Bill is a young dad, divorced, and an MMA fighter.  I met Bill on an airplane flying from Omaha to Las Vegas.

I am not usually a chatty person when on a plane.  I am focused on the job at hand, I have a task to accomplish and that task is to get through my time on the plan and get to where I am going.  Sometimes, for me, it's not about the journey but the destination and in so doing I forget to pay attention to people.

I have determined that I will not go through life heading toward destinations, but to slow down and pay attention to people.  I believe that God is at work in every human heart.  He is furiously pursuing everyone you and I know with his endless love in Christ.  God wants to bring all people to himself, and graciously partners with us to do it. That in and of itself is an incredible mystery!

Upon boarding the plane, I was tired from a week at PLI Missional Leader seminars and really just wanted to be left alone.  The very first row was occupied by a large woman sitting in the window seat, so I took the aisle seat hoping that no one would be adventurous enough to sit between the large man and the larger woman!  As the flight attendant was closing the door for our departure, this guy sat down.  Dang!

As the flight got underway I noticed that Bills fingers looked like large sausages and his hands appeared hard and calloused.  So I asked Bill what he did for a living.  Turned out he was an MMA fighter.  Pretty cool, I've seen these guys on T.V. but I've never talked to one in real life. 

I have learned that the best way to build rapport and engage people in conversation is to ask them questions about themselves, their jobs, their family, their passions.  As I showed interest and asked probing questions, Bill loosened up and began to spill his whole life story into my lap.  He has two kids, he loves his kids, his ex-wife is a psycho and he believes in the "spirit" of Mother Earth.  As I showed interest and asked Bill questions, while praying in my mind that God would work through our conversation, the discussion began to turn to spiritual things.  Bill had never been to church, except for a funeral and didn't want anything to do with religion.  This was my opening, I teach our people that a relationship with God through Jesus is not about rules or religion but about relationship.  I agreed with Bill that religion was a problem, then told him about this rebel named Jesus who had a problem with religion too.  We talked about what Jesus said and did, Bill had never heard about Jesus in this way.  I shared as compelling a story as I could, as winsomely as possible, about the Jesus who came not to condemn the world but to save the world.  

Bill wasn't ready then and there to profess faith in Christ.  But by listening and asking questions God had opened him up to the possibility.  I gave Bill my card and told him to call me whenever he wanted to talk, no matter what he wanted to talk about, I'd be there.  I pray every day for Bill and his two children.  I trust that God is pursuing Bill and his family and that I was just one positive touch along the road that God was walking with Bill.

5/21/2013 06:02:21 am

Thanks Eric! I often feel guilty that I don't share Jesus with people in passing. I either can't get the conversation turned to spiritual things or I awkward about it. But I can talk to people, I can ask them questions about themselves and I can be interested in their story. I can also trust that God will use me in the lives of people, even if it's not to "harvest" that soul today. Knowing that God is at work in everyone I meet and that each person is on a journey with God gives me permission to take it easy and be used by God in whatever way he wants to use me in the life of whoever is in front of me right now.

2/3/2023 11:38:22 am

Great read


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