Ten business people invited me to teach a workshop on ‘Making Good Decisions’. It was a treat for me to work alongside this very secular audience but one individual had such a foul mouth that I continually wondered how he could be successful in his business. He was anti-everything and proclaimed his attitude in audacious and vehement expletives (even in the presence of ladies). I make no claims to being religious but I do base my training on The Book. I wondered what sort of reaction I would receive when he discovered that foundational point. I could have just taught the basic principles of making decisions, but I have the unfortunate tendency to thrive on a challenge. And this guy came with a capital ‘C’!
So I proceeded to tell the group: “These principles are not something that I dreamed up. And though they are taught in other business courses by popular motivational speakers, they did not invent them either. In reality these steps were recorded in ‘ancient literature’. There are a number of classic illustrations in ‘The Book’ that outline the principles.” I then proceeded to tell them one story of how Jesus led the Woman at the Well through the five steps to making a good decision. (John 4)
This guy’s attention was riveted. I don’t claim to be a great story teller, but he was sitting on the front of his seat. Then he was avidly interrupting my story. “What did the woman say?” he asked. “Then what did Jesus say to her?” “How did she respond?” “What did the men in the city do?” “What happened then?” At the end of our dialogue he slumped back into his chair with an explosive: “Wow!” I don’t think he even included an expletive!
A moment later he sprang forward. “You know,” he said, “I belong to ‘Toastmasters Training for Public Speaking’.” (I wondered how, with his ‘limited’ vocabulary, he could be part of such a program.) But he continued: “We need to apply these five steps in our motivational talks. They have never heard this story before.” And then he blew me away by stating: “I’m going to tell them!”
I have heard many times over the years that my approach to training is creatively practical, but I would love to be a ‘fly on the wall’ while he followed up his ‘good decision’ by telling his colleagues about Jesus.
Such delight … john
The following table gives a bare bones outline of the conversation between Jesus and the Sychar lady. The same five steps are repeated in the story where Jesus called Peter – Luke 5:1-11; when Paul preached on Mars Hill – Acts 17:22-34; and when Paul was conversing with Agrippa Acts 26:2-32. There are lots of other illustrations in Scripture too. Each one of Jesus’ parables follows the same format. We all go through each of these steps in making every decision, whether it is buying groceries, a car, doing evangelism or encouraging our spouse! Sometimes we linger on one step longer than others, but they are always there. It is important to know these steps so that you can recognize where another person, or yourself, is in the decision making process. There is not much sense in inviting someone to church while they are still back at step one where they don’t even trust you. Most preachers have never been taught this Bible based process and consequently their sermons ramble around and fall flat. (I have a workshop that teaches how to remember and practice these very practical steps.)
|Resented foreigners, particularly Jews
|“How can you ask me for a drink?”
|“You have nothing to draw with.”
|“We worship in this mountain.”
|“When the Messiah comes…”
|Give me a drink.
“I would give living water.”
|“You have had five husbands.”
|“True worshipers worship in spirit.”
|“I am He.”
(original e-newsletter post – November 2012)