I (Sal) asked this question to many "older" believers-"What makes you continue to serve God?"-They reply, my growing loving personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Do you have a personal relationship with God or is it just a religion-where you can put God in a "box" and use it when you need Him?
First, God commanded us to with the "Great Commission" in Matthew 28:18-20. However, the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor (our "Christ-like" lifestyle 24/7 is our full-time evangelism)
, which should be every Christians motivation to share the Gospel-Good News. There is a song called, "People Needs the Lord", which touches my heart as I see so much "hurt" in the world. Personally, I get riddled up when I see the "news media", where I mostly see "bad news"
As a former college student that came to know Christ my first year, I was "gung-ho" to try to "save" everybody and tell them about Jesus. I "offended" many people as I did it selfishly and without love.
I was at my home church in St. Paul last month (11/29/03), and the pastor share this story:
Greg (pastor) was at sometype of Christian conference in Colorado. A college student came up to him with a sad face as she shared how not many of her peers have the heart to share the "Good News". She was very dissapointed of the christian groups she participated in as they didn't have her "vision" to reach their campus. Greg challenged her to "first" start with her roommate and pray for her each day; instead of trying to reach the "whole campus" (it become overwhelming).
Don't get overwhelmed with trying to save the world, because God has already done that through Jesus Christ dying on the cross 2,000 + years ago. What we can do is make a difference one person at a time that God has put in your daily life (school, work, home, family, friends, neighbors, community, etc...). Below are some links of a very popular story how one Christian can make a differnece one person at a time that effects the whole world:
I was meeting with the Outreach Coordinator for IVCF in the middle of this month (February 2004) and he was interested on the different evangelism outreaches I used to help with when I was a part of ths committee (97'-98'). I decided to come up with this...Evangelism Archive
Be a Light First!
It's hard to witness to people if many are tired of Christians and the church being hypocrites (no one is perfect). We need to make sure we "practice what we preach" and that our "actions speak louder than words" through our daily lifestyle.
I was driving down I-94 from Sauk Centre to the Cities and saw this billboard...
"What if I swore less...
That reminded me of the many "if's" in life on how we- not they have to make a difference in our own lives first before we start pointing our fingers of other people's sins/mistakes!
We can be a "light" for Him anywhere, not just in the church of the 4 walls. God called us to "full-time" ministry, which we need to shine 24/7-home, school, job, community, etc...
-People Around You: Marketplace
God puts certain people (family, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, friends/peers, etc...) in your life for a reason. Instead of trying to "find" people to "witness" too, just ask God about the people around you already (e.g. headlight analogy).
God also puts people in your path when you leas expect whereever you go. For example, this past weekend-Saturday, Janurary 31st (Ice Place 04' visit)-that I was so anxious to write about! My friends and I were "set-up" to talk to this security guard, who look very bored at City Hall in downtown St. Paul. We went from a "secular" topic to a "spiritual" topic (after much prayer) and shared about if "you are going to heaven?". We had to "run" because we were almost there for an hour already in order to see the Ice Place and ice sculptures. However, I didn't want to leave him "hanging", so I happend to have a tract and left my contact info. My friend and I prayed after we met him, so God's seed of faith will grow....more (Hmong: Roots from the Middle East)!
Your closest love ones seem to be the hardest to share the �Good News� with�why is that? My personal answer is that they have seen your past mistakes from growing up in the same household. They already have a judgmental �label� on you through their personal experience with you that others haven�t seen. How can we �witness� to them? There is no �right� or �wrong� formula/way to do this; however, this is what I�ve done and working on so far:
You need to be �right with God� first by asking God to forgive you of all the �wrongs� you did and what your family members have done to you-no matter what they�ve done (abuse, etc..). In order to be a �light�, we need to be able to shine though our �way of life�. Has our life changed since we came to a �personal relationship� with Christ that the �fruit� of it can be seen by our �love ones� through our actions?
