evangelism update

Christ Together? Part 1

I received this from a friend informing me of a meeting to be held next month. It sounds interesting. I desire to see Christians uniting together for evangelism. It all “sounds” good. The ad says, “The Whole Church Bringing the Whole Gospel to the Whole Nation”. What Christian doesn’t want that? Before I jump I want a few terms defined:

What do they mean by “The Whole Church”? Does this include Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, etc…  I think they mean Evangelicals, because they do provide a statement of faith of sorts called “our beliefs” at the website; http://christtogetherchicago.org/   The statement is a little LITE for my tastes, such as “Though God created us to live in a harmonious relationship with him, we turned away from him.”   I mean, that is one way of putting it. The real story is a bit more drastic and very serious. Because of SIN, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden; seperated from the Presence of God. Adam comitted a serious TRANSGRESSION. It was not merely a “turning away”. They make it all sound so harmless and vanilla. I mean why would a loving God send people to the Lake of Fire with Satan and his fellow demons merely for “turning away”?

The next question I would ask is what do they mean by “the Whole Gospel”? Since they advocate the use of the Alpha Course as a way for churches to do evangelism I have my concerns. The Alpha Course is designed to be ecumenical and multi-denominational. It all sounds so good. Here is one site I found that is very balanced in it’s discussion of the positives and negatives of the Alpha Course; http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/12/what-is-the-alpha-course/. If Dan Weyerhauser and the others are partnering with Roman Catholics then they are watering down the Gospel, which as Paul says in Galatians 1:7a – “which is really no gospel at all”.

I have a whole host of questions I would like to ask these “leaders”.  I will attempt to go to them privately (Galatians 2:2), but since I am firm in my freedom I will not give in to them (Galatians 2:5). They are well known pastors with large followings and have made names for themselves among the famous; I saw a few of them at a Louis Palau event on stage with him. “As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance” (Galatians 2:6).

It sounds like I am judging. I am not. I am very concerned though, as I am with nearly all of the visible church. In the quest for Unity the natural tendency is “compromise”. While I always extend Grace to fellow believers I am firm on where I stand and will discuss the Truth in Love for as long as it takes. Stay tuned. There will be a part 2 and possible part 3 to this ongoing saga.

4/4/13

   Last Thursday I was unable to go out with Matt and Theresa. Within minutes of calling them and leaving messages a man walked into the shop to give me a sales pitch. This was not a stranger. I knew him from the past. We had done business together. Also, he had recently been ministered to by a friend of mine, and it was this friend who told J that he should visit me. I talked with J about business and our past for half an hour or longer. Catching up so to speak. There was a lot of “God talk” in what J was talking about, especially his reason for his new business. I found J had a heart for God and really wants to live for God. In the midst of thsi I was able to ask J the diagnostic questions.

    #1: Have you come to a place where you know for certain that if you died to day you would go to Heaven and be with God, or would you say this is something you are still working on?

    His answer was; Absolutely Yes!

    #2: If you died tonight and you were standing before God and He asked you, “why should I let you into Heaven?”, what would you say?

    Ou real converstation began here. J was trying to give me a “correct” answer. As I probed further and asked “are there requirements to get right with God, i.e. to go to heaven when you die”, J did not have an answer and was ready to listen to the gospel. I was able to share the Gospel with J. As we went deeper I knew J had heard snippets of this before, but had never understood it. It is like having a box of puzzle pieces, but no image of what the picture looks like when the pieces are all together. J has prayed for salvation in the past, but had not understood what he was praying for. I believe God honored J’s prayers in the past and that I was sharing the Gospel as an Assurance of His salvation. While J was not totally clear how God saves, he knew that God does and that Jesus does the saving. Some may say, but he did not know, how can he be considered “saved”?  Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

    All of us are a work in progress. When you first came to Christ did you understand the deep mysteries like you do now? In the end, I cannot judge the heart of J. My job is to present the Gospel in a clear understandable way. Last Thursday I was able to do that to the Praise of His Glory.

