Set Down the Jackhammer

Hearts that don’t know our Savior may be hardened toward the God we love and the gospel that saved us but that doesn’t mean we should haul out the jackhammers or other destructive tools of communication that can make them cringe or flee.  We need the tool of love and understanding.

The writers of Irresistible Evangelism, suggest that “instead of making risky, direct attacks on the pre-Christian hearts and trying to take them by jackhammer force, it is better and faster to take the path of low risk and high grace.  Like a well-designed road to the top of a mountain, this path spirals smoothly upward and inward.”

And that’s not all the authors have for us.  They say, and I believe, that “If we want to be good spiritual messengers, we must learn to progressively meet people’s needs in this safe and respectful order.  Our most important task is to represent Christ by finding lots and lots of little ways to connect with people’s physical, emotional/relational, directional, and spiritual needs.”

Maybe you’ve been taught or encouraged to make a dramatic entrance into another’s life and carry the gospel message boldly and proudly toward their souls.  Irresistible Evangelism suggests an alternate route…”forget the grand gestures, impersonal presentations, and once-in-a-lifetime events, and proceed lovingly with many caring touches that lead toward the heart.”

Wow…don’t think I could have said it better myself. 

Did someone wield a jackhammer of religious persuasion at you before you came to Christ?  How did it work?  What tools of Christian living have been your choice when given an opportunity to interact with others?  How were they received?

Posted in Confidence Builders, Encouragement Efforts, Grace, Loving Your Neighbor, Practical Principals | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ever Plant Anything

In Eastern Washington where I now live, planting seeds is as much a part of life, for many, as breathing.  But what about “watching for those moments where you can plant a seed in a natural sort of conversation”?

That’s the way Chris Walker, the writer behind EvangelismCoach.org, started a post titled, Take the Risk, Offer to Pray.  The encounter he goes on to tell about doesn’t end particularly well, but as he points out, we never know what God is going to do with our actions.

I’d suggest reading his article and then giving some thought to how God might want to use your prayers in the lives of family and friends, and maybe even acquaintances or total strangers.  And if evangelism scares the Bible belt right off your pants, maybe ‘just’ praying for someone could move you toward sharing the gospel.

What’s Next?

Well, you could try…

 

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Take a Step Back

You want your friend to take that final step toward faith but they seem so far off and you wonder if it will ever happen.  What are you to do?  Think L.P.L.T.

Michael Green, in his book, One to One, says that, regardless of where the actual step of commitment occurs, the preparation has been done “by that friend or relative through Love, Prayer, consistent Living, and gracious, appropriate Testimony”, L.P.L.T.  Let’s take a look at each one.

  • Love: This does not mean we ignore things that are harmful or wrong in our friend’s lives but how we address those issues and the way we act toward them on a day to day basis, should scream LOVE like they’ve never seen before.
  • Prayer: In reality, we don’t have any power, of our own, to move an unrepentant heart toward the cross of Christ.  But we can petition the Lord on our friend’s behalf and that is where the power lies.
  • Living: We won’t be perfect and our friends know that but they also have an idea of how Christians should act.  Perhaps, more than anything else, we need to be honest and humble with them…if we aren’t acting like Christ, apologize.
  • Testimony: When we’re loving deeply, praying regularly, and living more and more Christ like, we just may get an opportunity to share more of the gospel with them and that can be our hope and prayer.  And when you get that blessed opportunity, don’t blow it like I did.

Think L.P.L. or T. can help you?  Let me hear from you about the one you’re going to work on or check out one or more of these ideas…

  1. Seek an Almighty God
  2. Smell the Ever Green’s
  3. Build Your Confidence

 

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Get Ready, Get Set…

Here’s a passage some people wish couldn’t be found in Scripture…

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have .  But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

Those first three words, ‘Always be prepared’, are in the form of a command, so some want to stop reading for fear of what that preparation will lead to.  But it’s not all that difficult an instruction if you understand the context of the mandate.

I take it to mean that Christians are directed to share their faith when people ask them what makes them tick, but we don’t need a doctorate in ministry to fulfill the injunction.  Jim & Karen Covell and Victorya Michaels Rogers, in their book, “How to Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out“, point out, and correctly I think, that “all God expects is for you to understand your own experience of God through Jesus and to be able to explain it…”

We don’t have to be scholars or have all the answers to the questions they may never ask.  We just need to understand how we became a Christian and be willing to explain it.  I touched on this topic in an earlier post, Walk Through the Door, and want to assure you, what we’re asked to do in this passage is not an overwhelmingly difficult task.

If someone asked you how you bought a house, you could offer a fairly easy explanation.  You might not understand the working of the different industries, such as construction;  lending; or real estate sales; that went into the process behind your purchase, but the basic facts would be pretty simple to relay.  The same is true of the story of your salvation.

Need More Preparation?

Still have doubts about being able to communicate your faith.  Feel free to get in touch and we can talk about it.

 

 

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It’s Time to Learn a New Language

This post will likely sound strange, perhaps even heretical, coming from an evangelistic ministry, but hear me out please.  I don’t think evangelism captures the heart of God like love.  There…I’ve said it.

I wish it were different because truth be told, sharing my faith can be so much easier than loving my neighbor.  But I haven’t found Scripture to back it up.  Jesus seems to have taught that loving God and our neighbor were the two actions that met the criteria of the greatest commandment.

