US Marine Receives Christ

 

US Marine Receives Christ

US Marine Receives Christ

US Marine Receives Christ

This morning I have that wonderful, satisfied, well-rounded, fulfilled feeling. It’s like what we all feel after eating just the right amount of Thanksgiving dinner complete with a slice of pumpkin pie topped off with whipped cream. (Notice I said right amount.) But this morning’s fulfillment is better. What could be better–a US Marine receives Christ! Even the angels are partying!

You see, last night I led a United States Marine to faith in Jesus Christ! (I had been praying two specific prayers lately. One, “Lord, lead me to the hungry.” And two, since I knew we would be having overnight guests soon, I was asking God for an opportunity to speak with “David,” a US Marine who is our son’s military buddy. Our son’s girlfriend and her sister (David’s wife) would also stay with us.

Here’s how it went last night. We were sitting around our fire talking. As our daughter Sarah was spinning wool, we were enjoying the whirring sound of the spinning machine. “David” was helping me wire a fan blower motor and my son’s girl friend was sitting on the couch opposite. Our conversation turned to salesmen who exaggerate the truth. I sensed opportunity so jumped in with the fact that I am a “salesman”’ who has something to give away and certainly don’t need to exaggerate the truth. “I don’t need to make false claims about Jesus Christ,” I said with a smile.

Turning to David, I asked, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” (David and I had met only a few hours earlier. This was our first conversation beyond some mealtime bantering.)

“No.” David replied simply. “But you’ve heard about Him and know He lived, then died on a cross to save us from sin and guilt. You’ve heard that He rose again from the dead and was seen by hundreds of people?”  David nodded affirmatively. “Do you know that He offers a free gift of salvation to everyone who opens their heart and mind to Him? Again, David nodded. He was taking it all in. David was proving to be a humble and honest man.

“Since you know this and seem ready to receive Jesus Christ into your life, is there any reason why you wouldn’t want to receive Him right now?” This was a new thought to David. He glanced at his sister-in-law across the room and exchanged a nervous smile.

I could tell at that moment there was at least one reason he hesitated to receive Christ, so I invited his sister-in-law into the conversation. (I had met “Vanessa” twice before, but only to say “Hello” or “Good bye”.) “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” I queried the sister-in-law. Her response was warm and immediate. “Yes, I believe. But I don’t go to church or anything.” “The main thing is to believe in Jesus. The Bible never says we are saved by going to church!” Both her words and her facial expression conveyed openness and hunger for more of God.

US Marine Receives Christ–But Wait. . .

While conversing with her, David got up and went upstairs, apparently to take care of his baby. I felt a little let down and wondered if we had lost an opportunity. I wondered if he was really as hungry for God as I had thought.

After a few minutes I went upstairs to get ready to turn in for the evening. There at the top of the stairs was David. We were alone. We chatted briefly. It was a private moment, one of those times that author Squire Rushnell calls a time when “God winks at you.” I caught the signal and didn’t want to blow the chance to pray with David if he was ready to receive Christ as Savior. “David, since you are ready to receive Christ into your life, do you want to do it right now, tonight?”

He had had a little time to think it over, but seemed unsure or didn’t know what was involved. Like many hungry people, he was ready, but didn’t know how to receive Christ. I happened to be carrying a bucket in my hand so I explained, “We receive Christ in simple, childlike faith. Christ gives us a gift of salvation and we receive it like a child.” I held out the bucket to him. He reached out his hand and took the bucket. The simple act of taking the bucket from my hand seemed to illustrate how to receive the gift of salvation.

US Marine Receives Christ–The Great Exchange at the Top of the Stairway

There at the top of the stairway the great exchange took place. Christ gave David all His righteousness and David gave Christ all his sin and guilt. I had just asked David if he wanted to pray to receive Christ silently or out loud, but “if you pray silently let me know when you’re done.” He didn’t answer but immediately bowed his head and closed his eyes for just short of a minute, after which he raised his head, looked me right in the eye and said “OK!”

The great transaction of a lifetime was finalized.

Do you have a Bible,” I asked David. “Yes.” “Is it one you can easily read, or does it have a lot of old-fashioned words in it? “No, we can read it.” “Good, I encourage you to read a little everyday because God wants to speak with you through the Bible. One more thing. Many people think the Christian life is a bunch of does and don’ts like ‘You must go to church’ or ‘Don’t drink,’ ‘Don’t smoke,’ ‘Don’t do this or that.’ But the Christian life is really a connection, a relationship with God through Jesus. Just get to know him, listen to His voice and do what He says.”

