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YWAM DTS Notes Evangelism based on lectures by Ross Tooley

Passion for Evangelism...do you still have it?

By Danny Lehmann

A Mexican family receives Christ at the dedication of their new home built by a Mission Adventures team. A spiked and tattooed teenage couple kneel in tears at an invitation given by skaters at an Impact World Tour rally in New Zealand. A street kid sits, bleary-eyed, dazed and confused in a Brazilian gutter, the result of an hour of inhaling glue fumes into his lungs, destroying brain cells in the process. A patient DTS student, Good Samaritan style, drags him to a rehab center and campaigns to get him in. A surfer is befriended on Kuta Beach in Indonesia by an American from "Surfers for Missions" and returns to Australia a new creation in Christ. A young Buddhist mother in Southeast Asia responds to God's love demonstrated by a mercy ministry team.

Lives changed, souls (and bodies) saved, and precious prisoners of war redeemed from Satan's clutches every time the heart and hands of a YWAMer reach out with the good news of Jesus. Every day around the planet the above scenarios (and hundreds like them) are repeated to the glory of God.

Eternity on Our Eyeballs

Passion for souls. A heart that beats with the compassion of Jesus for those who don't know him, and a heart that aches when they refuse him. How do we get such a heart, and -just as crucial-how do we keep it? How does a former hustler, saved off the streets of Waikiki, stay motivated to travel for three years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a restaurant for outreach to middle-class Brahman Hindus in India? What drives a guy who already has one half of his intestines removed due to tropical diseases to return-against all medical advice-to the very country in which he contracted the disease? From where does the passion come, that causes many in our mission to live in abject poverty, risk life and limb, endure humiliation and rejection to take Jesus up the Amazon, down into the underground tunnels of Eastern European cities, and across the African plains to proclaim the gospel? It is passion, an intangible quality that is hard to define but easy to identify, because you know when you've got it and you know when you don't! We see it in Moses and Paul, both willing to sacrifice even their own salvation for the people they were passionate about reaching (Exodus 32:32; Romans 9:3), and in Jesus who said, "Zeal for your house has consumed me" (John 2:17). We notice it missing in Demas who forsook his call, "having loved this present world" (2 Tim. 4:10).

Leonard Ravenhill once challenged a group of us to pray for God to "stamp eternity on our eyeballs." Is eternity stamped on your eyeballs and mine? Do we believe there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain? Do we believe that the passion that Jesus displayed on the cross is the only hope for mankind? Do we believe in a Father God whose heart is broken with every soul that perishes without Christ? Paul wrote, "It is written, 'I have believed, therefore have I spoken.' We also believe, and therefore speak" (2 Cor. 4:13). This verse gives us a clear equation: the more we believe, the more we will speak about Jesus to those who don't know Him.

Two Edges of Evangelism

In the film "The Last Samurai" Captain Algren asks a question of his newly found Japanese mentor and friend, Katsumoto. As the Captain admires the gleaming Samurai sword of the veteran warrior, he asks for the translation of the kanji inscribed on its blade. Katsumoto replies: "I belong to the warrior who combines the old ways with the new."

Knowing the biblical metaphor of God's Word being a "two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17), I believe the Samurai has something prophetically to say to us in YWAM. Jesus spoke of His messengers being like the "owner of the house that brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Matthew 13:52). As those of us that are younger pioneer "new" initiatives into arenas such as business, government, and the arts we would do well to heed Moses' counsel to his next generation of young leaders: "Ask your father and he will tell you. Ask your elders, and they will explain it to you" (Deuteronomy 32:7). As we pursue our destiny, we must be careful to honor and receive the legacy left to us by those that have gone before-the spiritual DNA and genetic code that makes us YWAM, whose foundational verse is to tell every person on the planet about Jesus (Mark 16:15).

Likewise, those of us who are more "seasoned" need to throw combustible fuel on the fiery evangelistic passion of the young, apostolic pioneers in our midst who are seeking new ways to reach the lost. Like Katsumoto, we need both edges of the sword -both the old and the new.

