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.

The Gospel and Peach Cobbler

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The phone rang.  It was David Nitwalker (name changed) who had made an earlier appointment to buy a bundle of grassfed lamb from our farm.  He stood on the walk, a tall, rugged man and older than I had expected.  He was wearing large rubber boots.

I invited him in and he immediately commented profusely and about our house.  David noticed the wide pine flooring and huge beams.  “God, what a beautiful house,” he effused, and all this Southern pine.”  He knows wood, alright, I mused to myself.

Since it was supper-time I invited David for some toasted cheese sandwiches, our fare for the evening.  He politely declined but trailed me to the kitchen freezer where we stored the lamb bundles.  Together we chose a bundle that would suit his needs and loaded his cooler with the individual lamb pieces.  David wrote out the check and asked a few questions about age of lamb, why I prefer mutton, and so forth.

About this time David discovered a pan of peach cobbler on the counter.  “U mm. . . what’s this?” Right then I knew we were buddies, even though we had set our sights on each other a mere 5 minutes earlier.  “Peach cobbler,” I responded, “Want some?”  And so we sat down at the kitchen table to chat and eat cobbler with cream.

Something in me didn’t want to ask him about his faith.  But I could see that he was an older man and the thought crossed my mind that I would never see him again.  This would be my only chance to lead him to Christ.  He could die and depart to hell never knowing Christ as Savior.  I felt the urgency of the situation and waited.

The break came when David asked what I did for a living.  I replied, “I farm and pastor The Church of the Living Water.”  He seemed to approve and started to ask location of the church, but I knew I couldn’t pass the opportunity to follow up.  Many unsaved people like to talk about churches and religion just as the woman at the well.  But I could not be diverted from the goal.  “Have you given your life to Jesus Christ?” As I asked, all fear left.

David stammered, not knowing what to say.  Nothing came out quite right.  “I . . . I . . . don’t think so,” he finally managed to respond.  I could tell the question caught him off guard and hit him with a dose of reality.

I have good new for you,” I said as I began to put him at ease again.  But David wanted to tell me what a good life he lived and how he was not a bad person. I let him express himself and then agreed, “I can tell you are a good person.  And I have good news for you.  But first some bad news.  Nobody is good enough to get to heaven.  Not me, not you.  God says you have to be perfect to get into heaven.”

Then I gave him the good news:  “Jesus Christ died for our sins.  He took our sins on Himself and gave us His gift–righteousness!”  I went on in this vein momentarily and then asked, “Does this make sense to you?”  He was listening attentively to it all and replied, “Yes, it does.”  “Is there any reason why you would not want to ask Jesus Christ into your life right at this table?” I followed.

David was not ready.  He was thinking, but not sufficiently convicted to take the step of faith.  I listened and let our conversation lapse to another subject.  As I helped David carry his newly-purchased lamb to his car, we both agreed that we were happy to met each other and visit.  We wrapped up our business with mutual thanks and appreciation.  He said he would email me a testimony about the lamb and I suggested he consider what we talked about at the table.  May God bless David on his way.

O Lord, Give Me Souls!

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“Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?” I asked the college-age girl as she sat opposite me.

“No I haven’t,” she responded softly. “I used to go to church when I was really, really little. I enjoyed it,” she continued.

Whenever anyone responds with the church answer when I ask about their Jesus relationship, I know they are not yet in the camp. I was pleased to give this girl the simple gospel message that Jesus Christ died for her sins and that He rose again from the dead. The gospel made sense to her so I explained she could receive the free gift of salvation right then. There were people all around so I mentioned that no one would even know what we were doing. It was OK for her to go ahead and invite Christ into her life either out loud or silently. She didn’t answer. Her only response was to immediately bow her head and pray silently. After a minute she looked up.

We talked briefly and I sensed that faith had been born in her heart..

“Do you have a Bible? I asked.

She said, “No” so I gave her a Bible.

I am so happy to be able to lead a person to salvation via Jesus Christ.

Now for a brief background. There was something especially sweet about this experience. You see,  I had been praying in a new and (for me) different  way.

“Give me souls!” “Give me souls!” had become my earnest prayer. I had been praying that God would lead me to hungry people — the ones already prepared to receive Christ as Savior. I still pray for that. And  I pray with St. Paul “O Lord, open my mouth that I may make the gospel clear as I ought.” Recently, however, I was reminded of a man called “Praying Hyde” who used to plead with God, “Give me souls or l die!” He would set a goal and expect God to use him to lead a specific number of people to Christ each day. He started off believing for one person each day. At the end of the first year, 400 people had been converted. As his faith increased, he upped the number of his goal. Read an account about John Hyde taken from They Knew Their God, Vol. 1 by Edwin and Lillian Harvey as shown on http://www.actsamerica.org/biographies/2011-04-Praying-Hyde.htmlPraying Hyde:

Some time during 1908, he began to pray for the conversion of one soul a day. In the village treks or in tent services, he lost no opportunity to press the claims of God upon many or few. At the end of the year, to his knowledge, there had been four hundred conversions and baptisms. To God he gave the glory, but the goal set for the next twelve months was two conversions a day. Again Hyde’s faith and intercessory prayers were rewarded and, at the year’s end, through his contacts, eight hundred persons were known to have come to the Savior.

