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  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 4 of 7

    The fourth benefit of relaying your faith is the wisdom you will acquire and the significant changes you will cause in this world. Concerning this truth, the Bible states, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30, NKJV). Fruit is that which comes forth out of your life. Jesus taught that the kind of fruit will be known. He said, "Every tree will be known by its fruit" Matthew 7:20. When you share your faith, you are demonstrating that you are a tree of life. You are bringing hope and the message of eternal life to a world that is hopeless and dark.

     The fruit of evangelism is a major player in the solution to the moral and social breakdown of society. Laws do not stop political corruption or immoral behavior. Corruption is found even in the highest levels of our government. The breakdown of the family and unfaithfulness in marriage continues at an alarming rate. The best students are found cheating on exams. There are many symptoms of moral and social ruin around us such as athletic scandals, the crime rate goes up as the age of criminals goes down, gambling and gambling addiction, drug addiction, pornography, and child abuse to name a few. What is even worse is that these things have ceased to shock us.

    The Christian faith is the only deterrent to these evils. It is the only true and lasting answer. Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship sees crime ultimately being a moral problem and the only solution is moral reformation. But how is moral reformation to be accomplished? It only changes when lives are changed with the gospel. The gospel can only change lives when it is lived in a life "the fruit of the righteous" and when the message of Christ is shared "winning souls." Make a commitment today to be a sharing believe. Why not ask the Lord Jesus today to give you an opportunity to be a tree of life to someone this week?

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 3 of 7

    The third benefit in becoming a sharing Christian is that you will experience the rewarding gratitude of those who have been saved. The Apostle Paul called the church he helped to plant at Philippi his joy and his crown (Philippians 4:1). Paul personally led many of them to faith. They were thankful to God and grateful to Paul. He was their spiritual parent. When you help someone come to faith, you will have that person's undying gratitude.

    What I am describing is similar to the rewarding experience I had with my friend Steve. I was privileged to be one of several people who helped introduce Steve to Jesus. Steve and his whole family will never be the same. Steve became a changed man. He was no longer in bondage to alcohol. Steve saw over 100 other souls come to Christ in the first few years. When I saw Steve regularly he would tell me about the co-workers and neighbors he was sharing his new faith with. I loved it when he would call and tell me another person had been led to Christ. He told me several time how grateful he was for the people who came into his life and told him about Jesus.

    It was not too many years ago when I was much like Steve. I was introduced to Jesus by a friend. He took the time and the chance to share with me and I will be forever grateful. He is no longer alive on this earth, but every soul and everything that is done in the name of Jesus by me, he has a part. He has a part because he brought Jesus to me. He will forever have my gratitude and undying friendship. As Jack Smith, former Associate Director for Personal Evangelism at the North American Mission Board said, “Friend’s don’t let friends drive drunk and friends don’t let friends miss heaven either.”

    I challenge you today to make a commitment to be a sharing believer in Christ. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to send "fields that are white unto harvest" across your path. Generally, people are more willing to hear about spiritual things than we are to share. Don't miss any more blessings. Tell God you will be a sharing Christian and to bring those who need to hear across your path.

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 2 of 7

    The Second benefit of being a sharing Christian is that you will know the Bible better that you would otherwise.

    Because of the experiences you will have in sharing your faith, you will be questioned concerning the larger issues of life. You will be driven back to the Scriptures over and over to find the answers.

    Questions will be asked of you such as, "How can I know Jesus Christ is the Savior? How can I know God will hear my prayers? Why is there suffering in the world?" These are questions people have on their mind. They don't often get the opportunity to express them. But when someone opens the door to talk about spiritual things, these questions will pour out like a flood.

    So, sharing your faith will drive you to bible study. You will see the Bible's practical application to life, and that's the way it should be. People want a faith that relates to today, not just 2000 years ago. They need something that will help them at their job, at home, when depression hits or whenever help is needed. All the answers to life's problems can be found between the covers of the book known as the Bible. 

    There is a progression in this knowledge and wisdom. The more you share, the more you will study, and the more you will know where to look for answers. You will grow in wisdom as are driven back into the Book to find the answers. The Bible backs this up in the book of Philemon "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ" (Philemon 6, NIV).

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 of 7

    Many times we are told about our responsibility to share Christ with others. Actually, we have been given a trust from the Lord to do this. We are responsible to do this. But that isn't the only reason we should share. Did you know there are some very wonderful and powerful benefits a Christian will experience when they share their faith? Over the next several weeks, I'm going to list seven practical benefits to your life that you will experience if you regularly share your faith in Christ with others.
    If you will internalize all seven of these benefits and think on them, I believe you will find yourself wanting to share more. I believe God will open up exciting opportunities for you to share. With that said, let's go to the first benefit.

    The first benefit of sharing your faith will be the blessings you'll experience that others, who are not sharing their faith won’t. For example, being obedient in sharing your faith will help you to keep living the life of purity God desires. It is well known that a person who has their mind set on sharing what God has done for them and their body moving in that direction will be living a life of purity. Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:19b-21). Going public with your faith will spill over in many other areas of your life. You will discover a new level of spiritual joy and power.

    As a clean vessel, your prayers will be answered. All the promises of the Bible will be yours. You will have more joy! The angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents and so will you. (Luke 15:10) Jesus said, "He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21). The more you share, the more you will be blessed in Christ. The more you share, the more you will want to honor your Savior and our of love live a pure life. By being a sharing Christian you won't miss a blessing. So today, ask the Lord of the harvest to send you to someone with which to share.


  • Social Media Etiquette for Christians, Part 1

    This is part one of a two part blog article to help Christians be better representatives for Christ on the web. This part overviews some what I call the "Do's" of Social Media.

    One of the most challenging issues a person can have in the venue of social media, such as using Facebook is violating generally accepted etiquette. When you think about it, if you were going over to someone’s home to share Christ, you would not barge into their house unannounced. You might call on the phone first, introduce yourself and see if you could come over for a visit. When you arrive, you would knock on the door and when invited, go in. Once inside you wouldn’t necessarily launch into presenting the Gospel first. You would first share some small talk before going into the deeper God talk. You might ask about their family or compliment them on their home. These are things that we do as human beings. We are designed for relationships and such etiquette or manners are important. If we violate these manners, then we and our message will not be received well.

    When thinking about social media manners, it is important for all of us to be aware of things we should do that will help others to receive us and our message and of things that we should avoid. Here are some general “do’s” and “don’ts” for social media.

    Do’s

    1. Do think before you post.

    The dangerous thing about social media in general and Facebook in particular is the way you can instantly have your immediate thoughts posted online. Not every thought that pops into your head should be expressed out of your mouth; the same is true for Facebook. It’s always better not to write anything when you are angry or upset. This could come back to haunt you later.

    2. Do write your messages and updates in a word processing document first.

    This may at first seem bothersome to you, but this will help curb that immediate urge to send messages that have not been properly thought through. It will also help you to take a second or third look at your posting before it is up before the world.
    3. Do listen to others. In communication there is the message, a sender, a receiver, and filters on both sender and receiver. Often the intent of the sender is not perceived by the person on the other end. This requires the receiver to send a message back to make sure it was received correctly. We all have filters. In face to face communication it is a lot easier to understand the message. You have voice tone, facial expressions and body language besides the words. So in communicating through Facebook you will need to be extra careful to really listen to what they are saying. Asking for clarification is a good thing. It also tells the other person you are making the attempt to understand them.