Loren's Schedule in the 70s

Recently, a lady who had hosted YWAM teams in the early '70s stopped by to see me. While cleaning out her garage, she had discovered a box of YWAM memorabilia that she thought I would be interested in. At the bottom of the box, under the Francis Schaeffer books and Winkie Pratney tapes, was an eight-page outreach manual for short-term teams, written by Loren Cunningham. On page five, the daily schedule caught my eye. In addition to follow-up or church ministry in the evenings, there were six hours of evangelism scheduled every day. It was clear this referred to face-to-face witnessing to lost people. I showed my discovery to some of our younger staff, and even though we didn't completely adopt Loren's "70's" schedule, it did provoke some spirited discussions on how much actual evangelism goes on during our outreaches.

Shortly thereafter I was invited to participate in a DTS leaders' workshop. On one afternoon we were led in an exercise to self-evaluate our DTS outreaches with regard to their evangelistic effectiveness. The survey revolved around issues such as: numbers of conversions to Christ, healings, and amount or percentage of time spent in clear gospel proclamation. The leaders on average gave themselves a two on a scale of ten with regard to their effectiveness! Needless to say, there is much room for improvement!

In considering how we could improve, we discussed providing outreach locations more conducive to evangelism, better training for staff and students in how to effectively witness and preach the gospel, and more specific outreach preparation for the particular country to be visited on outreach. We also discussed the inevitable tendency to drift from an evangelistic focus on our outreaches to activities such as prayer, spiritual warfare, mercy ministries, serving churches, etc. We concluded that although these functions are also biblical mandates, they are not intended by God to be substitutes for evangelism, but supplements to reinforce our evangelism.

Let's face it. Evangelism is work. Winning people to Christ is tough. Jesus described it in graphic terms when He likened us to sheep, being sent out among the wolves (Matthew 10:16). None of us likes to be rejected, persecuted, or physically harmed for preaching the gospel. We would much rather do less threatening activities and seek to win friends and not take the risks required to win souls, yet we must! Eternity is at stake.

A Taste for Bad Company

Once we've prayed Ravenhill's prayer and reinforced our belief in the eternal issues involved, we need to fuel the fire of our faith with the following combustible materials:

1. Cry out to God for His heart for the lost.

2. Give resources to the evangelistic people in our midst so they can keep the fires of evangelism burning hot within our hearts and our programs. Some people exude evangelistic zeal. We need to catch their fire.

3. On a regular basis, read books and listen to teachings that challenge us to be soul-winners.

4. Schedule time into your week for outreach. The older you are in the faith, the more this is needed. Statistics tell us that the older we are in our faith, the less evangelistic we become.

5. Carry practical tools to help you practice your evangelistic lifestyle-tracts, Evangecubes, and invitations to church, evangelistic events, Alpha Courses, recovery programs, etc.

6. Seek God for your particular evangelistic style, whether it be confrontational, intellectual, serving, invitational, testimonial, or interpersonal. Keep in mind, however, before you reject any evangelistic method, the words of evangelist D. L Moody, in response to someone who criticized his methods, "I like the way I'm doing it better than the way you're not doing it!"

G. K. Chesterton once said of Jesus: "He never lost His taste for bad company." It is crucial in YWAM that we do not lose our taste for bad company, and that we make sure that we are following in the footsteps of Him who is a "friend of sinners" (Matthew 11:19). In YWAM, evangelism is our lifeblood, our birthright, and the reason for our very existence. We could know God and worship Him if there were no YWAM. We have a mission: to know God and make Him known. Let's continue to seek God for new ways to evangelize; but in pursuing the means, let's not forget the end: to bring people from every nation into what John Piper calls the "white hot enjoyment of God's glory."

What an exciting week, evangelism, my favorite topic.  Ross is a great communicator, such a wealth of experience after 40 years in YWAM.  It was such a blessing too that on the first day, he laid hands on me, and prayed for me with a word of knowledge.  What an encouragement!  He said, God has wonderful plans for you and Cindy, but He is not going to reveal it, just one step at a time.  We have been fretting a bit over exactly what we were going to do in the outreach phase and then after our internship.  The outreach portion has been made a bit more clear.  The other will be clear as we get further along.

