We are thrilled to announce Oscar Navarro as a new cohost of our television show, Way of the Master! He will be joining Ray Comfort, Emeal (“E.Z.”) Zwayne, and Mark Spence as they address current events and inspire and equip Christians to proclaim the gospel. Way of the Master can be watched in over 190 countries and streamed online. Oscar is our Vice President of Ministry Advancement and has served at Living Waters for many years. We thought you might appreciate getting to know this bright new face on the show. Enjoy this recent interview with Oscar by Eddie Roman, the Producer/Director of our program.
EDDIE ROMAN: You came to faith while you were an atheist. What’s one often overlooked insight you could give for reaching skeptics?
OSCAR NAVARRO: I have an 80/20 rule when it comes to evangelism. I think 20 percent of evangelism is sharing your faith, and 80 percent is praying for that person. When I was in high school, I lived in a one-bedroom condo with my grandma. The living room was my room, and the couch was my bed. When I would leave the house at night, I had to walk by my grandma’s room and saw her crying while on her knees beside her bed praying in Spanish. She was asking God to protect me, bring me home safe, and change my heart. In the moment, I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time. To me, prayer caused her more pain than pleasure. Years later, the Lord saved me. I had heard a gospel proclamation many times before (I could probably recite it better than most people). No particular argument, new way of presentation, or emboldened preacher did the trick. As I remember, the pastor wasn’t a very good communicator. So what changed? The Lord decided it was my time. He softened my heart and opened my eyes. God used that pastor, but He also heard the years of prayers from my sweet nana. It reminds me to proclaim the gospel and to saturate it in prayer.
EDDIE: You’re a reading aficionado. What are some of the best books you’ve read recently and why?
OSCAR: I do like to read but my wife is the real bookworm—I just try to keep up! I recently finished Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland. He’s an award winning non-Christian historian. He shows us that as “secular” as we are in the West, we are still borrowing so much of our understanding of truth, beauty, and goodness from Jesus. According to Holland, we owe our desires for independence, equality, and justice to Jesus. Also, early this year I read None Greater: Undomesticated Attributes of God by Matthew Barrett. Despite being such an incredible conversation, the attributes of God can be dry and highly academic. Barrett writes about God’s attributes in a way that brings you to a place of worship. Sorry, one more: a while back I read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. It’s been over a year, and I still haven’t stopped reflecting on it. The book explores the Great Migration through the experience of three people who tried to escape the Jim Crow South by moving to northern states. Wilkerson is a wonderful writer. I’m going to stop at three. But, if I was going to mention a fourth, I would mention one of my favorite children’s books, The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung. We read it a few times a year with our kids. But I’m not going to mention it, because three books are enough.
EDDIE: What is your favorite way to begin a witnessing conversation?
OSCAR: Finding common ground and laughter. Laughter is a powerful tool. It makes you more approachable and finding common ground can lower the guard of the person you’re talking to. I’ve especially learned how to do it by working with and watching Ray through the years. We had a painter in the office, and I overheard Ray strike up a conversation with the man. A few minutes in and the guy was opening up about his life to Ray. You could tell that the painter felt truly befriended. Ray has a charisma to him that is disarming. I’ve seen it happen at airports, hotel lobbies, and our offices.
EDDIE: If you could give one bit of advice to someone hungry to reach an unsaved loved one, what would it be?
OSCAR: It’s not up to you. I think we often put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves that prevents us from more actively sharing our faith. “What if I’m asked a question I don’t know the answer to?” “What if I sound dumb?” “What if I forget to say something?” It can be a very man-centered way of looking at things. The reality is, someone being born again is nothing short of a miracle—and miracles are God’s business. We are called to faithfully proclaim the good news; the results are entirely up to Him. This should free us from pretense and empower us to boldly proclaim the gospel. That is the way Paul looked at his efforts in 2 Timothy 2:10. For him it was like, Look, I’m being beat up, shipwrecked, mocked, jailed, and tortured. But I know there are unsaved people who will one day be born again. So, I’ll take my licks if it means God’s going to use me to bring them to a saving faith. Paul didn’t view himself as a savior but as an instrument in our Redeemer’s hands. That’s what you are: an instrument of salvation. It’s not up to you. You are in God’s hands and when you faithfully share the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit is wielding you.
EDDIE: How did you meet your wife? What’s up with the weird octopus art collection in your office?
OSCAR: Kelli and I met at a wedding. It wasn’t love at first sight, though. A few weeks after the wedding some mutual friends told me Kelli was moving back to town and they were praying and planning on sharing the gospel with her and inviting her to church. I’m honored and blessed to say that I prayed for my wife’s salvation before I was interested in her. I’m thankful that I had a front row seat to the Lord’s work in her life. We have three children now. We love books and basketball. I like to sail in the summer and snowboard in the winter. Okay, so about the octopus (octopi?): It just sort of happened. I bought a painting with an octopus for my office, and then I found a bookend that was an octopus and got it for the bookshelf. The two weren’t planned but after that people started buying me octopus-related paraphernalia and now I have an octopus office. I don’t know how to make it stop!
You can follow Oscar on Twitter at @OscarsVoyage and on Facebook at facebook.com/OscarNavarroFB. Don’t forget to watch new episodes of the award-winning Way of the Master, which is a fast-paced, family-friendly talk show with a reality TV twist. The program delivers inspiring, insightful, and thought-provoking interaction between dynamic cohosts, captivating interviews with well-known guests, and colorful man-on-the-street witnessing encounters. For times and channels (on TV and online), visit WayoftheMaster.com.