Maraca with Bible Verse

Maraca with Bible Verse
1 Timothy 2:5

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Heart and Motive of Evangelism

     Maybe if I went through a little bit of my background you will understand the title of my blog better. When I first came to Christ and was Spirit filled, I wanted to share the Gospel with everyone I met. I had very little discipleship and I was just starting to grow in my knowledge of the Scriptures. My heart seemed to want to see people get saved. At least, that's what it seemed like to me.
   As time went on, I listened to many sermons, read a lot of books, learned much of the Bible, and became acquainted with other believers. Looking back, I have some observations on things I did, or others did, especially in evangelism circles.
   There used to be an emphasis on having people respond to the Gospel. In watching others present the Gospel, there was always that pressure to get the person to respond. It seemed like if you really were successful at evangelism, you would have had many people make a decision for Christ after you shared the Gospel with them.
  There are some reasons people do evangelism, that aren't exactly right on. I have had people who I was sharing the Gospel with, think that I was doing evangelism in order to earn Brownie points with God. I think some people actually do that. Some go out and share the Gospel because they feel guilty about having not shared the Gospel with people. Others tell the Gospel because they don't want their family or friends to go to hell. This is not totally wrong though. We are to warn people about hell. But there is a bigger reason for doing evangelism.
   Some wrong motives for doing evangelism are: guilt, pride, striving to please God, fear of failing God.
   Some right reasons for doing evangelism: love for God, love for people, making God's name known in truth, warning people about the Judgment to come.
   I think evangelism has gotten such a bad rap, not because people are offended by the Gospel, but because 'evangelists' are pretty hateful sometimes. We are commanded to love God. We are commanded to love people. But even more, if we are truly in Christ, the Bible says that we are constrained by the love of God.
   I think many people have no idea of the love of God. Christians don't seem to know either. That's probably one reason why there is such a battle over how evangelism should be done. Some people think that you should always serve people food if you are sharing the Gospel with them. They are afraid that if you just preach the Gospel, let's say, on the streets, then you really don't love them. It's like evangelism is something you have to tack onto your schedule, rather than it being an outworking of the overflow of the heart.
   Love starts before we go out and evangelize. If love isn't the motivation of our hearts, then we need to ask God to fill us with His love and give us new hearts. Evangelism without love doesn't work. And if we truly, really do love, we will want to share the Gospel with people. We will want to let others know of God's greatness and what He has done for us. We will die to ourselves and to our selfish desires that would interfere with evangelism.
  One example of this in my life was, when I was younger, I didn't know how to talk well. It was very hard for me to talk and communicate. As I got older, it never got better. I always wanted to do evangelism, but since I couldn't talk, the best I would ever be able to do is to give out tracts, so I thought. But then the desire to proclaim the Gospel became stronger. I had to pray for many years that God would help me learn how to communicate. After wrestling in prayer for a long time, I was now able to talk. God has helped me learn how to communicate the Gospel with people and to have good conversations about the things of God. I didn't just think to myself that I wouldn't be able to talk, so, I'll just pass out tracts the rest of my life. Thank God all that changed. I had to desire that kind of change. I had to be desperate for it. May God help us all to love one another, and to love the lost people who need to come to know Him.
  One question to ask ourselves: Are we evangelizing to be seen by men, or are we evangelizing to be seen by God?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ways To Show Appreciation Open Doors To Communicate the Gospel

  A couple of years ago, a UPS man delivered a package. I thanked him and gave him a tract. My husband thought that was tacky. So, I redid the idea and came up with something that worked. It wasn't the best idea, but it was better than not doing anything at all.
  One thing I have learned in the past couple of years, is the importance of showing respect to people. People in America have lost their dignity and they feel like, well, you get the picture. The devil would like people to think that they are worthless. The other extreme, of course, is that people overrate themselves. Many believe they are God's gift to this earth!
  Another thing that is important is to be grateful. People appreciate being appreciated. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. I used to think that if I hired a person for something, he or she should be grateful that I hired them. That was it. I am at the point now, when we have someone working on the house or doing something we hired them for, that I make sure I offer them a bottle (or more) of water. This might seem like a small thing, but some of our workers really appreciate the water.
   The idea I came up with was this: When I knew someone was going to come over and provide a service for us, I would have ready a batch of cookies. It was good for a while, but some people can't eat cookies. Also, the chocolate melts in their trucks and probably became messy to eat. I would also give them a tract and hope for opportunities to talk with them about the Gospel. But, now I even have a better idea! Instead of making something to eat (which they might not be able to do) I will make soap for them. I will give them a bar of homemade soap, and, a tract. But maybe I could even give them a Bible. Or, I could give them a DVD with a Bible scene (I ordered some from VOM called, 'He Lived Among Us'). Wow, as I sit here and write, I am coming up with more ideas. But keep in mind, we want to serve them and show our appreciation for them. Otherwise, it could look like we are trying to butter them up for something. It could appear manipulative to them.
   Maybe I could come up with an illustration about soap and how it cleanses us. Maybe I could relate it to the Gospel message of how the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sins. Whatever I end up doing, I need to be intentional. I can't think about it an hour before the worker arrives. I have to have it ready to go so that I can give it to him or her (or them). I also need to take time to talk with them if possible. I want to be an approachable person, so that, if they did ever have questions about the Gospel, or wanted to talk about the things of God, they would feel comfortable coming to me, even though they really don't know me. I want them to sense that I truly care for them, and that they are not just another number.
   Hmmm. Who is the next person we are going to hire?