David nodded affirmatively and headed down the stairs. I headed up to my room.  Sometimes it’s hard to ask the question, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?”  But I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out with David. Whenever I woke in the night I had that same wonderful, satisfied feeling. The destiny for which every human was created was being fulfilled.

The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Law of First Encounter

The Law of First Encounter states “the first meeting of any two people offers unprecedented opportunity for mutual benefit.”

Almost everyone intrinsically knows the power of the first encounter. Aphorisms abound about the first time people meet. Think of “Love at first sight” or “Your first impression is usually best.” Business and marketing gurus advise, “You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one.”

Did Jesus See the Importance of the Law of First Encounter?

Related to evangelism, the Law of First Encounter carries more significance than most people realize. Look in the Bible and examine Jesus’ own outreach ministry.

  • Jesus ministered to Philip the first time they met (John 1:38ff).
  • Jesus ministered to Peter (and even changed his name!) at their first meeting (John 1:42).
  • Jesus spoke to Nathaniel through a life-changing word of knowledge at their first encounter (John 1:47).
  • Jesus called James and John to follow him at their first encounter (Mark 1:19ff).
  • Jesus spoke to Matthew with a first encounter call to “Follow Me!” (Matthew 9:9).
  • Jesus initiated a conversation and healed the paralyzed man at the Sheep Gate (John 5:6ff) at their first encounter.
  • Jesus healed the blind man by making a clay spit ball and sending him to the Pool of Siloam the first time He saw him (John 9:1ff).
  • Jesus ministered to Zaccheus in such a way that the tax collector experienced a sudden conversion at their first encounter (Luke 18:9).

The list could go on. Jesus sent out the twelve and later the seventy. Their ministry would be nearly 100 percent with first timers.

Of course, Christ formed close relationships with some people. He spent much time with the twelve disciples. A number of women traveled with the group (Luke 8:1-3). The three siblings, Lazarus, Mary and Martha were close with Christ. Beyond these, it’s hard to think of any others. Can you name any?

Let’s focus on two significant facts. First, several men who experienced meaningful first encounters with Christ became disciples. Second, Christ’s evangelism focused on strangers. Can you think of any instance where Jesus formed an ongoing relationship with someone and eventually invited them into the kingdom? Did Jesus practice or model “relationship evangelism?”

Jesus reached the multitudes and discipled a few. Only a few did Jesus admit to His inner circle. Those few disciples had the privilege of hearing Him repeatedly. To them He gave special training and tasked them with the responsibility to further His Kingdom. These became His “church,” His social network, His friends.

The inner circle proved highly significant. The fact is often missed, however, that His outreach was almost universally with “one-offs,” random meetings, and strangers at the initial encounter.

What will it take to Implement the Law of First Encounter in Churches Today?

I contend apostles must rise up and reestablish this supremely powerful evangelistic concept in local churches. The expansion of spiritual or geographical territory is a sign of an apostle. How better to demonstrate the mark of modern day apostleship than to re-store personal evangelism—a burned over, barren, and largely ignored field—to modern day churches.

Do You See the Importance of the Law of First Encounter?

How does the Law of First Encounter affect your ideas of evangelism? Was your last witness opportunity with a friend or with a stranger?  I’m interested in your thoughts about this. I identified the Law of First Encounter by studying the Scripture. It fits perfectly with the concepts of “Chicken Evangelism.”

I sincerely hope this law will liberate us to become more Christ-like as we yearn to see souls saved.  It’s working for me and it’ll work for you.

If you wish, write your comment here.

Evangelistic Prayer: How to Pray for Unsaved People

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

The Real Secret to Praying for the Lost

Evangelistic Prayer: The Real Secret to Praying for Unsaved People

There are six (and only six) Scriptures in the New Testament that explicitly link prayer to evangelism. Examine these six and find the Bible secret to praying for the unsaved.

First Evangelistic Prayer Matthew 9: 37-38

Jesus notices so many needy people; compassion for them rises in Him. He then puts his finger squarely on the problem–many people are ready to receive salvation, but few workers. His solution: Pray for workers.

Second Evangelistic Prayer Luke 10:2

On a separate occasion from Matthew 9, Jesus offers the same command. “Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Does He ever specifically ask people to pray for the lost? Strangely, no. His solution is invariably the same: Pray for believers to go to work in the “harvest.”