Constructive criticism

1.      Another day should be spent on �using words� in evangelism for those who need it.

2.      We should pray more for our outreach ministry rather than for our  outreach funds.

3.      A fuller definition of salvation is helpful.

Suggestions

Using words

What are the essential elements in a Gospel presentation? 

1.      Talk about the love of God, the nature and character of God.

2.      Talk about sin and it�s consequences

3.      Talk about the Savior, the person and the work of Christ.

4.      Talk about the need for appropriation, receiving or accepting the free gift of salvation, using a condition and promise verse.

a.      A condition and promise verse is one with God�s condition (requirement) for salvation and His promise of salvation when that condition is met, verses like Romans 10:9; Romans 10:13; John 3:16; John 1:12; Acts 16:31.

b.      These verses make it clear what needs to be done for salvation and give assurance. 

 What are some methods for evangelism?   Giving out tracts, sharing the Romans road, using the Wordless Book, using the Evange-cube, the Southern Baptists have Continuing Witness Training and FAITH as two models of methods or dialogues to use in evangelism.  A very effective method I used in the hospital was distributing  booklets from the Radio  Bile Class, that way the patient could choose what they wanted from about 15 different titles.  Another approach I used some was �How To Share Your Faith Without an Argument� by Bill Fay, which is also available through the Radio Bible Class.  The New Testament illustrates several methods of evangelism. We find examples of mass evangelism in the work of John the Baptist. Peter, and Stephen (Acts 2:14-41). We see personal evangelism by Jesus and the apostles as recorded in the Gospels  and Acts. Paul met people where they were in dialog evangelism on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). The early Christians practiced visitation evangelism when they went from house to house as recorded in Acts 5:42. And then there was written evangelism as seen in the writing of the Gospels of John and Luke (John 20:31).

The most common and perhaps the most effective biblical method of evangelism is the sharing of the Good News on a person-to-person basis as we come in contact with others. Sometimes just being a friend or listening to another person's troubles becomes a point of contact. Good deeds do not convey the actual content of the Gospel; the good news must be expressed in words.

What should motivate us as believers to evangelize? 

1. The Lord commands it.

4.      We love our fellowman

5.      We recognize that the unsaved are lost (Luke 19:10), without hope (Ephesians 2:12), under condemnation (John 3:36), and destined for destruction (Mark 16:16).

Praying for outreach

May I suggest that rather than praying for outreach funds, that we pray for the advancements of God�s Kingdom and pray for specific areas of ministry in the three outreaches.   We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things will be added to us (Matt. 6:33).  It would also be helpful to let our potential partners in ministry, know some details of our plans and goals in the outreach.  What do we hope to accomplish?   Are we going to homes, prisons, orphanages, churches, schools, hospitals?   Are we going to help existing missionaries or ministries, if so how?  People are more responsive to purpose and vision, joining God in what He is doing, than in just financial need.   

Definition of salvation and evangelism: a bit larger perspective on it, past, present, and future

We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved.       The   first aspect is justification.  We are saved from the penalty of sin.        Salvation is what God has done for us in     Christ. Salvation was   arranged and accomplished through the death burial, and resurrection of Christ.  We have been forgiven, at      the moment of our repentance and faith.  We were dead. He made us alive (Eph. 2:1-    4). He made us new creatures in Christ. He gave us a         new heart, a new will, and a new nature. The second aspect is sanctification.  He is doing a saving work in us to make us more Christ   like.  To make us holy.  He is working in us to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).   The third aspect is glorification.  When        the Lord God is finished with us, when our salvation is complete, we will be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). We will be saved from the presence of sin and receive a new glorified body.  Evangelism, then, is the message that Christ's death upon the cross turns away God's wrath, satisfies His justice, while maintaining His holiness.  Evangelism is the presenting of Jesus Christ, so that men will accept Him as their Savior from the penalty, power, and presence of sin, and declare Him Lord as they seek to follow Him in their daily lives.

 

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 (NASB)

I am so glad that the Gospel is for all, no part of humanity is excluded, everyone needs to hear the Good News.  The words of Jesus for His disciples then and now, is to go into all the world.

