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The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus

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Overview

42 Real-Life Stories to Inspire Your Own Spiritual Adventures

Are you missing one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling dimensions of the Christian life? Here's an energetic and engaging guide to everyday steps you can take to influence others for Christ. Suddenly, what once seemed scary or daunting becomes an exciting and doable adventure that will energize your own faith while you make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

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The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus

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Overview

42 Real-Life Stories to Inspire Your Own Spiritual Adventures

Are you missing one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling dimensions of the Christian life? Here's an energetic and engaging guide to everyday steps you can take to influence others for Christ. Suddenly, what once seemed scary or daunting becomes an exciting and doable adventure that will energize your own faith while you make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

Bestselling authors Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg tell dramatic and often humorous stories from their own lives that will inspire you with fresh compassion for your spiritually confused friends. Then they draw out creative and practical application steps that anyone can readily take, capping each reading with a relevant Scripture selection-all of which will make you eager to embark on your own spiritual encounters.

Whether you're a new believer or seasoned Christian, you'll find new vision and sage advice for living a high-impact Christian life. The Unexpected Adventure paints a winsome picture of personal evangelism that's so compelling, so desirable, and so irresistible that you simply must share in the excitement.

Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel (LeeStrobel.com) has been a teaching pastor at two of America's largest and most influential churches. His books include four Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Christian Book of the year (coauthored with Garry Poole). He and his wife live in California.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310283928
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 4/17/2009
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 772,382
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the best-selling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries by Lionsgate. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee wrote 3 Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Book of the Year with Gary Poole. He and his wife live in Colorado. Visit Lee's website at: www.leestrobel.com.

Mark Mittelberg (MA, Trinity Evangelical Theological School) is an author, speaker, and evangelism strategist. He is coauthor with Bill Hybels of Becoming a Contagious Christian and coauthor with Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel of the Becoming a Contagious Christian curriculum. He previously served as evangelism leader for the Willow Creek Association.

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Read an Excerpt


The Unexpected Adventure

Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus


By Lee Strobel Mark Mittelberg
Zondervan
Copyright © 2009

Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-310-28392-8



Chapter One Day 1 Adventure

ENROLLING IN THE ADVENTURE

MARK MITTELBERG

"So, Mark, are you a Christian?"

Terry's seemingly simple question was actually quite intimidating in that era of my life. We had been friends ever since we attended middle school together. I'd always appreciated his direct personality - at least until that particular moment, when he was challenging me about the inconsistencies in my life.

"Sure, I'm a Christian, Terry. What about it?" I replied somewhat defensively while trying not to raise my voice too much. I didn't want my coworkers to overhear our conversation, fearing it would ruin my reputation and spoil some of the fun I had partying with them.

I was nineteen years old and living large - or at least I thought I was. I worked in an electronics store that sold high-end stereo equipment as well as round vinyl objects called "records," which looked like oversized CDs and played music on devices called "turntables." (If you're under thirty, you'll probably need to look up these things on the Internet or in a history book, where you'll find details and maybe a few pictures to help you understand what I'm talking about.)

Suffice it to say, we sold really good sound equipment and played great music on it - loud! It was an exciting place for a young guy like me to work. I enjoyed the environment, the money, the friends, and the freedom that this season of my life brought. Thoughts of God, church, and religion were low on my list of concerns.

Then on that fateful day, Terry walked into the store, eager to make a point. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to challenge my spiritual complacency.

In Columbo-like fashion, Terry responded to my claim of faith with another question: "How can you call yourself a Christian and yet do so many things that Christians don't do?"

"Well," I said flippantly, "I guess I'm just a cool Christian." Rarely have stupider words been spoken, but it was the best I could come up with at the time.

My remark didn't go over well with Terry. Without batting an eye, he shot back, "Oh, really? Don't you know there's a word for 'cool Christians'?"

I shook my head, though he wasn't really waiting for a reply.

"They're called hypocrites!" Terry spat out.

Ouch!

Not knowing quite how to handle his verbal missile, I did what came naturally - I returned fire: "Oh, yeah? So what about your life, Terry? Are you telling me you've got it all together?"

"No," he replied, a bit more gently. "But at least I'm honest about it."

Even after Terry left, his words lingered. I felt angry. Who does he think he is, coming in here and talking to me like that? It wasn't until a day or two later, after I'd cooled down, that I finally realized why his challenge bothered me so much: I knew he was right.

As I kept replaying that conversation in my mind, I felt a gradual softening in my attitude. My initial anger was replaced with reflection - and within a few days that reflection turned into repentance.