Third Evangelistic Prayer Ephesians 6:19-20

Paul asks prayer for himself for four specific areas:
• That he would open his mouth
• That utterance, words (Greek: logos, from lego, which means “to speak”) be given to him
• Boldness to make the gospel known (twice requested)
• That he would speak as he ought
Five times his request centers on speaking out.

Fourth Evangelistic Prayer  Colossians 4:3-4

Paul asks the church in Colossae to pray for Timothy and him so they
• Will have an open door for their message
• May speak out “the mystery of Christ”
• Will speak clearly as they ought

Fifth Evangelistic Prayer 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Again Paul feels the need and cries out for prayers for Silvanus, Timothy and himself. His request–that the word of God which they speak would spread rapidly. They also wanted prayer that the way they spoke and the words they said would be respected, honored and received.

Sixth Evangelistic Prayer Acts 4:29-31

This incident in Acts 4 rests in the context of evangelism and prayer for the salvation of people opposed to Christ Jesus. After threats and harassment, Peter and John (and apparently other disciples) prayed aloud. Sandwiched between “take note of their threats” and “extend Your hand to heal” is this gem, “Grant that Your bondservants may speak Your word with all confidence” (Greek—parousia=boldness). This example of the New Testament Church in action clearly reveals the key to effective prayer for the lost.

Is it wrong to pray for the unsaved by name? God forbid!–to pull a line from Paul. There are many general promises such as, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Also, I Timothy 2:1-4 edges toward prayer for the lost, but does not make a specific connection. (Note: Some translations, based on weak manuscript evidence or imagination, place Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20 in the future tense which makes it seem like He’s praying for the lost.)

Following these six Scriptures focuses a new and brighter light on evangelism.  Amazingly, the Bible way of prayer for the unsaved is largely unheralded and untried. Yet it is one of the keys that has made Chicken Evangelism so effective.

Summary and Conclusion

Each of the six Scriptures linking prayer and evangelism emphasize prayer for the church to speak boldly and work in the “harvest”. Not one calls for prayer for the unsaved. Could this be a weak or missing link in our evangelism efforts? Are your evangelistic prayers based on the Bible way of praying?

I’d be interested in your thoughts.  What’s your experience with evangelistic prayer? Have you tried the real secret for praying for the lost?  What results are you getting?

 

Disciple a Stranger through Chicken Evangelism

 

Disciple a Stranger Through Chicken Evangelism

Disciple a Stranger Through Chicken Evangelism

Disciple a Stranger? Is it Possible?

Yes, if we do what Jesus did! Here’s how I initiated some discipleship encouragement with a stranger today. (We all know this is merely one step along the way, not the complete job of bringing anyone to maturity in Christ. But it is a step in the process and something to be welcomed.)

I went to the hardware store to buy some heating ducts. I flagged down a store employee to help locate the proper connections. He turned out to be a great helper, fitting the pieces together for me. I commended him and then asked, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” Roger paused, then quietly stated, “Yes, and no. I did receive Him some years ago, but . . . .”

He hesitated. I have talked to so many men who are unsure of their relationship, if any, with Christ. He didn’t know what to say. So I said, “You just need some encouragement.”

That got him started, and I must say, once started, he didn’t want to stop. Roger began pouring out his heart, one event after another. He told of three traumas in his life, one of which was beating cancer. I listened. He kept talking. His wife died about ten years ago and she had been his spiritual leader. Now he was on his own and it wasn’t going all that well spiritually.

I Came to Buy Ducts

When I entered the store I had no idea that I would disciple a stranger. But here I was, listening, listening, listening. As everyone knows, listening is an integral part of the discipleship process. In front of me was a seventy-six year old man happily telling me, a complete stranger, about some of the deepest events of his life.

No other customers came around so I was thankful. (When I witness with employees I try to be very mindful of a workers time and respectful of his employer who’s paying him.)

We were experiencing warm fellowship, mutually enjoyable. I shared some of my life, how I was diagnosed with cancer. I asked “How did you beat cancer?” and he told me that part of his story.

In the end I asked, “Do you read your Bible?” Roger admitted, “No. . .but I pray every day.” That encouraged me. I suggested, “My name is Mark. Start with the gospel of Mark and read something every day.” “I will,” he promised. Then he began confessing Christ and his faith. Rather excitedly, Roger announced, “God brought me through three crises. I know He’s looking out for me.”

