil's got a million of them.   He muddies the water so bad, most
people can't find the truth.   That's why we have to get above the noise and expose them
to what the Bible says.   Remember, ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the
word of God.’
  (Rom. 10:17)   It's hearing the gospel that gets people saved.   The Apostle
Paul said: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God
unto salvation
to every one that believeth;’
(Rom. 1:16).   Your lifestyle is supposed
to back up the message, not displace it!"
   "But if you start passing out tracts," Pat said, "you are going to turn people off.
They won't give you the time of day.   You'll feel so dejected you'll never pass out
another tract again.   Trust me, I've been there!"

   Mark fought not to smile.   "No doubt you have.   But what's wrong with being
rejected?   Jesus was.   That's why He warned Christians, ‘Remember the word that I said
unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.   If they have persecuted me, they
will also persecute you;
(John 15:20).   He knew very well the fear of persecution
can lead to compromise."
   Pat shook his head.   "I don't know.   I just can't see myself being that confronta-

   "Then maybe you've better check-out your salvation," Mark said.
   "Huh? . . . By the way, has anyone approached you?"
   "As a matter a fact, one person did."
   "YOU SEE!   I told you.   What did they ask you?"
   "They had a question about a tract that I had given them two days earlier."

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth."
  Mat. 13:41-42

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast."
  Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the
, the truth, and the life: no man
unto the Father, but by me."

(John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(Rom. 5:8-9)   THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
[REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
[TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
  Rom. 10:9

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Fargo, ND 58107

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