Tag Archives: evangelism

(Nehemiah 9-13) Spiritual Integrity

Regarding Nehemiah’s harsh treatment of foreigners and sinners, the commentator in my Apologetics Study Bible used the words, “spiritual integrity.” In order to protect the holiness of God’s people, their spiritual integrity if you will, Nehemiah expelled those who didn’t worship God in truth. He kicked them out, and not all that gently, either.

Nehemiah knew the “negative spiritual ramifications” of accepting non-believers into the family of God. I don’t think we understand those spiritual ramifications today.

Even our pastors encourage us to bring sinners into God’s house. Worship leaders use Bethel and Hillsong music, inviting false teaching into our fellowship. We try so hard to look like our unsaved neighbors we no longer stand as a beacon in a dark world.

What are the negative spiritual ramification? Too many of us, too many of our churches, have lost our spiritual integrity. And you know something that makes me sad about that? Some of you will say that’s a good thing.

(2 Chronicles 32-34) Pray For Revival. But Be Warned.

What is a revival? Is it an evangelistic effort to present the Gospel so unsaved people find the Savior? That has become the accepted definition in the Christian realm. But in the true sense of the word, isn’t it more a re-awakening? Doesn’t it mean that something dead is brought back to life? Isn’t it more of a transformation from “what is” to “what is better?”

We see a revival here in the life of King Josiah and Judah. The king was already a believer, a follower of God busy doing great things in the name of the Lord. But something happened to Josiah when he read the Scriptures for himself.

He was convicted of sin. He woke up to the truth. He was revived, energized, and began to serve God with a new determination. The result of his personal revival was that it spread throughout Judah so that the nation began serving God anew, too.

I think we need to be praying for revival in our world. But it’s the Church that needs revived. It’s a dead, weak, ineffective Church made up of dead, weak, ineffective believers who need a wake-up call.

Of course unsaved people need Jesus. Of course the world’s problems would be solved if people loved and served God according to His Word. But that won’t happen until a revival happens in the pews first.

Let’s pray for revival. But be warned. When you do, you’re praying that your relationship with the Savior will be revived first, that you will confess and repent of sin in your own life, that you would boldly throw off the chains of this world and stand apart in the truth of Scripture.

Yes, Christian. I am praying for your revival and mine. I’m just warning you.

Shepherds and Warriors (Numbers 27)

Oh, for more leaders like the one Moses prayed would succeed him. A shepherd. A warrior.

I know I’m cynical, but I think too many leaders in our churches are businessmen, entertainers, and followers. So much focus is on making their churches look like everyone else’s church, I wonder how much real shepherding is going on.

I don’t know of any warrior who invites the enemy into camp in order to fight a battle. Yet the emphasis in many churches today is to make worship inviting, to bring people in to hear the Word and be saved. I wonder how many pastors are truly leading their people into battle, going into the neighborhoods and towns to make disciples. Too many are focused on fighting the battle within the safety of their church walls.

That was never part of Jesus’ plan according to Scripture.

I pray God will raise up more leaders in our churches whose focus is in being the shepherds and the warriors God needs for His Church. Maybe God is calling you.

April 18; Don’t Just Stand There

I Samuel 22:6-23:29; Psalms 52, 109

Do you remember when, earlier in Saul’s reign as King of Israel, he couldn’t bring himself to kill all the Amalekites, even though God told him to? We read about that in I Samuel 15. God had told Saul to destroy the Amalekites, let no one live including women and children. Saul killed many, but not all. And remember, the Amalekites were the enemy of Israel and of God. Who knows how many guilty people were allowed to live on?

Now we see Saul mad at a priest for helping David, who Saul considered his enemy. So Saul condemns the priest to death. Then, inconceivably, Saul ordered that all the priests be killed. Eighty-five men were to die that day – and they were no one’s enemy! In fact, these were men who served God.

It doesn’t stop there. Saul then ordered that the wives and children of these priests be killed. He gave the same order to his men that God had given him earlier. “Let no one live.” The King’s officials couldn’t bring themselves to do it. But they didn’t stop it when someone else stepped up and began to murder all those people, either. A whole city of innocents was put to the sword that day, by the order of Saul.

How could he let the ungodly Amalekites live, and then wipe out the people of God?

I wonder. If the Amalekites represent sin, and the priests represent holiness, can’t we ask the same thing of ourselves? Maybe we aren’t the ones who are preaching and teaching partial truths. Maybe we don’t agree with the contemporary definition of sin, the tolerance of sin in our churches, the blatant disregard for God’s law.

But are we, like the king’s officials, watching while holiness is being destroyed right in front of us? Do we shake our heads, maybe shed a tear, yet continue to stand there and do nothing to stop it?