Did I enjoy this time to disciple a stranger? You bet! To disciple a stranger is satisfying. I was able to meet his need and encourage him on his way. And that’s how Jesus did it too. The Law of First Encounter is an eye-opener. Check it out.

My conversation with Roger ended when he stretched out his hand and stated, “I enjoyed talking with you.” Of course, the gesture was mutual.

How Does Anyone Disciple a Stranger?

This all started when I stuck my neck out and asked my favorite Chicken Evangelism question: Have you received Jesus Christ into your life? (Chicken Evangelism means we bring up God before we chicken out.)  Sometimes a man or woman is ready to receive the Savior on the spot. Sometimes other scenarios develop, but invariably, the Chicken Evangelism question opens up doors to build a friendship and lead a person deeper into relationship with Christ.

Chicken Evangelism Makes Disciples

Chicken Evangelism Makes Disciples

Chicken Evangelism Makes Disciples

 

Chicken Evangelism Makes disciples

Chicken Evangelism makes disciples. It’s an adventure. It’s fun. It’s personal evangelism that crushes fear by “sharing Christ before you chicken out!”

What is Chicken Evangelism and Why Does It Work?

Chicken Evangelism (Share Christ before You Chicken Out) is based on Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 4:35, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Christ maintains some folks are ready to receive Him as Savior right now. They just need to be shown how.

Chicken Evangelism—Get a Vision for the Lost

I have taken Christ at His word. He has helped me ask a crucial question of people, often on our first encounter. “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” The responses have amazed me and many others. Here’s the story of how a college age man received Christ as Savior a few minutes after we met.  Gas station attendant receives Christ.

Chicken Evangelism—Make Disciples

Chicken evangelism (Bring up Christ before you chicken out) is sometimes criticized by those who’ve never tried it for “making decisions, not disciples.” All I can say is, “Pardon me, your slip is showing!” Let’s examine this criticism under the microscope.

While it is true that chicken evangelism does not always lead to discipleship (and the same can be said of any form of evangelism), consider the case of Dave Kerr. The first or second time I met Dave I asked him, “Have you received Christ Jesus into your life?” He answered that he had a different way of looking at things. Yet as time progressed, Dave changed. He became the leader of our  group for men and served faithfully for many years.

Or consider Flynn Collier. When I first approached Flynn with the question, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” He didn’t  want to talk and said so in no uncertain terms. But God used the question to stir his mind. Two weeks later Flynn showed up at church uninvited. He has rarely missed a Sunday since! He connected with Christ through the apostles creed, “I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord.” Now Flynn hears God’s voice and is an example of obedience to God for all to see. We call him Flynn “Fantastic” Collier.

Then there’s the lady in our church who asked a sales clerk “Do you have Jesus in your heart?” She challenged him to receive Christ on the spot, but he didn’t want to pray on the job. Yet her question left an impact. He was stirred. Immediately after work he went out to his car and prayed a prayer of salvation. As soon as he got home he told his daughter what he had done and encouraged her to do the same. She prayed a prayer of salvation and received Jesus that same night. The following week she went out and enrolled in confirmation classes at the Lutheran Church. This is discipleship at its finest. Don’t tell me chicken evangelism doesn’t make disciples!

Chicken Evangelism  “As You’re Going”

Matthew 28:19 is often written, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” but is perhaps best translated, “as you are going make disciples.” Or as a footnote for the NASB  translates, “Having gone (into the world).” The thought in Jesus Great Commission is that we have already gone into the world where we live, work, and do our daily activities. The beauty of Chicken Evangelism is no one has to go out of his way to share good news. Rather, as we are going shopping, buying gas, paying bills, we meet people along the way. Some of these are ready to receive Christ. Consider the cell phone sales lady.

Chicken Evangelism—Get Filled with the Holy Spirit

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Although people understand this verse in various ways, we can all agree with Jesus that the fullness of he Holy Spirit is intended to help us share our faith.

Chicken Evangelism—The Bible Way to Pray for the Lost

Here’s a radical idea, and it’s altogether Biblical. Instead of praying for the lost, pray that God will open the mouths of Christians to make the gospel clear.  Paul knew this secret and often asked people to pray for him to enable him to share the gospel (Eph 6:19 and 20). “And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Chicken Evangelism—Ask the God Question Before You Chicken Out!

