Saturday, December 31, 2011
Last week, I was in the grocery store and was in a hurry as well. I actually opted for the bagboy to take my groceries out, because it would save me time to have to bring the cart in (You know I am in a big hurry when I decide to let the bagboy take the cart to my car!). On the way out, the young man told me that he had the tract that I was holding, a Giant Money tract (I probably gave him one before). When we were outside, he told me he didn't understand it. I made sure it wasn't the quiz part that he wasn't talking about, and started asking him questions about the Gospel. I was able to share the Gospel with him in just a few moments, and direct him to my web site and email. He appeared to want to know more. Please pray for him. His name is Justin. I also gave him another tract (How Good Are You?). He seemed to get the Gospel message.
Today, we were on our way home from a trip to Georgia, and I put a Million Dollar bill tract in the restroom. After we were all getting in the car, my daughter had just come from the restroom and told me what happened. An older lady who worked at the restaurant found the tract and wondered if it were real. She was having a conversation with another older woman and seemed pretty excited about finding the tract. I pray that she will take it home and read it (and still be excited about it!) and that God will work in her heart.
A couple of miles down the road we stopped for groceries and gas. While we were out I was getting ready to pay for some coffee and I took out a Million Dollar bill tract. The cashier looked at it in wonder. I gave it to her explaining that it was my late Christmas present to her. She was excited about getting it to keep. I explained that it had the Gospel message on it. She seemed to be delighted with it, and another worker (I think) was in wonder of it too, so I gave her one as well. They were thankful for them.
Things like this happen often when I give out tracts. That doesn't mean that everyone who gladly takes one gets saved. But I have seen people look at them and read them aloud! One lady couldn't get over the fact that looking with lust at another person was the same as committing adultery (at heart). Another bagboy found one and said that there is no way that anyone can know if they are going to heaven after they die, which started a conversation about the Gospel.
Having said all this, I have to say that every person has their own style of doing evangelism and communicating with people. Please don't feel condemned if you don't feel comfortable using money tracts. Living Waters (www.livingwaters.com) has a lot of different types of tracts available for you to work with, or if you aren't comfortable with using tracts, there are other valid ways to communicate the Truths of the Gospel. But I love this way because it provides a natural ice-breaker that can lead to the Gospel.
One more thing. It really does make a difference if you smile when you give tracts out. Take it from my experience. People are more ready to warm up to you and feel comfortable about taking the tract if you are smiling and friendly toward them. Remember, it is only 5% of the people that won't want the tract. And for the 95% that will take it, it is worth the risk of rejection by the 5%.
I have heard reports that people have been saved by reading a Gospel tract. You really never know where the tracts will end up or who will end up reading them, but we pray over them and give them out and one day in heaven, we will see the fruit of our labors.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Most of the people actually were very open to receiving the tracts. There were a few on the ground or in the trash. After this many years of doing this activity, I'm sure that many of these people received a tract from us before. As a matter of fact, when Sean, our parade evangelism director started doing this, I was at the parade and received a tract from them!
I did meet one such person. I gave a tract to a woman and she informed me that she knew what it was and said, "I just love what you all are doing." I have to wonder how many people we actually are affecting when we give out these tracts. I think it can be just as valuable for a Christian believer to see what we are doing and be challenged to go do the same (not being in a parade necessarily, but living a life that openly promotes the Gospel).
So the word of God has been received by a couple of thousand of people and God can do wonderful things with that. Some might come to Christ and have a vital ministry. Others could be saved and become evangelists. Some might end up in another country having a serious impact in that country for the kingdom of God. But some could already be believers who would now be stirred up to tell the world about the Gospel.
So our work of evangelism is at least two-fold. It can reach the lost and God can save them as they hear His word, and it can challenge believers to communicate the Gospel. God can and will do amazing things as we tell the Gospel to others.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Then as I was talking with some teenage girls, explaining the Gospel to them (which they seemed unfamiliar with), a woman comes up and starts questioning the girls about their relationship with God. She informed me that they 'have it' because she asked them if they had ever asked Jesus into their hearts, and of course, they did. I guess it didn't matter that they didn't understand about sin in the first place.
But another time, as I was talking to a teenage girl, I was explaining about how a lamb would have to be sacrificed when people sinned in the Old Testament days. She became very sad as I was telling her about this. I think it was a good way to explain the Gospel to someone, in order to show them that something precious had to be sacrificed for our sins. I pray that the Gospel she heard that day will penetrate her heart and that God would do a deep work in her heart.
One of the last group of girls I talked to were listening intently to the Gospel. They seemed affected by the Truth. Then the cell phone went off. It was one of the girl's mothers saying that they were going somewhere. Before my eyes they disappeared as the woman came to get them. I raced over and got some 'How Good Are You?' tracts and explained to them that they could read it at home. But I had to run after them because they were gone in a flash!
I believe God was at work in all of their hearts. May much good fruit come out of this day of evangelism at the Longwood Arts and Crafts festival for 2011.
I was able to make some videos of this event. I am not in most of them, but you can hear my voice in them as I share the Gospel with people.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
This day was a very good day as far as talking to people about the Gospel. Most of the people were very receptive and seemed to want to talk. But it didn't start out that way. I got there a little later than I wanted to, but we did find a parking place, pretty close to where we parked last year.
As we were going toward the festival, I was pushing my cart which was overflowing with goodies. I was also carrying a big poster, and my son was carrying a card table. We were almost there and the wheel broke off my cart. My son suggested pulling the cart, which is how we did it the rest of the way.
