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Our friends Marv and Annie were with us at a convention in Chicago. They're from Denver; I was in my hometown. Annie's doctor had let her make the trip to Chicago even though she was eight months pregnant. At a reception our first night at the convention downtown, I jokingly told her, "Hey, if the baby decides to come tonight, just call our room. This is my city, girl. I'll take care of everything!" It didn't turn out to be a joke. The call came in the middle of the night, and minutes later we had a lady in hard labor in our back seat. I thought we would have time to get out to our obstetrician in the suburbs. Not a chance! I had no idea where hospitals were downtown. I finally found one, though - a veterans' hospital. No maternity ward! Well, eventually I found a hospital with great facilities - just in time. Today we all laugh about it. It's still not one of my proudest nights.
I almost messed up the beginning of a new life - all because I went the wrong direction. That's easy to do with what the Bible calls being "born again." If you belong to Jesus, I've got to believe that you know folks who don't, and that you want them to be in heaven with you. That can only happen if they're born into God's family by putting their trust in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for them.
But that rebirth can be aborted if you go the wrong direction in sharing Christ with someone. There's a detour on the road to Jesus that you have to avoid at all cost. I call it the trap - one that is so easy to fall into when you're having a spiritual conversation. When Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, she tried to deflect Jesus' claim on her life with the trap.
In John 4, beginning with verse 20, she tries to get Jesus to start down that deadly detour. Here's what it is - talking religion. She said, "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." In other words, "The issue, Jesus, is that we have different religions." Sound familiar? Jesus refuses to go there. In verse 24, He says, "God is a spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." In other words, "This isn't about what religion you are, Ma'am. It's about your relationship with God." Then Jesus introduces Himself as the looked-for Messiah. Jesus makes Himself the issue, and He still is.
There's just too much at stake for you to allow yourself to fall into the trap of talking religion with someone who needs Jesus. The issue has nothing to do with your religion. It's whether or not you've ever had your sins forgiven so you can have a relationship with God. It's all about Jesus.
Paul said it all in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he said, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." It's not about your religion, it's not about your religious rules, your rituals. It's not about attacking their lifestyle. It's all about Jesus. So stick to Jesus. Keep bringing it back to Jesus and His cross.
Your mission is clear. To take a person that you care about by the hand and lead them up Skull Hill to the foot of an old rugged cross, point to the Son of God dying for them, and tell them, "This is how much He loves you." Any other direction is the wrong direction - one that leads away from the Jesus that they need. So, take them straight to Him.
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.