MhAX Blog with Nick Costello
Evangelist, youth communicator, school assembly speaker, seminar and conference speaker Nick Costello tackles issues facing youth and young adults.
Nick Costello has experienced the glamorous rock star life millions of teens only dream about. Success didn't fulfill his search for inner peace, security and purpose in life. His bad attitude and fast lane lifestyle of sex, drugs, rock and roll nearly destroyed him. One night, Nick surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. God miraculously redeemed and transformed his life.
Today, he ministers as an evangelist, youth communicator, school assembly speaker, seminar and conference speaker. He's calling christians of all ages to an uncompromising walk of obedience to Christ. In public schools, he's equipping kids to make healthy, right life choices. Respected leaders say he's a "dynamic, relevant, passionate, challenging, inspiring communicator!
Visit Nick's website
Every day, John prays for his friend Joe asking God for an opportunity to share his faith with him. Today, they are riding together in a car. John knows he has an opportunity to witness to Joe, but he doesn’t know where to start.
Has that ever happened to you? Is starting a conversation a challenge for you? Does fear ever set in? Does a God-given opportunity slip through your fingers? You aren’t alone. Many people struggle with starting a conversation, but you can overcome this with a few simple tips.
Before you can even talk with your friends about Jesus, make sure you are modeling Christ to them. Hypocrisy is the number one enemy to sharing your faith. If you are not living like a Christian should, nobody will listen to you.
Always pray and ask God to give you the opportunity to share Jesus, to give you the right words to say and prepare the listeners heart to receive what you tell them. You must believe if God gives you the opportunity, he will guide the conversation. It’s important to remember, more people are open to hearing about Jesus than you think. The devil will get you to believe people aren’t interested. The truth is, so many people areinterested.
Here are some questions you can ask to begin a conversation:
You can ask people about their families, job, life activities or concerns without being nosy. If they respond by communicating a problem, it’s a great opportunity to tell them how God can help. You can tell them how Jesus helped you in your times of struggle. Find some common interests like music, sports, homework. Avoid distractions. Don’t get side-tracked on other topics. Keep the conversation on God and Jesus. Some friends may seem uncomfortable with talking about their beliefs. Take your time. Go slow. Be gentle and listen closely to their heart. You don’t need to use ‘churchy talk’ or give a ‘gospel speech.’
I hope this helps you get started. It’s okay to feel fear. Remember, you are a c0-laborer with God. God is your partner. The two of you are working together to witness. The more you step out in faith and witness, the easier it will get. You do your part and trust God to do His.
Your testimony is your personal, unique story about experiences and relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone has one. It’s your relationship with Jesus. Your personal Jesus story is perhaps your most powerful witnessing tool. Write your story out. Edit it down to 3-5 minutes. Rehearse telling it. Memorize it. Unless you know someone and time allows, few people will listen to a long drawn out story when sharing with them one on one. The following guidelines will help you develop and tell your personal story:
1. Your ‘before’ Christ story: This is your story about what your life was like before you had a relationship with
Jesus. What was your biggest need, struggle or problem? How did it affect you? Where did you turn to find peace,
happiness, security or even to escape your problems? Try to identify with the other person. Maybe you grew up in church.
How did Jesus help you as a Christian through your struggles? How did Jesus help you overcome temptations, get a
victory over some sin?
2. The 'turning point' in your life: What happened in your life and heart to show you Jesus was the answer for
what you needed and only hope of heaven. You recognized you broke God’s laws, a sinner separated from God. You’re
experiencing the fruit of the Christian life after you first recognized you were a sinner, boss of your own life, in need of
God’s forgiveness and needed to trust Him with your life. How did you first hear about Jesus? What were your thoughts
3. Your ‘after’ Christ story: This is your personal praise report of your life today. Tell how your relationship with
Christ has changed your life, thinking, attitude, behavior, etc. etc. You could say things like, “If it weren’t for
Jesus” or “because of my relationship with Jesus”. Tell the difference He’s made in your life and what Jesus means to
you now.. Maybe because of Jesus and being a Christian your whole life, you’ve lived a good, trouble free life because
God’s grace has kept you from doing bad, wicked things. That’s an awesome testimony in today’s world.
4. After you tell your story you could say: “If Jesus can do this for me, I know He can do the same for you. But, it
didn’t happen until I first put my total faith and trust in Jesus, until I gave Him control of my heart and life.”
5. Ask them if they want what you have. Ask: “Have you ever experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ like
the one I’ve described? Would you be interested in knowing how to do that?” If they say ‘no’, don’t force them or get
discouraged. Keep loving them, caring about them and praying for them. Trust that God used you to sow Gospel seed into
someone’s heart through your story.
God wants to use you to tell others about Jesus, how to have a relationship with him and find their way to heaven. There are 12 basic’BE’ principles that will help you in witnessing to your lost friends.
- Be always praying for your friends. Pray the Holy Spirit will open their spiritual eyes of understanding, prepare their heart to hear the Gospel, show them they’re a sinner in need of Jesus, give you an opportunity to share Jesus with them and the right words to say.
- Be showing unconditional love to them. It’s one of your best evangelistic tools.
- Be sharing your testimony. Everyone has one. It’s your personal Jesus story.
- Be living a godly life. It produces tremendous results.
- Be gentle and respectful, not offensive or pushy.