What can one person do, you might ask? I’m sure most of us reading this post today don’t want to see evil continue to wield its sword. But most of us feel helpless to stop this avalanche.

And I don’t think God expects us to single-handedly. But I also don’t think he expects us to do nothing. Are you praying? Are you getting involved in civic affairs, volunteering in God-honoring work in your neighborhoods? Are you voting? Are you going to church, talking to people about Jesus, living your life in such a way that you stand out from the crowd? Are you holding your pastors and teachers accountable to speak only the Truth of Scripture?

I don’t know what God has laid on your heart about fighting His enemy. But I know for sure if you are His child through the blood of His Son Jesus, He is prompting you to do something. You can either stand there and watch as God is being attacked, or you can get involved in the battle.

You are going to make that choice today. Just know that just standing there and watching is making a choice against God.

Don’t just stand there.

 

 

Acts 9-14; Catch the Fever

I love reading about the birth of the Church. I love Saul’s conversion, Peter’s vision and Cornelius’ faith. I love reading how Peter followed an angel out of prison right under the noses of all those guards. I love the accounts of healings, of the Holy Spirit poured out on new believers.

But what spoke to me today as I read was the effect the Word of Truth had on so many people. Peter spoke so plainly of Jesus, as one who had been an eye-witness. Peter used Scripture to back up what he was saying, and I believe many people finally understood what their Old Testament Scriptures were about for the very first time.

Lives were changed. And the Good News spread like wildfire. People were excited to share what they believed with people they loved.

Sometimes I assume everybody knows Bible stories, everyone has heard Jesus died on the cross for sin. I think everyone knows there’s a heaven and a hell. But I am wrong to think those things. There are people right here on this island who have no clue.

We have the Truth. We have the best news ever. We have the answer to every longing, and we hold the keys to heaven. Does that excite you? Does that make you want to get out there and share what you have? I think it should.

At least that’s where I’m convicted today. Am I excited about Jesus, the cross, grace, eternal life, freedom from sin? Or do I take those things for granted? Ouch.

I’m thinking if I went back to my roots, like Peter directed the early church to go back to theirs, and if I remember what it was like to find my Savior, I could get excited about sharing that experience with someone else. And maybe, my excitement will be contagious. Maybe you’ll catch the fever, too. And maybe others will catch it from us!

 

Jonah; Wake Up

There are so many important lessons tucked into these four short chapters of Jonah. Please read it for yourself before you read the rest of this post, and let God speak to your heart about obedience, about evangelism, about attitudes toward the unsaved, about Jesus. He will tell you what you need to know. I’d like to share what God pointed out to me, but don’t let this be the only thing you get out of this amazing book today.

You know the story. God tells Jonah what to do. Jonah thinks he has a better idea. On his way to do “missionary work according to Jonah,” he and everyone onboard the ship are met with a violent storm. The ship is being tossed about. It is in imminent danger. Everyone on board is facing death. And what is Jonah doing while God’s judgment is being poured out?

HE IS SLEEPING! (1:5)

He is sleeping! He’d removed himself from the rest of the passengers and crew, hid below deck, and fell asleep. Do you see what I see?

Do you see too many Christians who hide within the walls of a church, who serve on church committees, sing in the church choir, give generously to the church, but can be described as sleeping while the rest of the world is facing judgment?

It wasn’t until Jonah woke up, dealt with his own sin, and obeyed God that, not only the people onboard the ship were saved, over 100,000 people of Nineveh were saved as well.

I’d like to shout, “Wake up, Church!” But the Church isn’t reading my blog. You, however, are.

God is telling you and me to go to Nineveh, to go into our communities, to talk to our neighbors about their need of the Savior. You might think you have a better idea. You might think that being involved in a church is enough.

But maybe it’s time we woke up and did what we are told.

July 4 – Passing The Mantle

2 Kings 1-4

I’ve often said that Elijah is one of my favorite Old Testament characters, but Elisha is right up there, too. I love how, when Elijah was heading toward the place God was going to take him into heaven, Elisha stuck to the old prophet like glue. It’s almost like Elisha didn’t want to miss a second of being in the presence of this incredible man of God.

Elijah wore a mantle; a long scarf or shawl. And he used that mantle to part the water of the Jordan River so he and Elisha could cross on dry ground. Elisha saw Elijah being whisked away into heaven. The only thing left was Elijah’s mantle.

So Elisha picked up that mantle, and went on his way. The first thing the young prophet did was take Elijah’s mantle and use it to part the river again. This time Elisha crossed alone. But he went on to continue the work Elijah had begun.