We got there, and I did a quick set up. I started talking to people right away and was in a conversation with someone when my poster blew over and the easel fell down. So I had to pick it all up again and try to arrange it all so it wouldn't fall over any more, which has always been the challenge. The tracts were blowing off the table, so I had to find something to hold them down. This time I put the poster on the ground leaning against the easel with Silly Putty stuck on the back so it wouldn't come apart from the easel! It finally worked.
One of the first people I talked to was a young woman who was defensive about being a Christian. So I tried to explain to her that there will be some people who die, who call themselves Christians, who will hear the reply, "I never knew you. Depart from me..." She seemed to believe that it was easy to be a Christian. I'm not sure she really had a heart understanding of the Gospel.
My son was talking to a man, and he looked really convicted. I didn't get his name, but after we asked him questions, he explained that his wife was a Christian, but not a born again one (Interesting), but his children were born again, and he was the heathen of the family. We gave him the the booklet "How Good Are You?" so hopefully, he will read it and take it to heart.
Then I was talking with some young girls, and really having a good conversation with them, when a woman came out from nowhere and tried to finish what I was doing. The only difference was that she used the terms 'Ask Jesus into your heart'. I thought she was the mother, and I was thinking she was quizzing her daughters on the Gospel. But she wasn't their mother. She was a person who said she was an evangelist. She put emphasis on 'praying the prayer' and assured the girls they were saved. She gave them assurance, because they 'did it'. I know God is sovereign and can still work in the girls hearts in spite of it. I know the girls didn't understand the Gospel at the beginning.
After we got done and packed up, carrying the poster and pulling my broken cart, while we were on the sidewalk, my son gets a bloody nose. I told him to just keep walking and was hoping he would try to make sure that the blood would drip on the sidewalk. We went a little ways, and a woman was trying to read the poster. She was friendly and wanted to talk. So I started asking her the trivia questions. I asked her a couple of questions and my son's nose started bleeding a lot. So I gave him the keys and told him to go to the car. The lady was very understanding, and said that it was ok and she understood that i had to take care of him. I left her with 2 tracts that I found on my way out in the trash can.
Lots of beach balls were taken, and a few flying disks. All 100 tracts I labeled last night were given out. The people loved the posters with the questions and we asked many people if we could give them the Good Person Test, to which most responded with a 'yes'.
God allowed us to have a profitable day with many difficulties to work through. We wouldn't expect a day to go perfectly would we? We know Satan isn't happy when God's word goes out. With God's permission, he will attack whatever we are doing, or try to discourage us. Even though the Word didn't get out the exact way I would have planned, it got out enough for God to be able to use it. And the results are His. We will look forward to seeing much fruit in eternity.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The point of this post is that while it seemed like an unprofitable day, by my standard anyway, I don't have an eternal perspective of what God can do. What if God spoke to that man's heart (who wanted to order the tracts) and what if he got inspired to order some and give them out? What if he gave out a couple hundred in his life time, and one person came to Christ? What if the one person who came to Christ had a neighbor that he led to the Lord? What if the people in this neighbor's family came to Christ and one became a pastor of a thriving, healthy Bible believing church?
I don't know what God will do with the tracts I gave out the other day. But His Word says that it will not return to Him void. It will accomplish the purpose it was set out to do. And God is great in working through Divine appointments. Maybe the tract giving will end up being an answer to someone's prayer for their lost loved one. Only God knows what will happen when we are faithful to give away that which He has abundantly given to us. We need to be in faith for what He will do, in and through us.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
I had beach balls with one side imprinted "God is uncreated. He never had a beginning and has always been in existence" and on the other side it said "www.thegospelconversation.blogspot.com". Many children were grateful that they got to pick a toy out. They verbally thanked me for it and seemed to have an appreciation for the toys that they didn't have for the candy. I also had the flying discs out. They had imprinted on them John 14:6 "Jesus said to them, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me". Then there were the maracas which had imprinted on them 1 Timothy 2:5 "There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." Most of the people who choose a toy, usually pick a beach ball.
There were a couple of girls who may have been around ten or eleven. As they were looking through the toys to pick one, one of the girls was sure that this was the house that gave out Million dollar bills with Justin Bieber's picture on it. At first, wasn't sure of giving out anything with Justin Bieber, at least not intentionally. It wasn't until a couple of days later, I put two and two together and realized that I had celebrity Million Dollar bills last year and probably gave them out. Perhaps she got a Justin Bieber one and remember that it was here where she got it. The two girls were having a discussion about this, or maybe it was more like a debate. The other girl was convinced that this wasn't the house where the Justin Bieber million dollar bills were given out. Finally, the one girl asked out loud, "Isn't this the God house?". I thought that was interesting. For the past several years, I have been giving out pencils, coins, imprinted toys, etc with the Gospel or 10 Commandments out. I wonder if people ever remember where the 10 Commandment pencil came from, or the beach ball or flying disc. Now I am beginning to see that people are starting to remember.
