When we seize opportunities to talk with others about Jesus, days that start out dull and tedious can quickly blossom into exciting escapades. Written fortoday’s multigenerational, multicultural world, The Unexpected Adventure helps readers take easy steps into a natural evangelistic lifestyle that will energize their own faith while making an eternal difference in the lives of people they encounter.Using a devotional-style format, bestselling authors Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg tell dramatic and sometimes funny stories from their own lives and then draw out practical applications backed by Scripture. Readers will be inspired with fresh compassion for their spiritually confused friends and equipped with practical strategies for influencing others for Christ. Entire churches will be rejuvenated as congregations discover that evangelism can be the adventure of a lifetime — starting today.
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About the Author
Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the bestselling author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee has won four Gold Medallions for publishing excellence and coauthored the Christian Book of the Year. He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University. Visit Lee's website at: leestrobel.com
Mark Mittelberg is a best-selling author and international speaker. His books include The Unexpected Adventure (with Lee Strobel), The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers), and Confident Faith. He is also the primary author of the award-winning Becoming a Contagious Christian training course (with Lee Strobel and Bill Hybels), which has been translated into more than 20 languages and used by more than 1,500,000 people around the world. You can visit Mark’s website at: markmittelberg.com
Read an Excerpt
The Unexpected Adventure
Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus
By Lee Strobel Mark Mittelberg
Copyright © 2009
Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg
All right reserved.
Chapter One Day 1 Adventure
ENROLLING IN THE ADVENTURE
"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.
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.
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
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.
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
Recommended Resources 289
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
"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
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!
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.