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Welcome back to Beliefnet’s exclusive Bill Hybels devotional, “Living with Grander Vision.” This feed will appear in your profile every day for three full weeks. Did you miss any entries? Just stay subscribed, and the feed will begin again at the end of its cycle.
My friend Tommy was the resident wild man on a sailboat racing team I started a decade ago. I spent three long years talking to God about Tommy and invested more hours-long, heart-to-heart conversations in the guy than even I could believe. I knew my good-hearted buddy–boozing, partying ways aside–would make a fantastic Christ-follower, if only God could get his attention.
Tommy was a stellar boater and a trust-worthy man. For the most part. I asked him to take a group of staff members from Willow on a sailing trip one time, using a very nice boat that belonged to a friend of mine. It was to be something of a teambuilding excursion.
The first afternoon of the trip, a guy named John felt prompted to ask Tommy a spiritually-directed question. “You’ve been talking things through with our senior pastor, right, Tommy?” John asked. “Talking about matters of faith and so forth?”
“Yeah!” Tommy said with a smile. “I’ve really enjoyed my time with Bill. It has been great!”
John went a little deeper. “Tommy, is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to step across the line of faith right now and give control of your life to Jesus?”
Unbelievably, Tommy agreed. All he wanted to know was what he needed to do to make things official. So right there, under a bright, bold sun, Tommy prayed to receive Christ.
A few minutes later, I received a phone call that was placed from that boat. “Bill!” Tommy shouted. “Guess what? Guess what?!”
I figured he had wrecked my friend’s boat. “You went out, you got hammered, and you wrecked the boat,” I said.
“No, no, no! I gave my life to Jesus today! Your friend John helped me…”
Aside from the fact that my three-year investment had been eclipsed by my vulture of a friend John, who swooped in for the evangelistic kill, I was overjoyed that Tommy had come to Christ. I never get tired of watching God transform a human life. Never.
How do you decompress as part of your normal daily or weekly routine? How do you reconcile the tension between using “recreational” time to relax and rejuvenate, and allowing the time to serve as a setting for spiritual conversations to unfold?
Instead of forcing a conversion, jot down whatever ideas come to you for how you might instead help “thaw out” someone you run with or walk with or grab coffee with every Saturday morning. What questions could you ask? What personal God-stories could you tell? What insights could you lend that might move your friend from a negative ten, spiritually-speaking, to a negative nine?

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