Pleading with God for the conversion of four souls each day, divine assurance was given him that such would be the case. Often more than that number would be given in answer to his prayers, and this lifted Hyde’s heart to God in songs of praise and thanksgiving. “There was nothing superficial about the life of those converts. They all nearly became active Christians,” was the comment of one who was on the field and thus able to appraise the results.

Hyde’s faith inspired me, so I set a goal commensurate with my faith. I cried, “Give me souls!” and believed God to let me lead one person to Christ that week. Saturday afternoon near sundown, in answer to my earnest plea, the girl opened her ready heart and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior! Glory be to God who suffered and died for our salvation!

What do you think about “Praying Hyde” and his goal-setting? What inspires you to win souls? Your thoughts may encourage me and others.

How Many Apostles in the New Testament–12 or 25?

How Many Apostles?

How Many Apostles?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many apostles are explicitly mentioned in the pages of the New Testament?

A common misconception pervades many minds these days:  “There were 12 apostles—the twelve who followed Jesus.  Judas dropped out and was replaced by Paul.”  However, as strange as it may seem to some, there are as many as 25 apostles explicitly mentioned in the pages of the New Testament.

How Many Apostles?

Let’s start counting. Yes, there were the twelve chosen by Jesus.  Eleven are named in Acts 1:13, “Peter and John, and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. “  Judas Iscariot, one of the original twelve, the one who betrayed Jesus, is not named in that list. That’s the original twelve.  Then add Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot to become one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Acts 1:26).    “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:14).  When we include both Judas and Matthias the total is now thirteen.

We know additional apostles besides these men exist because Christ, after His ascension, appointed “some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers .  .  .  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).  Are we there yet?  Have we all attained to the unity of the faith?  Or mature manhood?  Or the fullness of Christ?  Clearly, the apostolic ministry will continue until Christ returns!

An investigation of the Scripture reveals several individuals in addition to the original twelve who are explicitly referred to as apostles.  We might call them “apostles of the throne“, “apostles of the Lamb” or “ascension-gift apostles.”  A complete listing of New Testament apostles follows.

James, the half brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church—Galatians 1:19

Barnabas–Acts 14:14

Paul–Acts 14:14 and many other references

Apollos– Corinthians 4:6-9

Timothy and Silvanus– I Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:6

Epaphroditus–Philippians 2:25.  While the King James Version translates the word as “messenger”, the Greek word (apostolon) is actually “apostle”.

Two unnamed apostles–Second Corinthians 8:23. A brother of fame among the churches, and a brother tested–“As for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.” Again, the Greek word is “apostoloi” but is translated here as “messengers”.

These nine now make  a total of 22 (13 + 9 = 22).

Andronicus and Junia–Romans 16:7   “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”  Were these genuine apostles or were they, as some (Charles Ryrie and others) translate, “well-known to the apostles”? If we count Andronicus and Junia, the total jumps to 24.

How Many Apostles?

Finally, Hebrews 3:1 designates Jesus Christ the “Apostle and High Priest of our profession.” That makes 25 apostles in the New Testament!

For more intriguing insights about apostles, come to Churches and Apostles. This info could make a whale of a difference in the Kingdom of God today.

Curious Evangelism

Recently I came home to our apartment building to find my neighbor Tanner sitting on the steps having a cigarette. I stopped to talk for a few minutes. I had been thinking that it would be nice to talk with Tanner about his faith, but I never knew quite how to start that conversation (a pretty common feeling for most of us, I think).

That night was different, though. I realized that my motivation for wanting to talk with him about faith was not because I should. I really wanted to know about his spiritual life.

In a word, I was curious.

“Do you have any spiritual beliefs? I’m a Christian, and I find that I’m really curious about other peoples’ faith journeys.”

He answered candidly about his past experiences in church, and talked at length about the reasons why he stopped being involved several years back.

As this conversation was happening, I realized that I had just stumbled across a breakthrough in my own ability to talk about spiritual things with people.

If I am genuinely curious about people, if I am interested in their lives, then naturally (since I am a spiritual person) that will mean I am curious about their spiritual lives.

