Witnessing to Family Members

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How do you bring up the subject of Jesus Christ with unbelieving family members?




Welcome to way of the Master. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today those days of early conversion, you remember them whenever someone first gets saved. There’s usually two major revelations that they encounter. The first one of course, is that heaven is real. I mean we have everlasting life. We’re going to be with the Lord forever. That’s that’s unspeakable truth. In reality. It should be speaking truth. We get ahold of that. We’d run around telling everybody about it. But then the second revelation we get is that hell is real. That usually strikes a chord of deep concern in our hearts, especially for our loved ones, especially for our family members today. On way the Master, we’re gonna be talking about that. Of course we’ve got Ray comfort Mark Spence and we’ve got a special guest with us that you’re all familiar with? Our good friend Kirk Cameron who used to host the program with Ray many years ago. Good to have you back with us. Great to be here you guys for being here today. Said I’ve become your little growing pain. I know this is good. I’m sort of attached. I never had any reattached as an appendage to your show reattachment. I like that. Yeah. You never had growing pains when I grew up, you know, did you have any, did you have any, you’re six ft what you have to have? Growing pains to grow up for 17. That’s five. That’s a good way to phrase 17 is far better than 55. Okay, you had growing pains, but your body in heaven is going to be a whole different for six with a hairy chest, still still saying that line. That’s right. Yeah. You know guys, as I mentioned in the opening here, Family Ray, you always talk about how the hardest people to share the gospel with our our family members. In fact, Go ahead. Sorry. Well, there’s a reason for that. Um, I believe in relationship evangelism. When I meet a stranger, I always build a relationship with him, I’ve got to earn the right to witness to him. So I built a relationship maybe 1-2 minutes because he could die that night. He could die. I mean 150,000 people die every 24 hours so he could die that night. So there’s a sense of urgency and you can do it by just saying as someone, what’s your name? And he says his name and you can say fred that’s his name. Do you think there’s an afterlife and you’re there? You’re right and you don’t have to build that relationship? And the reason I don’t like building relationships is the hardest people witness to our relations, I’d rather witness to a you know, 10,000 atheists that are carrying machetes and my sister, because if I mess up my relationship with the 10,000 atheists or lose nothing already lost it. But with my sister, I’ve messed it up for life if she said, I don’t want to ever talk to you again. So it becomes scary. So zookeepers becomes Goliath when it comes to family members. Yeah, I think it’s a universal thing. I mean, I’m sure all of us at the table here today can relate to that. And that’s the issue is often times today in the church. We here, it’s all about friendship, evangelism. And yet everyone admits the hardest people to witness to our family members. And yet we want to create more hard witnessing encounters by thinking we have to wait a lifetime before we share the gospel with someone but Kirk, how how was that for you? We’ve heard your testimony on the program before and how you came to christ and you grew up in atheist family. So witnessing the family. I mean you have to talk to your parents, your siblings and then after that, I’m sure relatives. How was that for you? I like you said. That’s a challenging thing to do. And one of the verses in scripture that’s coming to my mind is is a verse a series of verses where it’s talking about husbands and wives and uh, and wives can win over their husbands by their conduct. And I think that family relation is uh, I think there’s a principle there that would carry into other family members as well, the way that we live our life. And and this was even with my growing pains family, it was much more awkward to talk with them than it was to talk with complete strangers. I think that’s why I enjoyed learning from you out on the streets and third Street promenade and open air preaching because that’s infinitely easier than talking to people that you really, really care about and you don’t want to scare them away. So I think for me, living the kind of life that that demonstrates that demonstrates the the blessing and the protection that comes with knowing christ I’m hoping is attractive to them because they know what I’m what I’m about. They know what I’ve said, They watched the Youtube videos, they watched the hater videos, they watched the good videos and and I don’t think they need to hear that much more from me because I’ve I’ve already given him an earful and I think now it’s about who you are more than what you say. You brought back a memory how used to witness before your christian and use that principle with non christians by letting them see the joy on your face. You having that be attracted to you. Can you give that expression? Oh what have you got to tell me, jesus? You know, I witnessed a guy yesterday as a christian I thought was a non christian, but we found it as a christian. I said he’s sharing your faith. He said, I just like to have people come to me and asked what I’ve got and I said, how many times does that happen in the last year. It’s actually, it hasn’t and it doesn’t, that’s why we have to go because men love darkness, they hate the light. Neither will they come to the light. But it is different with family. Absolutely different. You have to have the fruits. Yeah, yeah. And there’s pressure because no one like