    4. Do build quality relationships.

    People are still people whether online or in person. They will respond to you if they feel like they really know you. In order to have a quality relationship you must be genuine, not fake. People don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be honest, fair and kind; especially if you’re presenting yourself as a representative of Christ.

    5. Do account for your actions.

    The internet has caused some distance between people and for some, the distance has made them think their actions will not have any accountability. You cannot do or say whatever you want on the internet without losing the respect of others. It will harm your witness for Christ. If you do something that you regret, then be accountable. Admit it, and then ask forgiveness from them and God. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

    6. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Yes, this is the golden rule taught by Jesus. For you it means more than just being nice, but be nice as well. Say things that you’d want others saying to you. Respect them and the community. You represent more than yourself. You represent the followers of Christ who are relaying their faith to others. Make sure those who are recipients of your witness have a positive experience.

    7. Do personalize your Facebook messages.

    The messages need to speak with your voice. If you are just getting to know them or reacquainted with them, send a “hello” message first. Let them know why you are contacting them. It will leave a good feeling.

    8. Do a check on people who want to “friend” you.

    As a personal rule, I don’t friend someone unless I personally have met them or they are friends of my friends and have some possible connection with me. I don’t “friend” people if they have a similar interest, for example, in books or movies as me. There has to be more than that.

    9. Do graciously allow for others to not “friend” you.

    They have the right to refuse a request just as you do. Respect their decision.

    10. Do remember you are on mission.

    Though Facebook has been called the ultimate in narcissistic experiences, you are here for other reasons. It is not about you but about Christ in you relaying your faith to others so they can find the most important thing ever, their salvation in Christ.

    11. Do ask for a commitment to Christ.

    In the context of your ongoing relationship, ask your friend if he or she has made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. If they have, ask them to tell you about it. Find out details of when and where. You can do this and it is expected by your Lord that you do this. If they tell you they do not want to discuss it, then don’t. But don’t say, “No” for them. They may say a big “Yes.” Many people tend to be more open about their personal thoughts online than in a face to face meeting. This could be the best avenue for you to ask them about their commitment to Christ.

  • The Attractive Display of the Holy Spirit in Your Life

    The Spirit-filled life is a fruitful life, a life that displays the change God has made in you through the new birth. The Bible says, “Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16, NIV). The Bible tells us that if we choose–and we all have a choice–to live as the Spirit of God is leading us to live, we will not be living the same old sinful way. Our lives will be characterized by what the Bible calls the “fruit” of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25, NIV). This “fruit” of the Spirit consists of nine manifestations that work together in our lives for a greater witness.

    The fruit is growth in Christ-like character. Love is the supreme display of a Christian’s character, and the other eight are the characteristics of love. We can love others because God loved us first and gave His love to us in the presence of His Holy Spirit. John wrote, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11, NKJV). We are to spread that love, which expresses itself in practice as the “fruit” of the Spirit.

    The fruit displays love as a self-less quality that puts another’s well being first. This love is tough, tender, and strong, as you will see. It shares Christ with anyone because helping a person move closer to God is the most loving thing you can do for someone else.

    The fruit of joy is displayed through an inner satisfaction and delight in the knowledge that your relationship with God is secure. Nothing in the world can change that. In an uncertain world, you have the joy of assurance–not only of your past forgiveness but in the possibility of living in God’s power. The anticipation of all the riches in Christ that God has waiting for you can keep you hope-filled, even in life’s darkest days.

    The fruit of peace is the ability to live in harmony with God, others, and self. Because of Christ’s death, you have peace with God. The cross and resurrection remove the separation caused by sin. Because you have been forgiven, you can live in forgiveness. The lost world needs hope for a new beginning. You can share that hope because you have experienced peace.

    The fruit of patience is shown in the way you bear with people and the circumstances of your life. Patience is the ability to show the world you really do believe God is in control. The way you will be able to walk through circumstances and handle people will cause others to wonder. They will comment on your patience, and that will give you a platform for a verbal witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The fruit of kindness is exhibited through your involvement in meeting the needs of other people. Kindness is becoming a willing servant, in the name of Jesus, to another person. In a world where human kindness is in short supply, your unsolicited, selfless service to others will draw their hearts to you, and you will be able to direct them to Christ. The Bible says, “…God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Romans 2:4b, NIV).

    The fruit of goodness is displayed in right conduct, keeping your honest integrity when you are tempted to compromise. Goodness is non-judgmental because it is not focused on the behavior of others. It reflects the good and honorable behavior of Christ. Jesus was good to others, no matter how they behaved toward Him.

    The fruit of faithfulness illustrates dependability, loyalty, and reliability. Jesus was completely faithful in all He did. He was sent to redeem mankind through the cross. He fully accomplished the Father’s will. His sermon on the mount tells us to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no.” Because of your faithfulness, others will take you at your word. When you tell about the change Christ has made in your life, they will not be able to dismiss it easily because the fruit of faithfulness is evident in your behavior.

    The fruit of gentleness manifests itself when losing control would be easier. Gentleness is strength under control–the control of the Holy Spirit in your life. The fruit of gentleness will allow God to use your personality and natural tendencies for his kingdom instead of your ends. Gentleness is submitting your strengths to God’s purposes.

    The fruit of self-control is the power to restrain yourself. Each of us has desires that, if not kept in check, would ruin us. You would be enslaved to your lower nature if not for the help the Spirit’s fullness brings to your life.

    The fruit of the Spirit shows us what it looks like when a growing believer is ready to be a witness for his Lord. This is a moment-by-moment process. Don’t get discouraged if it seems like you will never make it. Sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back. As you look back over time, you will see a pattern of growth.

    Certain disciplines in the Christian life will help you keep growing. A great place to start is having a daily time of systematic Bible reading, prayer, and confession of sin. This will take a commitment to submit your priorities to God’s priorities. Entirely surrendering yourself to God is the path to experiencing this fruit in your life. It will make you an attractive witness.

  • The Availablity and Operation of The Spirit-Filled Life

    Today you will learn why and how the Spirit-filled life is available to you. If you have received salvation through Jesus Christ, then the Spirit-filled life can become a reality. The good news is that just as salvation is a free gift by faith, so is the Spirit-filled life. The key to your filling is identification, knowledge, desire and faith.

    How you identify with God is vitally important. You are no longer a sinner, but a saint, a child of God through your trust in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. This identification with Christ will determine your growth and effectiveness in witness. As you identify with Christ as a new person, you will begin to live life as that new person. No one can consistently behave in a way that is contrary with how they view themselves.

    Further understanding comes through knowledge. Your ability to operate in the fullness of the Spirit is found in understanding that victory over sin has three aspects. The first aspect is called “positional righteousness.” It is described in (Romans 5:1,2) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is where you as a believer are declared righteous by God. It doesn't mean you won’t sin, but it does mean that God accepts you into his family and considers you righteous though considering yourself, you know you're not.

    The second aspect is called “ultimate righteousness.” This is the kind of righteousness you will experience in the final resurrection. We will be in actuality what we are considered by God to be today. The Bible says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” 1 John 3: 2-3, NIV).

    The third aspect is called “practical righteousness.” This is right living today. It is you living as God wants you to live. This enables you to be in position for God to empower you in sharing the good news of Jesus.

    Let’s take a closer look at how we can live holy lives for God. It will relate directly to you infilling of power by the Holy Spirit.