*Note: Did you know that Jesus had a half brother? His name was James, and he didn�t (John 7:5) believe that Jesus was the �Messiah� until His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). James joined the many (Acts 1:14) �believers� that spread the �Good News� after Jesus left as he was used effectively (Acts 15:3)
Don�t give up on your family! Till then, why don�t you �reach out� to the people God puts in your life (roommate/housemate, workplace, etc..) as they probably have family/relatives that are Christians that are praying for their �salvation� too! Let�s all work together as the Family in Christ in building His Kindom!
This morning at church I shared one of several stories within this past week of �open doors� God gave me to share the Good News, which is a rare opportunity that has never happened ever that I can remember as a Christian. I thank God for these stories, which I�m about to share to encourage the Body of Christ in the �Great Commission�. My good friend/brother-in-Christ, Mark, shared an announcement of the annual �Send Me� retreat that he is helping organize, which he quoted from of my favorite �evangelism� verses-Romans 10:14-16: �How can they hear, if no one shares the Good News with them�?...
Speaker: Stu Schulz
Saturday, February 8, 2004
Message: �Contending for you Family Members
Stu shared the �Importance of Covenant� pertaining to relationships with your immediate family. Our family may not be perfect, but we were put together and we can�t change that. We may be hurt by a particular family member or more, we still need to forgive and �reach out� to them for Christ! He shared the verse from Isaiah 61:1 on being used by the Lord to �heal the brokenhearted�. His personal saying is, �through obedience, it�ll last�. Some examples he shared on covenants in the Bible were:
God and Man
Nations or Tribes
Between God and�
Noah-�there will be no flood�
Abraham-descendents as numerous as the stars
Israel-become a holy nation
Aaron-family of priesthood
David-Messiah (Jesus) will come from his lineage
The new covenant is our salvation through forgiveness of our sins (Luke 22). Why is the covenant so important? We live in a �Contract (Consumer) Society�, where we �selfishly� want what we want! If one doesn�t meet our needs, we immediately run to another option. For example, church goers go from one church congregation to another if they �don�t like it�. Stu encourage church goers to �stick� to one church and not leave until God says they can �go� if God first �sent� them there in the first place! We need a covenant mindset, which he gave a list of reasons why it�s important:
�We are called to be salt�
*Did you know that Michelangelo�s painting of the �Last Supper� has a scene of Judas Iscariot knocking over the salt shaker, which was symbol of Judas breaking that �bond� (as salt is known to hold together as the disciples of Jesus were supposed to) of the 12 disciples!
�You are empowered�
He then shared his heart touching �very personal� testimony of how God opened a door to share the salvation message with a �hard to reach� family member and the overall importance to do so-as it�s a matter of heaven or hell for their eternal soul!
Reccomeded Book: Fulton Street Revival (story of Jeremy Lanphier)
Be A Light in the Community!
I remember one Sunday at my local church, I shared about a verse that I heard from the t.v. that morning (one of those Sunday early morning church services on television). It was in fact Robert Shuller, who shared about "city on a hill". Well, I ended up echoing that verse during the Sunday share (open mic) time. As I reflect on that share 9-10 years ago, I feel that verse still needs to be constantly shared. Just recently, our city got a electric powered windmill. It stands high on a hill overlooking our city on the east side. One can see it miles for miles far from a distance coming from all sides out of town. It's difficult to see it when you are in certain areas of town because of buildings blocking. Well, I feel this windmill is like that lamp (e.g. lighthouse for ships off the coast) describes in Matthew 5. As Christians, we need to keep shinning "Jesus' light" (through our words and actions 24/7) all week (workplace, school, home, community, neighborhood, etc...) to the people God puts in front of us throughout the day/week.