 

 Make God known

YWAM is called to make God known throughout the whole world through, and into every arena of society through evangelism, training and mercy ministries.  We believe that salvation of souls should result in transformation of societies, thus obeying Jesus� command to make disciples of all nations.  (Acts 13:2-3; Genesis 12:1-3; Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:9-18; 15:18-21)

One of main reasons I feel called to Thailand is in these two verses:  �How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"   The Thai people need the Gospel in written and verbal form.  Romans 10:14-15 (NASB)

 God does use random acts of kindness done by people to lead people to faith.  He also can still use the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit (Romans 15:19)

Satan�s strategies

Satan is a great interrupter.  There were many interruptions in my hospital ministry through the years.  At the critical time of decision, the phone rings, the nurse, doctor, or other staff, or family come into the room.  We must remember to pray against the interruptions.  

 

The cardinal rule of witnessing is listening.  If you are listening then you are loving.  We will look at evangelism from the perspective of not saying anthing, to saying a few things with words of knowledge, using your testimony, full on witnessing, and asking questions.  Just one question can be more effective than ten thousand words.

The relation between the Gospel and Second Coming

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Matt 24:14 (NASB)

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

2 Peter 3:10-12 (NASB)

We can be involved in hastening the second coming, as we do our job to be His witnesses.   Jesus is saying, �I am giving you the Church a job to do, when it�s done, I�ll come back.�

The need for the Gospel to be preached in all the world

World A

Unreached people -- 24% of the world's population -- receive 1/2 of 1% of dollars given to Christian missions

World B

Unevangelized World -- 43% of the world's population -- receives 5% of dollars given to Christian missions

World C

Christian World -- 33% of the world's population -- receives 94.5% of dollars given to Christian missions

Evangelization by Worlds A, B, and C 

By individuals

World C 1,999,564,000

World B 2,426,110,000

World A 1,629,375,000

By countries 

World C countries 141

   Population 1,694,733,000

World B countries 59

   Population 3,755,012,000

World A "unreached" countries 38

   Population 605,304,000

Missions statistics from the places of the 10/40 Window:

Center of population:Two-thirds of the world's population -- more than 3.2 billion people -- live in the 10/40 Window.

Unreached and unevangelized: 95% of the people living in the 10/40 Window are unevangelized. Many have never heard the Gospel message even once. There are either no Christians or not enough of a Christian movement in many cultures of the 10/40 Window to carry out evangelism. If those groups are to be evangelized, believers will need to leave their own culture to enter another where they will seek to plant the Gospel. Cross-cultural evangelism is required because there are people groups with no church movements that are understandable or relevant to them.

World religions: Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are centered within the 10/40 Window.

Least evangelized cities: Half of the world's least evangelized cities are in this window.

What is salvation?  It is knowing and loving God.  The heart of it is friendship with God with freedom from the penalty and power of sin. 

"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3 (NASB)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Heb 8:10-11 (KJV) �dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. II Thess 1:8 (NASB)  No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

John 15:15 (NASB)

Evangelism is inspiring others to know and love God.  (Greek word euaggelizo means "to preach, to proclaim the good tidings, to tell the good news)

God has emotion in regards to salvation.  The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zeph 3:17 (NASB)

Luke 15 tells how the angels rejoice over one who was lost and is now found.

In evangelism you should start where the other person is comfortable, not with your knowledge.

Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. Jer 9:23-24 (NASB)

Examples: Jesus and the woman at the well in Samaria.  Acts 17, Paul preaches on Mar�s Hill about the unknown God.

24 hours later only 7% of what was spoken by the witness is remembered by the listener, but up to 100% of the emotions felt at the time is remembered.  Don�t talk until they have seen the love of God in your eyes first.

You display God�s character.  Ways we exhibit His character:

1.      Through our lives

A negative example is hard bargaining described in Prov. 20:14; I Peter 3:1 concerning wives.  Be careful about comparisons and complaints when ministering cross-culturally.  Beware of bargain hunting and hording.  Don�t look at your culture as superior.  Love the people, the culture, and their language.

