A mission field forgotten

Francis Chan
Francis Chan (Photo credit: williamhartz)

While listening to Francis Chan the other day something he said really struck out at me.  He said that if you went on a missions trip to Africa, every single day you were there you would have the mission in mind.  It is what you are there for, your primary focus.  You would wake up in the morning and the first thing you would think about would be the mission.  Your life there would be consumed by it.

Then when we get back to the U.S. we relax and get back into the mentality of this being our home.  We let down our focus and the mission to us becomes nothing more than what we did that one week in Africa.

But the reality is that we have just as much of a mission here at home as we do when we go on missions trips to other cities and countries.  Perhaps even more so in some cases.

We have a culture that has been raised thinking it is a God fearing, Christ loving, Christian culture while they go about living their lives for themselves, enjoying their sin and not giving any thought to Jesus or to the gospel message. We have thousands of people filling churches in our neighborhood believing they are saved but in reality they are just in denial.

Then we have thousands more that do not know the gospel at all, or only know of some perversion of it.  They do not give any time to think that they might be a sinner, or that they are living their life in rejection of God.  These people all around us that we are in contact with every day are going to hell and they laugh at the thought without understanding how serious that truly is.

This is our mission field, masked by the fog of normal day-to-day life. It is time to see through that fog so we can work the field that surrounds us.

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few – Matthew 9:37

In the next article we will start to see what is creating this fog over our mission field.

This is the first part of a series titled: Neglecting our Mission Field

I Missed my chance to say goodbye… Forever

Written by Jon Zenor

This article has been a really tough one to write.  After several days of thinking about this I don’t even know how to begin, so I will just start writing…

On Sunday I got a phone call with some very bad news. My biological father had committed suicide.  This has left me with some very mixed emotions that have been hard to deal with.

My parents divorced when I was 3 or 4, and my mom then married my (step) dad who was in the Navy so we moved a lot, and my dad officially adopted me and I haven’t seen my biological father since then.  It didn’t really bother me at all.  My dad did a good job of raising me and as far as I was concerned my biological father had walked out on me so I had no real connection with him.  Growing up I didn’t hate or love him, wasn’t angry or upset or anything else, I just felt indifference; he was nothing more than a stranger on the street to me.

Two years ago God put it on my heart that I needed to contact him, so I did.  We had a couple of good emails and facebook messages back and forth, ending with him saying he wanted to catch up on what he missed.

One day after another went by and got busy with life, I fully intended to keep in touch with him and wanted to meet him one day.  But I just never got around to sending the emails that were on my mind to send.

And now it is too late.

Plague of the “What If”s

Anybody who is affected by the death of someone who committed suicide is plagued with the mental agony of asking “what if” all of the time.  Talking to his wife I heard a few of these questions.  “What if I would have done something different? Why did I not see that he was acting different? What could I have done differently to prevent this?”  Until now I never fully understood the pain caused by such questions.

What would have happened if I had contacted him recently?  How much would it have meant from him to get an email or phone call saying “happy father’s day” from his only (not-adopted) son that he has not seen in 24 years?  Would things have turned out differently if we had made plans to meet so he could meet me and his only grandson?  I can’t help but think that things would have been different… if I had just …. If I had just taken 10 seconds out of my day to send an email saying “Hey, I was thinking about you, how have you been?”

Someone told me even if I had talked to him then I would just be asking what if I had said things differently or talked more often… I guess he is right that the plague just never ends, no matter what you wish you would have said.  But as we are creatures with free will I believe we can affect our futures, and the futures of those we interact with.  Which means what I did in the past could have prevented this altogether.

Eternal Destination Reached

I do not know for sure if my biological father is spending eternity in heaven, or in hell.  But the very thought that he could be in hell right now made hell a little more real to me.

I know this is a very touchy subject, but a very real one that needs to be covered.  Our society, our own human nature, is convinced that almost everyone except the most hardened criminals are going to heaven.  When is the last time you went to a funeral service where they did not talk about the deceased person “being in a better place” or “watching from above” or some other saying which implies that the person is for sure in heaven?

We really want to believe everyone gets to heaven, especially those who have done nice things for us, those who have really touched our lives in some meaningful way, and those we love.  But that is not reality.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. – Matthew 7:13-14

I cannot say how much I hope my biological father had a relationship with Jesus and is now in heaven worshipping God, but my hopes do not give salvation, only him having a relationship with Christ.

