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#35 Sharing Christ by Bill Bright, 2004

#36 Called out of Darkness by Anne Rice, 2005 Audible

We are often guilty of presenting the gospel with an attitude that says, “Uh . . . you wouldn’t want to receive the greatest Gift available to mankind would you?

Bright, page 56

That makes me giggle.

But oh how I struggle to share my faith with strangers. I’ve tried it a few times — many years ago — and it never went well. Perhaps that’s why I’m not a big fan of those — if you were to die tonight — questions. Or the Roman Road. Romans still confounds me in most spots.

I thought by picking up this book and reading it — cover to cover — it was short — I would get empowered to be like Bill. Sadly, it didn’t do that. But I am most thankful for those like him who can do this naturally and freely – and have beautiful outcomes as a result.

Because there is nothing more beautiful in all the world to me and surely to Jesus than to have a prodigal child return to him.

My next book, Called out of Darkness, was just that. I can’t help but be attracted to Anne Rice’s story of redemption. I meet her in 1998 at my grandfather’s funeral. She was gentle and kind — and at the height of her career with her Vampire books. I did seem to remember that she was an avowed atheist. So when I heard her interview on CBS’s Sunday morning a few years after meeting her, I was beside myself with glee. She was sharing her return-to-God story, and I loved it when she said, “Read my book and you’ll be convinced that Jesus is Lord!” Reminds me of Romans 10:9! Anne Rice just told the whole world that Jesus is Lord on national television!

My own story has some parallel’s to Anne’s but they are indeed a stretch. She, growing up a Roman Catholic. Me, a Southern Baptist. Both in New Orleans. Both turning our backs on the Church and Jesus in our teens.

Anne’s journey back to God is beautifully compelling. I listened to it, and now want to read it. The audible is fabulous. The narrator’s voice draws you into the story in the best kind of way. Can’t recommend it enough.

As to my own story, I do get to share it often … one-on-one and to groups. But it is always in the context of my church. I’ve shared it with drug addicts in Mississippi, and most recently shared the unabridged version to our mom’s group. I also get to share a shortened version every time we have an Inquirer’s Class at my church. But in the past couple weeks, I have felt convicted that I didn’t get to share my story with two people who took their own lives recently — one probably accidentally – and one intentionally. Both of these books has helped to aid me in my own struggle with sharing Christ.