Finally, after a combination of divinely orchestrated influences over the previous few weeks - including the prayers of my visiting grandmother Effa, the encouragement of my mom, some sobering conversations with my dad, the godly example of my siblings, the challenges of several sermons from a couple of gifted teachers, the influence of some new friends at a Bible study I had visited, and now the rebuke by Terry - I finally decided on the evening of November 8, 1976, to give up the fight and yield my life to Christ. I asked for his full and free forgiveness, and I told him I wanted to follow him from that day forward, all the way into eternity.

I've never been the same since that day. I immediately became aware of God's presence and leadership in my life, and I felt a new sense of mission. I realized that I was put on the planet not just to know God personally but also to spread his love and truth to the people around me.

I didn't quit my job, rush off to seminary, or join a ministry somewhere. Instead I looked for ways to be used right where I was. God opened the doors and began guiding me into spiritual conversations with friends, coworkers, and occasionally even customers - some of whom ended up trusting in Christ.

God also gave me opportunities to impact lives through teaching high school classes at my church, through helping lead the Bible study I had begun attending, and through efforts with some friends to bring contemporary Christian music groups to our town to play outreach-oriented concerts.

Two words describe all that I began experiencing. The first is unexpected. If you had told me just a week or two before that conversation with Terry that I would soon become impassioned about talking to people about faith, I would have laughed out loud. That's because I hadn't been walking with God or known the exhilaration of being used by him to touch the lives of others.

You can probably guess the second word: adventure. I hadn't anticipated that knowing Christ, seeking to follow his will each day, taking risks to raise spiritual topics of conversation, answering people's questions, making the gospel message clear, and seeing lives changed by God's Spirit working through me would all be so thrilling. It exceeded by a long shot any kind of excitement I'd ever experienced before. As Lee puts it, it offered "thrills that fulfill."

The kind of thrills, I might add, that every one of us is made to experience and enjoy.

Action Principle

You may not have realized it before, but as a Christian you too are called into the unexpected adventure of spreading the faith to others. How do I know? Because a "Christian," by definition, is a follower of Jesus Christ, the one who came "to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10) and who then commissioned us to follow his example and "go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19). We were redeemed, in part, for the purpose of reaching others for Christ. Therefore, we'll never be complete in our experience with God until we allow him to use us to spread his message to others.

Stepping into the Adventure

I knew from childhood that I should follow Christ, and I had taken stabs at doing so along the way - but in later years I had resisted it. Why? In part, ironically, because I was afraid that God was going to take away my fun and sense of adventure. I had convinced myself that Christianity, though correct in its teachings, was a lifestyle for people who couldn't do much else. It certainly did not evoke in me thoughts of risk-taking or excitement.

Can you relate to that? Part of the problem, I guess, is a response to some of the religious people around us. They're nice people, but risk and adventure seem to have left their lives somewhere in the last millennium - if they were ever there in the first place. It's not surprising if we react to their examples with a yawn. Churches can be pretty sleepy places, and we need to change that.

You can begin to transform the culture of your church by first seeking God's revival in your own soul, reinstating in your own heart his vision for reaching this lost and dying world. Cultivate passion and excitement for the unexpected adventure, and you'll be amazed at how you - regardless of your age, gender, background, or experience - can stir up your church to become a more spiritually dynamic and contagious place.

Another reason we might have misconceptions of the Christian life is because we underestimate God's character and misunderstand his desires for us. We think, strangely, that his goal is to curtail our freedom and stifle our spirit so that he can somehow better contain and control us. But this is a woefully mistaken perception of the all-powerful and all-wise God, who created beauty, nature, color, emotion, art, and life itself - not to mention ingrained in us the desire for adventure and excitement.

No, our God is the God of creativity and imagination. He's an unpredictable being of perfection as well as spontaneity. He cares for the people he created with a strong and undying love, and he wants to use each of us in surprising ways to reach others with his life-changing gospel as part of his amazing redemptive plan for the entire world.

Now that's adventure, and it involves you.

Inspiration for the Journey

God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9, The Message

(Continues...)




Excerpted from The Unexpected Adventure by Lee Strobel Mark Mittelberg Copyright © 2009 by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction When Eternity Holds Its Breath 9