The thought that he could be in hell right now, that the instant after he died he could have waken up in hades, being eternally tormented by hades itself and by the realization that he spent his life rejecting God, the one who created him. Every time we sin we are offending God, we are doing wrong to Him, hurting Him.  Even after we continuously reject God with every aspect of our lives He sent His son to die in our place so that we could be restored and have a relationship with Him.

God did all of this for us and many of us, most of us, do not care one bit. We just keep rejecting God.  Hell will be a rude and painful awakening for way too many people. And it will last for all eternity.

Do you understand how long an eternity is?  Someone who goes to hell today, will still be there in 20 years. When I reach 50 years old that person will still be there, being tortured by the agony of hell and the lake of fire, and tortured even more so by their conscious with the regret that they lived their few short years of life rejecting God and living in sin and just living for themselves.

If my biological father did not have a relationship with God then when my son is 50 years old, he will still be in hell, still be in agony, and it will just be the beginning.

I do not say this to bring shame to his name, or to tear down his character — because as I said I do not know for sure what his relationship was — but I say this because just the thought that he might be in hell brought all of this to my mind and it disturbed me.

I say it as a warning, to all of you.  You do not know how much longer you have to live.  You do not know how much longer those you know will live for.  I wanted to have a conversation with my biological father about his relationship with God.  I thought I had time.  I thought I could send off an email any day I wanted to, so there was no rush to send it off today.

I was wrong. The last possible day for me to contact him came, and passed right by without any warning, and I forever missed a great opportunity to lead a man to Christ.

That is a huge lie that Satan plants in us all.  We think we all have more time when really we are all just a vapor that could fade away at any instant.

James 4 says

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;  whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:13-14)

Do not delay one more day! Right now, make sure that you have repented and have a relationship with God! Make sure that you are not living the life of a hypocrite, pretending to be a Christian because you go to church every week but in your heart you deny God the throne of your heart.

Do not delay one more day in righting relationships that have been strained, do not wait to share the gospel with those God brings into your life.  Do not wait one more day to repent of those sins you know you are living in.  Start living for God today because you may not have a chance to tomorrow.  If you do not want to repent of your sin today because you do not want to give it up, then my heart breaks for you.  That you would choose to continue rejecting God, why? So you can look at pornographic pictures on the internet?  So you can keep feeding that addiction of alcohol or gambling?  Sin leaves you a broken empty shell.  Sin promises riches and pleasure but leaves you emptiness and worthless junk.

Choosing to live in sin over choosing to live for God is like denying a feast because you want this candy bar that is right here in front of you now.  It smells really good and makes your mouth water, so you say you don’t need a feast, you just have the candy bar.  So you follow the trail of candy bars that lead you farther away from the feast, further from God. Only to wake up with realization one day that what you really have been eating and enjoying is a chocolate covered dog turd.

It is at that point that you realize how nasty sin really is that you want to go dive into an ocean to clean out that nasty taste in your mouth, which you thought just a day before was delicious.

God is offering you something so much better than what sin can offer you, stop choosing your sin over God, put down the chocolate covered dog crap and run to Jesus who will clean you of all the nastiness your sin left on you, and he will happily welcome you into his banquet hall to feast.

Hell is a real place, and it is a sad truth that so many will go there, not because they deserve it more than me or any other person alive, for we, I,  fully deserve hell.  But they go because they refuse to accept the forgiveness Christ offers us when we turn our lives over to Him.

It took this tragic death to make eternity a reality for me, don’t wait for the same thing to happen to you.  Repent, today. Restore those relationships that have bridges burned down, share the gospel with those you can influence in your life.

Nothing else in all of eternity matters.

Want to be saved? Just raise your hand and repeat after me…

Written by Jon Zenor.

The decision to follow Christ is the most important decision made in your life.  It is that decision where you decide to quit living your life for yourself and to follow Jesus, making him your master. You go where He wants you to go, do what He wants you to do, you stop living the sinful lifestyle that goes against God and you commit your life to Him.

Jesus says that if we want to follow Him it means giving up everything for Him, and to count the cost before you decide to make the journey (Luke 14:25-33).

That is what it means to make yourself a slave of Christ, you make Him your master.  The decision to do this is not one made lightly, and it is not a decision to be made light of.

In 2002 I made a decision to join the U.S. Navy.  This was not a decision I made lightly, I considered it for months beforehand.  I was signing a contract with the government to serve in the military for a minimum of four years. I would go where they told me to go, learn what they told me to learn.  I was theirs.