When some people hear about chicken evangelism, they think I am bold, but I am not. Nor am I an evangelist. I overcome fear by asking the God question early. Here’s the story of a Texas State student who received Christ. I find I have about a five minute window when I meet a new person. If I don’t ask the question within the window, I chicken out! I’m for all forms of evangelism. I support relationship evangelism, friendship evangelism, and every form of outreach. Relationship evangelism may be the best form of all. The problem is I rarely see it happening.

Chicken Evangelism–Make the Gospel Clear

This is a crucial key! 1 Cor 15:1-6  has helped me so much because it makes the gospel clear. “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel: Jesus Christ died for our sins. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.” We must make the good news glorious and clear. Salvation is a free gift based on Jesus death and resurrection. As soon as I started making the gospel clear, people started getting saved! Without the gospel people don’t get saved.

Chicken Evangelism–Let the Holy Spirit Lead about Follow Up

I have always taught workers to follow up on people. Yet, study the Scriptures with me. Outside of the twelve and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, how many times did Jesus follow up on those he ministered to? The answer may surprise you. Follow up is something that must be led by the Holy Spirit.

I Invite You  . . .

This post explains what Chicken Evangelism is (bring up Christ before you chicken out!) and adds a few aspects that make it work. Go ahead, try it out–you may be surprised at how many are ready to receive Christ! And if you want to talk about it, contact me.

Receive Christ as Savior–This Tower Worker Just Accepted Salvation

 

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Receive Christ As Savior–This Cell Tower Worker was Ready

Another man has been added to the Kingdom. To God be the glory!

Are you ready to receive Christ as Savior? Here’s more about How to do it.

The cell phone tower worker was sitting in his company owned pickup with the motor running. He was busying himself with his computer as he checked out the status of the AT&T tower. The window was open so he was easily approached.

 

“Do you ever climb these towers?” I began.

“No, and I never want to,” he explained.

 

We talked about the tower for a minute or two until I asked my “Chicken Evangelist” question.

 

“Have you ever—and this is a personal question—asked Jesus Christ into your life?”

 

The man smiled. “Oh, sometimes . . .” he answered. “Sometimes . . . ” He said it as if he were thinking about it for the distant future. (I really wanted him to be able to receive Christ as Savior. I don’t want to see anyone suffer in hell.)

He was a large man yet he began to show a child-like heart. He obviously wasn’t sure about much of anything. I could tell he was open to talk so we exchanged names.

 The Good News–Here’s How a Man Receives Christ As Savior

“I have some really good news for you, Scooter.” I proceeded to share the gospel in as simple but complete way as I could. He listened to it all. When I got to the part about faith, he admitted, “I have trouble with faith. I’m not a faith or feeling person. I go more by facts.”

Everyone Who Receives Christ Needs the Historical, Objective Gospel Facts

“Actually, I’m a believer in Christ today because of the facts. I studied to find out if Jesus Christ really rose from the dead. I investigated to find out if the Bible were true or not. I’m a believer now because of the objective, historical evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and the that the Bible is well-attested by historical fact.

 

Scooter was interested but unmoved. I could tell he wanted to settle some things about Christ and God but seemed powerless to move ahead. He tried changing the subject.

 

“I’ve thought about these things–especially the past couple of nights.” He explained that storms had kept him awake. I perceived that God was preparing him to make a decision and I told him so.

 

He delayed. “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know….” We talked about what faith is. I explained faith as taking a risk. We don’t need to know everything before we invite Christ into our heart. If we have to know everything before we accept Him, we’ll never go ahead and receive Him because we’ll never know everything!”

 

This made sense to Scooter and he nodded his agreement.

 

“We could go one of two ways here. You could get more and more objective information or you could take a risk and receive Christ into your life and see what He will do. I sensed this man needed to take a step of faith, that more knowledge or information would only delay him.

 

“Scooter, I think you’re ready to receive Christ into your life like a little child. I’m going to leave you alone and let you talk to God on your own. Ask Christ to forgive your sins and come into your life Are you willing to pray and ask Christ Jesus to come into your life?” He answered both verbally and with a nod of his head, “Yes, I will.”

 

“Good,” I said “and if it’s OK with you I’ll take and walk and come back in a few minutes and see what’s happened.”

 

I took off, retrieved a Campus Crusade for Christ booklet and returned. Upon return he said he had prayed a prayer of invitation to receive Christ Jesus into his life!. I prayed aloud that God would seal the work He had done. I gave Scooter the booklet and told him it had meant a lot to me.