Most of the time, toys are very easy to give out, even if they have a sharp message pointing to the Gospel. I had a basket of toys at a college a couple of years ago. A Muslim lady who was a teacher came up to my table. She was very sad because she was a science teacher and this was the time when it became mandatory for teachers to teach evolution in the schools. That was going to be a hardship for anyone who knows that the world didn't just come into existence just by itself. This teacher was very distressed and talked to me about it. She explained that she wasn't interested in becoming a Christian because she had already studied it in a religion class in England. She took some of the material from 'Answers in Genesis' www.answersingenesis.org . She was also going to go to the web site later on to look for more help. The last thing she did was to take one of the beach balls for her little girl. The words were obvious to see "What can wash away my sins?" on one side. The other side reads "Nothing but the blood of Jesus. www.thegoodtest.net". She took the ball home to her little girl. I pray that the words will open up her heart to the Gospel.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I did ask them a couple of questions about themselves (which they denied later on) to get to know them. The young girl who did the most talking explained to me that Jesus wouldn't be happy about my passing out tracts and talking to people, and that Jesus didn't do that when He was here. She continued to explain that her parents were unbelievers and she wouldn't want me talking to them because it would turn them off. One of the other girls explained to me that every time I gave out a tract, I was putting a check mark in my box (kind of similar to Rob Bells's explanation of putting a notch in your belt whenever you give out a tract). They went on to explain that the people that were around Park Avenue already knew about Jesus. I would be making enemies with people if I did that (excuse me, but where is that in the Bible?).
I basically let them talk to see what kind of reasoning they would have. They went to a local church geared to single people in their 20's. I must have sat there for a half an hour listening to them talk. At the very end, the one girl accused me of not even showing any interest in them (You never asked our names, etc). Excuse me again, but I did ask their names and where they went to school along with a few other things. Well, the other girl actually came to my defense and repeated something I told them.
The girl recommended that I read two books. She was very impressed that I had an I-Phone too. Now I seemed to synchronize with them a little more. The two books were, 'Blue like Jazz' and 'Velvet Elvis'. I don't have to explain too much more to show where they got their information on Christianity. I found an excerpt done by Mark Sohmer on 'Velvet Elvis' and was appalled by what was written in that book. The author, Rob Bell, definitely hates evangelism. He doesn't have a deep respect for God's Word, and I didn't detect any recognition of the Gospel or Who Jesus is in anything I read about from that excerpt. If that is where they are getting their basic instructions on discipleship, no wonder they said the things they were saying.
One of the things the girl said at the end of our conversation, at least I thought I heard her say this, was that when Scripture and the culture go against each other, Scripture has to bow to the culture. Now maybe I remembered this incorrectly, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone really believes this, if they are a fan of Rob Bell. The girl commented about Rob Bell in saying that people say that Rob Bell is a Universalist, but she says that he really isn't. What do you think?
I would hope that the church you attend doesn't support this kind of thinking. If those in a church are supportive of Mr. Bell's teachings and books, I think it would be wise to point out to the pastor or leaders in that church of the errors in Rob Bell's books/videos/teachings. If the leaders hold on to that kind of teaching and are not looking for change, I would be praying to see if God has another place for me somewhere else. Books like 'Velvet Elvis' promote Universalism, which basically believes that God doesn't really send people to hell (unless they are really bad, like Hitler). Somehow, because Jesus died for everyone's sins, everyone is ok before God. We know that is not true. We need to be careful to correct wrong doctrine. When a teaching goes against Scripture, we have to go along with what Scripture teaches. The church needs to be kept pure from error. And it is our responsibility to do that.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I went through the Gospel and the Law with one such lady a couple of years ago. She technically understood the Gospel and even admitted to lying, etc. Then it came time for the question, "Why would God allow you into heaven? Do you think you are a good person?" Her response was typical of our Western culture. It was something like, "God won't punish me in hell, because I haven't murdered anybody. I'm not a bad person!"
People are having a hard time seeing what God's holiness looks like. Many people answer like the woman I talked with that night. "God won't punish me in hell because I haven't murdered anybody." The problem with these people in their thinking is that they see a difference between the sin of being angry and outright murder, such as the acts of Hitler. It seems like Hitler (and his name always comes up) has become the standard of who goes to hell. Since people aren't as bad a he was, they reason, that they won't go to hell. I can understand their reasoning. But it is hard to communicate to them that even their 'white lie' is evil enough before a holy God to send them to hell for eternity.
This same criteria has come up again in a group setting which I am part of. Hitler's name comes up a lot and these people are using him as a standard of right and wrong, instead of seeing the Law of God (or even understanding it) as the correct standard. It sure sounds logical to them to talk about their white lie in comparison to someone who intentionally wanted to kill as many people as he could. Now to figure out how to bridge the gap.
The main way to bridge the gap starts with who God is and what He is like. Not only is He different than human beings, but He is holy, and He is without any kind of sinful flaw. How can we explain to people what He is like? What does His word say about Him?
People can read in History books what Hitler did. They can't see God with their eyes, because He is invisible. Unless people understand that God is all-knowing, and that God is a Spirit, they will fail to see Him as He truly is. They will be like the heathen in the book of Psalms, or like the scoffers who say that God doesn't notice their sin. He doesn't care. "When is He coming back anyway? We've been hearing this for centuries, and it hasn't happened yet, and I don't think it ever will." These people assume that a holy God isn't watching or they don't have to give account to Him because if they did, He would be visible to them.
God is the One who reveals Himself to people. That is why we need to pray that will happen. We have to pray for a deep conviction of sin in the hearts of these people. Only when they see their 'white lies' and 'taking something small when they were children' as serious sin, they won't truly come to Christ. They can technically understand the Gospel, but will personally not see a need for it. From that will only result false converts to deal with later on. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is what we need when presenting the Gospel to others.