- Be sharing Jesus with those close to you and most like you first. They will be easiest to reach.
- Be expecting some rejection, anger and hostility. They’re rejecting Jesus, not you.
- Be a good listener. Listen for heart-felt needs or problems Jesus can help them with.
- Be understanding of their world. See their life through their eyes.
- Be looking for those who are open and receptive to The Gospel.
- Be discerning who you can and can’t influence. It’s okay to walk away from openly hostile people.
- Be trusting God with the results always. You can’t save anyone. You are God’s messenger of the Gospel. Faithfully deliver the message and trust God is using you.
You don’t have to be a bible scholar with a seminary degree to share Jesus with someone. Simply love people, desire to see them come to Christ, ask God to send people your way who know Jesus, be willing, available and trust God to use you. He will then, do His work through you!
Do you take your friendships for granted? Maybe you think you have all the friends you need. Try looking at friendship from the eyes of someone else.
Other people need you!
Jesus wants you to become friends with as many people as you can. The friendships do not have to be close, deep and intimate. Jesus wants you to seek out people who need friends and make yourself available to them. Jesus said there are many people wandering aimlessly around in life going nowhere. "They are like sheep without a shepherd." (Matt. 9:36) They need a loving friend who can show them the love of Jesus.
They need you!
What kind of a loving friend should you be. I'm not talking romantic love. This is a love that loves people unconditionally. That's how Christ loves you. You can love others unconditionally by allowing the Holy Spirit to love others through you. If the Spirit of God lives in you, God's love for others is IN you. This is His agape or unconditional love.
God wants you to be a love faucet!
God wants His love to pour out of you, not just dripping out slowly, but a steady stream flooding the world around you... but first flooding your immediate world, the world where you live every day. You can be the star athlete in school, class president, a great musician or gifted actress. None of those abilities mean nothing to God if you don't love others.
What's your love attitude like?
God wants you to get rid of attitudes that keep you from loving others. Ask Him to remove your wrong attitudes by:
- revealing to you how unloving you are
- removing your negative attitudes towards others whatever it takes
- replacing your unloving attitudes with compassion
Read 1 Corinthians 13 in the NLT or NIV and learn what God's love is like. Put your name in the place of the word 'love'. Ask God to help you love like He does.
Last month we learned as Christians, we are to love people, especially lost people. You may think you can’t love certain people, but you can! Since you know Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have in you what it takes to love lost people. “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Since God is love and God’s Spirit lives in you, you have God’s love in you for others. All you have to do is believe it, allow God to love people through you and just do those things that show love to others. You can even love your enemies with God’s love. By reading the Bible and learning about God’s love, you can learn to love others.
In this lesson I’m going to list practical ways you can love your neighbor and even win heaven’s "Neighbor Of The Year Award". Make the following list qualities of life and your non-Christian, lost friends will notice. You’ll earn the right to tell them about the Jesus who helps you love them.
God has planted you where you are to be Jesus to your neighbor. Your neighbor is everyone in God’s creation. They may not be listening to you, but they are watching you. They want to see what a Christian is like before they consider becoming one. The light of Christ in you will be visible through acts of service and love. With Christ’s love alive in you and working through you, He will come alive and real to your unbelieving friends who aren’t yet believers. Be patient. Persevere. Trust God to use you and He will!
Do you know any lost people? I'm sure you do. You have some lost friends, they sit next to you in class, attend school functions or participate in sports activities with you and maybe even attend your church. All round you are people the Bible says are...LOST!
Have you noticed they have some type of religion? They believe something, have some kind of god, live a morally good life or seem like a good person. BUT, they are still LOST! Lost from what? They're lost or separated from God and heaven. They think they know where they're going but...
They're marching straight towards HELL!
Do you understand that? Do you care? They have no life with Jesus Christ, no relationship with Him and no hope of going to heaven. Many people you know are looking for satisfaction in what they do or what they have.
Who do you know that is looking for something better? What are they like? Without Christ, they will never be content or satisfied in their accomplishments or in who they are. What is a person like without Christ? Some things are that they:
- Feel crippled by guilt and fears of death
- Experience low self-esteem, life looks hopeless or suffer from boredom with life
- Have an aching loneliness, distrusting love for others, don't feel loved and accepted
- Strive to perform well to gain acceptance, try to prove themselves, put themselves first
Name 3 lost people you know. Picture them on the ocean in a big boat with a hole in the bottom. Water is pouring in and it's sinking. They need someone to rescue them before they drown. Your friends are in that boat and in deep danger of drowning forever in hell.
You can help them! You can rescue them! The help they need is JESUS!
Jesus loves them. He cares about their life. He wants them to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Do you know how important you are to Jesus? If not, you need to read and reread the Gospel of John and ask the Holy Spirit to show you all Jesus did to show His love for you and how important you are to Him. When you really know how much He loves you, it's real to you and He loves you even when you are unlovable, you will want others to experience His love, too.
Maybe, you don't know where to start. One place is to simply really care about your friends, their life, their problems and struggles. Show you care by how you help them, comfort them, listen to them and be there for them. All the Bible verses you lay on them will be meaningless if they aren't convinced you care about them.
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care!
Show you care about someone today! Ask God to send someone your way you can show you care to. Reach out to someone in your school, family, neighborhood and community. It will earn you the right to tell them about why you care and who also cares about them.... Jesus! God WILL use you. Everyone will get blessed.