family will be as apt to say, hey, I thought you were a christian, right? You’re talking about our life. But that can be a double edged sword because on the flip side of that, when we do mess up, when we do blow it, they’re quick to come back and say, I thought you were a christian, which really I think brings to home the realization that people have an expectation of what christians really should be. Obviously the expectations are in some ways unrealistic because they think we’re supposed to be perfectly without ever airing. But they do know the difference between hypocrisy and the life of uprightness and so the key to being upright and to walking and integrity, what is the same Mark, integrity is, is what you do when, when, when nobody’s around, you know, when no one’s around in the dark, when no one’s looking, I think it was that said something like you are in the dark and so that’s who you are in private is who you really are. You know, I think I found a workaround guys. I mean this is something that I’ve been doing for the last four or five years and that is, there’s a holiday easter for example, my friend Matt calls me up and he says, hey Mark, I want to invite you and your family over to my house for easter though. I want you to enjoy the festivities. Listen, you’re coming there for really one reason and that is to re engage in conversation with Uncle Sal or with Aunt judy or whoever it may be because there’s no dog in the fight, right. It’s easy to get into a conversation with them about spiritual things and I can remain calm, cool and collected, right? You don’t have the emotional equity that’s on the line there and then that’s exactly right. So when that holiday comes around, he is counting on me to reach out to his family so that when christmas eve comes around matt, you’re coming over to my house and you’re gonna reach my family And therefore I’m free to host, I’m free to host. I can do all the things that a host is going to do and I don’t need to re engage in things that I did wrong when I was 16 years old to you and so you can rent yourself out to do that. If any of you have a family member, this Christmas just go to living waters.com and uh, guests at your party, it is so effective. So what you’re saying though is hey, you can do that for one another as friends. Hey, easy, come to my house and then I’ll come to your house for one of your parties and, and let’s engage our, each other’s family members. Absolutely. And you know, I think holidays are just so just opportune for that because people are expecting some sort of spiritual connection with what’s going on, christmas easter and hey, if it’s your home too, you have more of that leeway and freedom to speak. So there’s a lot of creative ways. In fact, even allowing our Children, if, if, you know, they want to do it from their heart to share something or do a little skit or maybe do a bible reading or what have you and bring the gospel in there. One of the things for me that’s been a blessing is um, at weddings and other family events, even funerals where I’ve had the opportunity to get up, where unbelieving family are there and it’s a perfect occasion, funeral. People are thinking about death weddings, you know, as I’ve done weddings and their family members there, I’m able to tie it in with what Ephesians says, I speak concerning christ in the church and there’s the Gospel, you know, so it’s being creative without being cheesy though. It is. And I think, right, some of the best opportunities, I’m always looking for natural opportunities. Ray taught me that you can, you know, I remember when you used to say things like see that guy over there standing on the corner, I’m gonna go witness to him right now. What? You don’t even what we don’t even know the guy, how you, but he would go and he would force the opportunity. And that’s why we get these great videos that we see. But I love natural opportunities that t themselves up like christmas, like a wedding or a funeral and one that has just come up for for me is the fact that we just had a shooting down the street from our house. 12 people just die. Wow. I, we haven’t even had time To really process all this because within 24 hours the wildfires broke out in southern California and we have evacuated our house for six days when we get back into the house, which is really tonight or tomorrow. I need to sit down with my family and just ask them, how are you processing all this? What are you thinking about? And I know they’re asking questions like dad, how could God let 12 people die in that place. How did, why why didn’t God send rain? Uh, and stop that fire. These are great opportunities for us to talk about God’s providence to talk about these tough questions and to remind them that guys, our true safety are true protection and our life and our secure home is not right here. Right? Look at, look at, look at so many people in the scriptures where they didn’t things didn’t go the way that they had planned their securities in heaven and a chance to talk to my kids for real. Where where are you guys in your relationship with the Lord? Amen. You know, this is a great example on how we share the gospel with our kids. It’s the rising up. It’s the sitting down. It’s every erected billboard. It’s the new word that the neighbor girl taught my child. It’s everything. So every news item related thing is an opportunity to share and to pour into our kids of the Gospel. It’s a natural t up opportunity and we just got to look for them and it’s a limited time to do that because when they hit the teenage years, if you haven’t taught them when they were little, you’ve kind of lost them when they hit 13 when the hormones kick in. So it’s, it’s vital to, to, to begin that right at the beginning of well, Mark, I’m so glad you mentioned our kids because you know, when we talk about