 

EE 3/14/13

    Last night we had 4 contacts we could have visited. We called three and drove to one, but it was not to be. Matt, Theresa, and I decided to visit an apartment building in Antioch. The first door we knocked on that opened was the daughter of some friends of mine who are solid believers. It was great talking with her. Very encouraging. We proceeded to knock on each door and left a church flyer with whomever opened. We did meet a man who was looking for a church and spoke with him briefly. He is a believer, but has not gotten into a local congregation. Please pray that God leads him to a local fellowship of believers. The final door we knocked on was a young woman who was a Jehovah Witness. She was a little busy and did not want to talk to us very long, but she was polite. I remarked, “we got to knock on your door this time”. Jehovah Witnesses go knocking on doors regularly. While we joke about it, the fact is that they are willing to do for a lie what the vast majority of Christians are unwilling to do for the truth.

    On another note; I met with a customer of mine on Wed to deliver a few sweatshirts. I was waiting for her at Starbucks. She was a little late and asked me what I was doing while I waited. I said I was witnessing to people by asking them about the new pope as a way of starting a spiritual discussion. She told me she was Roman Catholic.  For whatever reason I assumed she was an evangelical. I look forward to future discussions.

EE at the College

    I stopped into the college during the afternoon to buy some tickets for an upcoming concert and to return some items. While there I wandered over to the coffee bar they have near the Library. I met a young woman named E. We started chatting and found out that I had been printing shirts for many years for the current church she attends.  As the conversation progressed I was able to ask her the diagnostic questions. 1. Yes she is going to heaven. 2. She is going because she tries to live daily for Jesus and tries to live like him.

    Now E has been in church for many years. She knows a lot of the Bible and wants to live for Jesus. Because she did not answer the 2nd question correctly does not necessarily mean she is not a believer. What it can mean is that she needs more knowledge and assurance of her salvation. Her heart is drawn near to the Lord. I could tell that speaking to her. She wants to live for Jesus. But she has been in churches that have not put a priority on discipleship training (this is by the way the category of 99% of churches reegardless of denomination). What does an evangelist do at this point? Share the Gospoel, of course!

    I shared the entire gospel with E. Midway through the presentation is when the distractions came fast and furious (she was working a table). But I stopped, waited until she helped each person, and continued where I left off. This is the advantage of EE training and the memorization of an outline. You can always stay on track or get back on track if you memeorize the outline. It is not a memorization of a gospel presentation. It is merely an outline, like a skeleton, that the evangelist “fleshes” out as they share the Good News.

    Before I totaly finished a student named D came up and began talking with E about homosexual marriage. Clearly the hot topic on every college campus. What a distraction. I advised them to learn how to share the gospel:

1 Corinthians 1:22-23

New International Version (NIV)

22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

    Other issues are important, but if we preach the Gospel and share the scriptures, God’s Word will penetrate those whom you share it with. “It is the Power unto Salvation” Romans 1:16.

    This situation at the college is also a classic example of the structure of the church; the belief that if believers sit in worship services and listen to sermons that this somehow accomplishes “making disciples”. If this were the case Jesus could have preached each week for 3 years from the Mount of Olives instead of walking 25 miles a day going from village to village. How can new believers learn to “follow” by attending a weekly worship service? How does that eliminate the fear of sharing Christ in hostile situations? I believe in weekly preaching, but this should be only one facet of discipleship training.

    Here is the sad reality: I could have shared the Gospel all day long at CLC. I could do that every day and train others while doing so. It burdens my heart to see so many lost people who could be reached as well as so many believers who would love to learn how to share not being trained. We could have so many more workers in the field if only the pastors and churches wanted to. The church long ago abandoned the notion of having an in-house evangelist(s). The priority of the modern church is to get people into the buildings to listen to sermons. Jesus commanded us to GO! and make disciples. Get out there! The fields are ripe for Harvest!