2.  Through our restitution (and repentance)

Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. Acts 19:18-20 (NASB) For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 1 Thess 4:3-4 (NASB)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority . Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15 (NASB)

  1.  Acts of kindness (good deeds and good works)

Illustrated in the story of the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:20-31).  We do not work for salvation but we work from salvation.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Eph 2:10   Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Matt 5:16   If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:15-17 (NASB).  Meeting a present felt need.  If you do good with your will, then your emotions will follow. 

  1. The presence of God / spiritual atmosphere

Unbelievers can fall in love with God in His presence.  Spiritual leaders will never attract a following without enthusiasm.

  1. Miracles of healing

John 4:46-54; Romans 2:4; Acts 9:32-35

Why aren�t there very many miracles today?  We are materialistic.  How much time do we pray to be more effective in evangelism.  We give up too soon in prayer.  The longer you pray the more likely there will be a healing.  The more you love a person, the more likely they will be healed.  The depth of our unselfishness can release the power of God.

  1. Other miracles (signs)

The sign of not being afraid.   Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 in no way alarmed by your opponents�which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God  Phil 1:27-28 (NASB)  Brother Andrew said, �A brave man is not someone who knows no fear, he carries on despite his fear.�   Joshua 1:6-9 and Psalm 1.

Miracles � Acts 13:1-12; Luke 5:1-11  

There a miraculous provisions.

A word of knowledge (I Cor. 12:8)

God�s leading to ask a question.

  1. Praying for the unsaved.

Example Bill Bright was prayed for by his mother for years.  Not only was he saved and went on to found Campus Crusade for Christ, but also about 4  billion of the world�s 6.5 billion have seen the Jesus film that came through his ministry.  (I can testify of the difference between doing hospital visits without praying for evangelism first and those with.  One day I realized I hadn�t seen anyone come to faith in some time.  I prayed and that day, led five children to the Lord using my wordless book in the hospital lobby.  Also I prayed for my parents salvation for a number of years, they are both saved now and active in church.)

  1. Point to creation

Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20; Acts 14:8,15; Acts 17:22.  Creation is God�s other book.

  1. Giving your testimony

It gives hope, it relates to the persons own life, it�s not condemning, it is a platform of humility and need.  The testimony should include:

a.          A hook (a short capture the interest statement)

b.          Describe your life before Christ

c.           Stitch two things together, your need coupled with what Christ gives.  (The solution you found in a time of crisis)

d.          Prove you�re different now

10. Words

Keep it simple.  Talk about God�s natural attributes � He is almighty, all knowing, and everywhere.  Note: we agree with the Jews and the Moslems on God�s natural attributes, offering some common ground.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Always speak on the cross, just like Billy Graham does.  Animals were slain to clothe Adam and Eve.  Sacrificial lambs were offered for atonement.  The sacrifices in the Old Testament all point to the Lamb of God.  The message this give us from God is:

a.      I love you, I am willing to forgive you if you repent

b.      This is how bad your sin is.

c.       References: John 16:8; Eph. 5:5-6; Rev. 21:8; I Cor. 6:9-11 Gal. 5:19-21.

Questions you can ask to get a conversation going:

a.      How you think the world came into existence?

b.      There seems to be a great design to the universe.  The sun is the right distance from the earth�

c.       Could you describe the character of this God to me?  (After they have said they believe in God.)

d.      Do you think it is possible to know this God?

e.      What gives you a sense of value? (if they say they don�t believe in God)  Is that enough?  What if that person that gives you values dies, or goes way, what then? 

f.        In your view, how should someone find forgiveness of sin?

g.      In your view, who is Jesus?

h.      Is it possible, He really is God, that He died and rose again?

i.         Would you like to hear my experience?

j.        If we died today and stood before God, and God asked why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say?

Before leading someone to Christ

a.      Make sure they believe in an uncreated Creator

b.      This Creator is loving and fair

c.       He is wanting a relationship, a friendship with us.

d.      We need to turn from everything we know is wrong.  Prov. 28:13;

     I Cor. 6:9-11; I John 3:6

e.      We need to trust Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  Both in repentance and faith Acts 20:21

f.        It is good to have the new Christian confess the Savior Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Matt 10:32-33 (NASB)

God anoints truth, no matter who says it.  We are wise to use the authority that they respect rather than ours.  You can witness to Moslems using their own Qumran.  Remember too, that in Arabic speaking countries the word for God is Allah. 