Monday, October 3, 2011
I talked with a man who was parked on the other side of the parking place. Seemed like a real nice guy. He was on a mission. He just got through bypass surgery and says that it is a miracle that he is alive. His mom was praying for him, and also told him that he would have three signs that had to do with God. He said he was going to read the tract I gave him. Perhaps that was one of the three signs? I would love to have talked to him about the Gospel, but he said he was on a mission. He went on to explain that Planet X would be here pretty soon and we need to be ready. Planet X comes once every 3800 years, he continued. When it comes, it causes severe tidal waves and most of America is going to end up under water. Planet X came by when Noah was in the ark. This man has bought some property that is way above sea level in Colorado, and encourages others to do the same.
Like I said , I wanted to get some words in about the Gospel. Don't get me wrong, he was really a kind man, just on a mission. He believes the most important thing that we can do is to get ready for Planet X coming.
I did get to explain that we need to get ready spiritually, and he seemed to understand what I was getting at.
We all should be on such a mission. Not to warn people about Planet X coming and creating gigantic tidal waves, but we need to warn people about the Judgment to come. The Bible is very clear that God will never destroy the earth with a flood again, as He did in Noah's time, but He will destroy it by fire. If we are not ready, when that day comes, we will be thrown in the Lake of Fire. God help us to take our mission seriously. May God give us compassion for lost people and the desire to make His name known.
The prayer request here is that God will show Himself to this man, named Dominic. Dominic needs to be preparing himself for the day he will see God. He needs to be clothed with righteousness. He needs to be washed. All of us need to be ready for that day. We will either die in our sins, or, die with our sins completely erased. We need to hear the Gospel and respond. So do those around us. Let us love our neighbors as ourselves and preach the Gospel to them.
Friday, September 23, 2011
It is not easy to share the Gospel. In fact, it really is impossible. That is why Jesus promised that the disciples would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Evangelism takes the power of God to carry it out and be effective.
One time Moses told God, that he didn't want to go to where God was leading them, unless he knew that God's Presence was going to be with them. The Bible says that the power of the God is in the Gospel. That is why we cherish it. That is why we need it.
I will give a little bit of my story to encourage you, if you are one of those people who feel like you are slow to speech, when it comes to evangelism. I was a very unlikely candidate for being a person that could share the Gospel. First of all, I didn't really know how to talk well. I had a small vocabulary, plus just didn't know how to communicate about anything. I remember as a child, going to the doctor's office and the doctor would be talking to me, and my mom had to do the responding for me because I didn't really know how to answer him. Kids bullied me around because I didn't talk, and I ended up being very disadvantaged because of my lack of ability to speak. I felt stupid around other people, and basically didn't really even want to socialize very much because of that.
At the age of seventeen, something dramatic happened to me one Sunday morning. My life was changed and I believe it was because the Gospel connected in my heart. I got it, finally. I was never the same. My friends tried the year before to get me to pass out tracts. I didn't really understand what that was all about, but God was working in my heart making me ready to respond to Him. God helped me understand the Gospel and it took root in my heart. I had a great desire to share the Gospel and preach the word after that.
But there were still problems. I was still a tongue tied person. It was still hard to communicate. I gave tracts out to my classmates, but if they were to ask me questions about the Gospel, I felt so unprepared. Time went on. I got married. I went to an evangelism course called "I Found It". I took Evangelism Explosion classes. I join Child Evangelism Fellowship. I had a lot of teaching on evangelism. But I still found it hard to talk to people. Usually, my mouth would dry out. If I could get words out, then I would lose track of what I was saying and couldn't follow the conversation. I was still leaving tracts out at the mall when I was 22, but the desire to evangelize became weaker. Then after having four children over a period of about 13 years and homeschooling, who has time for evangelistic activities? Evangelism was now a foreign concept to me, or just a fading memory by this time. I thought maybe one day it would happen, at least maybe I could still leave tracts around, but even that seemed a long way off. Even though I continued to go to evangelism classes as they were offered, I was pretty much resolved to the fact that the best I would ever be able to do would be to lay tracts around, or, maybe if I could get brave and make my voice strong, I could actually give them to people. But it would only happen if someone else were leading that way. I certainly was not now envisioned to lead in this area!
Well, it happened. We had an evangelism class at our church that used videos from 'The Way of the Master' and I came to the church building at 8:30 am, which was way too early for me to be anywhere. There were opportunities to go out and evangelize. The desire came back into my heart again to do this. I wondered if it would be different. I certainly had a better understanding of the Gospel. It looked so easy on the videos watching Ray and Kirk talking to people. Guess what? I went out there and it was still hard. My son and I would go out there with the group and since he wasn't afraid to start conversations with people, I took advantage of this. I would jump in and be able to talk to people once the conversation started. But there were still problems. Sometimes, it was just me talking to someone, and my mouth would still dry out. I still had some fear of man. My mind would still go blank. Sometimes, I would start shaking and couldn't talk. But my heart really wanted to do this. Why would God give me the desire to do something and then have it not work out. Again, I was resolving myself to just pass out tracts and lay them in conspicuous places.
It came to the place where I had to be in prayer about this. Since it was a major struggle, I would have to wrestle in prayer. My desire to carry out this 'work of service' would have to be strong enough for me to stay in prayer over it. So that is what I did. I prayed for God to change me. I am still praying that I will have the grace and ability to do this, and that I will not be afraid of people. I will have to pray for this until my last day on earth, because I cannot do this in my strength. I need help, God's help.