evangelizing our family, we’re always thinking in terms of our our siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and I don’t think we pause long enough to realize that the biggest mission field for us parents is our home, you know, Kirk, you talk about sitting your family down. Obviously your kids know the Lord, but not everybody has that blessing. You know, as we do in our families and our kids have come to the knowledge of christ and are saved. So that’s so important, maximizing that time. I’m married to raise daughter obviously after 200 proposals, what’s a man to do. Um, so after proposed to 200 girls after she proposed to me 200 times. Yeah, yeah. So at the at the second 100th proposal, I said yes to Rachel. But being that she grew up in your home mr comfort, I’ve had sort of an insight into her upbringing, but but tell us a little bit about what you did with your kids. As an example, we always had family devotions. They were prioritized with just say six o’clock reading time and everyone not legalistic and just dropped what they were doing and we have 15, 20 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes together and we didn’t stay with spiritual things. We went around the world says how’s things at school, what’s going on here? And that’s when you get to know your kids and we have memory verses and we had incentives were candy bars each week if they learn memory verses and then have a reward which I need. You know, I need to have a reward on that sort of person what we all do really labor is worthy of his hire. And so we did that. Uh, I think we had uh devotion, something like 3000 times while the kids were growing up. We have the promise train up a child in the way he should go when he’s already not depart from it and our kids love the Lord, you know, it’s beautiful. Um you know, I get to see the fruit of that because of course Rachel is my partner and passing that truth onto the kids and she often refers back to her upbringing and what you guys did at home. I would read Spurgeon to the kids and they would roll their eyes, but now they look back and say sperm Uh you know, I remember Julia when she was a little girl. She’s 21 now. 21 Oh my goodness. Anyway, she’d come out, I’d be reading Spurgeon morning and evening and I do this thing called Big Words with her, you know, and to this day we still reflect back on, I remember one of them in particular was empty formalities. That was in one of one of the devotions and I, and as a little girl, I thought, honey, do you know what empty formalities means? It’s, it’s when someone pretends to love God, they do outward stuff, but they’re they’re not truly transformed inside, you know? And little opportunities like that. Now Kirk family is is a big deal to you. Obviously that that’s a big focus of ministry for you. You impact families around the world, you’ve made films and things related to family. What are some of the things you guys have done, How have you and Chelsea, as you’ve lived life with your kids passed on the gospel to them. Well I have always had a desire in my heart to have sit down family devotions regularly, like Ray said. And my version of it was in my head going to look like me sitting in a big throne like chair in front of my fireplace with a smoking jacket, a pipe between my teeth, a big family bible, you know from one of those old churches and have my kids sort of sitting about your feet and my wife on the couch silently adoringly just listening to me, you know, pontificate, but that always fell apart. I never could really pull that off very well. You know, the kids are like mom, dad talks so long, you know, and and she’s like, you know, she’s like Kirk, you could really turn them off from wanting to read the bible and just like and she really preferred the Deuteronomy six method and that was when they, when they get up and they go to school, when they sit in the backseat of the car, when they walk on the soccer field and when they lie down at night. And so it was always, honey, I know that this person is really annoying you and they’re so difficult for you to follow their instructions, but God’s teaching you how to love your enemies or sweetheart, I know that that you’re really upset about this, but God says don’t worry about anything, pray about everything. So let’s let’s pull over right now, stop the car and let’s pray about this and see if God doesn’t give you a piece in your heart and that’s real life. You know, she was a master at it is still and that is so different than the way the four of us grew up. We did not have these Godly influences inside of our lives teaching us and leading us, our kids boy, they have a head start. Yeah. And that’s what I call changing the trend. You know, I love it when I when I see new legacies forming and new traditions are going to be passed on with the new heritage for for God’s glory. Yeah, it’s it’s it’s like now our kids growing up, our our kids already talked about what they want to do with their Children, you know, and that begins to impact society and change culture. I gotta be honest with you. Just just to be transparent, you always are well, thank you. Um I think you guys have probably done a better job at these kinds of things. We’re talking about that than I have. I feel like I’ve been really busy in my life. I really feel like I’ve been running around really focused on movies and ministry and travel and this and that and done my very best I think and I’m really hoping that it’s been enough. But in the middle of the night when I wake up and I think God I have my priorities been off this year or have I really missed some opportunities that are gonna harm my kids by not teaching them and being proactive enough. What I, what I find myself doing now is realizing it’s never too late and I can say God, please forgive me if I have not been