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What tall decaf americanos with soy taught me about evangelism, the sovereignty of God, and well.. life.

02/15/2012

“What do you know about the devil?”

Just a few days ago I had a conversation after work with a Jewish friend of mine.  That question’s how the conversation started off.  It was pretty intense.

Actually, let me explain things from the beginning.  I work at this coffee shop.  The green one.  For the past 9 months or so, I’ve enjoyed working there for a variety of reasons.  One of the big reasons is that I’ve been able to interact with completely different people than I ever have before.  It’s been an eye-opening experience.  Although a good majority of these interactions are quick and seemingly superficial on a day to day basis, I’ve surprisingly been able to develop some decent relationships.

This friend of mine is one of those.  Thanks to our refill policy.  Really.  He would come and study for hours at a time, sitting in the lobby drinking coffees with cold soy.  He appreciated that I poured the soy for him.  We got to small-talking it once I started to recognize him after a few days.  Well, a person can only take so much caffeine.  Since he would continuously get free refills, he would eventually want decaf coffee.  Which we only brew regularly in the mornings.  So instead, I would substitute decaf americanos.  That’s our policy, to offer an americano instead of brewing a whole batch of decaf.  So, decaf americanos with soy.  Which take longer to prepare than slingin’ a drip coffee from the spout. Which means more interaction time.  Months’ worth.  30 seconds at a time.  In a how’s-that-_____-you-told-me-about-keep-me-updated kind of way.

Fast forward a few months.  Last week he asked me about my future plans.  I told him about my desires to pursue serving the Lord and going to seminary.  Cool, he said.  Didn’t think much of it at the time.

Until yesterday.  “What do you know about the devil?”

He told me that after I told him I was pursuing formal Bible training, he had wanted to ask me for some advice.  Advice???  Hmm, okay.  Well, we talked for two hours.  God’s sovereignty.  Satan.  Job.  Judas.  The Bible.  THE GOSPEL.  Wow.  Who would’ve thunk?  Christian barista and Jewish student.  Talking over tea lemonade and decaf coffee with soy?

Sovereignty.  God’s.

As much as I’d like to write about the details of our conversation, let’s just say it came down to the fact that I told him I would pray for him to come to saving faith.  Salvation and assurance of God’s power in his life only in salvation through Jesus Christ.  Faith in Jesus Christ.  Heartbreaking on one hand, but still thankful to have had that conversation with a friend.  Thinking about that situation for the rest of yesterday brought up some interesting things.  A truly faith-and-lifestyle challenging few hours brought about by the conversation.  Here are some of those thoughts and lessons:

  • I am thankful to know that God gave my friend and I that conversation for reasons I know now (Gospel-sharing, challenging my thoughts, etc.) AND for reasons I don’t know yet.
  • My life is a series of providential things, like this conversation, that are unmistakable proof of an all-wise, all-powerful God.
  • I am pitifully unequipped to defend my faith the way that I should be able to considering the adequacy of Scripture and the other tools that God has given us alongside His Word.
  • There is direct and saddening positive correlation between my worldliness (priorities, time, desires) and my lack of aptitude in said matters of apologetics.  Something must change.  I can’t claim unequippedness in apologetics, know it, and then spend 3 hours a day on Facebook.  It doesn’t add up.  It doesn’t make sense.
  • How much do I really believe what I say I believe?  If I sat down and had to hammer through it with someone, would I end up short on everything and start justifying with the “oh-it-all-comes-down-to-taking-it-by-faith-anyways” tactic?
  • This puts me between and rock and a hard place when it comes to evangelism.  Is it about simple, honest faith or Luke-14-know-what-you’re-committing-to-when-you-say-you-want-to-believe-this-ain’t-fire-insurance?
  • How do I use moments like this to actually change my life and not have it be a “lesson” I forget in two weeks?  Like most other “lessons” I “learn” if I’m honest?

Probably sounds like I’m being pessimistic, critical and overanalytic.  I’m trying to be real and honest with myself, really and honestly.  So, Lord, help my practical unbelief and prideful inability!  Use my life.

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