Does that mean evangelism is unimportant?  No!  But it means that when our evangelistic efforts aren’t rooted and fueled by love, we won’t be honoring God’s most important command to us.  Plus a loveless gospel presentation can sound harsh and uninviting to someone looking for a reason to remain far away from God.

I need His constant help to love even the lovable people in my life, let alone those that don’t fit in that group.  Yet our  message of the cross is meant as much for the unlovable as for those family and friends we care so deeply about.  Do you need help loving those around you?  Is God able to provide the help you need?

Check out what others say about the heart of God and then share with me your thoughts on this post.  Is Love all you really need?

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Ever Green’s – A New PM

“It is an awesome privilege to represent the living God.  And it is a compelling motive, too.”  Michael Green;  One to One

Privilege; Motive; a new PM.  There are 175 PM’s according to one source, but we’ve added one more to a list that includes, postmaster; postmortem; personal message; plus minus (for you hockey fans) and my favorite, pain management.

Where Your PM Operates

Our lives are packed with situations where our representation of Christ is displayed.  Here’s just a small list…

  1. Waiting for a plane
  2. Standing in the checkout lane
  3. Visiting an old friend
  4. Walking through the park
  5. Talking with a customer service rep

In each of these situations opportunities to communicate with people is possible, if not mandatory, and every instance or interaction is a time of representation.  What have you done, in one of the above examples or another instance you can think of, that accurately depicted your Savior to those sharing the moment with you?

 

 

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Walk Through That Door

Can sharing the gospel really be as easy as explaining how to walk through a door?  In the middle of my talk at a church recently, I walked out of the building after making the statement that sharing our faith is easy.  I returned in a matter of seconds with an analogy to demonstrate how simple giving the gospel can be.  Here’s the gist of what I shared.

By the simple process of walking outside and returning, I have become a ‘door walker througher.’  If you’ve never done that and would like to, please see me after the service and I’ll show you exactly how it’s done.  I may not be able to explain how the door is hung, or the manufacturing details of a door, or even which type of door is best, but I can show you how to open one and walk through it.

The Door to Faith

The Bible tells us our salvation is through the grace of God and is received by faith, which is His gift to us.  So like the door in my story, if you’ve entered into Christ by faith, after realizing that you’re sins were keeping you locked out of a relationship with God, you can share that.  Will you be able to answer every question of doctrine that someone raises?  No! And that’s ok.

Your task is not to explain the intricacies of the deep doctrines of our faith.  It is to show them the door you walked through.  The only doctrine a person needs to know and believe for salvation, is Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection makes them righteous in God’s eyes if they have biblical faith that it does.

Want to Learn More About the Doorway

Take a tour of Training Tips

Equip yourself with Encouragement Efforts

Let Truth be Your Guide

 

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New Kid on the Block

Duck and Cover TurtleStep aside duck and cover.  There’s a new practice in town; stop and talk.  Duck and cover was a phrase, popular in the 1950s, to describe the immediate actions necessary to protect yourself in the event of a nuclear explosion.  Stop and talk could be even more important.

We’ve all said, “Hi, how are you,” or something similar, as we walked toward someone at work.  Not waiting for an answer, the reply often came from behind us after our co-worker passed by.  Yesterday I tried ‘stop and talk’ instead.

It started the same way, “Hi, how are you,” but the similarity ended there.  By slowing my pace as I started the greeting, I was comfortably able to stop before passing my co-worker.  My stopping caused them to cease forward motion too and suddenly, for a few moments, we found ourselves conversing.

This is not earth shattering communication magic.  It was just caring enough about someone God has created to give them a few seconds of undivided attention, and isn’t that an attribute of the love we’re supposed to give to our neighbor?

I’m going to try and make this more of a regular practice and perhaps I’ll be able to report back on how it’s going.  How about you?  Is Stop and Talk something you could do?  Could it be something we should do?

 

 

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It’s Not as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Those without Christ can have so many questions and how we answer won’t always sound the same from person to person, even when the information we give is identical.  Postmodern Spirituality takes a look at these three challenging questions…

  1. Why should I trust you?
  2. Isn’t that just your reality?
  3. What good is Christianity?

Read the article, think and pray about how you’ve answered difficult questions before, and consider sharing something with us.  What God puts on your heart to share may be exactly what a fellow Christian needs to hear.

Other Ideas

 

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Why Can’t They Rejoice?

Happy Easter!  Our hearts are over flowing with joy because we’re convinced our Savior has indeed risen from the dead and our faith in this gives us life eternal with our Father.

In the midst of this rejoicing, while desperately wanting our family and friends to believe, we all too often find fault with them for their failure to embrace the God we love.  You’ve heard this before directed toward a non-believer;  “The truth about Christ is so obvious, why can’t you just accept it?”

How easy it is for us to forget that our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection did not come only through a careful and thoughtful study of the biblical text but rather via the gift of faith.  We too were full of doubt, and yet when God enabled us to believe the uncertainty suddenly gave way to a sureness beyond comprehension.

Have patience with your friend or loved one who still seems far from the Father.  They may be closer than you think to receiving God’s wonderful gift of faith.

Study the Bible’s definition of faith

Read again how faith becomes ours

Explore The Easter Puzzle (what Easter might look like to someone without faith)

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