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YWAM Perth BaseYWAM Crossroads DTS Evangelism notes from lectures by Ross Tooley at YWAM Perth, Australia 2007

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

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.[1]

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 Ross.   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.  Ross showed his discovery to some of their younger staff, and even though they didn't completely adopt Loren's "70's" schedule, it did provoke some spirited discussions on how much actual evangelism goes on during their outreaches.

Shortly thereafter Ross was invited to participate in a DTS leaders' workshop.  On one afternoon they were led in an exercise to self-evaluate their 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 they could improve, they 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. They also discussed the inevitable tendency to drift from an evangelistic focus on their outreaches to activities such as prayer, spiritual warfare, mercy ministries, serving churches, etc.  They 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."

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 anything, 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 the Second Coming

Matthew 24:14 (NASB) 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.

Matthew 24:10-12 (NASB)

 10 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)

10 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!

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 the 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.

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

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NASB)

 23 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.

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.

My evaluation

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.”    Books by Ross Tooley include:  Adventures in Naked Faith: Walking on Water in a World of Unbelief, Encouraging People to Love and Know God, We Cannot But Tell, and Following Jesus: Attaining the High Purposes of Discipleship.  Available from YWAM Publishing and Amazon.com   Other books by Danny Lehmann include: The Next Big Thing How Little Choices Can Make a Big Impact, Beautiful Feet: Steps to a Lifestyle of Evangelism, Go!  The Excitement of Personal Evangelism, and Bringin' Em Back Alive: Reaching Your World for Jesus  available from YWAM Publishing and Amazon.com

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.

My 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 would be helpful.

My 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 its 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.

Romans 10:9 (NASB)  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

Romans 10:13 (NASB)  for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

John 3:16 (NASB)  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 1:12 (NASB)  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

Acts 16:31 (NASB)  They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

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  Bible 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 (NASB)

14  But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.
15
 "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;
16  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17  'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
18  EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
19  'AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.
20  'THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
 
21  'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.' [Quotation from Joel 2:30-31]
22  "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
23  this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
24  "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
25  "For David says of Him, 'I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.
26  'THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE;
27  BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.
28  'YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.'  [Quotation from Psalm 16:8-11.]
29  "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30
 "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, [Quotation from Psalm 132:11.]
31  he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. [Quotation from Psalm 16:10.]
32  "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
33  "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
34  "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
35  UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."' [Quotation from Psalm 110:1.]
36  "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified."
37  Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
38
 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."
40  And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"
41  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.  

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 (NASB)

  16  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.

 17  So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

18  And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

19  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?

20  "For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean."

 21  (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

22  So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.
23  "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.'  Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

24  "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;

25  nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

 26  and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,
27  that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
28  for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'
29  "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

30  "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
31  because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
32  Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this."
33  So Paul went out of their midst.
34  But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

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. 

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.

2.  We love our fellow man

3.  We recognize that the unsaved are lost.

 Luke 19:10 (NASB)  "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Without hope

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB)  remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Under condemnation

John 3:36 (NASB)  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Destined for destruction

Mark 16:16 (NASB)  "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Praying for outreach

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 helping meet a 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.

Ephesians 2:1-4 (NASB)

1  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

2  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

 4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

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 (Philippians 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.

 Romans 8:29 (NASB)   For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

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 

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

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 the transformation of societies, thus obeying Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations. 

Acts 13:2-3 (NASB)

2  While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

3  Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Genesis 12:1-3 (NASB)

1  Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you;

2  And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;

3  And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)

19  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20  teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

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

Acts 1:8 (NASB) but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Romans 10:9-18 (NASB)

9  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11  For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

13  for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."  [Quotation from Joel 2:32.]

 14  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!"  [Quotation from Isaiah 52:7]

 16  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"  [Quotation from Isaiah 53:1]

17  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18  But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."  [Quotation from Psalm 19:4]

Romans 15:18-21 (NASB)

 18  For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,
19  in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
20  And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man's foundation;
21  but as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND."  [Quotation from Isaiah 52:15.] 

One of the main reasons I felt called to Thailand is in these two verses: 

Romans 10:14-15 (NASB)
14 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!"   [Quotation from Isaiah 52:7.] 

The Thai people need the gospel in written and verbal form. 

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 (NASB) in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 

Satan's strategies

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

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. 

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

Hebrews 8:10-11 (NASB)
10  "FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
11  "AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. [Quotation from Jeremiah 31:33-34.]

 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (NASB) dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

John 15:15 (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.

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. 

Zephaniah 3:17 (NASB)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.

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

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 and hopefully will come to have faith in Jesus.

Bill Gothard taught me that “grace is the power and the desire to do the will  of God.”

Meeting a present felt need is why we were prepared to teach English in Thailand.  So, have a message and be one.

Preach the Word!

2 Timothy 4:2 (NASB)  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

       We are not saved only to be instruments for God, but to be His sons and daughters.  He does not turn us into spiritual agents but into spiritual messengers, and the message must be a part of us.  The Son of God was His own message. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).  As His disciples, our lives must be a holy example of the reality of our message.  Even the natural heart of the unsaved will serve if called upon to do so, but it takes a heart broken by conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and crushed into submission to God’s purpose to make a person’s life a holy example of God’s message.  There is a difference between giving a testimony and preaching.  A preacher is someone who has received the call of God and is determined to use all his energy to proclaim God’s truth.  God takes us beyond our own aspirations and ideas for our lives, and molds and shapes us for His purpose, just as He worked in the disciples’ lives after Pentecost.  The purpose of Pentecost was not to teach the disciples something, but to make them the incarnation of what they preached so that they would literally become God’s message in the flesh.  “you shall be witnesses to Me (Acts 1:8).   Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak.  Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you.  Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to set your words on fire for His glory.[2]

I hadn't thought of restitution and repentance as a 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, Shannon Murray sent me this email newsletter regarding his church in Riverside, CA:

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 dessert 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, 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. 

This is an excerpt from chapter 1 of my book YWAM Discipleship copyright 2018 all rights reserved

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB),
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission. www.Lockman.org



[1] Ross Tooley quoted Danny Lehmann.  Stoked: Firing Up Your Passion for God.  Seattle, WA: 1997 YWAM Publishing.

[2] Oswald Chambers.  My Utmost For His Highest “March 10 Being an Example of His Message” https://utmost.org/being-an-example-of-his-message/# 

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