Now, we are at the place we God has allowed me to be prepared for this work. I am still afraid at times, but I am not paralyzed anymore. My mouth dries out occasionally, but most of the time, everything goes well. I can have conversations with people and help them understand the Gospel better. I need to keep reminding myself that there are some people who really are interested in listening to what God says. There is only a small handful of people who are antagonistic toward the Gospel. And God can give wisdom in those situations. He can also lead us to talk to the people He wants to hear the Gospel, on that day. We can be in faith that God is at work, because He is here with us. He will help us when we get stuck. He will give us courage to talk to people. He will do all this for us, but we need to be in prayer for ourselves and for the lost. The key to all of this being successful is trusting God and being diligent in prayer.
If God can take one person and help this person to learn how to go from just leaving tracts in places to actually communicating the Gospel in conversations with people on a regular basis, He can do it for anyone who has that desire in his or her heart. It may take months of praying, but praying is a must. The fruit that will come out will be amazing and many people will hear the Gospel that would never have had any opportunity if that person did not learn to share their faith. God is able to make us able. Let us trust in Him now.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
When people are afraid of going to hell, do we help them understand why people end up there in the first place, or do we try to give them a false comfort leading them to believe that they won't go there because they are afraid. How many times have we seen something like that. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved..." or "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.."? Don't get me wrong, those Bible verses are effective in their context. But when a person begins to wrestle with the things of God, how easy it is for us to just pop a verse and try to solve a person's problem. Let's take time and talk over things with people, instead of just trying to give them an answer that will make them calm. Every time God works in a heart, there will be conflict. That is good. It is kind of like pouring peroxide on an open wound. When there are bubbles, that means the peroxide is working. Pouring peroxide on a wound is painful. Be prepared for discomfort if you try it! But teaching the word of God to people has a similar effect. People will feel pain and struggle. That is a normal reaction of God's working. As God begins to work, and people begin to feel growing pains, that is good. Don't interrupt that with trying to make the person feel good. Help them by applying the Gospel to their hearts. It will be amazing to see what God does in a heart that wrestles with Him.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
I had them in a basket at a garage sale at my daughters house. I put a sign on top of the basket telling people to take one per family (actually, if someone asked, I would let them have more if they had other family members that would want one). I had the basket of beach balls near the sidewalk so that when people were walking up to the garage sale, they would notice them first.
It was later in the day, and the traffic was slowing down, as far as the amount of people that were garage sailing that day. A car pulled up to the side walk and stopped. It had a couple of what looked like to me, African American men in it. The driver opened his door, and grabbed whatever beach balls were in the basket, about five or six. Then he took them and went back to the car and drove away. Now I can't imagine why someone would have done that. Perhaps he wanted to use them for his own evangelism, or maybe he was going to resell them. Maybe he had grandchildren and wanted one for each one. No one from that car even looked at the garage sail items. It was all very interesting anyway. God knows where each of the beach balls ended up and He will get glory for that whole incident. It was kind of funny though, and I will never forget that incident. Maybe someone will end up in heaven one day, because they saw the message on the beach balls. Maybe God used it to reach into someone's heart, that we have no idea of at this time.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I would bring them to school with me every day. I had some good tracts though, even though the selection back then was narrow.
In a class, there was a young man sitting in the desk in front of me, named Ray. I knew Ray from a couple of years before, when I used to go to a place called, 'The Winter Park Youth Center'. Ray had a hard life and I knew he was on drugs. But now I am in a different place and I can give him tracts to read during class.
He seemed to like the tracts. I would bring an assortment each day. One day, I didn't have tracts with me. He asked me for some, and I told him I didn't have them. He seemed disappointed. I then asked him if he wanted to become a Christian, to which he said, 'no'.
He did open up to me and told me about his breaking up with his girl friend. He seemed like a nice guy, but I don't know that he was even able to do his school work well. Not sure if he even graduated or not.
The next year, I got married, and the year after that I was doing something called, "Open Air" work in evangelizing children. I used to go out and tell the Gospel using a plastic nut that had a ribbon inside of it that I would pull out. There were five different colors on it that corresponded with different parts of the Gospel message. At our apartment complex, there was a school behind it. Sometimes, I would go to the school and use my little nut to talk to kids about the Gospel.
One day I went over there and planned on talking to the children I would find (I don't know that I would recommend people doing this today). As I started going into the school yard, there was a man who was with a group of children. He looked familiar and indicated that he wanted to talk to me. He looked a little bit like Ray, but I was sure it couldn't possibly have been him. He looked too clean cut and organized to be Ray! Nevertheless, I waited and when he got the kids involved in something, he came over. I was shocked as it really was Ray! He looked different. He told me that he was praying that he would be able to see me to tell me that he had become a Christian! He explained that he had a girlfriend (not the same one as mentioned above) and she led him to the Lord. He wanted to make sure I knew. God answered his prayer!
I saw Ray, maybe a year or so later, in a church band. I am glad that I had some tracts, albeit primitive ones at that, but God used the truth in them to help Ray understand his need for a Savior. One never knows what will be revealed in eternity because of using tracts, until we are in eternity! Sometimes, God will allow us to see something on this side of eternity. And that encourages us all the more to do evangelism.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
During the day, the thought came to my mind; What if someone were to pull out a gun or try to kill us tonight? How would I respond? Would I be ok if we got hurt or killed? Could something like this even happen to us?
Somehow the group we were with got dispersed. We were at the mall and we were still out there even though the mall was closed for the night. It was just my husband and I at this point. We went to some kind of trailer that was on the mall's property and my husband knocked on the door. There were two younger men in that place and one of them was interested in conversing. The other one wasn't. He was walking back and forth and was holding something that looked like a ball attached to a rope. It looked like the ball had spikes on it. I think he made some remarks while my husband was talking with the other man. Meanwhile the man with this 'weapon' just kept going back and forth swinging his weapon around.