 

We chatted briefly. Then out of the blue he said, “Things are going better for me. I’ve lost seventy-five pounds in the last 3 months!” Of course, I congratulated him on that achievement and asked how he did it. We talked some more. I invited him to church, any Bible believing church, since he lived out of town. We both shared how much we had enjoyed talking together and expressed hope to meet again in the future.

 

NOTES: It never ceases to amaze me how witnessing builds friendships. Invariably after talking with someone who receives Christ (or even talking about Christ with a stranger whether they receive Him or not), people open up and share personal things about themselves. Scooter wanted to let me know he lost 75 pounds! He trusted me with a joy of his life. Many men will share life’s woes with a stranger but men tend to share life’s joys only with a friend.

 

What do you think about the fact that God had been preparing this guy by keeping him awake through storms? “I’ve thought about these things–especially the past couple of nights.”  If we are witnessing with someone, we can be confident God has prepared them to receive.

 

Here’s another take on Chicken Evangelism (sharing Christ before you chicken out). Everyone wants to have good relationships. We think we need to build a relationship with someone before we witness our faith in Christ to them. Some folks pray for years for a friend and then try to add Christ to the relationship. That’s backwards. Share Christ first and then you’ll have a friend.

Evangelism Undresses the Heart

evangelism undresses the heart

Evangelism is the tenderest of things. The evangelistic relationship is so personal, so fragile that many devoted Christians are afraid to try. Evangelism undresses the heart.

Yes, ‘tis true, the gospel presentation involves objective historical facts, e.g., Jesus Christ died for our sins, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Beyond the facts, however, true evangelism uncovers the barest emotions of the heart. Evangelism is one heart speaking with another heart.

Personal evangelism is just that—very personal. The soul-winner takes the wraps off his heart in hope the next person will unveil his own.

When anyone witnesses to another he reveals himself. The Greek word for witness is martyr, e.g., one who suffers or is killed for his faith. The witness opens his life and lays it down in front of another. He is no longer protecting himself, but rather revealing his intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus to another person. He is willing to openly show who he is, what he believes, who he loves, and who he is willing to suffer or die for. He knows that he may be rejected, mocked, or ridiculed, yet he plunges ahead with the most personal element of life—his faith and love toward God.

Inherent in the gospel presentation (“Jesus did for our sins”) is the acknowledgement “I am a sinner, saved by grace.” To witness means we reveal ourselves, maybe more than we wish. To witness means to open up to another person a hidden part of ourselves that may be very private. When we say, “I’ve invited Jesus into my heart,” or “I love God” or “My sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ,” we are confessing very personal things about our lives.

Evangelism is delicate, tender and revealing. It cannot be otherwise. Soul-winning may open up old hurts and tell how we got the scars. In the recipient, it often evokes the same.

My wife, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, will sometimes ask a stranger, “What could I pray for you?” This simple question has prompted ladies to open up or emotionally melt—even burst into tears.  Sometimes evangelism cries and weeps, not restraining the tears.

Of course, not every conversation releases all these emotions. The soul-winner pours out his breaking heart in intercession before he ever meets the one with whom he shares his faith. The heart of a soul-winner cries out to God like Praying John Hyde of India, “Give me souls, or I die!” Then in conversation with a hungry heart, distilled love is poured out in a cascade of truth and emotion on a receiving man or woman, boy or girl.

People need closure. To bring issues to the surface and then leave a person spiritually or emotionally dangling demonstrates immaturity or ineptness on the part of the witness. The Holy Spirit will often prompt a soul-winner to pray gently with a needy person for salvation or healing.

But that’s a topic for another day. For now, let’s humble ourselves. Let’s be willing to take off our protective layers and gently bare our souls in front of some who hurt.

 

Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell (Part 3)

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I experienced hell. No place on earth is like it. If we care about anyone, we will do our best to rescue them from the ravages of the devil and his place of torment.

This is part 3 of a series “5 Life-Changing Lessons I learned as a Cancer Patient.” Read the introduction “You’ve Got Cancer!” 

Read part 2 here.    

Part 3 “What to Say to a Sick Man?” is practical and located here.

 

Following my first chemotherapy treatment I was reduced to what seemed like a near vegetable state. I was weak physically, and weaker still in my mind. In a drug induced stupor I was susceptible to demonic attack. As I tried to sleep that first night I felt all hell was turned upside down and poured out on me.  Hideous, evil thoughts I’d never seen or imagined camped in my mind.

