Tag Archives: evangelism

Toleration, compromise, and grace

Of the dozens – probably more like hundreds – of people I’ve met who’ve broken up with God (they don’t take His calls, they neither love Him nor accept His love, etc.), a vast majority have done so because of experiences in church. They became so appalled by the actions of Christians that they felt they could no longer call themselves one, which meant no longer following Christ.

A lot of those Christians’ actions – the ones that drove former believers to disbelief – are rooted in the best of intentions. Few followers of Christ would ever intentionally do anything to run anyone away from the church. I really believe that. But just as few are the Christians who can effectively navigate the narrow channel between judgment and grace. Our problem is that we don’t know how to deal with people who don’t see things our way.

This predicament isn’t exclusive to the church. It’s the same reason Democrats and Republicans would let the U.S. default on its debt before conceding to the other party’s approach to debt management. The same reason otherwise-rational adults get into fistfights over affiliation with a football team. The same reason employees within a department, departments within an organization, and organizations within an affiliation undermine one another and compete – rather than collaborate – for resources.  The same reason, fundamentally, people all over the world, since the beginning of civilization, have participated in wars, revolutions, riots, crusades, protests, and other conflicts. Continue reading

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Does It Bother You That ________?

Earlier this week I had the privilege of hanging out with two pastors that have been very successful leaders in ministry and church planting.  One of the pastors I was with shared a story about a meeting he had with a group of people that were thinking about planting a church.   After listening to this group talk about their plans to plant a church, this pastor asked the group a very simple, but very strong question.

“Does is bother you that __________?”

Does it bother you that your neighbors may not go to church?

Does it bother you that a kid in your community fell asleep last night after being abused by their parent(s)?

Does it bother you that many families in your community are going through splits and divorces?

Does it bother you that the dad down the street from you is an alcoholic?

Does it bother you to drive by the homeless person on your way to work?

Does it bother you that teenagers in your community are having sex outside of marriage?

Does it bother you that most of those in your community don’t know what the bible says about the life God wants for them?

Does it bother you that a large percentage of the people in your community are going to go to hell when they die if they do not surrender their lives to Christ?

Do these things bother you enough to be on your knees and pray that God would radically work in your community?

These are sobering questions that you and I can use to check our burdened “temperature” for the unbelievers in our communities.

Does it bother you that ___________?

 

P.J.


The In-Between

The Good StuffThe word “evangelist” has taken a bad rap. It conjures images of sweating, screaming, larger-than-life television personalities promising answered prayers for the price of a donation. Or, no better, Bible-thumping, holier-than-thou, do-good-niks preaching the gospel of judgment and condemnation. That’s too bad, because really, “evangelist” just means someone who shares good news.

We’re all evangelists, every time we recommend a restaurant or invite our friends and family to share the joy of a wedding or graduation or birth of a child. Christians, in other words, haven’t got an exclusive on evangelism, though we do have the greatest news of all to share with our fellow man: God’s love.

I just love that God chose the relationships as the medium by which to spread his message of salvation. In his infinite power, he could’ve easily made himself known to the world in any number of ways. Visions. Talking animals. Sacred texts. Anything. But he chose us as his messengers. (Even when he did give us a sacred text – the Bible – he made it so we learn to interpret it from one another. Brilliant!)

The next time an opportunity arises to share your faith, remember that God designed us as conduits of His love. The spark that occurs between two people is nothing short of divine. I’m not talking about romantic sparks here, just the joy that comes from interacting with others. We’re social beings, we humans, and thank God for that. It’s the in-between that matters, so make the most of it.


The 2nd Greatest Story Ever Told

So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. Mark 5:20 NLT

Every follower of Christ has a story.  A story of their life before Jesus Christ rescued them from sin, how Jesus rescued them from sin, and how he has changed their life since he rescued them.  This story is often called a personal testimony or salvation experience.  Every believer has one.

Unfortunately too many believers buy into Satan’s lie that their story isn’t worth telling and that no one would want to listen to it.

Have you ever felt that way? Continue reading


Eating the Elephant

I failed big yesterday, because I let irrational fear get the best of me.

April and I took Samson to the dog park to play in the powdery aftermath of Snowmageddon 2011. We parked next to the only other car present, turned Sam loose, and wound up engaged in friendly conversation with Richard, another local dog-lover.

We talked for probably 15 minutes, long enough to learn Richard’s name, where he lived, that he was exceptionally warm-natured (short sleeves in the snow, man!) and even a little about his past. Long enough for all of that, but not for me to muster the courage to invite the dude to church.

Why is it so hard to spread God’s love? Fear, plain and simple. In my case, it was fear over something silly: how I’d respond if he turned me down. Seriously. I balked at the chance to bring someone to church because I was afraid of an awkward segue if he said “no”.

In retrospect, a bit of scripture from the book Mark springs to mind:

“Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11)

I froze because I got worried about what to say after I’d done what I felt prompted to do. A case of analysis paralysis, I guess.

I hope my failure and embarrassment will inspire somebody out there to be bolder than me when the opportunity presents itself. I pray that God will make me more courageous the next time I get the chance. I pray, when it’s time to eat that elephant, so to speak, I’ll do it the only way I can: one bite at a time.

Cheers,
D

“God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)


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