    As you read before, salvation is a gift. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Your empowerment for holy living is a gift of God’s grace as well. It is a transforming grace. The Bible states, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Phil.1:6). This gift of holiness will be worked out daily in your life. It is the “good work” which God has begun. You need to understand as a believer; you live from a position of holiness, not to a position of holiness.

    To apply this in your life you need to understand and accept your identification with Christ. The Bible tells us that through faith we are united with Christ in his death, therefore we are also united to Him in His resurrection power (Romans 6:5-14).

    Since our identification is found in our union with Christ, when Christ died on the cross, we died with Him. When He arose, we arose with Him. We have already, by our union with Christ, obtained positional righteousness and we have been given the ability through the Spirit for practical righteousness. We are freed from the penalty of sin and its dominating power. The deliverance from the power of sin was accomplished by Christ’s death and resurrection. It is applied to your life by faith. That is why the apostle can write, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God.”

    Today we still live in a fallen world dominated by sin and we have the principle of sin still at work in us. This is our struggle. That is why the apostle told us to “count” or as other translations say, “Consider yourselves dead to sin.”

    Though the “law of sin and death” is present; “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is greater. The apostle Paul wrote:

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).

    Paul went on to write, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). This “law of the Spirit” supersedes the law of sin and death. The Bible says, “Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, NIV).

    The law of sin and the law of the Spirit can be compared to the law of lift in aerodynamics and to the law of gravity. When a plane flies, the law of gravity is not suspended. The law of gravity is still there and it is still applied to the plane, but a higher law is in effect, the law of lift. It supersedes the law of gravity. If the law of lift were not engaged, the plane would fall because of the law of gravity. The battle for the Spirit-filled life is not flesh against flesh, but faith against flesh. You must believe you are no longer the same. You must, by faith identify with Jesus Christ and his resurrection rather than the old you. This is the law of the Spirit that supersedes the law of sin. You will stay in bondage to the flesh by believing the lie that you cannot change.

    There is a children’s story about a baby elephant captured by loggers in India. The elephants were used to drive logs down river. The loggers catch the elephants when they are babies to train them to be obedient. To keep the young elephant from running way, it would have a rope tied to its leg and to a stake driven into the ground. The little elephant would try to get away, but the stake and rope would hold him captive. As the elephant grew, he would cease trying to escape, thinking that the stake would hold him. In reality, he could have pulled the stake out of the ground at any time. It wasn’t until a forest fire that the elephant, now as an adult, tried now to escape and was able to pull the stake from the ground with one pull. Why had he not done this before? It was because he didn’t believed he could.

    Why do many Christians not live the Spirit-filled life that gives power in their witness? Could it be because they don’t believe they really can? They are like the elephant who believed that nothing had changed. Everyone knew the elephant had grown and could escape, except the elephant. The world and the devil know that we have changed. They don’t want us to know it or believe it. You have to come to the point where you believe the fullness of the Spirit is for you. Once you accept the Spirit-filled life is for you then you can become aware of the fruit that comes from this kind of life.

     

  • The Empowerment of God for Sharing Your Faith in Recent History

    In a previous blog, I wrote about how the New Testament testifies to our need for the Holy Spirit’s filling–andto the Spirit’s availability for us. This filling is for sharing the good news of Jesus and for empowered Christian living.

    In this entry I want you to consider, through several recent examples in history, how the filling of the Holy Spirit has transformed the lives of witnesses to Jesus Christ. In modern history, men such as John Wesley, George Whitefield, D.L. Moody, and R. A. Torrey testify to the empowerment of the Spirit-filled life for witness.

    Lewis Drummond recounts Billy Graham’s journey in discovering the power of the Spirit-filled life. It occurred in 1956, when Graham was in England to hold a series of evangelistic meetings. The gatherings were not going well. Almost all those attending were church members–and their numbers were few. Billy knew he needed help. He was witnessing and preaching, but without power.

    That night, lying in bed, Billy began to seek more of God. As he did so, a man kept coming to mind. The man was Steven Olford, a Welsh evangelist whom Billy and his small team had stopped to hear in Gravesend on their way to Wales. In that brief encounter, Billy sensed Steven Olford had something in his life he desperately wanted. There was a dynamic exhilaration about Olford that bubbled over to all he talked to.

    Steven Olford lived only 11 miles from where Billy Graham was currently staying. The next morning, the evangelist determined to track him down and ask some serious questions about the power behind his ministry.

    Delighted to hear from the young American evangelist, Steven Olford invited Billy to meet at a small hotel in the nearby village of Pontypridd. The two men began talking about spiritual things immediately. Billy soon learned that Steven Olford was the son of missionaries and had been raised in Africa. Olford’s father had been led to Christ under the preaching of R. A. Torrey, while Steven himself had been led into a rich experience of the Holy Spirit under the influence of the Keswick movement in Great Britain. The Keswick movement emphasized the Spirit-filled life of total dedication to Christ.

    Soon both men had their Bibles open and were down on their knees in their little hotel room. They sought God’s heart and power for Billy Graham and his ministry. The hours rolled by as they turned pages together and shared the truths of God’s Word.

    By the end of the first day, Steven Olford had introduced Billy Graham to the concept of “quiet time.” Olford urged the young American to develop a life of prayer and Bible study that was consistent and disciplined and emanated from a hunger for God’s best. The next day, Olford led Billy Graham in a Bible study that expounded the power that comes into the life of the believer willing to submit moment by moment to the sovereignty of Christ and the authority of the Word.

    At the end of the study, Steven Olford began to pray for Billy Graham. Billy prayed silently for a while and then, like Jacob of old he cried out, “Lord I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.”

    Steven Olford testified to how God had completely turned his life inside out through experiencing the fullness and anointing of the Holy Spirit. As he spoke, Billy Graham replied with tears streaming down his face, “Steve, I see it. That’s exactly what I want. It’s what I need in my life.” He then began pouring out his heart in a prayer of total dedication to the Lord.

    Finally, he turned to Steven Olford. “My heart is so aflood with the Holy Spirit, I want to laugh and praise God all at the same time,” he said. Graham then got up and began pacing back and forth across the narrow room declaring, “I have it. I’m filled.” Finally he turned and grasped Steven Olford’s hand. “This is a turning point in my life,” he said, his eyes shining brightly.
    On the third day, the two men went their separate ways, though Steven Olford promised to return for Billy’s evangelistic meeting that night.

    That night, for some unknown reason, the hall where Billy Graham was scheduled to preach was filled to overflowing, unlike the other nights when only a smattering of loyal churchgoers had shown up. From the moment Billy opened his mouth to preach, Olford sensed something was different. Billy preached a sermon he had preached before on the feast of Belshazzar. Yet this time it was delivered with a power and authority Billy longed for, but never quite achieved. As soon as he gave an invitation to come forward, working men and women jammed the aisles, jostling to be the first to the front.

    Later, Steven Olford confessed that he was so moved by the change in Billy’s demeanor that he could hardly concentrate on the road as he drove home. At home, Olford’s father took one look at his son and blurted out, “What on earth has happened?”

    Olford sat down at the kitchen table and said, “Dad, something has happened to Billy Graham. The world is going to hear from this man. He is going to make his mark in history.”