Our church normally does an alter call, where we invite people who want to give their lives to Jesus to come up front and talk with one of the pastors, to receive prayer and be given some information about what the decision they are about to make really means.  But it wasn’t so on Christmas Eve.

Maybe it was because the Christmas Eve service was so full, maybe for some other reason I don’t know about, but whatever the reason our church decided to take the “short cut to salvation.”  They gave the announcement “If you would like to receive Jesus in your heart just raise your hand.” A few people raised their hands and then the pastor led them in prayer. “Repeat this prayer after me and you will be saved!”

This is one of the sickest common perversions of the gospel in our society today.

What’s the big deal?

You are probably thinking that this is no big deal, it doesn’t matter how they are led to the prayer as long as they prayed.

Why does someone come to Christ?

A person comes to Christ because for one, they realize and believe that He is real, and then they realize they have offended God with how horrible their sin is, and then because of that they repent, turn from their sinful lifestyle to live the way God calls them to live.

and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

The response to realizing God is real and you are in His presence is to worship, and the response to realizing you are a sinful is grief over your sin, and the response to you grieving over your sins is repentance, and the response to your repentance is forgiveness. Forgiveness of all of the sins you have ever committed or ever will commit.

And you are telling me a person went through all of this by simply raising their hand?

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Still don’t see the problem?

So you still don’t see a problem with this way of presenting the gospel?  Let’s have an analogy.

So this guy is standing in front of a group of people seated before him.  He says in a slightly excited tone “I have the winning ticket for the Power Ball lottery! Raise your hand if you want it.”

A few people in the crowd raise their hand.

“Awesome,” the man says, “Just repeat after me and it is yours.”

“Thank you for giving me twenty million dollars and I promise to use it to get my life right.”

The crowd responds, repeating what the guy said, and then after the guy is done talking they all quietly get up and start heading out the door calmly and quietly.

In this scenario, would you say that any of the people being offered multi-millions of dollars actually believed they got the money the guy up front told them they would get?

No, there was no excitement, no change, no commitment to actually follow God.

When a person gives their life over to God, they receive something so much better than all the money in the world, shouldn’t there be some type of response?

The Very Real, Very Serious Consequences

Here is the extremely real, extremely serious consequences of such a gospel message.

You convince people that they are saved, that they have a relationship with God, just because they raised their hand and repeated a prayer during an alter call.

Raising your hand and repeating a prayer does not save you. Cannot.

But now you have a few dozen people who walk out of that church believing they are saved because they raised their hand.  They didn’t even have a pastor talk to them to explain what raising their hand really meant.  But they believe; not in Christ, not in sacrificing their life and carrying their cross before Christ, no, they just believe they are saved.

But belief in salvation does not save you, only a relationship with Christ.

We have a generation of thousands in churches that believe they are saved because they said a prayer once but they have no fruit of the Spirit as evidence, no change in their life. This is why Leonard Ravenhill boldly proclaimed that “the sinner’s prayer has sent more people to hell than all the taverns in America.”

I doubt if 5% of professing Christians in America are born again–and that’s true of England! – Leonard Ravenhill

But it gets even more serious, we have churches full of leadership who think they are saved but have no relationship with God, they serve because they want to do the right thing but when they get to heaven they will just hear “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)

But because all these thousands of people believe they are saved they will go on their life ignoring anybody who may tell them to repent. “I don’t need to repent, I’m already saved!” the person will say to himself.

You have just given a blind man headphones and praise music to make him happy but you never turned him away from the path he is on, a path headed straight for the cliff.  All you did is make it harder for him to hear others trying to warn him over the praise music.

Do you see yet the serious problem here?

What do I do?

If you believe you are saved, it is one of our duties to examine our salvation, to test ourselves to make sure we are saved and not just fooling yourself.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Have you felt that godly sorrow over your sins that leads you to repent?  Do you live a holy life, not because you try to but because God has transformed you?  Do you live your life according to scripture and breath in joyfully every word of the Bible?  Spend some time in scripture analyzing what it means to be saved and see how you match up to it. Repent of the areas you fail in, and pray for strength to help you where you need it, but fist make sure you have that relationship with Jesus.

Holiness is not a Iuxury, it’s a necessity. If you’re not holy, you’ll never make it to heaven. – Leonard Ravenhill

If you are not saved, then there is no better time than right now.  Every sin you commit hurts your relationship with God, drives you farther from Him.  He is the one who created you and despite you turning from Him and living in strict opposition to Him He still sent His only son to die, to pay the penalty of your sins.