That has led to some really great spiritual conversations with people.

Curiosity is powerful.

When I’m curious about something, I’m motivated to learn about it.

I’m willing to expend energy, or maybe even money, on it.

I spend time thinking about it.

I try to get other people thinking and talking about it.

I’ve found that when I’m curious about a person, that is a big motivator to encourage me to talk with them and figure out where they are in life and where they are spiritually.

So often we hear teaching that we should share our faith with other people, because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s what we’re supposed to do. Of course that’s true. But I’ve found that the most authentic and meaningful conversations I’ve had about faith were the result of me simply being curious about that person’s life and spirituality.

Most people like to talk about themselves, and a few honest questions about their life can really deepen a casual friendship and open the door to hear their spiritual story.

Who are you curious about?

Gas Station Attendant Receives Christ

Gas Station Accepts Christ

One Sunday morning I stopped for gas on the way to church. After filling the tank I chatted momentarily with the attendant. He was a new guy I had never met so I introduced myself and learned his name. I noted he couldn’t get to church since he worked Sunday morning. He agreed. I asked him carefully, “Have you received Jesus Christ into your life?”

“I’ve been to church a few times with my mother,” Frank (name changed) replied.  I knew I had to make the gospel glorious for him, so I said, “I have some really good news for you: Jesus Christ died for your sins. He rose from the dead and has complete forgiveness for all our sins.  You can receive Jesus and his gift of salvation in simple trust like a child. Does this make sense to you?”  Frank nodded and said, “Yes, it does.”

I was suffering from a severe case of shingles at the time. The pain from shingles can be so great it’s hard to breathe. My pain was causing me to have greater compassion toward hurting people. I want more compassion because I’ve seen when I speak with deep and genuine love, people respond.  Spoken with heart-felt compassion, words of witness go deep into the soul.

How I came across to Brandon I don’t know.  In any case, He was showing genuine interest and humility so I asked, “Are you ready to receive Jesus Christ right now?  You can ask Him to come into your life either silently or aloud.”  Brandon, a young man is his twenties, bowed his head and prayed a brief child-like prayer of invitation and forgiveness–right in the gas station!  I followed with a prayer of my own and a few words about how Jesus Christ now lives inside him. I explained being a Christ-follower is not a matter of “does and don’ts” but of listening to Jesus and following Him.

I stopped by later and gave him a gospel of John. He readily received it and indicated he would read it.  Here was a young man whose name is now written in God’s big Book of Life, saved for all eternity! I was so happy. There’s no feeling in the world like leading a man to salvation in Christ.

Thinking About the Unthinkable

 

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 Can any hope emerge from the November 30, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre?

I’ve waited over a month before writing about the tragedy for several reasons. It’s too painful to think about. It’s like rock shattering a pane glass window: The damage is sudden, dramatic and irreparable. Further, so many others have written either adequately or eloquently about the event.  What more can be said?

Yet I have something to say about the Sandy Hook shooting, something no one else has said, at least as far as I know. And another reason I am motivated to comment: I have recently been diagnosed with cancer. For others, death may seem distant or abstract. For me, death is personal. It came knocking at my door. Fortunately, I did not let it in.

My grief goes out to the dads and mothers, the brothers and sisters of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. My grief extends particularly to Adam Lanza’s family. Life will never be the same for them or any of the other families who met death that day. With all America and much of the world, I’m sad.

Is there hope anywhere? What can God or anyone do to repair the shattered glass of our American dream?

I hope no one of the victim’s families reads this article. This is neither about them nor for them. This is about us, the 330 million Americans who did not lose anyone that tragic day.

An Even Greater Tragedy

Many individuals and businesses and government entities have flown flags at half mast to show sympathy and solidarity with the families of the lost children and adults. This is commendable. Still, there is a greater tragedy. On the day that 26 lives were eliminated at the school, approximately 3,425 other children were snuffed out, never to see the light of day. The 3,425 were massacred in abortion clinics all across America. Should we fly flags at half mast for them?

To show the magnitude of the disaster, note one “i” for each of the 20 children plus 6 adults: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’m reluctant to do this, but we need the perspective.  What do 3,425 “i’s” look like?

Here’s 100: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

And if I counted correctly, here is another 100:

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And now for a total of 300:

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One more hundred makes 400:

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Now picture the 3000:

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When we add 25 more—iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii—almost the same number killed at Sandy Hook– we have the average number of children eliminated from life in the United States each day through the atrocity of abortion. The main difference between the school shooting and the abortion killing is the age of the children. Other differences are the complicity of the mother and the profit motive of the abortionist. But the result is the same: An innocent child’s life is forever and violently snuffed out against his or her own choice.

