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June 2018 


Re: To speak or not to speak? 
Great article, I have come to the place where when people do the OMG thing that, it's not My God there talking about, because they don't know Him. It might seem a cop out, but I'm happy with it.
When I was first saved I used to 'Tut,Tut' everytime someone exclaimed 'Jesus', mainly my Dad. It didn't help.
Working out your salvation is a journey!
The Revd James Haley, Bildeston Baptist Church, Suffolk

Keeping quiet always leaves me feeling like I should have said something - a missed opportunity.
Some of these people dont even realise what they are saying - it's just how they speak as they have heard it elsewhere and sometimes it can just be a phase until the next 'in' word/phrase comes along. Depending on who, where and when and your level of confidence depends on how you deal with it. Bringing it to their attention with no anger in your voice, eg:

a) 'I bet you didnt realise that you have called out to Jesus Christ quite a few times during our conversation - would you like me to pray with you?'  and/or
b)  'Its a shame that the name of Jesus has to be used in this way when we have so many more words we can use these days - being a follower of Jesus I do find it offensive'.  

Once in a crowded village pub a darts player loudly exclaimed "Jesus Christ" every time he threw badly - this truly got on my nerves. With a smile on my face, I asked this man if he was calling out to Jesus to help him throw better, then followed it up by stating that he was probably wasting his time.  All his friends laughed - a couple jeered at him being put in his place by a woman.  I told them b) as above. The landlord advised me that I had better not come anymore . . .  New landlords have taken over and are very 'respectful' of my Christianity - we are becoming good friends and I often witness in normal conversation.  
My advice is 'dont let yourself down' - you were not given a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy).
Linda Skelton

Had a similar experience a few weeks ago, went into a shop to ask if a pair of shoes could be repaired. The person behind the counter immediately said “oh Jesus”
I was so taken aback I didn’t respond, but when I was walking home felt very upset not to have challenged the shopworker, obviously he couldn’t tell by looking at me that I was a Christian, but I did think if I had been wearing a burka would he have been so quick to take the name of Allah in vain?
Sadly, this type of thing is commonplace and unfortunately not seen as causing offence. I have been in the company of friends who know my beliefs and they too do not think it is offensive. 
Even more difficult to address this amongst close friends.
Anne Brown

Re: From Prince Philip to Jesus: joy in evangelism 
What a "breath of fresh air" is Mark Roques article......I loved Narnia as a kid - Mark knows how to help us share the "deeper magic" that was revealed when the Stone Table broke.
...and I've bought the book
Lois Bentley

Mark is a master of the art of storytelling as a way of engaging people in order to communicate the gospel message. In our increasingly secularised society we have to learn more effective ways to share what we believe.
I've had the good fortune to hear Mark talk on this in more detail and would commend his books and videos to you.
Kevin Keefe

Excellent piece, thank you for publishing it!
Piet Murre

Mark Roques' latest article on story telling is a wonderful example of the small miracle that happens (if any miracle is small) when God bestows on one of his children a particular gift and shows them how to use it. A mark of such a gift is that it becomes so much part of us that we assume everyone has it, and can do as we do! The important thing is to know our own gifts and find how to use them in every opportunity the Lord provides, for his glory and others' benefit.
Roy Lorrain-Smith

Thank you for publishing Mark Roques' article "From Prince Philip to Jesus: The Joy of Evangelism." I have known Mark as a passionate and thoughtful (and, yes, ... quirky) lover of Jesus with a heart for evangelism since we were graduate students together thirty-five years ago. Through his life and his work he has taught me a lot.
Jeffrey Dudiak

Mark is spot on - again - and shows us how easy it could be for us all to engage with others in thought provoking ways. Read his book and get on with it!
Judith Briggs

I love Mark's ability to evangelise through story-telling and through contemporary life. He conveys Gospel truths and the saving power of Jesus through compelling language, vivid imagery, and wit. He is remarkably gifted in this respect and his writing and clips and blog deserve the widest possible circulation.
Giles Mercer

Great article by Marc.  Let's hear more from him.
Jim Tickner

Loved reading this piece from Mark Roques and have also read the book - really fresh, original and immensely helpful.
Dr Gareth Jones

In the face of declining numbers attending mainstream Christian churches then Mark’s ability to communicate the gospel through storytelling can provide a valuable lesson for us all.
If we are honest then the majority of us and the churches in which we worship have adopted a draw-bridge mentality when it comes to evangelism. Few of us are willing to leave the safety of our communal ‘castles’ and venture out into the ‘realms’ beyond. In a post-modern society then our attempts to rationalise the gospel generally fall on deaf ears and sadly our numbers continue to decline.
By engaging people with stories rather than with Gospel tracts, Mark demonstrates how to captivate an audience without alienating it. This is after all what Jesus did. By and large he engaged people with parables not theological debate.
We would all do well to recapture the ability to tell stories, captivate our listeners and present the gospel in a meaningful way.  
Malcolm Barraclough

I read Mark Roques’s entertaining and well-written article with great interest. Communicating the Christian faith to family, friends and colleagues in our secular society is not always easy. Mark's ideas and methods are refreshing and encouraging.
Storytelling was popular in Jesus’ day and it remains a great way of drawing people in to a conversation, from which we can gently challenge their world view and introduce the Gospel message.
As Mark says it was Jesus’ method. We should definitely learn from the Master!
Damian Mawer

Mark Roques is spot on. When we read the Gospels we are never embarrassed or queazy when Christ speaks... He communicates with sublime skill and subtle nuance, and we must strive to do the same. We must have a working understanding of the major world views and insight into how Christianity trumps them. Above all, we must never talk arrogantly, but with compassion, humour, empathy. We need more of Mark's ilk to inform and inspire us...it's a complex world out there.
Tim Bowman

Great article, I love Mark's conclusion, we shouldn't be surprised that using stories to communicate the Gospel works because this is exactly what Jesus did!
Jennie Lewis

I've been a bit slow in sending a comment on the above article, it's not lack of enthusiasm for Mark's work but I've been on holiday! I have to declare an interest, I worship at Cragg along with Mark and know him well.

Like so many Christians I know I should speak about my faith but find it difficult and to be honest, feel a bit beaten up each time I'm told I need to get my act together. Mark gives us some tools to help us warm to the task, even enjoy sharing the good news with our neighbours, workmates and friends.

I want to encourage you to give Mark more exposure as he is one of few people who helps us to see the place of humour and imagination (which Jesus seemed to have in abundance) in our conversations about faith. More than that Mark helps us to understand and challenge people's take on the world(worldview), and to set out the Christian alternative.

Relevant and non-cheesy evangelism, I really must get my act together.

Geoff King

Re: A biblical case for creation care    
Great article, though as Baptist churches we are not very good at preaching on this subject, we certainly do not challenge our church family. Let's not just talk about recycling but let's lead but not using plastics in the fist place. We could do something simple like ban plastic cups and plates and cutlery for all church events. That would be a start.
John Tuck (via Facebook)

Re: Waterways Chaplains have a very specific task 
A very valuable ministry, as part of workplace chaplaincy - but even more so when seen in its own right. Perhaps nearest to transport chaplaincy.
Michael Banfield (via Twitter)

Re: Baptisms in a JCB in Canada
Thanks for this very interesting and inspiring story about the baptism of soldiers in Canada. Great story!
Mark Roques

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