    Billy Graham himself reflects back on that day as the definitive turning point in his ministry of evangelism. The experience has to a significant degree influenced Billy’s whole understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in evangelism.[1]

    This kind of experience is what D. L. Moody called “the secret power.” Moody began to realize his need for this empowerment from God on a study trip to England in 1867. He met a well known evangelist by the name of Richard Varley, who said to Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to him.” Moody thought, “He didn’t say a smart man; he didn’t say an educated man; he didn’t say a great man. He said a man with full consecration to God. I will try my best to be that man.” Not long after this encounter, Moody received the power of the Holy Spirit he so needed. His message was the same, but the people putting their trust in Christ multiplied.

    Renowned Bible teacher Henrietta C. Mears said, “I believe that it is impossible for any Christian to be effective, either in his life or in his service, unless he is filled with the Holy Spirit, who is God’s only provision of power.[2]” Understand what Mears said: Effectiveness in any ministry, especially in evangelism, is dependent on God’s only provision of power–the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

    We also could include other men like Evan Roberts of the Great Welsh Revival and, later, Duncan Campbell of the revivals on the Isle of Lewis. The point is, all these people came to the place of believing Luke 11:11-13: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

    So far, we have read testimonies–from the life of Jesus, from the apostles, and from the early church–that make a case for the filling of the Spirit. We have mandates from Scripture that the infilling of the Holy Spirit is for every believer. The lives of these men and women show us that to become the kind of people who share Christ effectively we need the empowerment of God's Spirit in our lives. 

    [1] Drummond, Lewis A. “The Evangelist”. Word: Nashville, 2001. 18-20.
    [2] Bill Bright. The Coming Revival. 195.

  • Why We Need God's Power to Share Christ Effectively

    Jesus knew that his disciples needed power from heaven to be effective in sharing the faith. That is why Jesus told his disciples they would be witnesses after they received special power from God. The Bible says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). Jesus told them not to leave Jerusalem or to start their ministry until they got the power. “And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.” (Luke 24:49).

    The fulfillment of these promises would change the disciples’ whole world. God’s powerful Holy Spirit would fall upon the disciples in overwhelming might. With this power from God, the task of personal and world evangelization would move from impossible to certain. With this power of God in your life, the task of sharing Christ with your world is a reality.

    Ten days later, in that upper room, Jesus kept his promise. “When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech” (Acts 2:1-4).

    These early believers were not only indwelled by the Holy Spirit at that time, but they also received an infilling of God’s power. They spoke the gospel message, and people who were there from all over the world understood in their own languages. The disciples received the Spirit and were filled with the Spirit. What happened at Pentecost has forever changed the way we can relate to the power of the Holy Spirit.

    It is at Pentecost where the promise–of the indwelling and infilling of the Spirit for power in relaying the message of Christ–became available of you. This power from God is how the normal Christian life operates. That means your normal Christian life is to be a Spirit-filled life.

    This Spirit-empowered life is demonstrated for us in the Bible and in history. If Jesus is to be our example for living, then He is to be our example for operating under the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Everything Jesus did, He did under the leadership of the Spirit. Everything Jesus said, He said under the power of the Holy Spirit. He did not begin his public ministry until He was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). The apostle John said we are to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6). If Jesus is our example, we should seek to have a close relationship with the Spirit of God.

    The New Testament records the apostles repeatedly being filled with the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts relates the filling of the same believers several times, such as Peter in Acts 2:4; 4:8-10, and 4:31. The common result of this filling of the Spirit was a bold evangelistic sharing of the Word of God.

    The church, when it looked for leaders, sought out those who were full of the Holy Spirit. The apostles said to them, “Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty” (Acts 6:3). Stephen, who was eventually martyred, was one of these.

    The members of churches in Asia that Barnabas and Paul visited were filled with the Holy Spirit. “And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). Paul wrote in Ephesians that we would “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19, NIV).

    Not only do you have these examples of the filling power of the Holy Spirit, but Scripture says you are to be filled as well. Ephesians 5:18 says: “And don’t get drunk with wine, which ⌊leads to⌋ reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit” The single word for “be filled” in the original biblical language is pleróō.

    That word is plural, meaning the filling is for all of us. It is in the present tense, meaning the Spirit is to be present in our lives now. The word is an imperative, which means that being filled by the Spirit is a command from God. It also is in the passive voice, which means the filling of the Spirit is something done to us. God is the initiator; we are the receivers. God is the one who bestows the power of His Spirit upon us.

    This is something God is more than willing to do. Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

    So we have Jesus, the Son of God filled with the Holy Spirit for His ministry. We have Peter and other apostles filled with the Holy Spirit and relaying their faith in power. The church, when they were looking for leaders to carry on ministry looked for men who were already filled with the Holy Spirit. Members of the local churches were also filled with the Holy Spirit. The overwhelming conclusion that comes from these examples is that we all need the powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives for Christian living and relaying our faith.

    The Bible emphatically demonstrates that you need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and that this empowerment is available to you for your Christian witness.

    In the next blog entry I will cover some examples of Spirit-empowerment from the recent past.

  • The Dangerous Fate of Those Who Live and Die without Christ

    Have you ever been out hiking in the woods and gotten lost? It's a terrible feeling. The problem with being lost in the woods is that you are lost before you realize you are lost. It is only at the realization of being lost that first, you become concerned and second, you attempt to do something about it.

    The Scriptures teach that a person is spiritually lost when they have not experienced the new spiritual birth through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3, NKJV). The apostles Peter and John said this about the necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV). That rules out any other way for the spiritually lost to become found.

    One of the great issues with those who are without Christ is that they do not know they are lost. Just like walking through the woods and not realizing you are off track, most people today do not know they are in eternal jeopardy. This is why we need to engage them in spiritual conversations. Get them to articulate what they believe. If they believe something that is not according to the Bible, ask them where they came up with that belief. Your conversation, while it may not immediately convince them to turn to Christ, it should cause them to think about their beliefs and if these beliefs are valid. The next thing you do then is ask permission to share what the Bible has to say about the matter. Ask, "Would you mind if I shared with you what the Bible says about this?" You're not at this point asking them to believe it, but you are asking them to listen and evaluate it.

    But why go to all this trouble? We do it because of their fate. If we really believe Jesus is the only Savior, and we do, then logically we should do all that we can to bring the ones to love to see that Savior and accept him. That is what love does.

    Here's how the Bible describes those without Christ.

    • Dead in transgressions and sins - Ephesians 2:1
    • Objects of divine wrath - Ephesians 2:3
    • Separated from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise, without hope and without God in the world - Ephesians 2:12
    • A sinful mind that leads to death, hostile to God, and controlled by the sinful nature - Romans 8:6-7
    • God's wrath is upon them - John 3:36
    • They will be separated from God and heaven for all eternity - Matthew 13:49-50
    This is their state before God. It doesn't matter how much money they have. It doesn't matter how they look or how much other success they may achieve. A person can have all that the world offers and calls good, but without surrendering to the Lordship of Christ, they will be lost in this life and then lost forever in eternity. So what if someone makes it to the top of the ladder. If it's the wrong ladder they have wasted their life.

    Someone may have brought you the gospel of Christ and you accepted it. For your sake and for the sake of those around us, we to ponder the dangerous and tragic fate of those who live and die without Christ. Love should motivate us to do all we can to bring them to Christ.

  • Share Your Salvation Story online for Free!

    Many Christians would like to be more effective in sharing their salvation story. Many Christians today are also using social media, like Facebook. What if you could place your salvation story and the gospel on the web and also connect it to whatever social media you use? Wouldn't that be great?

