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Give A Nudge, Not A Shove

September 5, 2015 2 comments

Sometimes, all it takes is a nudge. I’m especially susceptible to nudges. I probably wouldn’t have started writing my Titus Ray Thrillers, if someone hadn’t casually mentioned to me I should try writing a spy novel. Every day I enjoy a few minutes of mind-stimulating fun playing a word game on my iPad called Word with Friends, but if a very good friend hadn’t given me a little push to put the app on my iPhone, I wouldn’t have done so.

And, sometimes, a little nudge may be all a person needs to come to Christ, or to renew their commitment to Him, or to read their Bible or to . . .

Last week, I heard about a style of evangelism that’s become popular after a book was written about it five years ago. The book is called Nudge by Leonard Sweet. In it, Sweet says that “sharing the gospel should be a matter of awakening each other to the God who’s already there.”

Sweet writes, “Nudge evangelism is based on a simple premise: in everyone you meet, leave an impression–a Jesus impression, a Jesus dent. The nudge can be as simple as a smile, as profound as a prayer, as complex as a meal, as subtle as a story, as venturous as a witness, as ambitious as an altar call.”

To nudge someone toward Christ is vastly different from shoving them toward Christ. The gospels give a clear picture of how Jesus offered Himself to unbelievers. “Come unto me,” He said. If someone rejected the offer, Jesus was saddened by such a response, but He didn’t call them out, pronounce curses on them, or show animosity of any kind toward them. And yet, more than any other being in existence, He would have been justified in doing so.

Nudging people toward Christ can happen all the time in hundreds of different ways, and the form it takes is totally dependent on a person’s personality type. Extroverts will be more aggressive in calling attention to how Jesus is working in their lives but the quiet, thoughtful attitude of an introvert can be equally as effective.

As long as I keep one thing in mind, it’s easy for me to practice this kind of nudge evangelism. I remind myself that every person I encounter in my life—from grocery clerk to business man, from stranger to friend—is someone God has placed there, is someone God has prepared for me to nudge toward Him, is someone He loves.

Give someone a little nudge toward Jesus today. It may be all they need to discover the hidden treasure of Christ Himself.

1 Peter 2: 15-16 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

There Should Be A Better Word

October 14, 2014 Leave a comment

words 3I often play a word game on my iPad called Words With Friends. It’s very much like playing Scrabble, but, unlike Scrabble, you can try as many combinations of the letter tiles as you want until your word is accepted. Sometimes, you randomly arrange the tiles, and a word you never knew existed  is accepted. (Out of curiosity, I often look up the definitions of these words, thus justifying the “educational value” of playing this game.)

But, there are many other times when I arrange the tiles into a nice-sounding word and discover that it’s not a real word. When that happens, I’m frustrated and sometimes think, “But this should be a word,” or “That’s such a descriptive-looking word, it should stand for something.”

When I’m reading the Bible, I come across a slightly different frustration, but it still involves a word describing a concept.

It happens when I’m reading about what God did for me in sending His only son to suffer the punishment I deserve. The Bible calls this “love.” Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Yes, this definitely encompasses the definition of  love, but it’s so much more than this. That’s why I long for a better word, a more descriptive word, a word that is not used every day, a word that is exclusive for such an act as this.

Paul often uses a variety of words to expand on God’s “love” for us in such a sacrificial act. Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us . . . according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Emphasis mine)

After some meditation, I decided there is an all-encompassing word for God’s love after all, and it goes beyond “love” or any other related word.

It’s the word, “JESUS.”

A Gaming Addiction

July 26, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m a big Words With Friends addict.  For the few of you out there who may not know about this game because you have been living in a remote jungle, or taking care of three kids or actually working at your job, WWF is an app (read application) much like the game of Scrabble in which you have a certain number of letter tiles and you spell out words on a game board, each word having to connect to the next word at some point.  It’s made for the iPhone, iPod, iTouch, iPad or any other iTech gadget created by Steve “I AM RICH” Jobs.   I downloaded it on my new iPhone about two years ago through the urging of Michelle, a very good friend, who was addicted herself and wanted me to go down the road to ruin along with her.  A day has seldom gone by during these past two years that I have not played the game.  I even signed up on a tournament site called WordsWithFriends.net where I receive a daily opponent and play in monthly tournaments with players who are far better than I could ever hope to be.  That’s how badly I’m hooked.

Here are a few reasons why I enjoy this game so much:  (1)  It taxes my brain.  While looking at those letter tiles and putting together the different possibilities of words in my head, I feel those brain cells running around, bumping into each other, jostling each other around.  That’s good.  That’s what they were made to do.  God made us to think.

(2)  It introduces me to a variety of people.  The game’s developers so designed WWF that you can play it by passing the game back and forth between a person seated next to you or you can play it with a random opponent the computer chooses for you who may be located halfway around the world.  (Besides players in the USA, I’ve played games with people in Hong Kong, Australia, and London.)  There’s a built-in feature that allows you to “chat” by texting messages back and forth while you’re playing.  I’ve even been able to witness to one player who didn’t play for several days, came back to play and apologized because she had received a bad report about her health and was very depressed.

(3)  It’s fun to win.  Games are played because winning is euphoric.  We love to watch sports because we get to win vicariously through the team we choose to support.  That’s not the same as winning a game we’ve played in ourselves.  That’s part of the addictive quality of WWF.

(4) It’s a game of both luck and skill.  The luck part of WWF is fascinating  because, much like real life, you must work with what you’ve been given.  Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad.  No matter how extensive your vocabulary,  it’s difficult to make a word without a vowel.

If I’ve piqued (a good word to know when you have a “q” to play) your interest, and you want to play me, my user name is “Riverwalker.”  Chat with me while we play, and I’ll tell you why I chose that name.

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