People ask me how I'm able to do what I do. I tell them my daily (I try, but this doesn't always happen) personal time with God-especially getting fueled-up in the morning before I get "too busy". Here are some tips=> (daily devotions)
More than doing laundry at the Laundromat
Prior to doing laundry (January of 2005), I went to do my weekly lap swims at the P.E. Center (RFC). While I was swimming, I decided to just start praying and asking God for an opportunity to share the Good News when I do my laundry. Well, I went to do my laundry and totally forgot about my prayer request earlier. Then I started to remember during an expectant conversation with an older woman doing her laundry. I was about to head out, but our conversation went from more than just a small talk of the �nice Minnesota weather�. I shared earlier how I played in my church softball team with her 2 sons, who were very good. Then she started to ask what church I go to, which has been a common question from people I start to meet whenever I �mope� around the community. Then she started to share how she has been reading materials that was given to her from some Jehovahs Witness. In my spirit, I decided I need to share her about the Truth-Jesus. I then told her I have been visited by those folks in the past. She then shared how all religions lead to God, which I�ve heard too many times and haven�t really been boldly to refute it. I felt I need to do so, which I shared her that I believe a personal relationship with God is very important. There is only one way, truth, and life�.John 14:16. Instead of refuting with theology and facts that Jesus is the way, truth, and life. I felt in my heart to share my personal story on how God has helped me. Due to �crunch time�, I wasn�t able to stay longer and share more than I wish I could. I ended up getting out a Bible tract that I try to remember to carry with me all times for these �expectant� opportunities (?-make your conversations�). I wrote down my church name and my own name, so she can refer to me when the time comes for her. I invited her to my local church and she can watch it on the local city channel two times a week. She seem to be very open to what I shared with her as she would ask me questions that showed she was �spiritually hungry� for the Truth. I can tell she was searching and grieving as she remarked how �people are so greedy�. As I look back at this, I wished I could�ve prayed with her or even gave her the salvation invitation. I pray now that the seed of the Gospel will be planted and will see the fruit some day in His time.
*tips on following up a new "believer" in Christ
Special Related-Youth Feature
When Chris came home from a youth rally on Saturday night, he was surprised to see that his mother had waited up for him.
�How�d it go?� She asked as he flopped his growing body down on the sofa.
�It was great! There was this really cool youth band playing music almost all the time. We had pizza, played some volleyball and then had a watermelon eating contest. It was pretty neat, too. They even had seedless watermelon.� said Chris thoughtfully. �I suppose that was to prevent us from spitting seeds at one another.�
�Could be,� Mom smiled. �But what about the speaker... did he have anything interesting to say.�
�Not really,� Chris replied. �All he talked about was wittnessing. And he was really preachy about it. He even suggested we witness at school.�
�Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.�
�But Mom!� Chris argued. �You don�t understand. None of the Christains I know talk about God at school. It�s just not the place. Not unless we want to be laughed at anyway.�
�It seems to me like the Christains you go to school with have a lot in common with the watermelon you ate tonight.�
�What?� asked Chris with a look of confusion on his face.
�They�re seedless.� came Mom�s reply. �They may have the seeds of God�s word in their own heart, but as long as they refuse to scatter them they� re no more help to the unsaved than if they weren�t Christains.�
�I guess you�re right Mom.� Chris admitted. �I�ll try to look for opportunities to reach out more. I sure don�t want to be a seedless Christain.�
by Patty Patterson
(2 Tim 4:2 KJV) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
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Ray Comfort on the street
Kirk Cameron witnessing on the street
Does Anybody Hear Her- Casting Crowns
Spencer, a head evangelist in my local church, played a big part in my continuous evangelism life. His continuous evanglism involvement gave me the passion to do the same in and out of the church walls. He first encouraged me to share my personal testimony to as many people I can when he asked me to share to our "then" youth group. Since then (2nd year in college), I've helped with him do numerous outreaches: Glacier State Park in Starbuck during the summer of SIMT School, Heaven Booth Outreaches around West-Central Area Minnesota, and counseling/follow-up after crusades/concerts.
Spencer is currently head of Living Waters Ministries, which they do various community outreaches. Thanks Spencer for being used mightily by God for His glory!
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