    People could see your story, read or watch a gospel presentation and communicate back to you through email or Facebook messaging. It is easy, non confrontational, effective and fun. You can even know when someone is viewing your story and see how many have viewed your story.

    Is this something you would like to do? If so, keep reading.

    The MostImportantThing site is designed for this. You can use it even if you don't have a Facebook or Twitter account. But if you have these, it is a lot more fun and interactive. Here's what to do.

    1. Go to the page that has some great tips on how to write your story. Click here
    2. If you need an example, you can look at my story. I begin by sharing my search for meaning. Click here.
    3. Fill out the form to submit your salvation story. Click here.
      • You can link your church or ministry website.
      • If you want others to connect with you through Facebook, be sure to follow the instructions for that feature. You can always contact us if you have questions. For questions click here
      • You can also allow someone to connect with you through email. They will know know your email address unless you respond to them.
      • You can also submit a photo with your story. I highly recommend this. It makes your story more readable and memorable. If you are not that familiar to the person, the picture will help them remember you.
      • At the end of the form, make sure you click on the "submit your story" button.
      • IMPORTANT! Your story will not be live on the site until the MostImportantThing staff has approved it. So be patient a day or two.
    4. If you have a Facebook account, click on the Facebook icon at the top of the MostImportantThing.org page and "like" the MostImportantThing Facebook page. This will allow new testimonies we promote to appear in the news feed of your Facebook account. To share these stories with your friends, just click the "share" option on the testimony when it appears in your news feed. That will then move it to your wall. You can even write a comment. It's that simple!
    If you would like to do even more to reach others with the good news of Jesus, then check this out below.
    1. Order MostImportantThing webcards to give away to people wherever you go. You can leave them with a tip at a restaurant. Give one to someone you have just met. Hand them to friends wherever you go. Give them to the cashiers at stores. Send one in a letter/card or a bill that is put in the mail. You can order 6 different kinds. To go to the page with these resources, click here.
    2. You can also send out free e-cards for your story and the MostImportantThing.org to your friends through email. Check them out by clicking here.
    3. Order CROSS Evangelism Training materials (Leader DVD Guide and Participant Guide) and take the full course. The MostImportantThing site is just one of six ways you can learn to share your story and the gospel story of Christ. View the informational video. Click here. To order the materials, click here.  
    4. Consider also learning how to more effectively take opportunities to share Christ in your daily life. RELAY: Sharing Your Faith Your Way is another excellent resource that will help in relaying your faith to others. To see the info video and testimonial videos, click here.
    Any questions or comments, make them on the blog  or here and we'll get back to you. Now lets get busy and do some sharing of our faith in Christ in a new and intentional way. 
  • The Greatest Motivations for Sharing Christ

    The first and greatest internal motivation for sharing your faith is in a previous article.

    The second internal motivation is your desire to live a responsible life honoring God. You want to share your faith because you are overwhelmed with gratitude for what Christ did for you and you realize you have a responsibility to live a life pleasing to God.

    Jesus said in John 8:29, “I always do what pleases Him.” Paul wrote to the Colossians “We are asking … that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9a,10).

    Paul disciplined himself in the “race” of the Christian life so that after preaching to others he would not be disqualified. He wrote, “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV).

    A time will come when you are either qualified or disqualified in your “race.” The apostle Paul again wrote: “… We make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-11). This judgment is separate from salvation. You and I will account for how we spent our lives in His service.

    Paul wasn’t willing to take the easy way out. He knew he had a responsibility to the Lord to relay the gospel. He also knew that this would involve some difficult times because of it. At the end of his life, Paul could say he had lived the one life he had in honor of God.

    Jesus used parables to teach we are responsible for how we live our lives. In His parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30, a master returned to settle accounts with his servants. These servants were given a responsibility and knew that, sooner or later, the master would call them to account. Your Lord left you with the most important message in the history of mankind and the greatest gift of all eternity. You will account for how you shared this gift of the gospel for which He shed His blood.

    The early church took seriously their responsibility to live every day in light of eternity. They were conscious that every deed––or lack of––would fall under the Lord’s scrutiny. This is the second personal reason why you want to be sharing your faith: responsibility.

    A third powerful motivation to relay your faith to others is your concern for the fate of those who do not know God. When you understand the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you develop a deeper appreciation of not only your past need of salvation but also the current need of people you know and love. You will be motivated to relay your faith to others.

    At Zacchaeus’ home, Jesus announced the purpose of His life: “… To seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus also declared His exclusive claim to be the only way to salvation: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:10). By his own words, Jesus effectively eliminated all other ways to becoming right with God and going to heaven.

    This claim of Christ may sound intolerant today, but it has nothing to do with tolerance. Tolerance is the ability to be patient and fair, but we are talking about truth. I can be tolerant with you if you think two plus two equals ten, but a teacher worth his pay will try to convince you it’s not the right answer. Is it intolerant to tell you the truth?

    The mistake people make in calling Christians intolerant is they assume all faiths are equal. This is not any truer than “two plus two equals ten.” Either Jesus was who He said He was or He was not. There is no middle ground. A person must choose.

    Jesus rules out all other ways to salvation. According to Jesus, mankind is divided into two groups: those who accept Him as the way to God and those who do not. The Bible says there is a broad way that leads to destruction and a narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). There is no third option. The people of the human race are described as sheep or goats (Matthew 25:33-46), wheat or weeds (Matthew 13:24-30), wise or foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13); those who came to the wedding banquet and those who chose to remain outside (Matthew 22:1-14). Either you know Him or you don’t.

    You might try to create another option. A person might look for a third option, but Jesus has not given it to us. The problem of Christianity today is much as it was in the second century. By choosing Christ, you deny all other gods and rival commitments. He is Plan A; there is no Plan B. He is the only hope for the world.

    If all this is true––and Christians certainly believe it is––then we must deal with the implications of the truth. If you actually believe there is no hope for salvation outside of Christ, how could you not be gripped with a compulsion to bring everyone to this only way of salvation? Human beings have a natural concern for a fellow human being in danger. This should be a driving motivation in your witness.
    The three personal reasons for sharing your faith center around the depth of your appreciation for what God had done for you, recognizing your responsibility to live a life honoring to Him, and your concern for the fate of those who have not yet received the message of hope and salvation.

  • The Greatest Motivation for Sharing Your Faith

    The Bible says each of us was helpless in our sin before we came to Christ. You were doomed to a life “… with no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12b). Whether you sinned on purpose or not, you were guilty. You had a death sentence on your life. You were a prisoner of sin and there was no freedom or hope to be found.

     

     You began to appreciate your condition when you realized that the “… wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). You understood that your sinful words, deeds, and attitudes amounted to spitting in God’s face. But God didn’t treat you the way you deserved to be treated. He did something infinitely greater than what Captain Miller did for Private Ryan.

    The Bible says it this way: “For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die.But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:7-8). It goes on to say, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!” (Romans 5:10). God makes you right with Himself, and He is the one paying the price. His love so motivated Him, that he made us right even when we were his enemies, fighting against him and against his work in our lives.

    Appreciating your need for forgiveness leads to a loving appreciation, a gratitude, for what God did through Jesus death on the cross.
    The apostle Paul is the ultimate example of this. Paul never got over the wonder of his salvation. He had many reasons to be proud. As a Jew, he had the right heritage, education, and vocation. He even had kept the outward requirements of the Jewish law. But all these accomplishments meant nothing to him compared to what he had found in Christ. Paul wrote: “… But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).