I do deliverance ministry. I know how to combat the devil. But this was different. When I called for the blood of Jesus, the devil himself seemed to appear.  I couldn’t get free no matter what I tried. What I experienced was the horrendous hatred of the devil toward me and every human being. No words can adequately describe the devil and his hatred. No words can fully prepare a person for the torments of hell.

The next night I came armed with the prayers of my oldest son and the elders of the church. Through their prayers I was greatly protected.

I see now more clearly than ever the need to rescue people from the devil’s deception and bring them into heaven. If we care at all about friends, relatives, co-workers we will tell them about Jesus. No feeling should stop us from giving the good news about salvation from hell to people we care about. I say again, if we love someone, let’s spare nothing in order to tell them about Jesus and lead them to salvation. (See some posts on this site for simple, empowering ways to lead someone to Christ—it’s serious business, but also a lot of fun!)

Hell is neither picnic nor place to go and be with friends. Learn about Chicken Evangelism—bring up Christ before you chicken out. If we love ‘em, tell ‘em ‘bout Jesus now!

What’s the Best-Selling Book in Norway?

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OSLO, Norway (AP) — It may sound like an unlikely No. 1 best-seller for any country, but in Norway — one of the most secular nations in an increasingly godless Europe — the runaway popularity of the Bible has caught the country by surprise. The Scriptures, in a new Norwegian language version, even outpaced “Fifty Shades of Grey” to become Norway’s best-selling book.

The sudden burst of interest in God’s word has also spread to the stage, with a six-hour play called “Bibelen,” Norwegian for “the Bible,” drawing 16,000 people in a three-month run that recently ended at one of Oslo’s most prominent theaters.

Officials of the Lutheran Church of Norway have stopped short of calling it a spiritual awakening, but they see the newfound interest in the Bible as proof that it still resonates in a country where only 1 percent of the 5 million residents regularly attends church.

From the Associated Press, Yahoo edition, June 6,2013

Is the spiritual hunger of Norwegians–as shown by their thirst for the Bible– surprising to anyone?

It shouldn’t be. Whenever culture or government excludes religion, people’s thirst invariably rises. Russia experienced a revival after the communist regime failed in the late 1980’s. China is currently undergoing rapid expansion of Christianity due to government persecution of Christians.

Norway’s cultural secularism serves as an invitation for the gospel. God created man with an “empty space” in his spirit that can only be filled with Jesus Christ. Ignoring this “hole” in man’s heart invariably results in revival, a renewed quest for something spiritual.

My wife and I have traveled and ministered in the Norway, a nation of dramatic beauty. It appears there is a growing hunger for God in the hearts of many. Will the church seize the opportunity to proclaim the gospel with clarity?

What is the gospel? Paul clearly expresses the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-6: The gospel is the good news that “Jesus Christ died for our sins, and was buried . . .  He rose again the third day and was seen by Peter, and James, and by over 500 others at the same time. ”

The challenge now is for Norwegian evangelists to rise up and offer the living Christ, the only One who can fill the void.  Church of Norway, rise to your destiny!

 

 

Evangelism is Easier than You Think

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Why make evangelism so hard? Jesus said it’s easy. If it’s as difficult as some people think, we need a mental adjustment.

For some, fear and evangelism go together like ice and snow. “You can’t have one without the other,” they shudder. For many Christians, fears paralyze. Let’s identify three biggies in the devil’s fear-factor industry and then see how “chicken evangelism” overcomes the boogey-man every time.

Do These Things Scare You?

First, “I don’t witness because I might lose a friend.” That’s unlikely. More realistically, your friend will respect you for sharing your faith. But if losing a friend concerns you, get started by witnessing to strangers. With strangers you have little to lose.

Second, “I don’t know where to start or how to begin.” Try Chicken Evangelism; it’s tailor-made to help overcome fear and get started.

Third, “I might say the wrong thing and make things worse.” That’s doubtful, and if you don’t say anything, the prospect could end up in hell. Which is worse, his eternity in hell or your fear of saying the wrong thing?

Jesus Made Evangelism Easier Than You Think

Let’ see how Jesus made evangelism easy. Almost immediately after meeting a woman of Samaria, Jesus invited her to receive Him and his gift (John 4:10). No beating around the bush! Later, He explained basic principles of evangelism to his disciples.