In self talk you must coach yourself into truth and challenge wrong assumptions.  Sin plus forgiveness doesn�t equal not having sinned at all. 

If you are dealing with people involved in sexual sin, such as prostitution and homosexuality, it pays to use softness and pray for the revelation of God. 

You prophesy according to the clarity that God gives you.  If what He gave you is not clear, then give it hesitantly or even in a question.

Truth confirmed

In evangelism you should start where the other person is comfortable.

Listening is one of the greatest tools of evangelism.  When I went to New York to volunteer as a chaplain at Mt. Sinai Hospital after September 11, I worked with a Rabbi who was the senior chaplain retired from the Navy chaplaincy.  One day we spent more than an hour in his office as he vented on how he had been mistreated by Christians through the years, especially fellow chaplains, some were Baptist ministers.  One example was being made to sleep on the floor, another was difficult assignments of location and quarters given by senior chaplains.  I apologized to him as a Baptist minister.  He then went on to ask, �why are you Christians so pushy in wanting to make everyone else believe what you do?  Why do you want everyone else to be a Christian?�  His name was Ari.  I gave him this answer, I believe from the Lord, �Ari, if you knew my house was on fire and I didn�t know it, I was in bed sleeping with my family, wouldn�t you wake me up?   Wouldn�t you try to rescue me, get help, and perhaps even try to put out the fire?�  He answered, �well, yes of course�.  I said, �that�s one reason why, let me give you another.  Let�s say that both of us have the same disease, we both have a certain kind of cancer, and we are both dying.  I discover the cure for that cancer, should I keep the news to myself, or share it with you?�  �I hope you would share it with me�, he said.  �That�s why Christians share their faith.�  He didn�t come to faith, but I think he had a better understanding, and because of my listening, friendliness, and gentleness, he had a new openness to working with �the mean Baptists.� 

Grace is the power of God.

Meeting a present felt need is why we are prepared to teach English in Thailand.  

        HAVE A MESSAGE AND BE ONE

We are not saved to be "channels only," but to be sons and daughters of God. We are not turned into spiritual mediums, but, into spiritual messengers; the message must be part of ourselves. The Son of God was His own message, His words were spirit and life; and as His disciples our lives must be the sacrament of our message. The natural heart will do any amount of serving, but it takes the heart broken by conviction of sin, and baptized by the Holy Ghost, and crumpled into the purpose of God before the life becomes the sacrament of its message.

There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching. A preacher is one who has realized the call of God and is determined to use his every power to proclaim God's truth. God takes us out of our own ideas for our lives and we are "batter'd to shape and use," as the disciples were after Pentecost. Pentecost did not teach the disciples anything; it made them the incarnation of what they preached - "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me."

Let God have perfect liberty when you speak. Before God's message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you. Gather your material, and set it alight when you speak.

�My Utmost For His Highest March 10.

I hadn�t thought of restitution and repentance as means of evangelism.  Nor had I thought of signs and wonders and words of knowledge as being used for evangelism, there are biblical examples of signs and wonders.

Implementation

I am reminded that I not only have a message but I am a message.  I was reminded to be enthusiastic in leadership.

Areas God has brought to my attention

I was reminded of the importance of random acts of kindness.  A pastor friend of mine sent me this email newsletter:

We have a simple missions strategy at Church on the Riverside � to be a blessing to the nations that God has surrounded us with � just as it was for Abram when God sent him to the �land he would show him� thousands of years ago.  And as we�ve gone to be a blessing, we�ve found that it doesn�t take much to be a blessing at all.  Yet, we�ve been amazed at the impact of what doing just simple things can make in a person�s life, and their attitude towards things heavenly. 