    Paul was able to appreciate what he had in Christ because he remembered his former life. He knew where he would be without Jesus Christ. He wrote to his disciple, Timothy: “I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry—one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor,and an arrogant man …. And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14). It takes humility to remember where you have come from and to whom you owe where you are today.

    Paul remembered what he was before he met Christ, and he knew the tremendous price God paid to bring salvation to him. He was overwhelmed at the love of God. It changed the way he viewed himself and the world. He wrote: “But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). He so appreciated what Christ had done that it became the sole focus of all his ambition. This loving appreciation, this gratitude to God would be his greatest motivation for sharing his faith.

  • Appreciating the Gospel of Jesus Christ

    Steven Spielberg’s WW II movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” is the profoundly moving story of a squad of soldiers sent on a mission deep into a battle zone to bring out a young paratrooper, Private James Ryan, whose three brothers had been killed in battle. The army’s chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, had personally ordered Private Ryan sent home to his mother because he thought three sons were enough for any mother to contribute to the war.

     

    The squad leader, Captain John Miller, and half of his squad gave their lives in the mission to bring Ryan home. As he sat propped up against a bombed out car on a bridge, Miller’s dying words to Ryan were, “Earn this.” The scene switches to 1998, as a much older Ryan falls to his knees at Miller’s grave and tearfully chokes out these words: “Every day I think about what you said to me on that bridge. I’ve tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes I have earned what all of you have done for me.” Ryan turns to his wife and asks, “Tell me I’m a good man?”

    Why does he ask? Ryan never got over the sacrifice Miller and his men made for his life. He appreciated what they did for him. He owed his life to them, a debt he could never repay. What else could he do but try to live a life worthy of the price that was paid for him? We all can understand that. Perhaps no one has died to save our physical lives, but Jesus endured the agony of the cross so we could have the priceless gift of abundant life today and eternal life hereafter. We have been “bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Christ “died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the Onewho died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15). While we can never repay Christ for what he did for us, we can live a life that honors his sacrifice. Embedded in the gospel of Jesus Christ is a call for response, an urgency to share it with others. That's how we show appreciation.

    Your ongoing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ flows out of the internal motivations you properly feel for the one who died to set you free from the power and penalty of sin. My desire is that you will be captivated by three great, very personal motivations for sharing your faith. These were the motivations that compelled the apostle Paul and the early church to testify about the risen Christ, in spite of the danger they faced for telling the truth.

    In the next entry we will look at the first and greatest motivation.

  • The Importance of Holiness in Personal Evangelism, Part 2 of 2

    Knowing a Christian should live in harmony with God and God's ways is one thing, but actually doing it is another. The expectation of Jesus was that we actually live what we believe. We are to love our enemies and pray for them. We are to turn the other cheek when one is struck. We are to go that extra mile of service to someone who needs our help. In short, we are to be and live the Sermon on the Mount as found in Matthew 5-7. How one lives in personal holiness to Christ ought to be the most natural thing for a disciple of Jesus to do. However, for most it's not. We have not trained our minds and bodies to be holy. To make the change will involve time, the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study and memorization, service, and probably lots of personal repentance.



    To help with this I have written a personal spiritual preparation guide. This guide is included in the personal evangelism training course CROSS EvangelismTraining. Working through the acrostic CROSS below will help to prepare your heart, mind and body for effective evangelism.
    Set aside plenty of time for you to meet with Christ. Strive to set all the things right with God and others so your witness will be what it should be. I don’t want anything to hold you back.

    Confession: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
    To “confess” means to “agree” with God about our sin. It is viewing sin from God’s perspective and turning from it. Do you have unconfessed sin in your life? Do you have sin in your life that causes you to live a defeated Christian life? It’s time to “agree” with God. Let Him remove it from your life. Spend time asking God to test your heart concerning your sin. Sin can be things you do, which you shouldn’t do. They can also be things you should do, which you are not doing. There are sins of thought, attitude and deeds. Confess your sins to God and let Him cleanse you.

    Relationships: “So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). “For If you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing” (Matthew 6: 14-15). Broken relationships are a great hindrance to evangelism. When our relationships are wrong with others it is also wrong before God. There is no place for foolish pride in the life of a Christian. You are commanded by your Master to do the best to reconcile with others who may have something against you, whether it is justified or not. Ask yourself: Is there anyone I have offended and have not asked forgiveness? Am I harboring unforgiveness toward someone? Forgive them, so that your Heavenly Father may forgive you. Forgive for your own sake as well as for theirs. They will still have to answer to God for their sin, as will you. Seek restoration and forgive.

    Obedience: “If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you” (John 15: 10-14). “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). For Jesus, love is obedience. If you love Jesus, you will obey Jesus. His command is to love one another. Jesus says the whole world will know we are His people when we do this. How is your love for Jesus? Just check your obedience. Is there a part of your life you have not surrendered to God? Is there something you know God wants you to do, but you haven’t done it yet? How long will you make excuses or run from His perfect will? Are you doing things God has told you to stop? Then stop. You can say what you like, but you can’t fool God at all or others for long. Love is measured in obedience. Surrender the controls of your life to Him now. You know it’s the right thing to do. Then you will remain in Jesus’ love.

    Speech: “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:29-32). How much does your daily speech match up with Ephesians 4:29-30? Do you say things about others that you shouldn’t? Have you been kind in your words? Have you treated others as well as God has treated you? Do you realize by the words of your mouth you can stifle the power of the Holy Spirit in your life? Have you exaggerated the truth? It’s called lying. Have you told inappropriate jokes? Would you tell Jesus what you have been telling others? Seek His forgiveness and help. Ask God to put a guard over your mouth.

    Service: "Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus…. He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave,taking on the likeness of men.And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross" (Philippians 2:5, 7-8). “You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20). How is your service to others? Are there some things you just won’t do? Do you have a poor attitude when asked to serve? Do you serve God the way you want to or the way God wants? Do you treat others as better than yourself? Have you made your faith about you and not about God? Are you in it for what you can get? What if God didn’t answer another prayer of yours for the rest of your life? Would you serve Him? The Bible says you do not belong to yourself, but to God. We are His servants. He is not ours.

    What do you need to talk with God about now?

  • The Importance of Holiness in Personal Evangelism, Part 1 of 2

    I was on a college campus, speaking on the subject of personal and relational evangelism at a local campus ministry. After my talk was over, a student came up and asked if he could talk privately for a moment. We stepped outside and in the parking lot he said, "Jimmy, I'm a Christian but my suite mates don't know that I'm a Christian. I've not lived in front of them like a Christian should live." He went on to say, "I've been out drinking with them and to several parties. I've said things that a Christian shouldn't be saying." Then, with conviction in his voice, he asked, "How am I going to witness to them after I've lived like this?"

    How indeed! What do you say to someone who now realizes his life can validate or nullify his words? In this young man's case, totally nullify. Christendom doesn't need another believer who says one thing but lives another. My first thought was to tell him not, under any circumstances, to tell his friends he is a Christian. But that won't solve the problem nor will it open a door to reaching his friends for Christ. Then came the second thought. Praise God for second thoughts.