EE 2/21/13

    Matt, Theresa, and I went to 1 home and 9 apartments. The home was a referral. The man we were going to visit was not home and his father would not open the door nor speak with us. We prayed and then drove to Lake Villa. We returned to a building we had visited earlier and finished the 6 apartments we had not gotten to last time. We also spoke with 2 of the people we had visited with the first time. We met a woman named M who has Lupis. We offered to pray for her but she declined. We prayed for her anyways a few steps away from her apatment. She did take a flyer from us. We left this building and knocked on some apartments that are above businesses in Lake Villa. We met a man named David who was very friendly and attended a different local church. I asked him the diagnostic questions and he is definately a believer. He stood in the cold as though he might be entertaining angels. I am sure if I asked him to, he would have invited us into his apartment.

    While we did not get a chance to share the gospel with anyone we did plant some seeds and encouraged a few believers. Please pray for the apartment building we have visited twice. There is some spiritual resistance there, some stronghold, even though there is a believer in the building. He is struggling financially and maybe doesn’t have the time nor training to reach the lost amongst him. This is common in the churches. There are many believers who have gifts that the body can use, but are unable to because of obstacles such as finances, health, and family problems. And then there are others who have the means to help those in need, but they are selfish and don’t even know it. They give the money to the church which doesn’t use the money to help one another which would build up the body. It’s a repeating cycle, which eventually causes those with gifts and needs to leave the local body. If you have the means, look for those in need. Build one another up so that the body is healthy. When the Body is healthy so much more can be accomplished for the Kingdom.

EE 2/14/13

    Last night Matt and I went to the college and distributed M & Ms with gospel tracts for Valentines Day. We did not go preaching the worlsly definition of Love, but instead shared the Love of Christ. Sacrificial Love. We did 2 questionaires and handed out about 30 tracts. We did briefly ran into Brian, who prayed to receive Christ last time we were there. He was on his way to class, so he did not have a lot of time to talk. Our main contacts were Terry and Nicky. Terry is a believer. Praise God! Nicky was more interested in things about God, but she did not have a lot of time to talk. Pray for Nicky, she has a searching heart.

    Every time I go out witnessing I am struck by how many people are willing to talk. People want to know about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Despite what the media says people are hungry to know the Truth. There is a spiritual hunger in the land. The question is, with so many churches out there, why aren’t they being fed? When will we learn the lesson of the loaves and fishes? When will we learn what is meant by being “the Body of Christ”? I hear many say and pray for “revival” and yet are unwilling to remove the obstacles to revival they themselves have erected. Why won’t they remove them? Fear, pride, and selfishness. SELF! Do you actually know of anyone who actually DENIES HIMSELF and carries the cross? Who actually “esteems others better than himself”? Philippians 2:3.

    I have heard Philippians preached many times. After 19 years of being a Christian I am still waiting to observe it in a Christian community. I have read about it in church history. Count von Zinzendorf and the Moravian pietists come to mind. While not a perfect community, and many would chafe at some of their practices, they had a firm grasp on “one another” that is missing in the modern church. Without brokenness which produces repentance which leads to an outpouring of love for one another and the denial of self there will be no revival. If you are praying for true revival, WATCH OUT! because you might get broken and have all your worldly passions spill out and removed.

EE 1/31/13

    Last night Matt,Theresa, and I went to Gurnee Mills. Even before entering the bulding I bagan handing out gospel tracts as I went. Our first main contact was a young mom working a kiosk. She said she was a beleiver. We had a nice chat with her and prayed with her, but we did not ask the diagnostic questions, so there is no way of knowing what she means by “believer”. We gave her info about the church and we are going to have our chaplain intern follow-up with her husband.

    We continued walking and handing out gospel tracts. I stopped and talked with a woman named Sky. She did not believe there was a heaven or hell. She believed in “science”, and during our conversation began to laugh at what I was saying; essentially mocking me. The Scriptures inform us to give the Law to the proud and Grace to the humble. I informed her that I was an ambassador of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and focused the rest of my discussion on whether or not Jesus rose from the dead. She needed to find out the answer to the question. She said after she dies then she will know. I told her that would be too late. She could die tonight and go to hell. God is reaching out to her. He has sent three of His servants to give her a message. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Ignore His loving offer of eternal life through His blood sacrifice on a cross and be eternally condemned. She was looking me dead in the eyes and was no longer mocking. Sometimes we must get serious. Spending eternity in Hell is serious business. Do you beleive that? Or are you planning your next vacation?