intentional, if I’m not really done all that I could be doing. And I even let my kids know this because I think it’s important for them to see that their parents are not perfect. You know, easy. Sometimes I look at you and I think you’re so smart, you’re so sharp. You can memorize, you know, poems and scripture and you can you have these things and your Children now talking about the Lord and it just seems like is that for real? And, and, and I it’s easy to feel inferior. I think when you hear people talk in such glowing terms about their family life and uh, and yet we’re happy for people who have pulled that off genuinely. But I think for me, I’m I’m realizing that it’s actually a strength to be able to go to my kids and my wife and say, you know what, I just want you to know that, that I am asking the Lord to show me my blind spots in areas where I need to improve because I think I probably missed some things that I really don’t want to affect you in a, in a poor way. I’m asking God to forgive me and show me how I can do better, and I’m finding that he gives me a piece about that and I know it’s never too late and God’s Grace is so massive that it can come in and lift our kids to where they need to be at this moment because he loves them and they really belong to him. Yeah. And you know, Kirk, let me just say that what you just described in terms of making things right with our kids, just as a general concept as parents humbling ourselves, apologizing, admitting that maybe we didn’t do things that we should have. The impact of that is incalculable because when our kids see what they already know in their hearts is true about us coming from us, it’s transformational and it gives them an example for how to live. I can’t think of anything that m bitters Children more than parents who are too prideful to humble themselves and apologize because our kids aren’t stupid, they know we’re not perfect. They see when we make mistakes, they know when we talk to them the wrong way or or didn’t do all that we should have in a certain area, but when we come to them and we convey that it’s huge, you know, and and let me just say we’re far from perfect, you know, as a family. I mean, my kids have had to hear countless apologies from me and I think those have strengthened our relationship that caused us to draw draw closer because we give them an example of grace. The Lord is merciful towards me and he’s merciful towards you. And as a family, we need to be merciful towards each other. And so you grow that way. And the Lord is so gracious to cover our weaknesses. Our blind spots are our faults and errors. And I think an authentic life though, lived before our kids, regardless of the formalities of our devotional life and this and that when they see an authentic love for the Lord integrity in our lives, it’s gonna go, I look at myself sometimes and I think I’m seriously shallow. I was riding my bike past a guy the other day and and he had his head down, he was picking his head, he looked homeless, he was filthy and I said you okay? And he didn’t even acknowledge me. I turned around the bike says you’re okay and he wouldn’t even look up and I looked at his body and he looked, I could count his ribs and I went back and I just dropped a Subway card and as I turned away, I heard him say thank you and it broke my heart. I didn’t stop and go back because he’s a human being, is somebody’s son, he might be, it might be a father somewhere. There’s people out there like that. So I know what you’re saying when, when we look at ourselves, we certainly falls short of what we should be in every area? Yeah. You know, I was just meeting with an old roommate, friend of mine and he was complaining about his wife and I said something to him that you shared a while ago, Kirk and that was, you know, my wife is not the way she used to be. Oh yeah, well she got like that on your watch. She got like that on your watch. And I said, what, what what our devotions like between your wife and you and the kids? He said, you know, I’ve never had a family devotion. He just sent me a picture with him having a family devotion with his kids and apologizing for not being the leader that he was designed by God to be. That’s beautiful. You know, I have. Do we have more time to talk? Well, we do. But first we want to watch an important video, We’re talking about sharing the Gospel with our family and Kirk, I don’t know if you remember, but we actually have a video of you sharing the Gospel with your grandma. So we want to show that to everyone. This is a very emotional, very, very emotional. So let’s go ahead and roll it grandma. I feel very nervous because I love you and I don’t want to offend you, but this is so important one day we’re all going to die. Do you ever think about what happens? The bible says that God will judge everyone of us according to his standards of goodness. Mhm And if I’ve lied, if I’ve stolen, which I have, if I’ve taken God’s name in vain, then from God’s point of view, I’m a lying thief and a blasphemer and I’m going to be guilty and I’m gonna need God’s forgiveness. What about you grandma? Have you broken God’s commandments? Have you ever sinned against the Lord? Do you need his forgiveness? Now? Of course, I couldn’t get a real interview with my grandmother, but we’re gonna go out on the streets and show you how to use your testimony as an easier way to have a conversation about the gospel. Isn’t she cute? Mm hmm. I think it was the screen from the psycho was awesome. The ugliest grandmother, grandmother, that was so good. That’s that that’s classic stuff. You guys, you know, um just looking back on, on those seasons that we had together with, with the master, their golden and people are impacted by these things. You know, those that are struggling thinking, man, I want to share the Gospel with