    If this man wanted to set his life right before God and to do what God had sent him onto that campus to do, share Christ not just get a degree, then he would need to make some changes.First, he needed to personally make sure his relationship with Christ was what it should be. That would involve repentance, among other things. Second, he needed to tell some of his Christian friends and the director of the campus ministry about his situation, what he was going to do, and ask for prayer. Third, get his thoughts together on how he was going to handle the situation with his suite mates. He needed to first of all go to them, whether individually or as a group and ask for their forgiveness. I suggested he say to them, "Guys, you've known me for several months, and in those months I have not been living like I should. This has bothered me and I want to make it right. I am a Christian but I've not been living like one. I have been a hypocrite. I am sorry and I ask for your forgiveness. Will you forgive me?" Now these guys may not know what to say, but he have come clean with them. this may even be an opportunity for beginning a spiritual conversation. At the very least, these guys will be watching him very closely for awhile. This will be his opportunity to live in the forgiveness, grace and power of Christ.

    When believers allow sin into their lives, it nullifies their ability to effectively share Christ. In fact, it will make a Christian not want to share. This kind of defeat will spread to other parts of their life as well. Prayer will suffer. Bible Study will suffer. Everything in their spiritual life will be brought down. The solution is to root out sin whenever and wherever it is found. Holiness is important in personal evangelism, but as you see, it is also important in the whole of your life. No sin is worth losing your peace with God and power for sharing Christ.

  • New Home for RELAY and CROSS Evangelism Resources

    The ShareAsYouGo.com site will be the new home for both the new relational evangelism resources; RELAY and CROSS Evangelism training.

    RELAY evangelism focus is not on teaching you a particular presentation of the gospel, but to help you better share the gospel presentation you already know, in the context of your relationships. For more information on RELAY click here.

    CROSS Evangelism Training does teach you a particular presentation of the gospel. Actually, CROSS teaches you 6 ways of shareing the gospel of Christ. At least one of these ways should suite you and be good for the person(s) to whom you are sharing the most important thing. For more information on CROSS click here.

    Just like RELAY, CROSS has many free downloads to help not only the leader of the CROSS Evangelism Training but also the participants. To view the free downloads, click here.

  • RELAY Materials Available for Order

    RELAY: Sharing Your Faith Your Way materials are ready for order from the NAMB Store. The materials are being delivered to the store this week and will be availble for shipping by the end of next week. You can place your order for the RELAY materials by clicking here and typing "RELAY" in the Search Criteria box.

  • RELAY Resources Available July 1

    All of the RELAY materials will be available next week! It has been a long process of writing, testing, meeting with consultants and focus groups, video taping and editing. The process has taken over a year and half to complete.

    Check here after June 30th to find out how to order the RELAY Resources.

    There are several who deserve special mention and a little promotion for their ministry as well.

    Chris Forbes, Marketing Consultant, has helped in the development of this website. Chris also organized the pilot groups all over the US and Canada and later went back and combined members of these groups into focus groups.

    Mark Kelly, Editor took the drafts of THE RELAY BOOK, Participant Guide and Leader Guide making them better than I could have hoped. The storyline Mark wrote using pieces of my life and his great imagination add much to the book.

    PLACE Ministry has generously given resources and consulting in developing The RELAY Profile on this site. The free profile is very specific for evangelism. For more resources that cover all aspects of life in ministry contact PLACE Ministry.

    Eye On Creative, shot the video and handled all the post production. Thanks Doug, Paul, and Roger.

    Zenith Design Group took the RELAY concept and provided excellent graphic design. Bonnie, Tammy, and your team, thanks for the great work.

    NAMB with leadership of Jerry Pipes and Thomas Hammond got the ball rolling on a new relational evangelism resource. Judy Jarrell, project manager, is the queen of juggling timelines and projects. Thanks for your patience and especially your foresight. Thanks to all for the support.

    All this was done so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could be magnified in all our lives. The desire for RELAY was to help the majority of believers who want to, but are not, become more passionate and active in sharing their faith in Christ. I pray Christ will be honored in all we do.

  • New RELAY CHURCH EXPERIENCE DOWNLOAD AVAILABLE

    RELAY is only a few weeks away from release. The RELAY training resources will be available in mid-June. Pastors have asked, "How can we take all our collegiate and adult small groups through RELAY at the same time?" Uploaded on the resources page is a RELAY CHURCH EXPERIENCE document. You can download this and create an entire chruch emphasis on intentional relational evangelism.

    There are several benefits in taking your church or minstry through a shared experience like this. First, it is easier to enlist people to take an evangelism course when their small group friends are doing it as well. Second, RELAY is taylored to the support system of a small group. They will have the prayers and support for their relational evangelism activity. RELAY has the ability to change an inwardly focused small group to one that actively seeks to include people far from Christ. Third, pastors can order the worship services to reflect and reinforce what member are doing the the small groups. This site will soon have sermon ideas and worship service suggestions for the Experience. Fourth, by doing this as a church you work off the synergy of the whole church instead of just depending on the individual parts. Fifth, at the conclusion of the experience, this could be the time to do that re-evaluation of ministries for evangelism that you as a pastor or church leader have wanted to do.

    RELAY is not only sharing your faith your way, it's also your church or ministry sharing it's faith in it's own unique way as well.

  • Spiritual Gifts and Natural Talents

    There has been some discussion on the difference between a natural talent and a spiritual gift. For some of the gifts the distinction is not clear.  We need to remember, all the abilities we have do come from God in some way or another. Traditionally, when thinking about natural abilities we assume these come genetically, through our parents. Many great engineers, artists, teachers, etc. have come from families who have excelled in these areas.  On the other hand, a spiritual gift comes from God, independent of heritage or parentage. Taking this further, a natural talent has been there from the beginning but a spiritual gift manifests itself after conversion.

     

    Another way natural talents can be confused with spiritual gifts is the fact that both must be discovered, cultivated and practiced in order to grow and mature in them. Likewise, whether we have a natural talent of a spiritual gift; we need to use it for the benefit of others. Natural talents should be used for the benefit of all mankind and spiritual gifts for the building up of the church. “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial” ( 1 Corinthians 12:7).

     

    I believe God regularly takes natural talents and transforms them into spiritual gifts. I believe this happens most of the time.  There was a craftsman by the name of Bezalel. He was a craftsman already, but read what God told Moses about him. “I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silvers and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft” (Exodus 31:3-6). God took a natural talent, granted it was from God in the beginning, and then God made it a gift of the Spirit. On the other hand, I have also been told by others God gave them a spiritual gift which before salvation they had no natural giftedness in that area.

     

    What does all of this have to do with evangelism? When you think about sharing your faith your way, understanding how God has gifted you and how his Holy Spirit works to empower you in your life is key to your unique way of evangelism. It is God’s perfect way of evangelism for you. God can and will use your giftedness to build up the church and to relay your faith with others. Don’t discount any of your abilities to be used by God.

  • How Believers Receive Their Spiritual Gifts

    Some have heard of spiritual gifts for years, but have not thought about their implications for evangelism. For others, the concept of having a spiritual gift is brand new. I’ll explain briefly how you, as a believer in Jesus Christ, have at least one gift.

    In the last days of Jesus’ ministry before He went to the cross, He made some big promises to His followers. He told them about the impact their lives and ministry would make. The reason for this kind of impact would be the Holy Spirit that would come and be with them and in them. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world is unable to receive because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17, HCSB). Jesus promised His abiding presence through the Holy Spirit who would be “with” them and “in” them.

    The Apostle Paul echoes this when he wrote about the Spirit who rose Jesus from the dead living inside you (Romans 8:11), making you alive to God, and able to do the works of God. He goes even further in writing that the dwelling place for the Spirit of God is in believers. He wrote, “Don’t you know you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, HCSB). You are God’s special holy place of living!