There is hope. According to a Gallup poll released May15, 2012, “The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.”

Can the unthinkable event of Sandy Hook on one day cause us to realize an even greater unthinkable event repeats itself every day in our country?

Postscript. When I speak about the tragedy of abortion, I find the need to include another word—forgiveness. Abortion kills infants and hurts women and fathers. For every act of abortion, there is an act of forgiveness. Jesus Christ died to bring forgiveness to every person who has chosen or allowed abortion. “Come to Me, all you who are . . . heavy laden. I will give you rest.”

He is the Great Hope-Bringer.

GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY

Alaska is big. It is really, really big.  I mean no offence to my friends in Texas but y’all need to come up with a new slogan. Our God is like this. God is so big that we have to use caricatures to simplify Him, so that we can explain and understand Him. The scale of God is indescribable.
–JD Blom

Read this post: GOD IS (NOT) MY BUDDY

For Pastors and Church Ministers

I just received the urgent request below from a prof at Elim Bible Institute to release a PDF copy of my new book Local Churches-Global Apostles: How Churches Related to Apostles in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now.

Mark, I was talking today with someone here at Elim who recently left a pastorate because of the decision that the church’s apostolic overseer made to intervene and “get rid of” the young worship leader in the church.This young worship leader had been raising up a new generation in the congregation, and after the overseer led him away, approx 100 people left the church in 1 Sunday! The pastor was obviously crushed, and bothered by the overseers intervention in that way. As he told me the story, I was surprised at the similarity with yours, and the timing – and told him about your upcoming book. He resigned in Nov., so I expect that he has a lot of raw feelings about it. Would it be OK if I forwarded him the PDF version of your book? I can make any request of him that you would like for me to make, if he receives the PDF, to contact you, refer it to friends he knows, etc. Nathan

That church, and the innocent people in it could have been spared immeasurable grief if the “overseeing apostle” had read my book.

Want to see the book description?

Anderson learned to relate to apostles the hard way. Personal agony and church crisis sparked in-depth study of the New Testament. The book contains case studies of every local church in the NT, reveals all 25 NT apostles mentioned, and describes patterns of local church and apostolic relations. Ground-breaking research and surprising conclusions offer fresh perspective on apostles and explain why the early church exploded with growth. Pastors and church leaders who grasp biblical roots will find clues to unleash the Spirit-power of God’s people and build dynamic churches today.

 Go to www.ChurchesAndApostles.com to get your copy of a book God is using to build right relationships between churches and modern day apostles.

God bless your service to Him,
B Mark Anderson

The Best Compliment

Visitors generally like our church. We have inspirational music and singing led by sensitive worship leaders. Sermons are usually practical and helpful. (I’m no Charles Spurgeon, nor even a Joel Osteen, but I do preach the word of God from my heart.) We have a food table filled with goodies, not just the usual coffee and donuts. We have cheese, grapes, bananas and sometimes other fruits like strawberries. It’s yummy stuff like yogurt, bread, butter and jam. There’s something for every taste.

Best of all, the people of the Church of the Living Water tend to be very welcoming. One of our mottos is “No one sits alone.” Most members are good to talk with visitors both before and after meetings.

Guests are often impressed with a happy welcome and comment favorably. We hear, “I really liked the music!” or “This is wonderful church.”(Oh, yes, we get other comments too, mostly from ultra-conservatives who think God is angry with His children.)

Last Sunday I received the finest compliment ever from a first-time visitor. Here’s the background. In adult Bible Class which the visitor attended, we studied the Bereans of Acts 17:10. The Bible class leader encouraged us to be like the noble Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so,” rather than simply take whatever Paul dished out as divine truth.

It was a good study, but at the end I felt something was missing. Why do some Christians have so much correct doctrine, yet are so far off that many people don’t want to be around them? Why did the Pharisees of Jesus’ day get so far off that Jesus had to oppose them more than any other group? After all, they were the conservatives, the most dedicated “Bible-believers” of their time. The Pharisees knew the Savior was to be born in Bethlehem, yet they missed the Messiah!

Something more than Bible truth is needed. Something more than accurate information is required.

I mentioned that we need humility. My comments went along this line, “None of us are perfect. I as a pastor could be wrong, and may well be wrong in some areas. No church or denomination has it all. We all need to learn and grow. We need to have confidence in what we believe, yet allow others to see some things differently. Grace and humility win the day. When we get to heaven, God will straighten us all out.”

After the Bible class, the visitor remarked, “Because of my husband’s job we have moved a lot. We have visited many churches in many cities. You are the first pastor I’ve ever heard who admitted he could be wrong!”

I took it as the best compliment I’ve ever heard from a first-time visitor.