Why did Jesus die for you? Because He wants you to be free from sin, He wants you to follow Him and find true joy in Him, and He wants you to share that with others so others can find joy in Christ.

If you want someone to walk you through this you should contact someone at your local church, or call Eternal Truth Ministry at 719-4285-ETM and leave a message and we would love to walk you through any questions you may have.

This is too important of a decision to make to let yourself be fooled, and it is way too important of a decision to put off another day.

Finally, if you are a pastor, preacher, evangelist, or in any position to give “alter calls” then do the right thing, go out to the people, get them alone one on one and pray with them, answer their questions, explain what this decision really is, guide them as they repent and decide to follow Christ.

There is nothing wrong with having someone raise their hand to say they want to be saved, but keep their hands raised until someone can pull them out of the crowd and take them aside.  One on one, make it personal to them.

 

Do you agree with what I said here or do you think I am being overly picky? I would like to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.

When I do not want Jesus to return yet… Time is still running out.

by Jon Zenor

Have you ever had the thought that you wish God would not come back anytime soon?  I have…

Not for any worldly reasons, because I want to stay and enjoy my house or my stuff or do more stuff in the world that I want to do.  Not for anything like that.  But because I want to do more for God before that time.

Well, more specifically because I do not feel like I do much now for God and I want to make my life actually mean something in the eternal realm.

If you do have these same thoughts that I do you have to realize something.  God is not delaying his return until you feel like you are ready.  Jesus is coming back at a set time, and our involvement in the kingdom is not going to hinder or speed things up.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.  (Matthew 24:36-47)

The facts are this.

Jesus is coming back, could be tomorrow, could be 20 years from now, but soon.  We were saved for a purpose, to glorify God, and God wants us to help those in need, but Satan paralyzes us with every tactic he can throw at us, sin, entertainment, work.

What should we be doing?

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:21-22, 26-27)

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; (Matthew 28:19-20)

We have been given a job to do here, to help those in need, to spread the gospel message.  The more we make ourselves busy with the things of this world, the more we become of this world, the less we will want to do for God.

Face it, doing what God wants us to do we know is the right and better thing to do, but it is so much harder to do.  We all really want to help out those in need, but not during the football game. Maybe after this tv show, or just let me finish this one level in this game.

We all get sucked into things we would rather be doing and it takes us away from the important task we were sent here for.

We do not have long to live

We do not have much time in this world.  Either because Jesus is going to come back soon or because we could die.  James 4 says “what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  Don’t waste that little amount of time we have.

I am convinced that as we get older every day passes by faster and faster.  You plan on doing something you know you should do, but you put it off just one day.  And somehow, before you know it, that one day has turned into a month, then a year is gone, then another year.

Last night I had a dream.  The tribulation was obviously starting, the world breaking out in war and natural disasters, Christianity was outlawed, and I was watching the news unfold thinking of all the stuff that I had the opportunity to do to help others, to witness to others, but now it was too late.

At work the other day we had a conversation about people some of the guys knew, who died or lost their children when they went in the hospital for a very routine procedure (such as a girl getting tubes put in her ears) and ended up dying from it.

We just never know how much longer we have left to do the things we know we should be doing.

But we do know that with every day that passes, we have one less day to do those things.

Help us buy a camel

November is here, which means it is time to start breaking out the snow makers and make some snow angels in Los Angeles.

Or, more accurately it is time to start spending lots of money on all of those family members.  With how much marketing is put into Christmas it is no wonder that we are so focused on buying each other gifts to fill up the stockings and line the trees with.

But this year try to do something a little different.  Give just a little bit of your money to help people in other countries who have almost nothing and will likely get nothing for Christmas.

This year Eternal Truth Ministering is trying to save up to buy a camel.

Yes, you heard me right, a camel.

Gospel for Asia has a donation program allowing you to help buy livestock for villages in need (along with a ton of other cool ministry opportunities).  For only $345, the cost of 23 people subscribing to World of Warcraft for a month, or the cost of a single Xbox 360, we can purchase a camel for a village in Rajasthan, India.

Camels can be used to transport up to 330 pounds of goods across the sandy deserts that jeeps have a hard time getting through, and when they get to their destination they are even used for plowing fields.

