June 11-13, Krasnyj Yar, Samara region, young people gathered for the annual leadership seminar of UMC Eurasia. I had a wonderful opportunity to take part in it. It was truly a blessed time. The topic of the seminar was evangelism. The sermon of Volga District superintendent Natalya Prokhorova ran: «The God’s will for us is to save others and bring Lord to people». Ullas Tankler, a guest from Estonia and Global Ministries Representative, read a sermon and a lecture, where he stated that we are bringing the message (Gospel) to people, but it is God who fulfils it. Moreover, a pastor from Oktyabrsk, Vjacheslav Basharin, spoke on how to preach through deeds. His topic was “Evangelism through three basic means: words, in the power of Holy Spirit, lifestyle”.
Apart from that, there was a guest from Tolyatti, Julia, she shared her experience of working with youth, when she preached Gospel at times when it was not advisable. God’s will for us is to save others and bring Lord to people. It is important to realize, accept and use this fact in your life. Otherwise, I thought, If I am not fulfilling God’s will, I am too selfish. God has found me and brought me to church through my husband, I have received the truth about Jesus’s life through my pastor, God has given me salvation.
Now I am a completely different person. I live a proper and a peaceful life with my family, God has changed my life. However, there are friends and relatives who have not met God and have not received salvation yet, they have troubles in their families and in their hearts. Some abuse substances. Instead of sharing Jesus with them, I simply live enjoying my life.
In his lecture Ullas Tankler shared an important idea that we are called by Christ to preach the Gospel, therefore, we have to work together with God. We often shift responsibility to God and pray “God, please bring the person… please speak to the person…” Speak through whom? Perhaps, it is we who need to speak, explain, help. We are to fulfil our part; God will perform His. Even if we cannot heal a person, we are to pray for him or her. We are to come to a person, call him or her, let them know that we are praying for the healing. When Lord heals, it will be a testimony for people about the God’s acts, then everyone will praise Him. And that is the joint work of people and God.
I asked myself a question then: «Do I work with God?». Pastor Vyacheslav Basharin shared a great questionnaire with us. One of the question was “how many people have you brought to Christ?” Then I realized that I do not work with Lord. Here the speaker shared five points of Good News:
1. God’s love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16);
2. Our problem (“All have sinned”);
3. Consequence “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
4. Care. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
5. Response. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19)
Matching the points, I have realized that God addresses all our problems, he loves us and shows His Way. I said to myself: “Tanya, you have to share all this five points with people. God will do His part and let it grow.”
Let us all become instruments in God’s hands. Learn how to work with God, then you will truly fulfil God’s will.
Text: Tatyana Kasalapova
Photos: Ullas Tankler