Cynthia and Nate for example, were in the Cheesecake Factory a few weeks ago for their date night.  As their waiter Bobby delivered their dinner, they asked him if there was anything they could pray for him about, since they were about to thank God for their food.  Bobby stared at them with a blank look for a minute, not really knowing how to respond,  since no one had ever asked him that question before.  A bit stumped, Bobby just replied, �Just mention the name Bobby McGee to God, and He�ll know who you�re talking about.� Cynthia and Nate assured them that they would indeed do that as they prayed for him. 

After that moment, Bobby was a changed man for the rest of the night.  He returned about 3 minutes later and said, �Wow, that was sure nice of you guys to ask me about that � no one�s ever asked me that question before.  You�ve really made my night tonight.  Thank you so much.�   And so it was for the rest of the evening, with Bobby returning every 5 minutes or so to make sure their glasses were filled with water, and they had everything they needed.  To say that Cynthia and Nate got special service that night would be an understatement.  But that wasn�t the end of the story�

When dinner was finished and Bobby was clearing the plates, he asked them if they wanted desert � since they were after all eating at the Cheesecake Factory.  When Cynthia and Nate hesitated for a moment on whether or not they should have dessert, Bobby said, �Hey, I really want you guys to have dessert tonight since you�ve been so kind to me.  Just get whatever you want on the dessert menu and it�s going to be on me.�  So they had a fudge sundae, courtesy of Bobby, and they contemplated God�s blessing on their lives as Bobby considered God�s blessing on his life that night. 

Grace, another Church on the Riverside member, felt the Holy Spirit nudging her to ask a paraplegic classmate of hers the other night if he�d ever come to know the love that Jesus has for him.  He responded with a smile that yes he had, and shared that he once attended a church in San Bernardino � which just happened to be Grace�s former church.  Both Grace and her friend were encouraged by the encounter, and now Grace knows there�s another believer in her class who can encourage her as she encourages him.

It�s amazing to see how God uses these Random Acts of Kindness, and how contagious they become to others around us.  Last week, I as I turned into my driveway after running an errand, I noticed our neighbor Meredith�s son mowing his lawn with our lawnmower.  Interesting, since I hadn�t loaned them our lawnmower.  When I opened our garage door, I next noticed a strange lawnmower in little pieces all over my garage floor!  Even more intriguing� 

A few seconds later, Travis (my son) met me in the kitchen and explained to me that he saw Meredith�s son trying to start their lawn mower but noticed that it wasn�t starting for him.  So he walked over to see if he could help, and noticed right away that they�d put weed whacker fuel in the lawn mower � a real no-no since that fuel is designed for a different type of engine.  Knowing immediately that starting the mower with bad gas in it was going to be impossible, Travis offered to loan them our mower while he took their lawn mower and rebuilt the carburetor on it.  Thirty minutes later Meredith�s lawn was mowed, her carburetor was rebuilt, and she pondered the impact that her 14 year old neighbor had made in her life. 

As I was chatting with Meredith in her driveway a few days ago, she asked me, �You guys have a Bible study at your house don�t you, and you have Church at your house too, right?� As I responded with a simple �yes,� Meredith continued to share that she used to go to church when she was a child, but hasn�t done that for a long, long time, and that her kids are always asking her to take them to church now, but she just hasn�t done that since going to church has become such a �big event� these days. 

 So I explained a little more about Church on the Riverside to Meredith, and invited her to come over for Bible study on Tuesday nights, and to join us on Sunday as well.  She liked the idea of doing church in a house and having some new friends�And she�s planning on joining us on Sunday night.   

 It�s amazing to see what God says to the people around us whom we endeavor to bless in little, seemingly insignificant ways.  But we continue to notice that as we make it a point to look at those around us with a �be a blessing to them� mentality, that the blessing always seems to return to us � just as it did to Abram.  But that�s really no coincidence � is it?  It�s God�s strategy for the nations, and for those who on faith, embrace it � even in simple ways like fixing lawn mowers, or asking a waiter how he can be prayed for, or asking a classmate if he�s ever known someone named Jesus.

Such is life in the Kingdom, and life at Church on the Riverside.  For as we try to bless those around us, so also we find that blessing returned � often that same moment.  Funny how that works. 

 
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