Looking back, I am glad we didn't run away when we saw the guy with the strange looking weapon. We could have been intimidated with him. I hope that other people were able to share the Gospel with these two men, and hope that their hearts were softened as they heard the message over thirty years ago. God protected us from harm, and we are grateful for that. Let's keep preaching the Gospel while there is time.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
How does this affect evangelism? Most people I see who participate in evangelism seem to love the truth. They have a handle on preaching the truth, but does it always have grace with it? If it doesn't, it will end up preaching legalism, or that is the way it could be received by the hearers. Some things we have to keep in mind are, we need God's grace in our lives, just as the hearers need God's grace in their lives. We cannot give away what we don't have. The Gospel and its effects should be working in our lives primarily, as we share it with others. We are not saved by obeying God. We have to first recognize our continual need for the grace of God. It was not a one time need being met when we first came to Christ. Although we are forever justified in God's sight, we still need His grace to live out our lives for His glory every day (the process of sanctification). Again it is like the piece of machinery trying to work without being oiled. It just doesn't work. And it involves humility. We don't have the ability to preach the Gospel and teach God's word without God's anointing on us. And we dare not try. The fruit that comes out of our obedience is also an evidence of God's grace. We obey God, but the results are always up to God. He will get the glory. If we take the glory, it will not represent the True and Living God properly. It would be, in a sense, like lying about who God is. Not a good thing to do.
On the other hand, we could put such an emphasis on grace. There would be a variety of reasons we would be tempted to do this. The main one I think would be because we think that if we talk about sin with people, they will reject us or our message. If they reject us, and that is distressful to us, to a point where we want to change the message of the Gospel, we should ask ourselves if we are dealing with the fear of man. All of us have this to a degree, and it does need to be dealt with as idolatry, but if it affects how or why we share the Gospel, then it is sin. Another reason people do this could be possibly that they really don't understand the Gospel. Perhaps they think because we are saved by grace, that sin isn't involved. After all, Jesus died for our sins, so basically, we are saved, as long as we believe that is true. Well, if that is true, then the devil could be saved because he knows that is true. Yes, Jesus died to pay for our sins, but we must repent and put our trust in Him, or nothing will happen. People tend to go to one extreme or the other. Either they believe God's Word is true, and we must respond by obeying Him, or they think that God's grace is a free ticket for us to stay in our sins and be ok on Judgment Day. We do need to obey Him. But we can't obey Him. We are dead in our sins. But we can trust in Him and He can set us free. It is not about having the truth or having grace, we need both! When we have both of those together, we will be like the piece of machinery that has been oiled. We will work properly and will have the power to obey and love God, something we could not do in ourselves. The grace of God teaches us to say 'no' to sin and 'yes' to righteousness. We need to hear the truth and receive it to be set free. When we have both truth and grace, we have the liberty in Christ that God promises us. See Ephesians 2:8 and 9, Titus 2:11 and John 8:32
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
It is an easy trick of the Enemy to get us distracted and to lose our focus on the Lord. For me, I would have the temptation to take something good, like evangelism, and make that my life goal. I would spend all my strength and energy on it and everything it involves. Evangelism is good. But our focus needs to stay on the Lord.
I have another concern as well. I am seeing a lot of posts in my evangelism forums and Face Book that are written by people who, I am sure well-meaning, would consider themselves to be 'Heretic Hunters'. Is there anything wrong with exposing false teachers? Absolutely not. The Bible tells us to do so. How much of a priority should this be then, and how can it best be accomplished? Is God glorified in the way it is being handled in the church today?
Well, before we answer any questions, we always have to look at the motive of our hearts. What is the reason why we would expose false teachers or teachings? The Bible tells us to do so in order to serve the Body of Christ so that those who are weak in faith or new believers won't be sucked into deception. At the same time, the Bible helps us to learn how to be discerning so that we can learn how to detect false teachings. It is part of learning truth. As we grow in our Christian walk, we learn more and more how to separate the Truth from the Lies. If we look around the world right now, we can see how the world is permeated with lies. As we grow in our knowledge of the Scriptures, we see those lies more clearly. Having said this, should we make a big part of our Christian life talking about these lies and those who are teaching them? There may be times and situations that will call for that, but overall we should keep our focus on the Lord and continue to grow in the knowledge of the truth.
Don't misunderstand. We tend to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are teachers who do a great job of exposing false teachers. Some of the well-known men of God, such as Justin Peters or Al Mohler have done an excellent job of exposing Rob Bell and his erroneous teachings. Can or should we add on to what they have done in this? I think we have to be careful and here's the reason why; something in our sinful flesh loves to talk about other people in a bad way. We love to put others in a bad light. But it looks right when we do this because we are exposing the bad guys right? If the false teachers have been exposed, should we continue to try to make them look worse? How much time should we spend on this anyway?
I expose false teachers on Face Book. But it doesn't have to take up much of my time (unless someone wants to argue about it). It doesn't require much space either. I repost the works that Al Mohler or Kevin DeYoung have done and leave it at that. Their messages speak for themselves.