Camel wool is used to make clothing and camel milk is a staple in that part of the world.

Missionaries from Gospel for Asia go into these villages to bring the gospel, and if they can meet physical needs while they are at it then it provides a great platform to show that those who follow Jesus love them in a very real way.

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” – Matthew 25:40

Would you consider giving a small donation to help us make a difference to the lives of villagers in India?

Click here for more information or to donate.

Think like a Calvinist, live like an Arminian

Leonard Ravenhill, one of my favorite pastors, had a saying he would quote often: “think like a Calvinist, live like an Armenian.”

I told this quote to a Calvinist friend of mine the other day who replied saying “If I felt the souls of everyone here was on me I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”  It took me a few days to digest what exactly he said in relation to the quote, but really it gets to the heart of what Ravenhill meant.

See, Ravenhill was a great man of prayer. He spent countless sleepless nights praying that God would penetrate the lives of the lost and would penetrate the hearts of those already saved (a.k.a. bring Revival).

What is a Calvinist?

A Calvinist believes (for the purposes of this article) that the salvation of men is 100% up to God not decided by what man does at all. This can easily lead to a Calvinist not evangelizing and not spending time bringing the lost before the throne of God in prayer. I know because that is how I felt when I started to believe this. I would neglect praying for the lost and I would neglect witnessing to those who are lost because “it is up to God,” and I would use that to excuse the tough work of evangelism that we are called to.

Living like an Armenian

On the other hand, an Armenian believes that it is man’s decision to follow God or not, so someone who believes this spends a lot of time evangelizing and praying for the lost because the more people who hear the gospel the more people have a chance to choose God.

Obedience

With this in mind think about what Ravenhill said. “Think like a Calvinist, live like an Armenian.”  He is saying that yes, it is completely up to God who accepts and who rejects Christ, but regardless of that knowledge we are to spend our time evangelizing and praying for the lost and doing what we can to get the gospel to the lost.

Why?

Because we are told to.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “ How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” – Romans 10:14-15

I do not know what part man plays in helping spread the gospel, if it is 100% up to God who receives the gift, then what part could we possibly play in this whole thing? And my answer is, I do not think it matters. It is not our job to understand how God works things out or why He tells us to the things He tells us to do.

Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. – Luke 10:2

You do not need to know the engineering details of how a car works in order to drive. Does your knowledge of how a carburetor works or how a spark plug works enable you to start and drive your car any more efficiently? No. In order to operate a car, you just need to know how to start the car and (safely) maneuver the vehicle.

In the same way we do not need to know how the engine of salvation works or exactly what part our prayer plays in the whole picture. All we need to know is how ot operate it. We only need to know how to follow God’s directions regardless of if we understand everything or not.

I will admit that obedience without fully understanding how it works is hard to do sometimes, but it must be done.

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. – Romans 10:1

I know in my own life I need to pray that God makes this burden real to me despite the knowledge that I have. My friend was right, this should keep us up all night with the souls of so many being lost right around us.  I have to ask myself why this burden does not rip at my conscience more than it does.  I do not have an answer for that, but I do know how to fix it – Prayer.

So yes, think like a Calvinist, but live like an Armenian.

“but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:4

I say this weeping: Church it’s time to humble ourselves!

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

This verse says that if God’s people humble themselves He will heal our land, not the lost or deceived who don’t know any better.  When will God’s people stop arguing and dividing about their pet doctrines?  Don’t you realize that if you need people to agree with you, for you to Love and accept them as a child of God, you are in pride?  What will you say to God when you approach His throne, and people who God sent to you were reprimanded for not agreeing with your doctrine?  Jesus said Love your enemies.  He used the greek word agape in this verse.  Agape is unconditional perfect Love.  This kind of love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Do you think you will have any excuse that could possibly justify you not obeying the Lord’s command?

We are talking about real people here, whom God dearly Loves.  Do you not remember how you were saved, how you were a disgusting, filthy sinner, and how God lifted you up and saved you in the midst of being a sinner?  What makes you think God, treats other sinners more harshly?  What gives you the right to push away the beloved of God, for the sake of you being right?  When you get to heaven, is it really going to matter that you defended your doctrine?  Or is Jesus going to want to see that every person who came across your path was empowered to get closer to Jesus, and experienced His Love through you?  When you get to heaven, is it really going to matter that you knew the Bible better than everyone else, or that you knew the King’s heart for the people He Loved and you were moved by His heart?  When you teach about Jesus, do people have to go through you to learn about Jesus, or can they have the relationship that Jesus died on the cross for them to have? Are you leading people to Jesus or to your doctrine?