Day 1 Adventure Enrolling in the Adventure 19

Day 2 Adventure When You Just Don't Know 25

Day 3 Adventure Being Your Own Eccentric Self 31

Day 4 Adventure Those Imperfect Opportunities 37

Day 5 Adventure Embarrassed for God 43

Day 6 Adventure Breaking the Pact 49

Day 7 Adventure Spur-of-the-Moment Friendship 55

Day 8 Adventure Putting Love into Action 61

Day 9 Adventure Inviting Adventure 67

Day 10 Adventure Emerging from the Cocoon 73

Day 11 Adventure Stumbling into Action 79

Day 12 Adventure Faith Like a Child 85

Day 13 Adventure Divine Interruptions 91

Day 14 Adventure The Influence of a Story 97

Day 15 Adventure Mountaintop Experience 103

Day 16 Adventure Linking Together 109

Day 17 Adventure The Cowboy Who Almost Shot Me 115

Day 18 Adventure An Unfair Advantage 121

Day 19 Adventure Prayers of Desperation 127

Day 20 Adventure Representing Jesus 133

Day 21 Adventure Unlikely Candidate 141

Day 22 Adventure Praying Persistently 147

Day 23 Adventure Roadside Redemption 153

Day 24 Adventure Seeing Through Smokescreens 159

Day 25 Adventure Potential in Partnering 167

Day 26 Adventure In the Nick of Time 173

Day 27 Adventure Making Room for Questions 179

Day 28 Adventure The Big Oops 185

Day 29 Adventure The Impact of Evidence 191

Day 30 Adventure Ordinary Life, Extraordinary Impact 197

Day 31 Adventure Worship with Class 203

Day 32 Adventure Ready to Make a Difference 209

Day 33 Adventure Spiritual Backup 215

Day 34 Adventure Passion for People 221

Day 35 Adventure The Unseen Side of the Journey 227

Day 36 Adventure Outrageous Grace 233

Day 37 Adventure Power of the Gospel239

Day 38 Adventure Those Old Coincidences 245

Day 39 Adventure A Time for Urgency 251

Day 40 Adventure Hang Time 257

Day 41 Adventure Ripple Effects 265

Day 42 Adventure Addicted to Life Change 271

Conclusion Risks and Rewards 279

Meet the Authors 285

Sources 287

Recommended Resources 289

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don't Miss Out on this Adventure!

    There could be no two better servants of God, than Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg, to teach us how to reach people with the message of Christ. They have chosen to share some of their most fantastic evangelistic experiences through, "The Unexpected Adventure." What the authors show us is that this journey of faith will bring amazing "unexpected" encounters when we're trusting in God to use our lives for His purposes.

    With incredible transparency and subtle humor, the authors present a wide range of unexpected encounters throughout their lives that have brought lost souls to a place of surrender. The Great Commission is not to be taken lightly; it is our responsibility as Christians to be vessels of God. But too often, we get comfortable in our "religious" ways; reading our Bible, attending church, and serving in the community-we believe that surely that is enough to live a life of faith. We fail to take the extra step of evangelism because fear stands at our door. Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg use their experiences to show us that there are no boundaries to how God can use you in any given situation to bring the message of the Good News to those who are lost.

    "The Unexpected Adventure" is not a book that you read cover to cover in a few sittings. It is truly a devotional type book and an incredible resource that provides even further resources within it to help you through your own adventure. This book filled me with conviction by the Holy Spirit that the time is now and I must do more to reach those who are lost with the message of Christ. "The Unexpected Adventure" has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and move to the front lines in my journey of faith. Strobel and Mittelberg show us that there's nothing to fear, we've got "Spiritual back-up!" Through this book, you will learn that God is behind the scenes of your adventure with plans and purposes that reach far beyond all that you can dare to hope for or imagine!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    must read

    "The Unexpected Adventure" by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg is a book I really enjoyed reading. Having read other books by Lee Strobel I was excited to read this book and I was not disappointed.This is a devotional style book that is hard to put down but needs to be in order to digested. It is not a deep theological book but one that challenges our comfort zone of not sharing our faith. It is a humorous book that will motivate/challenge you (me) to be more willing to step out and share our faith. The stories in the book will show the reader that sharing one's faith is not a complicated ordeal nor is it only for those who stand behind a pulpit/podium.My favorite part of the book was that it reminds us that we may not always be the one to reap the harvest of a soul won for the Kingdom. Some of us may be the seed planter and that is perfectly fine.Using my criteria of "was I moved" this book receives a 4.5 out of 5. I was challenged to look at my life and see if I was being pro-active enough in sharing my faith (thinking). The book also allowed me to laugh. I would highly recommend this book for my friends.Paperback, 304 pagesZondervanMay 01, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011

    Corageous for Christ

    This book has inspired me to actually pray for opportunities to share my faith, and God has answered my prayers. The authors stories made me want to embark upon my own evangelizing adventures. What an amazing book! If you have been afraid to share your faith, this book will give you courage and strength!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    Not What I Expected

    This book was not what I was expecting. It was a great collection of motivating stories about how this person was able to share Christ in his life. However, I was expecting more of an educational account of how to work sharing Christ into my everyday life. I wanted steps on how I could begin to talk with people in a more comfortable and natural way. To be fair I must say I did not finish the book. I flipped ahead and it did not look like it was heading where I needed it to.

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    Posted December 27, 2011

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