Also, we need to be on the same page when it comes to 'Heretic Hunting' as far as the definition of a heretic. We spend way to much time picking people apart. I'm concerned also that we might hear a bad report about someone, and we might start to believe it ourselves. Then we tell so and so that this person is a heretic without even knowing why we believe it! How easily this leads into slander. Slander is a very serious sin in God's eyes. Let's be careful who we call a false teacher or heretic. If someone disagrees with you on a doctrinal issue, it doesn't necessarily mean he is a heretic. If he is teaching lies about the deity of Christ or about the Gospel message then he is to be confronted. If he doesn't listen, or consider his error or rebellion, and has no desire to change his message, and if he continues to preach the fallacy, then yes, his doctrine needs to be exposed. It needs to be exposed carefully though, because if we are not careful, we will be gloating over someone else because of their sin. That is pride and pride is an abomination to God. We don't have a right to become prideful when someone else is in sin. It doesn't give us a right to slander. There is a difference between exposing false teaching and slandering. We need to know the difference. Remember, the only people that Jesus came down hard on were the Scribes and Pharisees. Other people rejected Him and did things to Him that were awful. He had mercy on them because of their ignorance. There are a lot of Bible teachers that are weak or even in ignorance. They need help. They need someone to come alongside them to help them to see the truth. There are those who are a stiff as a board and will never bend their knee to God until that Day. It takes a skill to see which category people are in sometimes, because it can be hard to see the difference at first. Time usually reveals who a person loves and what they will stand for and ultimately die for. Let us be careful how we judge people in the church. Let us be patient with those who are weak, and let us stand up for the Truth at all times, gracefully and by the grace of God!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I decided on Thursday, I would make something delightful for the men to take home to eat when they all finished up on Friday. I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies, with an assortment of chips in each cookie. When I finished, I realized the it wasn't quite enough cookies for each guy to have 4 of them to take home, so I made another batch Friday morning.
The men came on Friday, all five of them! I only planned on four! Good thing I made that extra batch of cookies. I set up five paper plates with four cookies each. Underneath each plate was a Giant Money tract. I also pulled out some beach balls, frisbies, and maracas that have Gospel messages on them, and offered the men to take one for each child they had. So they all went home with their tract, cookies, and toys for their families. One of the men also wanted to take some cookies home to his kids, so I had enough to make another plate for them. I might also add here, that when the movers were finished on Wednesday, somehow a million dollar bill showed up, and the guy showed it to me. I let him keep it.
One of the guys from the moving company told me that he seems to know me from somewhere. He asked if I were a teacher. We tried to decide where we may have had contact somewhere before. I have a feeling he might have been a person that I gave a tract to one time, or maybe shared the Gospel with him somewhere. I found that interesting. I have had a couple of people say that to me already. They seem to know me from somewhere else, but can't remember where. Anyway, my theory is that if we share the Gospel often with people, I think that will happen more and more to us in later encounters with people. I'm glad that God gave me the opportunity to give tracts out to the men and have a show on TV presenting the Gospel. I will trust the Lord for more opportunities like that, and also times to present the Gospel to people as He leads.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
But how can we create ice-breakers and make inroads that will lead to presenting the Gospel? Well, here is one small idea. It can minister to the homeless people on the streets or anyone in need that we might encounter.
If you have ever ministered to the homeless, you probably have many questions about this type of ministry. You might wonder why the person you are ministering to is homeless? You might be wondering if the person even wants to be helped? Can the homeless person be helped, or is there a place they could go to in order to get back on their feet again, and not be homeless anymore? Maybe the person is mentally ill and has no place to go? There are lots of questions when dealing specifically with the homeless. There a also a variety of reasons why people are homeless and you probably won't be able to figure out why the person you are talking to is on the streets. But there is one particular way you can minister to homeless people that would be considered safe. It also provides an inroad to presenting the Gospel. Because the homeless person will probably ask you and expect out of you, he or she will ask up front for money. That presents a problem because of the possibility of their using the money that you will generously give them, on liquor, cigarettes, or possibly drugs, or maybe even something worse that we wouldn't even think of. There is a better way than just handing money to a person. They can receive gift certificates for food. There was a time, not too long ago, when I went to McDonald's and picked up some gift certificates for people. After all, there are some things they can order from McDonald's that are nourishing, plus there are McDonald's on almost every corner. That worked for a while. Because I don't really have a fund for this, I would squeeze out enough money for a book of five $1 coupons. I would take each $1 coupon apart and put two of them in an envelope with some tracts that will fit into the envelope. Then when I see a homeless person on a street corner carrying a bucket for money, I will have something ready to give him or her. The envelope will have more inside of it than he or she ever expected.
As of today, I have graduated from McDonald's gift certificates to Publix gift certificates. Instead of just $2 worth of food, I have come up to $5 worth of food value. I know that Publix is limited to Florida and Georgia, so readers of this blog will not necessarily know about them. I have heard that Publix will not honor the use of the gift card to buy liquor or tobacco products, and that makes me feel better about using them. I'm sure there are other stores and options that will work as well. Feel free to comment about them in the comment box.
