What if you knew that by simply crossing the room and saying hello to someone, you could change that person’s forever? Just a few steps to make an eternal difference. It has nothing to do with methods and everything to do with taking a genuine interest in another human being. All you need is a heart that’s in tune with the Holy Spirit and a willingness to venture out of your “Circle of Comfort” and into another person’s life. Just Walk Across the Room brings personal evangelism into the twenty-first century. Building on the solid foundation laid in Becoming a Contagious Christian, Bill Hybels shows how you can participate in the model first set by Jesus, who stepped down from heaven 2,000 years ago to bring hope and redemption to broken people living in a fallen world. Now it’s your turn. Your journey may not be as dramatic, but it can have a life-changing impact for someone standing a few steps away from you—and for you as well, as you learn the power of extending care, compassion, and inclusiveness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The highest value in personal evangelism is cooperating with the Spirit, says Hybels. This means playing only the role you’re meant to play—walking when the Spirit says to walk, talking when he says to talk, and falling silent when he suggests that you’ve said enough. Hybels encourages you to “live in 3D” ... Developing friendships Discovering stories Discerning appropriate next steps ... as a means of learning to understand the Holy Spirit’s promptings. With fresh perspectives from his own reflections and experiences collected during his most recent decade of ministry, Bill Hybels shows with convincing and inspiring clarity the power of this personal, richly relational approach to evangelism. The stakes are high. The implications are eternal. And you may be only a conversation away from having an eternal impact on someone’s life—if you will just walk across the room.
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Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Leadership Axioms, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and two grandsons, Henry and Mac.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Just Walk Across the Room Copyright 2006 by Bill Hybels This title is also available as a Zondervan audio product. Visit www.zondervan.com/audiopages for more information. Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hybels, Bill. Just walk across the room : simple steps pointing people to faith / Bill Hybels. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN-13: 978-0-310-26669-3 ISBN-10: 0-310-26669-6 1. Witness bearing (Christianity). I. Title. BV4520.H93 2006 248'.5 --- dc22 2005035554 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: Today's New International Version. TNIV. Copyright 2001, 2004 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. For Scripture quotations from The Message: Copyright by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means --- electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other --- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Beth Shagene Printed in the United States of America 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 * 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Introduction Two summers ago I experienced a serendipitous collision of circumstances while on a boating trip off the Wisconsin coast of Lake Michigan. I was alone, my heart was in a posture of worship, and I had some time on my hands. I'd pulled into a tiny harbor, tied up the boat, and was tidying up the place before relaxing for the evening. After studying my boating charts to determine where I would sail the next day, I realized I was only ten miles from the campground where I'd invited Christ to come into my life as a teenager. I had visited that same harbor on several occasions throughout the years, but for some divine reason on that particular day, I was prompted to go stand on the hillside where I'd first met Christ. The more I thought about it, the more the idea gained steam; so I decided to hunt down transportation to get there. After finding a phone booth, I placed a call to the only cab company in town. Surely they would make the twenty-mile round-trip for me. The dispatcher on the other end of the phone wasn't about to budge. 'Sir, it's too long of a drive out there,' she regretted to tell me. 'We just don't do that.' I haggled with her and even threw more money into the equation, but as the minutes ticked by it became obvious to me that I wasn't getting any closer to my meaningful walk down memory lane. 'Do you know anyone who would be willing to make the trip?' I pleaded. Then, with newfound optimism, she told me she did. She knew a guy who was down on his luck and would probably do anything for money. (Should have been my first clue.) If I were willing to take a chance with him, she'd pass along his number. 12 Introduction I've never been opposed to reasonable risk, so twenty-five minutes later, a thoroughly trashed Ford Explorer pulled into the marina parking lot. Its owner looked equally ragged --- not surprising, given my phone call had jolted him from a dead sleep at four o'clock in the afternoon. If I were a betting man, I'd have put money on him having more tattoo-covered flesh than not, but nothing was going to eclipse the allure of the mission for me. I climbed in, and as we headed out, I noticed that all the things that were supposed to stay still on a car in motion were moving, rattling, shaking, and threatening to fall off at any moment. Ironically, the things that were supposed to move wouldn't --- such as the passenger window. But the guy was nice enough, and frankly I was just glad to finally be en route. The fuel gauge was on empty, and when I suggested we stop to let me buy him some gas, the man was incredulous. 'Really?' he asked. 'No . . . I couldn't do that.' 'Come on, I insist,' I told him. 'You're really helping me out here, and I'd like to return the favor.' We eased into the station, and he hopped out to start the pump. 'Two bucks. That's what I'm putting in,' he said, as if asking my permission. 'Oh, go ahead and go crazy,' I hollered toward him. 'Make it ten!' When he joked that in the six months he had owned the vehicle, it had never had a full tank, we agreed to fill the thing up. Back on the road, he had this huge grin on his face. 'Handles different with a full tank!' 'Just keep her on the road, my friend,' I laughed. A few minutes later, we arrived at the camp entrance, and he asked what he was supposed to do while I handled my business. I could tell he was a little unsure about why I had hired a stranger to drive me all the way out to a deserted campground. 'I need to run up ahead for a few minutes to take care of something,' I explained. 'Why don't you wait here in the car --- I'll only be fifteen minutes or so, and then we'll head back.' That must have seemed reasonable enough, because he gave me a quick nod as I opened the door to get out. As soon as my feet hit the ground, I jogged away from the truck, quickly covering the three hundred yards or so to reach the exact place where I'd Introduction 13 encountered grace for the first time. And as I slowed down to approach that little patch of real estate on the side of that hill, the sun beating down on my face, it all came rushing back to me. This was the spot! * * * * * By age seventeen I had already packed a lot of living into life. Even then I knew enough to recognize that the accumulation of more toys, the desperate search for approval, and the ceaseless striving for success just weren't cutting it. My spiritual experience that night at camp wasn't prompted by someone delivering a stirring message or by someone asking me three deep questions. I met Christ because while walking from a mess-hall gathering back to my cabin one night, I was suddenly penetrated by a single verse of Scripture that I had memorized as a kid: 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to God's mercy he saved us.' He saved us. He . . . saved . . . us. Just after nine o'clock that night, the words I'd read so many times before hit me in a fresh way. Could it really be true that God cared enough about me that he would make provision to save me? Even me? For the first time in my young life, I faced my biggest doubt head-on: There is no way I could matter so much to God that he would make salvation available to me as a gift --- free of charge. To that point, everything about my existence could be summed up in two words: 'Earn it.' My father had built into me a monstrous work ethic and had reinforced my Earn-It mantra daily. 'You earn every penny you make,' he would tell me. 'You earn your way into the starting lineup on the basketball team. You earn good grades.
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