Makes me wonder about two things: One, what is my mantle? I believe Elijah’s mantle represented his faith in God. What is it in me that says to people around me – this is a godly woman, a child of God, someone who serves Jesus out of love? It makes me ask myself what is the work I am doing today that will need to continue when I’m gone.

Then, I wonder if there are some whom I have touched and who will carry on my mission when God calls me home. I have no biological children. But are there those who are born again because I’ve introduced them to the Savior? And will they continue God’s work of sharing Christ after I’m gone?

When I die, and all that’s left of me is my mantle – will anyone even want to pick it up?

Show and Tell

The story of Rahab in Joshua 2, and that of the demon possessed Gadarene in Luke 8 have parallel messages. That message is: evangelism.

Rahab wasn’t a Jew but she believed in God because of what she had seen God do in Israel. “…the Lord your God, He is God…” She was told to place a red ribbon on her window, then go and tell her loved ones how they could be saved.

Jesus told the man whom he healed of demon possession to go home and tell people what God had done for him. The man did, and many believed Jesus as a result.

That’s what it means to be “chosen”. God didn’t choose Israel to separate them from the rest of us for any reason other than to reveal God to a lost world. And as Christians, we are chosen to do the same. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…

So how am I doing? Do people see Jesus in me? Do they recognize God’s hand in my life? Do I live it? Talk about it?

Rahab put a scarlet thread on her window to identify herself as a believer. What is it that identifies me as a child of God? Is it visible? Is it beautiful?

May it be so.

God, I pray for your children today. May we be those vessels through which you can draw all people to yourself. May we realize that each of us has a commission… to share the Good News of Jesus with our world. May we show them what it looks like to be forgiven, to have you present in our lives every minute of every day. May we tell them, speak with them, use Scripture to share your plan of salvation. And may the result be the same as we read about in Joshua and Luke, that our loved ones and neighbors will be saved because of our testimony.

Called

I’m not sure I ever paid attention to Elisha’s calling before. I was reading in I Kings 19 this morning where he was out plowing in the field. The prophet Elijah simply walked up to him, threw his cloak over Elisha’s shoulders and walked away. Elisha followed.

I believe all Christians have a calling, a cloak put on our shoulders by Jesus. When we accept his grace, his work on the cross on our behalf, he calls us into service. Pastors are said to be involved in full-time service, but I think that should describe all of us. Serving our Lord shouldn’t be a 39 1/2 hour a week job. 

My calling looks just like yours, just like Billy Graham’s: Go into all the world and preach the good news. Show who Jesus is by every word you speak, every action you take, every moment you live. Let everyone who comes in contact with you recognize our holy, forgiving God.

It doesn’t matter how. From a pulpit, in front of a classroom, on the bus, pounding nails, pouring coffee, cleaning teeth… I could go on. Your calling isn’t to be a missionary in China or delivering mail in Ohio. It’s telling people about the Savior.

That’s the cloak Jesus has placed on each of us. How does it look on you?

November 22

Acts 17:1-18:17; I Thessalonians 1-2

Witnessing, sharing our faith, giving our testimony, talking about the Lord is hard for most of us. Most of us did not go to a Bible College or go through a “how to” course on sharing the Gospel. We fumble over our words and forget the chapter and verse of the Scripture we want to use. We are so afraid we’re going to sound like fools we convince ourselves to say nothing.

Yet we are commanded by Jesus to go into all the world and preach the Gospel!

Paul was a master soul-winner and we can learn so much by studying him. Look at how he talked to the Greeks in Athens. He started the conversation with what they already knew. They worshiped lots of gods and in fact, just to cover their bases, worshiped “an unknown god”. Paul acknowledged that, then said – let me tell you about that unknown God because I just happen to know him!

Sometimes I think we believe sharing Jesus has to be a three point sermon. I know there are some who are saved in evangelistic services or at the kitchen tables when a stranger knocks on their door and comes to tell them about salvation. But I believe most people accept Christ as a result of someone who is invested in them. Who gets to know them, spends time with them and talks to them on their level of understanding. 

What is it your friend already knows about Christ? Start there. If God has nudged you toward speaking to your friend, he is already working in this dear one’s heart. Let God give you the words and trust him to use those words to draw this friend to himself.

Father, I pray that you would nudge each of us toward a loved one, neighbor, co-worker, or friend who’s heart you are readying to hear the Gospel. May each of us be faithful to reach out to this person, to listen to them and encourage them. Then when you open the door for us to put our faith into words, I pray that we will allow you to give us the words! Help us to see the people in our world like you do. And give us a loving boldness to tell them about your Son, our Savior… and theirs’.