The difficulty for me is to come up with the funds to buy these gift certificates, but I did come up with a plan. Years ago, earlier in my marriage, my husband would put his change into containers around the house, like cups and empty jars. We had lots of change in a short period of time. He allowed me to collect the pennies. I could use them for whatever I needed. I now have my jar that I put collected pennies in. I take pennies from my wallet and from my husband's change and put them in my jar. When I get enough, I roll them up and take them to the bank. Then I buy the gift certificates from Publix, put the gift certificates into an envelope with tracts, and have them ready for when I meet a homeless or needy person. If I'm in a parking lot, and I get to talk to one of these people, I will not only have something to give them, but will also have an opportunity to talk to them about the Gospel. It can be used to serve a needy person with and show kindness, while speaking the words of truth to that person at the same time. Plus, I don't have to be concerned that the person who asked for money will run with the money to the next liquor store. Now to be diligent and keep my eyes open for every penny. I would like to raise the amount of value on the gift card. And I pray that people will be blessed by them and ministered to, and most of all, that the Gospel message will stay with them the rest of their lives.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I hear people boast that salvation is a free gift. What do they mean? Well, they could mean the same thing that a man told me a couple of years ago. I gave a tract to man before I went into the store. When I came out, he was reading it. I went over to talk to him about what he was reading. As I started talking, an older man came by. He informed that the salvation was a free gift. He was very emphatic about it. I didn't know what his point was, so I informed him that it wasn't free for One person. He continued on. He informed me that you can do anything you want as a Christian and still go to heaven. I explained to him that you have to repent first and trust in Jesus. He then accused me of believing in salvation by works. The conversation went on and on. Back and forth we went on this. Finally, we ended on a note where he made his final decision about me being a Jehovah's Witness. Does this man really understand that salvation is a free gift? Does he understand that one needs to receive this gift in order to have it? Yes, salvation is a free gift to us. The crux of the matter is how it is received. Is it received by our doing good works? Not at all. Is repentance a good work? It is a work of God in our hearts, but we don't do our own repenting. We do turn from living sinful, selfish lives to living out our lives for God's glory. Even repentance is a gift from God that has to be granted to us. It is the flip side of the coin. On the other side is faith. Just because repentance and faith are tangible, doesn't mean that they are good works. Yes, we have to have both in order to be saved. Salvation is a gift from God. The result of salvation is God's workings in our hearts. We are saved to do good works. That is how God is glorified in our lives. It is God who does the good works in us.
So, is salvation then a free gift? It is for us. It wasn't for God's Son. He earned salvation for us, and He gives it to us upon repentance and trust in Him. Salvation is the free gift that will cost you everything you have though. Now you might be wondering what that is all about. Does it cost anything to get pregnant? The obvious answer is 'no'. What happens though when the baby grows up and becomes a teenager or young adult? What will it cost the parents then? It costs an arm and a leg. College, weddings, housing, food, school, and many other things will cost you because of your child. But we love our children and gladly do that for them. In a similar way, when we come to Christ, we are born into God's family. God adopts us as His own. We have a new love in our hearts. We are learning to live a new life in a new way. It costs us. And it will continue to cost us. We give up time, money and possessions, not just for the sake of saying that we gave them up. "Look at me. Look at what I gave." No, when we really understand salvation, we will want to give. We have new hearts. We have thankful hearts.
Salvation is free to us. It is a gift. We have to receive it though. Jesus paid for the gift. He bought it for us. It is free to us in the sense that we can't do a thing to atone for our sins. But now it will cost us our lives because we belong to God. We are not our own anymore. "And he said to them all, If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23-24). "And every one that has forsaken houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19:29)
Monday, April 18, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Evangelism Outreach Ideas
1. Make bread and deliver it to the neighbors on a regular basis. I used to make bread at Christmas time and give it out to the neighbors, but this was such a burden because we were so busy and the neighbors were rarely home! However, one time I did give some goodies to the neighbors and somehow a lady I just met asked me some questions about the church. I was able to answer them with the Gospel. I am thinking about just making bread and giving that out periodically instead of at Christmas. Maybe more people will be home and I will have more time to talk to them and get to know them.
2. Christmas Caroling Project-I have a post on this already. We get together and go in a neighborhood and sing authentic Christmas carols and give each family we visit a bag with things related to the Gospel and a few other goodies.
3. Easter Idea- Show movie of Passion of the Christ and give out John Piper’s book to each participant. This is an idea from John Piper. I would imagine it could be done the day before Easter or Good Friday, either at a church building or a home. I have not done this one yet.
4. Have something cooked on hand when people come to work on the house. Give it to them as they leave along with a tract or a toy (with Scripture). I have done this at times, and it is very effective. If I know someone is coming to my house to work on something in the house, I will make some cookies or something appealing for them. People really seemed touched by this. I also give them a tract as they leave. I make sure that people who are doing strenuous work have a bottle or two of cooled water as well. Sometimes by the time they get the tract, they start a conversation.
5. Hold a class in the neighborhood on apologetics. Have a Bible club for children at the house.I have quite a few videos on apologetics and would love to share them in a setting. While I know this isn't primarily evangelistic, it may end up being just that. It is open to anyone who has an interest in finding out the reasons why Christianity is valid. It can also spur believers into action in defending the faith and evangelism preparation.
6. Free Speech Green at UCF- UCF is a nearby college that has something called a Free Speech Green where evangelists go to do open air as well as other evangelism methods.
7. Table at the local community colleges. This is great if you can do this. We set up a table with tracts and books and have other items on it too, like an electric billboard. I would put interesting questions on the electric billboard to create an interest to come to the table. One question I asked was about why God would allow wars. A Jehovah's Witness young woman came up and was trying to argue, but I was able to say things to her to make her silent. By the way, they had a table out there too.
8. Farmer's markets-I haven't done this yet, but imagine that it can be done. It is better to do it in winter or spring around here before it gets too hot to be outside.
9. Walmart- There are people in the US that have gotten permission to set up a table outside of Walmart. I tried a couple of them around here, but they didn't seem to understand what I was talking about. Walmart is a great place to share the Gospel. If you can get permission to set up a table, go for it.