A conversation starter that can change the world
By Margaret Feinberg
have a confession to make: I often struggle to tell people about my faith. I
find myself questioning my motives, my methods and even the message I’m trying
to communicate. Sure, I can write about it all day long, even speak to
thousands, but when I have to talk one-on-one with someone about Jesus, my
palms sweat, my voice shakes and anything I ever knew about faith, God or the
Bible falls out of my head.
I know that God uses all kinds of wild and downright weird ways to draw people
to Himself. Secretly I’d really like Him to use me.
God recently began answering this unspoken heart prayer through a friend named
Jay. We were both at an event in Chicago with a group of leaders and pastors,
and Jay began sharing his story. After he made a decision to follow Jesus as a
teen, his parents disowned him. Yet he felt a clear call on his life. While
praying, he felt God whisper to him that one day he would start a church in
Arvada, Colorado. At the time, Jay had never been to Colorado, let alone
started a church.
A few years later, Jay felt the same nudge again. In response, he moved his
family and a small team to Arvada to build a community centered on what it
means to follow Jesus. When I met Jay, his church had 100 members. As I pressed
Jay for more details, he revealed something unusual: Of the 100 members of his
church 75 had just committed their lives to following Jesus. I knew that was
Listening to Jay’s story, I reflected on my own fumbled efforts to share
Christ. I had to know more. I pressed Jay to find out how he helped so many
people make a decision to follow Jesus. He said that rather than hanging out in
the church, he went to where people who didn’t know Jesus spent time—the
surrounding community, sports events, coffee shops, just about anywhere. You
don’t have to go too far from the front doors of a church to find people who
don’t know Jesus.
My interest was piqued but not satisfied. I pushed harder. What did he actually
say to people when he approached them to talk about God? He said he only asks
one question: What do you love about Jesus?
His words took my breath away. I’d never heard something so simple but
soul-penetrating. Some say love has no agenda, but through the experience with
my best friend, I’ve come to believe that love is the agenda. This one question
was the missing link I’d been praying for when it came to sharing my
As Jay spoke, my mind sifted through everything I’d been learning about God. I
instantly knew my answer and to this day it hasn’t changed.
The thing I love about Jesus is His beauty. Though the prophets tell us that
there was nothing in His physical form that would attract us to Him, Jesus’
redemption takes my breath away. When I read through the crimson words of the
Gospels I see Jesus entering people’s lives, and in only a few words or
sentences penetrating to the core of who they are and at the same time
revealing God’s great love for them. The Son of God’s ability to expose the
brokenness of humanity and the depths of His Father’s love isn’t just
attractive but captivating.
In His interactions with people, Jesus flashed the beauty of His Father, a God
who is breathtakingly beautiful. Such beauty is a reflection of His holiness, a
representation of the harmony of the Trinity and its expression is manifested
throughout creation. I see this played out time and time again in the form of
redemption. Not only is God redeeming me—removing the stains and darkness of my
own soul—but I watch in awe as He redeems others revealing the beauty that is
but a reflection of His own. Redemption is one of the greatest beauties we will
ever encounter. For me redemption is like a postcard from God himself reminding
us that He’s still at work, He has not forgotten, and He is closer than we
I know I still have a long way to go, but slowly I’m discovering the
transformation that takes place when we set our eyes on our breathtakingly
beautiful God. He reveals what is ultimately good, true, real and beautiful in
a way we could never imagine and in the process we reflect a little more beauty
ourselves thus drawing others to Him. We become part of the redemptive
I don’t think it’s a mistake that beauty has an unmistakable magnetic quality.
Something intrinsic in humanity is drawn toward beauty. Our soul craves it. The
heavens declare the glory of the Lord, and we’re wired to notice such vibrant
Maybe that’s why the answer to Jay’s question came so quickly to me. Something
changed inside my heart when it came to sharing my faith that day. I still
can’t explain it, but up until my encounter with Jay, I thought sharing one’s
faith was a matter of coercion. Now I realize it’s a matter of connection. I
have something to share now that isn’t about rules or religion or coaxing or
convincing. I’ve seen something or rather Someone. I’ve caught a glimpse of the
beauty of God, and I want everyone to know.
Recently, I turned to a middle-aged man I barely knew and asked him what he
loved about Jesus. He paused and said, “Well, I really think the homeschooling
movement has done some good things.” As he continued to talk, I realized this
man had never met Jesus. The question provided an opportunity to talk about
everything spiritual and for me to share the gospel.
“What do you love about Jesus” is so personal and perceptive that most of the
time I find myself discovering new aspects of God that I’d never seen or
appreciated before. Each one illuminates a different facet of his beauty.
So forgive me, but I have a question that I can’t not ask you, What do you love
I have no agenda, except one. I promise.
Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com)
is author of The Organic God (Zondervan) from which this article was adapted.
She lives in Juneau, Alaska, with her husband, Leif. She would love to know
what you love about Jesus. You can email her atMargaret@margaretfeinberg.com.
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