“I have food to eat that you do not know about” (John 4:32). Evangelism God’s way is satisfying. It’s as easy as eating. It fulfills a person. Eating is something we do at leisure, at rest. Eating is enjoyable and so is evangelism God’s way.

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). When God asks us to do something, He simultaneously gives us the grace (ability) to do it. It has to be this way; otherwise, He would expect us to accomplish His will by our own power which is clearly not His expectation. Reaping souls is God’s work and we are joining His crew. To reiterate, it’s His work, not ours. He is the initiator and the One responsible for the outcome. Knowing evangelism belongs to Him frees us from the responsibly of the outcome. He gets the credit and we get the privilege of flowing with Him.

Our family lives near the Mississippi River which has a powerful current. I have tried to swim upstream against the Mississippi current. It doesn’t work. To swim or paddle against the flow is exhausting, almost impossible, for more than a few minutes. God’s way of evangelizing is like flowing with the current. Evangelism God’s way is like getting in a boat and floating downstream. It’s effortless and relaxing!

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then [emphasis added] comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35). Jesus sees something we may have missed. He sees hungry people ready to be reaped. He sees men, women, young people, and children with hearts hungry for Him.

Pascal, the great French Physicist noted, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ” (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, published 1670).  Jesus said the fields are white (ripe) and ready for harvest. As Bill Bright and Campus Crusade have taught for years, many people are ready to be saved; they just need to be shown how.

One of the salient points of Chicken Evangelism is many people are ready to be saved. Perhaps you have found some who are not ready. Has that has clouded your vision? The fact remains for every day in every century, Jesus said, “The fields are white for harvest.” We need the eyes to see what He sees and the faith that God will lead us to ready-to-be-reaped people.

“Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal” (John 4:36). Jesus corrected the idea that more time was needed, that better relationships had to be formed, that people were not ready. He said in effect, “Now, already people are being saved for eternity.” Paul chimed in, “Now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 7:1)

“I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor” (John 4:38). This is the primary reason evangelism is easy: Somebody before you has done the work. They preached the gospel, they set the example, and they lived the life. Perhaps that someone developed a relationship. No one person can do it all. God didn’t plan for one person to do it all; rather, He planned that someone works, another tags along and eventually leads the “ripe” man to salvation. If an individual is not ready for harvest, we go on to the next until we find the one who is. We are called not just to witness or build relationships—we are called to reap.

There is a place for labor in evangelism. The gospel must be preached. Sacrifices must often be made. Patience is required as people consider the claims of Christ. When I say, “Evangelism is easier than you think,” let no one construe this to imply that the labor intensive work of steadily teaching, preaching, writing, and living the life of the gospel is unnecessary or unimportant. The opposite is true. However, the scales have tipped too far to the opinion that evangelism is an odious, time-consuming, and wearisome job best left to professionals or super-Christians.

The time has come to tip the scales the other way. This is what Chicken Evangelists understand: In the case of reaping souls, much of the work is already done: “Today is the day of salvation.”

Is evangelism really easier than most people think? Is this scenario realistic? Does it work? To answer, here’s a true story.

Here’s what I want you to do. Grab three keys.

First Key: Pray

  • That you be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18)
  • That God will open your mouth (Eph 6:19-20)
  • That God will lead you to the hungry (John 4:34-38)
  • You don’t need to take extra time
  • You don’t need to plan
  • You don’t need to go out of your way
  • Just go about your regular business, and as you are going . . .

Second Key: “As you are going . . .  “ (literal Greek for Matt 28:19)

  • You don’t need to take extra time
  • You don’t need to plan
  • You don’t need to go out of your way
  • Just go about your regular business, and as you are going . . .

Third Key: Pop the God Question early

  • Do it before you chicken out.
  • Ask “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” (or similar question)
  • Expect a yes or no answer.
  • If yes, encourage them and talk about it. Ex: Great! How did it happen for you?
  • If no, give them the gospel in story or testimony.
  • Follow with “Is there any reason why you would not want to receive Jesus right now?
  • Let them pray (or pray with them) to receive Christ

Chicken evangelism makes soul-winning easier than most people think. It’s a way to bypass fear by bringing God into the conversation right away. It’s an adventure and it’s easy.

What do you think? Drop me a comment. I’m interested in your thoughts. Or better yet, are you willing to give Chicken Evangelism a try? If you are, contact me and let me know how it goes. I’ll talk with you.