    Now that we have established every believer has the Holy Spirit of God with them and living in them, let’s move on to how the gifts are given. Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in you as a believer, that Spirit will make His presence known in various ways. One of these is with the special ability of a Spiritual gift. As mentioned before, everyone has at least one gift. The Apostle Paul wrote, “There are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, HCSB). That last sentence is key to this idea, “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person…” A manifestation is a revealing sign of God working in your life. A gift appears as a tool in your hand to use for the common good. God wants you to use your gift to help relay your faith your way.

    There are many different gifts and we will look at some of them later in the context of you relaying your faith. But for now, the important thing is to know where the gifts come from and that you have at least one. It may not be the same as another person. It could be the same, but may have a different degree of activity in that gift, a different degree of power. Your personality behavior will also affect the expression of your gift(s).

  • Understanding the RELAY Profile

    Welcome to the support site for RELAY. If you’ve already taken the RELAY Profile Assessment, this will help explain the assessment. If you haven’t taken the assessment, this will help prepare you for it.

     

    The best way to understand and apply your RELAY Profile is in the context of a small group going through RELAY: Sharing Your Faith Your Way resource materials. If you’re not currently in a RELAY small group, but would like to understand more of your profile, this will help.

     

    The first sentence of your profile identifies your primary personality behavior related to the DISC personality behavior profile and a combination of two possible spiritual gifts. The Bible is full of people with different personalities who were uniquely used by God. While the Bible doesn't specifically identify different personality types, even a cursory reading reveals several different kinds of personalities and behavioral preferences.

     

    In the 1920s and 1930s, William Marston, a professor at Columbia University, developed the “DISC” model of human behavior to describe personality behavior. This model was built around four personality behavior types: “D” is for Driven or Dominant, “I” is for Inspiring, “S” is for Steady, and “C” is for Conscientious. There have been many adaptations of the DISC model since Marston’s original work. The one used in RELAY is a simplified version of the original model.  

     

    Spiritual gifts are given to every person who is born again––including you! God doesn't want you to be uninformed about your giftedness. The Bible says, “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1, NIV). God wants you to know and use the spiritual gifts He has given you. He wants you to use them, as they are manifested through your personality, so many people will come to know Christ. This is God’s enabling by the Holy Spirit that lives in you and works through your personality. For more information on the DISC and Spiritual Gifts for evangelism, read chapter 4 in THE RELAY BOOK.

     

    Your RELAY Profile is divided into several sections. The first section is possible evangelism behavior tendencies for your personality. A personality tendency for evangelism is how, under normal conditions, you might typically approach an unbeliever with the gospel. Each personality tendency will have strengths and as a result, have weaknesses as well.  

     

    The second section alerts you to some potential personality weaknesses which could surface when you are out operating out of fellowship with God. This is an area of sin and should be confessed as such when it happens. It is possible to turn unbelievers away from Christ with sinful attitudes and actions. You guard against these when you become aware of them and submit yourself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

     

    The third section points out how you may relate evangelistically to others in specific ways. These include both strengths and weaknesses in your approach to relationships. The last part of this section includes biblical references in helping you apply the Word of God to your personality in evangelism.

     

    The fourth section illustrates how your spiritual gifts may impact your evangelism; helping you to become a more effective witness for Christ. If you can identify with this assessment, make it your aim to become involved in your church or small group where you are able to maximize these gifts. You should view them as a way to reach the world around you.

     

    The last section of the profile is for application. This section assists you in putting your personality behavior tendency and spiritual giftedness to its best use for relational evangelism. This is all part of the wonderful journey in discovering, becoming, and doing all the things God planned for you before the worlds were made. It is relaying the faith your way.

     

    In addition, you may share your RELAY Profile with other believers, especially those who know you best. They could give additional insight into how you can become a more effective witness for Christ. In turn, they may want your feedback on their assessments. Together, all of you may discover ways to work as a team supporting each other in relaying the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • What's Different About RELAY?

    I've had some people say, "Why do we need another evangelism training? Don't we have enough already? Why not just use (and they name an evangelism training)?" These are good questions. I'll explain why RELAY is different, and different in a way that compliments other evangelism trainings.

    First, RELAY does not teach a particular way of sharing the gospel. That's right, with RELAY you don't have The Four Spiritual Laws, or the Roman Road, or  even the Bridge presentation of the gospel. RELAY instead focuses on helping you better share the gospel you already know. It does not focus on the presentation of the gospel, but on your relationship to the gospel and to your spiritually lost friend or family member and how to make a connection between the two.

    Second, RELAY is evangelism from the inside out. It begins by focusing on the wonder of the gospel. It leads to to a deeper appreciation for what Christ has done. It takes that appreciation among other things, and turns it into motivation for helping others come to Christ.

    Third, RELAY helps you to discover how God created you for relaying your faith. God created you with a certain personality, gifts, and life experiences. This means you will share your faith in a diffferent way, your way. God wants you to share your faith the way He made you. While in seminary, I learned a definition for preaching. "Preaching is God's revelation through human personality." That definition could be used for sharing your faith your way. It is the good news of Jesus Christ for fallen men and women through your personality. Check out the free online RELAY Profile in this site. It's just one of the tools that can help you to become more effective in relaying your faith in your relationships.

    Fourth, RELAY gives you the tools for discovering the spiritual address of a non-Christian and then helps you to relay your faith at a time and in a way that will be most receptive to them. It helps you to know when the timing is right. Let's face it, a lot of us have tried to share the gospel with friends and family. But what do you do after you have tried and they have turned you down? RELAY helps in cultivating that relationship and knowing the right time to share again.

    If this sounds interesting to you, then give RELAY a try. Oh, something else, it's most effective in a small group setting.

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About the Author

Jimmy Kinnaird is the author of the RELAY materials. He served Southern Baptists as an Evangelism Resource Coordinator for the North American Mission Board. He is currently Pastor of Village Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Jimmy has also served as a pastor, church planter, and State Evangelism Director. He loves to train believers in personal evangelism and speak in churches on prayer, evangelism, the will of God, and personal growth. Check him out on facebook.

Blog Archive

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 4 of 7

    The fourth benefit of relaying your faith is the wisdom you will acquire and the significant changes you will cause in this world. Concerning this truth, the Bible states, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30, NKJV). Fruit is that which comes forth out of your life.

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 3 of 7

    The third benefit in becoming a sharing Christian is that you will experience the rewarding gratitude of those who have been saved. The Apostle Paul called the church he helped to plant at Philippi his joy and his crown (Philippians 4:1). Paul personally led many of them to faith.

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 2 of 7

    The Second benefit of being a sharing Christian is that you will know the Bible better that you would otherwise. Because of the experiences you will have in sharing your faith, you will be questioned concerning the larger issues of life. You will be driven back to the Scriptures over and over to find the answers.

  • Seven Benefits of Sharing Your Faith, Part 1 of 7

    Many times we are told about our responsibility to share Christ with others. Actually, we have been given a trust from the Lord to do this. We are responsible to do this.

  • Social Media Etiquette for Christians, Part 1

    This is part one of a two part blog article to help Christians be better representatives for Christ on the web. This part overviews some what I call the "Do's" of Social Media. One of the most challenging issues a person can have in the venue of social media, such as using Facebook is violating generally accepted etiquette.

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