It’s time for the church to start acting like a real family that actually Loves one another.  We are brothers and sisters despite our differences.  (For those of you who actually need me to say it, I don’t mean mormons or jehovah’s witness)  When you have family over to your house, for example: your actual brother or sister or mom or dad, do you not allow them to come to your house because of theological differences?  Do you constantly berate them for not believing as you do?  Do you find forums online to post on to tell the whole world how wrong your brother or sister or mom or dad is and how they are deceived?  When people talk about your mom or dad or brother or sister, is the first thing that comes out of your mouth a warning about how deceived they are?  No! Of Course Not!  Why do people think church family is any different?  It is something to pray and think about.

This is something I have consistently heard God saying to the church “Stop building your own kingdoms around your doctrine, instead humble yourselves so you can build and expand My Kingdom!  If you seek first and focus on my Kingdom and my righteousness, all of the rest of the things you are anxious about, that I told you to not be anxious about, will be taken care of! ”

Jason Upton – Dying Star

By His Grace Alone,

Machew

We are not peddlers of the Word!

One thing I see often is Christians trying to persuade people to be Christians anyway they can.  Whether it would be to tell them they could continue in their sin, or that they could continue to believe in un-biblical things, etc.  While this is a bit of the extreme form, we could be doing it in our own ways and not realizing it.  Filled church pews and another tally mark means nothing to God if they aren’t true.  Lets look at the Word.

2 Corinthians 2:17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. -ESV

We see here that we are specifically not suppose to try to “sell” people the Bible or our beliefs, but that we are to speak to truth, and “if they have ears, they will hear”.

So the next time you sharing your faith, don’t be thinking about what crafty way you can pull people in.  You do not need fireworks or bright colors.  You don’t need an ice cream social, a live band, or a popular event.  Just speak the truth, and the Lord will open the hearts of those who he calls.

Evangelism Outreach

On the ETM forums we have a discussion going on how you evangelize and outreach in your church. What one of the members said just blew me away.

Check it out.

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Before I start, I’d like to say that I am definitely in full support of outreaches and all the efforts different churches in the body of Christ to reach the lost.

However, I came to a point in my relationship with God where I couldn’t just limit my evangelism to only during scheduled church outreaches. I heard a man preach something one evening that really rocked me. He explained that we shouldn’t need to switch gears from normal life to reaching the lost. If it wasn’t a lifestyle that lived, then I wasn’t living for Christ. His message turned some people off, but God really did something in me. He started telling testimonies of how more people were getting lead to the Lord by his church members outside the church than in the church. People were getting healed, delivered, and saved in their local mall like crazy. And when people came to him and asked him “when and where do you meet for your mall outreach? We have heard all the testimonies of people being saved, healed, and delivered in your local mall.” His response was “Mall outreach? We don’t have a mall outreach, just church members who shop.”

It got me thinking. I don’t need to schedule a time to reach the lost, I need to develop a lifestyle of doing it in normal life. Ever since then, though hard sometimes, this is the main approach I have taken for evangelism, making it something I try to do everyday whenever an opportunity comes up.

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Do you have a burden for the lost?

I’m re-reading the Left Behind books right now and I came across an interesting quote that I think points to the heart of Christ. Something that shows how we should be longing for the unsaved to be saved.

The background of the quote is that Rayford Steel has recently found the truth of the Bible and is trying to reach out to other people, especially his daughter Chloe who has been resistant to the gospel. Here is what Ray felt in the book.

I cannot lose her, he thought, and he believed he would trade his own salvation for hers if that was what it took.

With that commitment, he sensed God speaking to him, impressing upon him that tat was precisely the burden required for winning people, for leading them to Christ. That was the attitude of Jesus himself, being willing to take on himself the punishment of men and women so they could live.

I confess that my burden for the lost is not that deep; but it should be. Every single person is going to die and will one day face God, either with or without Christ. How selfish can we be as Christians to enjoy living our life for God, praising God and singing songs, but failing to do what God really wants done, reaching out to the lost and giving them the gospel.

Pray that God will put this burden on your heart so you will want to reach out and share the gospel no matter how uncomfortable it may be or no matter what it may cost you.

Jesus died for every single person, and are we going to be selfish enough to squelch what Jesus did by not sharing it?

May the lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering….

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