   My final contact was with a young man named Zach. He is from Round Lake and knew where CCLV was. Long time church attender, but has decided not to believe anymore. We were having a good conversation when a customer showed up. We waited, but the customer stayed a long time, and so we finally left. Please pray for “N”, Sky, and Zach, as well as the other 20 people who recieved gospel tracts.

 

EE 1/24/13

Last night Matt and I went to the College of Lake County. As usual there was an abundance of students willing to talk about religion. We decided to use the questionaire approach.The first person we talked with was a muslim man named Mohammed. He was excited and willing to talk, but after about 5 minutes the young woman who was with him got very nervous and persuaded him to leave.

The next person was Jeremy. He was also very willing to talk, but he only had 15 minutes before he had to catch the bus. We had a great conversation. Jeremy is a seeker. He has read the Bible and attends his friend’s church once a month. He is not convinced yet that Jesus rose from the dead, but he is making the attempt to discern the truth. Praise God for Jeremy, a noble Berean to be sure.

After that I began a discussion with 4 female students. Talking with multiple people can be difficult because one wants to answer every question, and at the same time not be rude. Three of them participated in the questionaire. Steph pretty much had no use for God at all. Liz is a semi-regualr church attender, but was confused on what the Bible teaches about eternal life. Bree was a self proclaimed “catholic jew”, but upon further discussion she has rejected both and is now a secular jew. They did not want to discuss anything further.

By this time it was after 8;30pm and we were going to leave, but Matt had not done a questionaire yet, so we decided to do one more. This turned out to be our divine appointment. Matt shared the entire gospel with a young man named Brian, and he prayed to receive Christ. It was really good. Brian has been attending church most of his life, but what he said was new to him was that eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23 & Ephesians 2:8-9). He was already convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. He was unsure about going to heaven and said he was “still working” it. Please pray for Brian, that he is able to grow in grace, faith, and knowledge.

The angels rejoiced at CLC last night that the gospel was presented and that a soul accepted Jesus offer of the free gift of eternal life. They also rejoiced that Matt is being trained to be a soul winner. Please pray for all mentioned as well as for Theresa who has been sick and was unable to join the team last night.

 

EE CCLV 2012

One of the things we do in EE is keep records. Why? It allows us to know what we did and evaluate our progress. It also reminds us of people we still need to pray for. Do you pray for people you may have witnessed to 5 years ago?  Keep notes so that you can. So here is the numbers for 2012:

# of weeks                  31

Typle of contact:

Total teams                   1

Questionaires              46

Door-to-door                18

Gospel Tract only          61

Referral                         4

Personal                          1

Total attempted            134

Total completed             92

Gospel presented:

How many times             20

How many people           31

profession                       3

no decision                     22

christian                          3

for assurance                  3

Gospel not presented:

not admitted                   12

already christian            10

only questionaire             11

only friendly visit           26

only peronal testimony     26

follow up  2nd visit            2

This is only the actual witnessing we do each week as a team in training. The reason for the training is so we are equipped to witness 24/7. The Harvest is white and the workers are few.  Evangelsim in the churches is a topic for intellectual discussion, while it should be the what the church is doing. Pray that this attitude changes.

EE 1/10/13

    Matt, Theresa, and I began a new semester and are going out on Thursdays now (instead of Tuesdays, which we did last year) due to some logistics problems. We went to Gurnee Mills mall this time. We prayed for a divine appointment and the very first person I spoke with allowed me to share the entire gospel with her. Praise God. She was working a kiosk. She had been considering going to church. She wanted to receive Christ, but she was working at the time. Business was slow, but she was concerned about her boss returning. We did pray for her and we gave her a book of John, a few gospel tracts, and some info about CCLV. Please pray for “Ah”, that God would bring her the rest of the way.

“He who began a good work in you, will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” Philippians 1:6

 

Another note: Last year on week 6 we shared the gospel with 3 people in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Two of them came to church this Sunday 1/13/13, and stayed for lunch where we were able to share with them some more. Praise God! He is faithful.