Lee Strobel tells the story of a time when he felt God prompting him to go and share an Easter invitation in the business office of the newspaper where he worked. He didn’t know why. But, he listens to God. When he arrived, he saw his friend who was working in the business office.
It was an average routine day, and I was packing my stuff up to go home and I felt like God was kicking me in the butt and real specifically to go into the business office of the newspaper and invite my atheist friend to come to Easter services at our church. Because Easter was coming up, so I thought this is great. If God is really leading me to do this so specifically, this is gonna be spectacular. He's probably gonna repent right there, get on his knees and receive Christ. This is gonna be fantastic!
So, I walk over to the new business office with great anticipation. I walk in and look around. I see my friend behind his desk.
Perfect, so I said, “Hey how are you doing?”
He said, “I’m doing great”.
I said, “Hey, you know Easter is coming up?”
He said, “Lee, I’m an atheist, I don’t observe Easter”.
I said, “Yeah I know but Easter is when we remember that Jesus rose from the dead.”
He said, “No, he did not”.
I said, “Well actually there is good historical evidence he did.” I began to talk to him about the evidence historically Jesus rose from death and I'm trying to get in a bunch of stuff in and you could see his eyes are glazing over. So, I thought okay this isn't going well.
So, I took another tact, I said, “So um yeah, do you do you ever think about God?”
He said “No”.
Okay um, I said, “Do you have any questions about God”.
He said, “No”.
Okay um Hey look I said, “I know you like music, our church has got great music. Why don’t you come to Easter services, I think you’ll like the music”.
He said, “I don’t want to go to your stupid church.”
“Hey okay, um thanks. Um.. I’ll talk to you… you know where my office is if you ever have a question”.
I thought I screwed up and I thought what the heck was that. Why did God tug me so specifically to go and invite him to church and talk about Jesus and the resurrection? To this day he's still an atheist and I'm telling you this bothered me for years. But I'll tell you now the rest of the story.
Several years after that, by then I was a pastor at this church outside Chicago, I'd preached on a Sunday and a guy came up to me and said, “Can I just shake your hand and thank you for the spiritual influence you’ve had in my life.”
I said, “Well, that’s very nice. Who are you?”
He said “Well let me tell you my story. A few years ago I lost my job and I was panic-stricken. I didn’t have any money in the bank. I was gonna lose my house. I was going to lose my car. I went to the newspaper, and I said, “Hey you have any odd jobs I can do to earn a buck at the newspaper.”
And the guy said, “Well, can you tile floors?” and I said well “Yeah I’ve titled my bathroom. I think I can tile the floor.”
The guy said, “Well, we need some tiling installed and repaired at the newspaper so if you can do that we can pay you for a while”.
So, he said, I went to work at the newspaper. One day, an average day before Easter, I was in the business office of the newspaper, and I was on my hands and knees on the floor behind a desk working on some tile on the floor and you walked in the door. And I don’t even think you knew I was there. You start talking this guy about God, you start talking about the resurrection, you start talking about the historical evidence that Jesus really did rise, you started inviting him to church. But This guy was shutting you down and I’m on my hands and knees behind this desk. And my heart’s beating fast. I’m thinking I need God. I need to go to church. So as soon as you left, I called my wife. I said, “We’re gonna go to church on Easter”. She said, “What!”. I said, “Yeah”.
We came to your church that Easter. I came to faith. My wife came to faith and our teenage son came to faith. And I just wanted to thank you.”
I thought to myself, “This is a new form of evangelism.” Ricochet evangelism is where you share your faith, and it bounces off a hard heart. You just don't know where it's gonna go.
Friends this is the unexpected adventure of the Christian life. You don't want to miss this we can't do this in heaven this is our one chance so let's ask God to take us on these unexpected adventures.
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Kent Kessler on Dec 27, 2006
A little boy was standing by his father watching him trying to put a floppy disk into his computer. The father was having trouble getting the disk to go in all of the way. The little boy said to his father, “Maybe it has a penny in it?” Sure enough, when the father fished around inside where the ...read more
Contributed by Bud Brown on Oct 14, 2004
Legend has it that when the famous frontiersman Davy Crockett was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827, a newspaper reporter asked him if he’d ever been lost. Crockett had grown up in the woods and wilderness of middle and western Tennessee and was often gone out on hunting trips ...read more
Contributed by Kenneth Squires on Sep 30, 2005
Do you know that you already have the gift of a consuming passion for hungering and thirsting? You activate it when you surrender your life to the Spirit’s working. Billy Graham was asked, “What is the most important ...read more
Contributed by Stan Coleman on Jan 17, 2007
Listen to this from R.C. Sproul: “Perhaps the most difficult task for us to perform is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone for our salvation. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people—for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We ...read more
Contributed by Michael Trask on Jan 18, 2007
Have you ever noticed that good feeling that you get when you give of yourself? Perhaps you gave time to help someone with a flat tire on the side of the road, or perhaps you helped a lost child be reunited with his mother in a crowd, or maybe when the clerk at the store gave you too much ...read more
Contributed by Dennis Lee on Apr 14, 2019
This sermon looks at Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and its life changing message that our sins are forgiven, we have a purpose to live out through the power and promises of Christ, and our eternal future is secured in heaven.
Contributed by Kraig Pullam on Feb 17, 2014
God takes the disadvantages of our dead ends and uses them as an opportunity to propel His plan into the spectrum of His greater glory and our greater good, as seen in the discourse between the disciples and Christ prior to His ascension.