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
It’s a New Year and new beginning at life for some. Perhaps, you know someone who also had a new beginning at living life because they were Born Again into the Kingdom of God. They became a baby Christian.
Now what? A baby needs some constant care and attention as they discover their new world. They eat mushy baby food and liquid formula to nourish their new bodies. A new Christian needs some constant care and nourishment, too. Who is going to take responsibility for this important and critical undertaking?
The church? Christian TV and radio? How about you? How can you help a new Christian grow?
The most important stage of life for the new baby Christian is immediately after they get saved. The Bible warns that the devil will come right in and try and snatch that good seed out of their heart. They will hear things like, “You really didn’t mean that prayer you prayed. God can’t love you. You’re not really saved. You don’t need to go to church or read a Bible.” The most critical time for a new believer is the first 48 hours of their Christian life. That’s where you can step right in and help them.
Here is a short list to help you care for a new Christian, especially if they’re your friend and classmate:
- New babies need love and care. Show the new believer unconditional love. Don’t try and clean them up. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit and it will take a lifetime. Loving young Christians gives evidence of your love for Jesus.
- New babies need food in small doses. New Christians don’t know how to eat spiritual food from the Bible. Make sure they have a Bible that is easy to understand like the NIV, NLT or LB version. Answer their questions. They need to grow in their knowledge of Jesus.
- Bring a new believer to your life group or home fellowship gatherings. Introduce them and then make them feel special and important because they are to God.
- New babies can seem helpless and unprotected from danger. You may need to lovingly guide a new believer away from attitudes, beliefs, lifestyles or even people that may threaten their walk with God. They aren’t spiritually strong and mature enough to protect themselves. Love, merciful and gentle in your approach.
- Invite them and bring them to church, Christian events, social gatherings involving your Christian friends.
- Make sure if you are rising up and training baby Christians, you are living like a Christian should as taught in the Bible. But remember, you’re not perfect. You’ll make mistakes. Let the new believer know how much you need God and rely on His grace every single day.
- Give them some easy to read new believer literature.
- Help them learn how to pray, how to simply talk to God through prayer and sit in His presence to listen for His still small voice leading and guiding them.
- Memorize simple key scriptures with them.
- Make sure they know you are always ready to help them, answer their questions and pray for or with them.
God wants to use you to help new Christians take their first baby steps. They can’t do it alone. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar. As you help them, you will learn, too. Step out in faith and help a new believer you know begin their journey to become all God has designed them to be as a follower of Christ!
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!