my family and how do I do it. And In that particular episode we went into depth on that there’s 52 episodes, 52 whole different subjects, including how to reach your family well being played around the world. Let me offer guys, let me offer another idea that Ray, I’m surprised you haven’t brought up because you have disciples me in this way. Your generosity is absolutely amazing. Being rich in good works is a huge way to reach your family. It’s a huge way to reach your next door neighbor. You know, you’re at the grocery store and you know that your neighbors always eating these sort of brownies or whatever, maybe you’re at walmart and you know, your brother’s gonna like this sort of hat because his favorite team is the Lakers. You pick that up and you send it to them for no reason whatsoever, other than you’re just thinking of them. And what does your family do? You christians all you do is just think about other people, right? And it’s like, what are they gonna do? They’re gonna their mouths are gonna be put to silence by you just being rich in good works from the book of mormon. So is the will of God by your well doing. You put to silence the ignorance of foolish men and that’s all that’s happening by your well doing to silence their ignorance. And it certainly does work. A gift is worth 1000 sermons. Yeah. You know, let your light so shine among men that they may actually see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. You we don’t do it to gain God’s acceptance. We are accepted. Therefore we serve God and we are just rich in good works. Yeah, Amen it’s being set free to be who were supposed to be as God’s people. You know that’s the gift of being a believer. Our future is set. Our past has been redeemed. Our present makes sense. And God is with us. I mean the greatest portion of the gospel to me that it should be the most impactful is Emmanuel God is with us. And that should give us that freedom to love to unleash the love that God has poured in our hearts. You know, Kirk you were gonna say something before the video. Do you remember about your memory improving? Yeah. Yes. Well, hold that thought. Did you know? I can’t remember. Well that’s okay because we have another video and this one is very, very thought provoking. And maybe as you watch it, friends, you can ask yourself. Hmm, what would I do? Check it out. So for 10 million for your mom, you might you might play that game in Russia. I might play that game. All right. We got a gift for you. Alright. Here we go. We got $10 million bucks and we have the six shooter in there. So you’re gonna go ahead and do it. Yes, I am. You would. All right. Your turn is next. I know nobody in their right mind would dilemmas dilemmas that was in las Vegas. That was Yeah, we had a wonderful time with that was fake money. Real money was on the top. There’s about $500 in twenties and we had a million dollar bills under and a starter pistol would say to people, would you play Russian roulette with one bullet For $1 million. And some people said Yes, one guy said he’d do it for three bullets in the gun. 5050. He said he would do it. He’s from New York obviously. And uh it’s just crazy. Gotta be from new york obviously. Well, there were people that really thought that was that was all reel, you know, But but again, the creativity that that you and Kirk used back in that time when we were filming was hard getting a gun to Vegas through the airport and even in those days. Yeah. Well, friends, look, here’s the thing sometimes when it comes to evangelism, you just got to take the bull by the horns. That’s all there is to it. And there’s no greater example of that in the world of taking the bull by the horns than Ray comfort. Watch softly right, easy. Oh, I was gonna jump on real quick. What am I doing? Ok, Great, great, Great grabs the horn. That’s what they’re for. He grabbed the horn. The horn. The wrong thing you don’t grab a horn. And and he lived to tell, right? I had grabbed the bull by the horns. You know why it’s because I rode a bike and it was just it was automatic. Yeah, but occurred five times said he grabbed I counted it when we’re eating. He grabbed the horns. He was great. I thought, how many times can you say it in different emphasis? But it was a sunny day. Yeah, that was what away. I think that was the wrap up to that season if I remember correctly. And what a way that was to end it. Unreal. Well guys, this is yeah, this has been awesome. What an encouragement it’s been to me and a reminder that we have unsafe family members that don’t know the Lord and we are the light that God has brought into their lives. We need to be that light to them. We need to be that example and look for those opportunities when we can then also open our mouths and convey the gospel to them. And as we do that, we rest in God’s strength, power and sovereignty because he specializes and saving people So friends, thank you so much for joining us today. If you’ve got unsafe family members, remember God’s put you in this family for a reason. You have the Gospel. We don’t have to look for spectacular opportunities. The opportunities are right there before us, jesus took the doors off the hinges when he said go into all the world. How important then is it to reach our family? Thanks for joining us today for way the Master make sure to come back next time, we’ll see you. Then we hope this episode of Wave the Master has inspired you to share the message of eternal life. You can watch our award winning movies, such as the Atheist Delusion freely on our website, where you’ll also find articles, videos and audio messages, as well as books, Dvds, gospel tracts and other resources to help you share your faith Biblically, and effectively make sure to visit Living Waters dot com today.”}],”

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